Kindle Versus iPad Musings

Amazon has slowly rapidly been changing the way people read. I won’t even attempt an opinion about the long term effects on book stores and publishing. I could not say if it will eventually be a good thing or not. It is what it is. As a friend if fond of saying, you can’t put the poop back in the bull.

That said, I am interested in some of the changes that are happening now. I have been a fan of the Kindle for several years and use an IPad for work. I also use the iPad to read books from Amazon that are more than just text. The non-back lit Kindle is my preference for night reading but for things like cookbooks, tutorials, basically any book that has a lot of pictures, I utilize the kindle app on the iPad or iBooks.

I will be watching the roll out of the Kindle tablet for just that reason. The iPad has been the most useful piece of technology I have had in my hands since the MacBook. It is lightweight and wireless so I can carry it everywhere and take care of many tasks on the spot which saves steps up and down stairs. With Wunderlist, I can quickly add or check off a task, it syncs with the website and even sends me a cheerful email if I let a priority task wait too long “Ahoy Matey! You have some tasks to complete!” I can go to the website and print a list of completed tasks so I have documentation of what I have done and when. I get a very satisfying feeling from checking things as done.

I have both Pages and Keynote (not free but still reasonable at ten bucks each) but so far, I utilize the little free Notes app for that comes pre-installed more than any other. Just click a plus sign, get a new page with the date, type and click out of it. It’s like a huge legal pad that I can search, send, or share. Simple and handy as sliced bread.

I read articles on the Zite app. Zite is an application that comes with a few preloaded categories but you can add your own. It then searches for news and blogs that fit the categories. But wait! There’s more! It has a like/dislike button much like the Facebook icon that helps it “learn” your preferences. You can choose to see more articles like the one you are presently reading and/or more articles from that particular source. Zite gives you the ability to share, email, or add the article to several apps (my preference is instapaper). It is pretty – think google reader in glassy magazine format.

Dropbox is one of my favorite web apps but with the iPad it really shines. I can upload a PDF from any computer, open the dropbox app on my iPad, click the file, then one more click to open in iBooks. Now I have it in a nice readable form even when I am without wireless. Things like the master schedule, instructions for tasks that I do not use frequently enough to memorize, the entire gradebook manual…all are in my iBooks now. Macs have had the ability to save anything as a pdf as long as I have used them and now with Office 2010 having the option to save as pdf, I can put any document that I think I might need to refer back to in iBooks. Bam.

The highly addicting Words With Friends game is pleasant on the bigger screen and I am also hooked on scramble which has a social aspect to it but so far I play it solo – just a screen full of letters. You find words from letters that are next to each other until the time runs out. You are scored according to how many words you find and get extra points for using certain letters.

There are tons of pretty apps that are useful and free or very reasonable. Interactive books and all of the educational apps are going to be a big force in education. I tried using a vga connector to connect my iPad with the data projector and it was incredibly easy. I have read a few articles that say you are not able to project everything but the few things I tried worked very well sharing your screen is an option and at twenty-nine dollars for a vga connector, a reasonable solution for a classroom that has a limited number of iPads.

Running through the list, the apps I use on a daily basis are all free. I read, I write, play a few games, utilize the internet. If the amazon Kindle table will do those things it will be a viable option for me and at half the price of an iPad.

Amazon is doing a couple of things that could make it even more attractive. They have opened up the ability for public libraries to lend ebooks via Kindle. Huge!

There is also buzz about a “netflix” like subscription service where, for a fee, readers will be able to download books.

If the Amazon Kindle tablet is able to do the same things that I regularly do on my iPad, hook to a projector (or my tv) via vga connector, then it will have my vote – especially at half the price of the iPad.