I’m a self-confessed Apple girl. And I’m a self-confessed eBook fiend. So it goes without saying that I was eagerly awaiting the announcement of what everyone was calling the iSlate (enough has already been said about the #namefail that is iPad – I won’t add to it!).
There’s been plenty of commentary, fueled largely by speculation, about precisely what this device will and won’t offer. Mac Word’s FAQ provides a good synopsis of what is and isn’t known about the device at this stage.
What I’m really interested in, though, is how the iPad could work for me personally. And what I want personally is a device on which I can browse the web, answer email, read feeds (and follow links) and read books. I’m not a huge mobile web user – other than for social networking sites, I really find my phone too small for web browsing or feed reading. So I carry my MacBook or my eee PC around. And, seeing I already carry an eBook reader, I’d love to combine book reading functionality with web browsing in a single device that’s optimised for both. An iPad might just mean that I could leave my laptop, iPod and Sony Reader at home and just carry the slim iPad instead.
The iPad looks like a slick device, and yes, I’d love to buy one in 56ish days time, when they become available, just because it’s sexy (regardless of the flaws that have been pointed out around the place – particularly the fact that it’s pretty much entirely geared for content consumption and fails on the production front). But a lot remains to be seen about this device, particularly on the eBook front, and that’s probably of the most concern to me at this point. Before I buy one:
- I want to see an app (or apps) that will allow me to use DRMed ePub content that I source from pretty much any other major eBook distributor – including content that I might buy from an online book seller or content that I might borrow from my local library. Cause let’s face it, although DRM is the devil and we librarian-types will whinge about it til the cows come home, it’s not going anywhere fast.
- Preferably, I want the iBook app and access to the iBookstore in Australia (although if my first wish is fulfilled, this is a little less of an issue). I already have one device for which I can’t purchase content from the vendor’s store, and it sucks. I get these tantalising emails from the Sony Reader store telling me about the latest releases, and I can’t buy them (or not easily, and certainly not by ‘legit’ means).
- I want the chance to have a play with the iPad and
- experience reading for a reasonable amount of time. As an eBook user, I know that I can read comfortably for longer periods of time on an eInk device than I can on a computer or phone screen. How will the iPad compare to my Sony Reader in terms of eye-comfort (I know, I sound like a grandma, but when you read a lot, and spend a lot of time online, eye strain is a problem).
- see how hot it gets with sustained, heavy use. MacBooks get pretty warm – will this thing, too?
- see if the battery life can live up to the promise of ten hours. Can I really get an hour and a half of web surfing (or eBook reading) combined with music listening on the way to work, seven hours of music listening at work, and then more multi tasking on the return journey? Seems a bit of a stretch, but then I guess I could just dock it at work.
Much as I’d love to run out and buy this thing, I’m just not sure I can justify it unless it’s going to meet my needs on the eBook front. And that certainly is something I’m not sure about just yet.