OK, so I splurged and bought an ipad. John and I have a big anniversary coming up and I rationalized this as a sort of joint anniversary present. For the record, I did hold out for the second version with 3G wi-fi.
And, as you already know if you follow my blog regularly, I wanted one really, really bad.
Seriously, this is a huge deal for me. I clung to albums and cassette tapes until about 1992 before I finally caved and bought a CD player. Who knows when I would have bought a DVD player if my father hadn't gotten me one as a gift (I still have about 150 VHS tapes taking up shelf space - a source of constant irritation to my 16 year old son). I didn't buy an ipod until it finally seemed like a good idea for my oldest son's birthday in about 2005. And I have held out against cable TV since forever. Ironically, I can now watch almost anything I want on my computer, but that's a blog post for a different time.
So buying this ipad while the proverbial paint is still drying on the marketing campaign is a step waaay outside my zone.
But, as I posted back in January and April, I firmly believe this device and others like it are going to revolutionize print. And, even though we have seen the "digitalization" of print since the advent of the internet, we have not seen a revolution in content delivery.
Up until now, portable print has been primarily still analog in the form of actual paper. Laptops were a first step in untethering digital print from the desktop, but laptops are designed more to produce content than to consume it. I very rarely see folks doing actual reading on their laptops. Instead they are usually surfing the web and multi-tasking.
One of the criticisms of the ipad has been its lack of multi-tasking but, after spending a day with it, I find that to be one of its strengths. With one graphic on display at a time I can fully focus on the article I'm reading and check my inbox later. I find that when I am reading things on my desktop mac, I am constantly pulled to that little icon that is my emailbox.
The two main reasons I got this ipad were for digital newspapers like the Wall Street Journal and also the ipad's color capabilities.
First, how does it handle articles?
I chose, as my first foray into ipad news consumption, this article in the Atlantic Monthly. Ironic, no?
So I tried reading it, first on my desktop with an 18 inch monitor, and then on my ipad with a screen that measures 6 x 8. You'd think that the monitor, with its larger screen would win hands down. But no. For one thing, no matter how big your monitor is, content is only delivered to your desktop in one size. And, even if you crop your window to the edge of the article and cut out the banner ads, the print still remains one size. I loved that I could use my fingers to create the size of print that both fit the window on the ipad perfectly and also increased the font size to a nice level of legibility. And, again, with only one thing to focus on - the article - I did not find myself constantly eyeballing other things on the screen. Even just having the side banners go away was helpful.
Another drawback to reading things on my monitor is the way I sit at my desk and the angle of my head and neck. Holding the ipad in my lap (while lying comfortably in my bed, yet)
felt like reading as it was meant to be.
Second, the color capabilities.
This is it. This is what all creators of color content have been waiting for.
The second I went to John's home page, I was knocked out by the vibrancy of it. The sheer clarity of the images. Then I went to my website. Same thing.
So then I really put it to the test and went trolling for comics. First I tried reading Edison on Comics Kingdom. Then Pooch Cafe on Gocomics. Both looked reasonable good and the large screen meant no more scrolling as on an iphone.
But then I signed up for the Bizarro App and the Marvel Comics App.
I cannot even begin to describe for you the difference. This is our conversion from cassette tapes to MP3 files. This is our conversion from analog TV to HD.
The lines are crisp and the colors are beyond vibrant.
And this is why people are going to pay for comics again. Because, while I could read comics like Edison and Pooch for free on a variety of sites, every image there had to meet the low res and file size limitations required to fit the comic onto a large complicated page filled with bandwidth gobbling content.
Removed from those constraints, the Bizarro and Marvel comics shine in all their RGB color glory.
And THAT I will gladly pay for.