I’ve been a big Mac fan ever since a friend persuaded me many years ago to ditch my aged Windows laptop in favour of a new iBook, and as someone who live-blogs and files reports from outside locations but doesn’t always want to lug a full laptop around with me I can see a lot of potential for Apple’s new iPad tablet computer.
However despite my Mac fanboi credentials I’m a little unclear what the iPad offers eBook fans – details of the iBookstore are a little sketchy but on the hardware/capability front it’s not wowing me as a potential replacement for my trusty Sony Reader.
I can definitely see the potential offered by colour and media capabilities but a glossy backlit LED screen isn’t going to offer the same comfort as an E Ink based reader and the hyped 10 hour in-use battery life is a teeny fraction of what a dedicated reader will offer.
Sure, a backlit screen can be read in bed, by the small edition of a £6 pen light allows me to read my Sony in the dark and for a lot longer if the need arose.
On the matter of book availability – Apple’s press release talks of the ‘iBookstore’ which allows the downloading of eBooks straight to the device.
So far, so very Kindle.
However unlike Amazon’s closed format Kindle, Apple say the iPad will support the popular ePub format, opening the potential for books to be bought anywhere – though it’s important to note that getting files onto the iPod Touch and iPhone isn’t currently all that easy.
If Apple’s sensible and allows iPad owners to bring their own books to the device it could quickly become a major player in driving the take-up of eBooks, even if technology wise it has no real ‘right’ to do so.
Whatever hardware doubts I or other bloggers and journos have, Apple’s domination of the portable music industry suggests that some current eBook players are going to have a tough year.