First quick thoughts on the iPad

Struggling with now owning both the iPhone and the iPad. Anyways, running through and downloading all the reading apps and some PDF apps for Kindle vs iPad comparisons. Wanted to capture first thoughts because they are an interesting bunch (it will also be interesting to contrast first impressions with my feelings about the iPad after extended use) –

  1. No pretty packaging – How unlike Apple.
  2. The screen is marvellous.  
  3. 3,000 or so apps doesn’t seem much compared to 150,000 – It’s still a lot to go through.
  4. There are very few free apps – Sections like Business and Health&Fitness have less than 10 Free Apps in the Bestselling Free Apps List. Other Sections have 100 Apps in the Paid Lists and the Free Apps List ends at 50.
  5. Think there was a blog that said an iPad App research firm found that only 20% of iPad Apps are free.
  6. Lots of free news apps from the big brands. They are getting downloaded a lot.
  7. Browsing the iPad App Store and can’t stop thinking that if the iPhone wasn’t a phone one of the iPad or iPhone would be gone.
  8. Very easy to smudge the screen with fingerprints.
  9. A very reflective screen – my friend can see his reflection in it without really trying. It does have some glare – there isn’t much sunshine in Montreal today so that assessment will have to wait.
  10. My friend’s an avid comic collector and he says if there were comics available for 99 cents each he’d seriously consider buying the iPad with comics as one of the main use cases.
  11. The comic book app (Comix) works beautifully. You can go through comics pane by pane – the images are scaled up very well. Also the transitions and reading pane by pane creates a pretty immersive experience (according to my friend).
  12. The bezel on the sides is pretty thick and it’s a bit disconcerting to have just a single button on something this big.  
  13. The grip at the back is poor – A case will pretty much be necessary. Perhaps one that can be used as a stand.
  14. The total cost of ownership is very high – $500 or more for the iPad, taxes, case and accessories, iPad apps are more expensive, perhaps a warranty. Even more if you get the 3G version and get a subscription.

The main positive thoughts were –

Very Pretty, great screen, touch works well.

Keyboard seems to work well.

The quality of iPad apps is higher.

The main negative thoughts were –

Do I really need this? It’s too expensive.

What’s the killer app?

The Apps are expensive and there are not many free apps.

It’s going to slip and break.

Quite frankly, this could and should be $150 to $200 cheaper and there should be an SD Card slot. Have the 32 GB version and the memory instantly seems too limited. It’s also quite ridiculous that it’s $100 more for 16 more GB of memory and $130 more for 3G capability.

First Thoughts on Kindle for iPad and Apple iBooks

  1. The large screen size definitely makes the iPad much more of a threat than the iPhone.
  2. Makes me wonder what would happen if Apple could cut prices to $350 or so. 
  3. The iBooks app has a very design oriented focus – Don’t quite know how to explain it. It’s as if it was more focused on looking pretty than being a good reader.  
  4. Having 10 different font sizes is definitely a big plus. As is the 5 different fonts. The brightness control is good too.
  5. The 2nd largest font on the iPad iBooks App matches the largest font on the Kindle DX and is a bit bigger than the largest font on the Kindle 2.
  6. The 2nd smallest font matches the smallest font on the Kindle and is slightly larger than the smallest font on the Kindle DX.
  7. It’s a bit ridiculous that you can’t add notes.
  8. There is a lot of glare and you have to keep the iPad’s screen away from any light sources that might shine directly on to it.
  9. The free public domain books are from Gutenberg and are not really very well formatted.
  10. All bestsellers are $9.99 or less in the Apple iBookstore.
  11. The iBookstore is a pain to go through and the lack of additional information – no reviews, no lists from people, no ratings – is discomforting.
  12. Color and size do make a difference. The Kindle for iPad App looks beautiful – much more so than Kindle for iPhone. The cover image view is really pretty too – makes you wonder why Amazon don’t implement it for the Kindle in black and white. 
  13. The iPad is much heavier than the Kindle and noticeably heavier than the Kindle DX. The difference between iPad and Kindle DX seems more than the .32 pounds.
  14. The only comfortable ways to read seem to be holding it on your lap and resting it up against something. When resting the iPad against something you can read with one hand – best used for reading in bed. It tires the hands really quickly if you don’t use support.
  15. Having the ability to read the same books across all these devices is very powerful – My friend was amazed to see my whole Kindle library show up on the iPad.
  16. Kindle for iPad is definitely better than iBooks. If you already own a Kindle or have bought Kindle books it isn’t even close.

It’s interesting to think about what my preferences for a reading device would be (based on iPad first impressions) –

iPad over iPhone.

Kindle for reading over iPad. Kindle for reading over iPhone.

Sony Reader for reading over iPad. iPad over Nook. Both Sony Reader and Nook over iPhone.

Also realized that prefer the Kindle DX over the Kindle – Perhaps the larger screen or perhaps testing Kindle Apps on it has made me overly fond of it.

The Kindle DX also compares much better against the iPad than my initial thoughts – it’s not going to go extinct.

The iPad is definitely going to steal Kindle owners – Not as many as I’d originally thought. My gut instinct is that 15 to 20% of Kindle buyers and 50 to 60% of Kindle DX owners will be swayed. Some portion of them will get scared away by the costs and closed nature of the iPad. So perhaps 15% of potential Kindle owners and 40% of potential Kindle DX owners. It’s definitely a much bigger threat than the iPhone.

Kindle vs iPad is going to be very, very interesting.

8 thoughts on “First quick thoughts on the iPad”

  1. Better info than what 95% of our press ‘analysts’ have given us. You should do this for a fee…

    I found the one at also very informative. Would you say the consensus that is slowly forming is that:
    1) The iPad won’t have that great an impact on sub $300 ereaders but will seriously threaten the larger format ereaders, eg DX, Skiff
    2)It has fantastic potential for comics & colour books (could one see specific ‘coffee table’ books designed for tablets?).
    3) Companies with both ereaders & apps on the iPad and various coming tablets are the ones likely to gain most, ie Amazon, Kobo, B&N

    Based on what you’ve seen could the coming tablet tsunami be a serious threat to ereaders or not?

    You wrote an incredibly insightful article in January, , would love to know if any of your opinions are still the same regarding the main protagonists.

    1. An update to the ebook/ereader alliances post would take time – it would need another post. Perhaps will look at one once there are a few more developments. thanks for the kind words.

      For your other questions
      1) Yes, iPad is a big threat to Kindle DX, Skiff, etc.
      2) Yes, iPad is great for comics. My friend loves comic books and he said he would consider the iPad and comics do look great on it.
      3) Yes, the eReader companies have to cater to all channels.

      The coming tablet tsunami might not materialize. The iPad is beautiful and at the same time the so-called tsunami represents the desire of most of the tech industry to see some big, huge change. It’s almost a forced revolution – Will believe it when people start changing their habits and ditching their keyboards and netbooks and laptops for Tablets.

  2. How do you feel so far about long-form reading on the iPad?

    Could you see yourself reading a War and Peace length novel on it?

    This is still the decisive question for book-lovers.

  3. I was contemplating the iPad as an alternative to the kindle (which I haven’t bought yet) – so I went to an apple store today to try it out. It’s a beautiful device, but I honestly think it’s too heavy to be used conveniently as a primary ebook reader..just my 2 cents. Definitely leaning back towards the kindle now.

  4. Dear Friends,
    150,000 aps?! the iPad has 3000 by itself!? Thanks to electronic assistance I can no longer do math of any kind. GPS has denegrated my sense of direction to the point I’m only sure of “up” and “down.” I am literally a lost voice, crying in the widerness.
    I’m going to mightily resist any further surrender of innate skills and abilities before I have to have a microchip implant. but, golly, golly, golly, aren’t electronics fun?

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