I’m sure no one is surprised that I did, indeed, go and pick up an iPad the first day that they were available in Ottawa. As I had been telling people, I didn’t pre-order one, since I wanted to use one first, to make sure that it was going to work well for my most important usecase (i.e. eBook reading) before I leapt onto the bandwagon.
So, Friday morning, I went down to Carbon Computing and spent some time playing with the ones they had on display.
[Aside: The iPad release to retail in Canada was odd. I have no inside information about this, but it’s pretty clear that the only outlet that was allowed to say they would have stock on the first day was the Apple Store. As a result, there were hundreds of people waiting in line when the Rideau Apple Store opened that morning, which is I guess the effect they were going for. By contrast, I just walked into Carbon Computing, wandered over to the display machines, played with one for a while, and then said “I’d like the 32Gig, non-3G model” — in and out in about 20 minutes. Having been in the line when the Rideau store opened a few months back, I can tell you that this was a much more pleasant experience.]
In any case, the iPad does make a perfectly acceptable e-reader. It does not have as high a pixel density as the Kindle, and the glossy screen might get tiring in some lighting conditions, but overall it’s excellent. The screen is bright, and the colors pop.
One clear win over the Kindle et al. is the availability of multiple book stores. Although Apple’s iBooks store currently only has the public domain books from Gutenberg Press in Canada, you can also get all of the books available for the Kindle, and all those for Kobo. This feature alone seems like it will doom the dedicated readers.
As of writing this, there are no iPad versions of the eReader or Stanza apps. I can tell you that using the iPod versions in “2x” mode is simply not a viable way to read, so hopefully they will come out with updates. Unfortunately, it may just be that these “old school” readers will fade away in the face of the new players. This would be a shame, in both cases; I have a lot of eReader content that I’d like to be able to re-read on the iPad, and Stanza has been also very useful for reading my current ePub formatted content.
Anyway, this is also the traditional “post done on the new device”. I used the WordPress app [Warning: iTunes link], which runs on both iPod and iPad. It’s an excellent way to manage your blog on either device, but the iPad layout is significantly better for entering new content.