Wednesday, January 27, 2010

iThink, therefore iPad

There are mattress pads to keep your mattress clean. There are brake pads to protect your car. There are paper pads, bound by glue, for notes and memos and doodles. There are that-time-of-the-month pads, crash pads, bachelor pads, lily pads, launch pads.

What about a pad that serves all those functions and has all those characteristics?

Steve Jobs has unveiled the iPad, announcing it “Our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price.”

Gizmodo declares it, after a hands-on examination, "substantial but surprisingly light. Easy to grip. Beautiful. Rigid. Starkly designed. The glass is a little rubbery but it could be my sweaty hands. And it's fasssstttt."

The new device, according to Apple's website, starts at $499 and the first models will ship in late March. It's basically a laptop-cum-iPhone, merging email, photos, movies, the App store, and digital magazine/newspaper/book reading into one. With specific regard for that lattermost, Jobs unveiled the free iBooks app, which grants access to the built-in iBookstore. According to the New York Times' Bits blog, "Five of the largest publishers — Penguin, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and Hachette — are supporting the app." Advantages above ubiquitous eReaders like the Kindle are display aesthetics, as well as expedited availability of titles.

The iPad's touch screen and crisp display will supposedly maximize the user's experience, culling the most desirable aspects of various gadgets (Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, iTouch, BlackBerry, Android). It's the iPod's cousin: a product that is guaranteed to shake up the publishing industry in a parallel to the iPod's revolutionization of the music industry.

I've incorporated my iPhone into many corners of my life (excluding books, so far), from reading blogs and newspapers and magazines to watching YouTube videos to writing and receiving emails to managing my calendar and contacts. Same goes with my MacBook. My family has been a Mac family since before I was born, and I love the user-friendliness, sleekness and efficiency of the company's products. Maybe I'm being rewarded for holding out on buying a Kindle: I could realistically envision investing in the iPad once I cave- inevitably- on at least partially succumbing to the digital book craze.

For now, I'll put that $499 towards my rent check.

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