karen_w_newton (karen_w_newton) wrote,

The iTouch grows up

Unless you've ignored the news, you probably know that Apple introduced a new gizmo this week, a 10-inch tablet that's pretty much an overgrown iPod Touch. Like the iTouch, the new iPad isn't a phone, but it also doesn't have a camera or any ports, USB or otherwise. It looks really pretty, and will hopefully provide a wonderful new platform for magazines and newspapers, who could really use the boost. Magazines, in particular, could put the large screen and color display to good advantage, and since a lot of them are not currently free on the web, they should have an easier time than newspapers in persuading folks to pay for digital content.

The iPad also offers iBooks; Apple is adding ebooks to the iTunes store, in ePub format, which is great (maybe this will make Amazon see sense!). But since the screen is just nice quality LCD, that means the color comes at the cost of eyestrain when it comes to long-term reading. Also, the battery is advertised at 10 hours of use, which would be great for a laptop but it's nowhere near the Kindle's two weeks. And if you want 3G, you have to pay at least $15 a month to get it; $30 for unlimited access. The price for the device itself isn't too bad, anywhere from $500 to $830, depending on memory and whether or not it has 3G. Of course, a year of unlimited 3G will cost more than a Kindle.

David Pogue of the NY Times warns against making predictions because no one has even tried the thing out. He's right, but I will risk a few predictions. One is that the iPad will be a lot more competition for the Kindle DX, the QUE, the large screen iRex, than the Nook, the Kindle 2 or Sony Readers. Another is that, if ebooks are noticeably more expensive in the iTunes store, people will use the Kindle for iPhone app to buy Kindle books and read them on the iPad.

The final prediction is that somewhere at Apple (or its marketing company), someone will be hauled over the coals for giving this thing a name that's even dumber than the Nook. As it turns out, Apple wasn't even the first company to think of it! Fujitsui is claiming the iPad name. If Apple is smart, they will use this as their excuse to change their new baby's name quick, before Fujitsu beats them to it.

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Tags: apple, ereaders, technology

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