The iPad (first gen) after the glow wears off

That’s sort of a misleading headline. The glow still hasn’t really worn off for me, nor has it for this group of iPad users that have provided “one year after” roundup. The general consensus of that article is that they don’t regret their purchase – and I concur wholeheartedly. I, like some of them, find doing a lot of content creation on the iPad isn’t a huge burden. Of course – I have one of those fancy bluetooth keyboard cases, so I am sort of cheating, but I’ve done a lot of writing on my iPad. I won’t say that it’s as easy as using a full-featured desktop + a full size keyboard, but for quickly popping out blog posts, emails, meeting notes or even articles, it’s worked well for me.

The other thing I’ve noticed during my time using my iPad is the interest it gets in the older (than me) crowd. My mother and my significant other’s mother both told me – within a week of each other – that they want to get an iPad soon. My mom has decided to wait until I upgrade and buy mine (a year or better, but that’s ok with her), but my SO’s mom is actively looking for one now. ┬áNone of us are Apple fangirls. I haven’t owned an Apple computing device since I was in 8th grade and, as far as I know, neither mother has ever used one. The iPad has been just that interesting and just that useful!

I thought the idea of a “one year after” look at the iPad was neat (plus the article has ALL KINDS of excellent app suggestions), so I wanted to post this – even though I haven’t had mine for a year yet. For those of you who are still on the fence, I’m still happy with mine and use it *every single day*.

E-Books iPad

E-books in other professions

I’m a knitter, as most of you probably know, and I subscribe to more than a couple of knitting related newsletters and lists. One of those newsletters just announced that they will be making some knitting books available for e-readers through Zinio’s interface. I just checked and one of the books they were pushing, New England Knits, is available through Zinio but is both out of print (in the paperback format, at least) and not available in the Kindle format at Amazon at all.
This book, at least, is compatible with iPad or computer (PC or Mac) only – not with the Nook or the Sony E-Reader or the Kindle. This (as a side note) is one of the reasons I threw over my Kindle for an iPad – the ability to read books in any format they come in is pretty nice!
It does, however, speak to the fragmenting of the market and the way the announcements are made. The newsletter was all about the new e-readers that folks may have gotten for Christmas, but the two books they pushed (New England Knits and Crochet So Fine) are neither one compatible with any e-reader device but the iPad (and the Crochet book isn’t even compatible with that – just PCs and Macs). This has more than likely created an expectation in their customers that won’t be easily filled – they want books and patterns that are usable on *their* e-readers, whatever they might be, and the newsletter is focusing on books that aren’t going to be usable on most e-readers that were gifted this year.
This is something to consider when pushing our services with e-books in libraries. We have already seen patrons who received off-brand MP3 players complaining that they can’t use our service because their device isn’t compatible with Overdrive. We try to be clear and publicize the lists of compatible devices, but there is only so much we can do.
I’m pointing this out not to criticize how other professions handle the emergence of e-readers for their customers, but to show that we all have the same challenges with these devices and, maybe, to suggest that we should be looking at what knitters and engineers and teachers and lawyers are doing about the fragmented state of the market now. They may have some good ideas. They may do some things we can point to as “learning moments” and try not to do. We’re all moving ahead on this stuff together, so getting some ideas from how others are handling the issues can only be a good thing!

iPad thinking Writing

Creating content on the iPad

One criticism I see about the iPad is that it’s software-based keyboard is difficult to use and unpleasant for long-form writing. I will agree that it takes some getting used to and that I still make more mistakes when using it than I do in a traditional, hardware keyboard, but it is still quite useful for me. I’ve written 2 1500 word articles, a 12 page chapter that will be published in an upcoming book, numerous blog posts (using the fabulous WordPress app!!) and more using nothing more than the software keyboard that the iPad comes with. I did shell out the $60 for an iPad dock/keyboard combo that I never use, because it is unusable with the iPad’s standard case (too much extra stuff around the edge of the case keeps the iPad from being able to connect to the dock at all… I need a new case, clearly!) and it’s more hassle to pull the iPad out of the case than it is to prop it up and start typing away. I’ll admit that I prefer typing in landscape mode – portrait is both a bit cramped and hard to do with the case being configured the way it is (again – new case for me – I’ll put in my Remember The Milk account now!), so landscape is the only way I create text on the iPad.
Now, to be honest, I have pretty small hands – my reach is pretty limited and my fingers are fairly small – so the keyboard that works for me may not work so well for you, depending on your hand size.
The reason I’ve posted all of this is to say that while some people may find it difficult to create text on the iPad, not everyone does. I wanted an alternative voice out there for people with small hands and a willingness to make a few mistakes in return for the convenience of being able to write where ever you are!

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