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Potential iPad Roadblocks

Here are some potential roadblocks about the iPad that may influence your decision to use one:

• The iPad is designed more for consumption than computation. It is very efficient at delivering words, images, videos and sounds. Sending emails (or anything else that requires typing) can be a challenge because there is no tactile keyboard (you type on screen). Also, uploading photos or videos is a bit tricky because the iPad lacks a USB port or SD card reader.

• The iPad is too big to be a pocket-sized device, making it less portable than a phone. It is also much heavier than most other dedicated ebook readers. You will not want to hold an iPad for more than a minute or two before resting it on a table or on a pillow on your lap. This is an important consideration if you plan to use the iPad for reading several hours at a time.

• The price of an iPad (it comes in several models depending on the amount of internal memory and type of wireless connectivity) is similar to the price of a netbook or a small laptop. If your primary interest is to use the device as an ebook reader, then you should know that several dedicated ebook readers on the market are now about half the price of an iPad (although, so far, none have a good color screen).

• The iPad screen can be hard to read outdoors in bright sunlight and the glossy surface easily picks up fingerprints.

• Be prepared to pay about a 10% premium to buy ebooks through the online Apple store versus other ebook readers. There is, however, a simple work around. Barnes & Noble and Amazon both sell apps for the iPad that allow readers to use their ebooks as well. Amazon Kindle currently has the largest collection of ebooks, although this might change in the future. And, of course, if you are looking for rare and out-of-date books you will still have to buy a physical copy using the Rare Book Search Engine.

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