I am a bit of a techie. I like looking at the newest technology gadgets, laptops, notebooks, netbooks, eReaders, tablets, etc. I am also what some would call an Apple fanboy. During downtime at work, I will sometimes peruse through Apple's website and drool over the $4000 computer I just created or look longingly at the refurbished products. (Side note: If anyone has $4000 to spare, contact me. I will take it off your hands.) Anyway, two years ago I was completely surprised and blown away when I received an iPad as a gift from a trusted friend and mentor. Immediately the iPad became my go-to device. (We also have a MacBook we purchased in 2009, thereby starting my Apple fandom.) Two years
What I like about the iPad:
- Portable - I don't have the 3G version, but if there's a wifi signal I can
stealborrow, I am immediately connected to the Internet. I can sit on the couch and fire up Twitter or Facebook or Safari or whatever app I want.
- Apps, Apps, Apps! - Speaking of apps, there are A LOT of them out there. If you ever thought, "I wish there was an app that _______," someone has probably already thought the same thing, created it, and is now profiting from it. Maybe a future blog post will feature some of my favorite apps.
- Size - 16GB is a lot of space. I actually was able to max out the space on my iPad, but that was only after loading hundreds of podcasts, video podcasts, and pictures.
- Ease of use - I came from the 80s, where computers were big, bulky, and took a long time to boot up. Now? If I want to surf the web, I touch the Safari icon. Email? Touch. Angry Birds? Touch. It is incredibly easy for a non-techie to figure out the iPad works. Our oldest daughter, if I am not paying attention, will take the iPad, unlock it (swiping the unlock arrow), and start tapping. It's that easy to use.
- Content creation/consumption - I teach Connection class (Sunday school) at our church and often will write my lessons or take notes on the iPad. For watching videos, writing short notes, etc, the iPad is great. I wouldn't write college essays on it, but for quick emails, notes, and any other content, this suits my needs.
Honestly, the ease of use and portability can be negatives. Ginny has had to get onto me (more than once I'm sad to say) about being on it all the time. It is very easy to pick it up and spend the next hour looking through Flipboard or playing Words with Friends. I've had to put it away and actually, you know, be a husband and father. I'd like to think I've gotten better about my use, but just know that if you're not careful you'll find yourself spending a lot of time on it. Also, the iPad has the native app iBooks for reading, and Amazon put out a Kindle app for reading as well. I have used both. I think both are excellent apps for reading. Visually, the reading experience is amazing. However, with so many other things that I can do on the iPad, I had a hard time spending any length of time actually reading a book. Last year we went with G's family to Florida for a week. I planned on doing some reading down there. Unfortunately, the iPad is almost impossible to read on the beach, even after playing with the brightness.
And that leads me into my next discussion. Two weeks ago I found a savings bond that I didn't know I had. After depositing into the bank, I decided to purchase the new $70 Kindle after seeing my wife, who bought one last year, enjoy hers a lot. Mine arrived a week and a half ago. So what do I think? In short, it's awesome. I have never been a big reader. Reading for school was my least favorite thing. I just didn't like being I had to read X book by Y date. Over the last few years I have read several books (another blog topic possibility - book reviews!) but still never was the avid reader my wife was and still is.
So what do I think? It's great. I think I have been reading in bed every night since it arrived. The new Kindle is even lighter than my wife's and is much easier to hold and read than the iPad. The backlight of the iPad can be somewhat hard on tired eyes, but the Kindle has no such problem. Some people like the feel and small of a book, which I understand, but it doesn't matter to me. There is a certain sense of freedom in being able to just carry around one device and have thousands of book that you can start reading in minutes. On my lunch break at work, I know I can head outside or to a little foyer and be able to get in a few chapters of a book. Speaking of books, one of the best things about the Kindle is the number of "classics" available for free download. I'm currently reading The Red Badge of Courage - a book I had to read in school but now am just reading for pleasure. G just finished Pride and Prejudice. Again, having the many choices of books a few clicks away is very appealing. I like to read books about the Christian life and often have highlighted key points I want to remember. With the Kindle, not only can I highlight, but I can also view highlights for that book and all books that are currently on my Kindle. The new Kindle does not have a physical keyboard on the device as older models had. Instead, you have to push the keyboard button which brings up a keyboard similar to the iPad (only you don't touch the screen to type). Some may find this annoying, but let's be honest, you're not going to be typing much on this, are you? This device is for reading, not browsing the Internet or playing Angry Birds.
That's a nice segue into my final thoughts. Both devices excel at what they were created for - the iPad as a content (pictures, video, news, social media, documents, etc.) consumption device and the Kindle as an eReader. I cannot say I favor one over the other because I use them for different purposes. I use the iPad to check email, check out the interwebs, keep up with social media, and play games. I use the Kindle to read. The device you get depends on what you want out of your device.
And with that, this concludes my lengthy look at two great devices.
*Obviously, I was not paid to write these overviews, and they are my own overviews at that. Your mileage may vary.