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04/13/2010

Tuesdays with Friends Introduces Howard Sherman

This week's Tuesdays with Friends guest is Howard Sherman. Howard runs a business, an IT consulting company and manages to write and donate a blog post to KdBlog. I feel like a total underachiever, but his post is about something I'm really interested in. I love my Kindle, but I wish it had a touch screen and I'm a total Apple geek. I own an iMac, macbook, macbook air, and waaaay to many iPods. I need an iPad. No really, I need one. Okay, Okay, I really, really want one. Let's check out what Howard thinks about the new iPad. Maybe it will change my mind, but I doubt it. 


Is the iPad Any Good? I guess.

Will the eBook market bear a $499 "Super iPod"?

 

by Howard A. Sherman, Interactive Fiction author and eBook maven from Malinche Entertainment.  Visit them on the web at http://www.malinche.net

 

The public launch of the iPad is just a few days away and with all the hype and hoopla it's high time we take a hard look under the hood of Apple's next market-morphing product.  As a writer and publisher of interactive fiction I'm one part author . one part technologist and one part entrepreneur.   The writer in me is thrilled with Apple's adoption of ePub making it a snap for publishers who have an existing ePub catalog to publish their entire catalog to the iPad.  Ditto for authors who want to side-step the middle man and take their published works directly to the public.  The geek in me is stopped cold in his tracks by the "not newness" of the iPad.  If we turn down the volume on the hyperbole (e.g. "It's hard to believe we could fit so many great ideas into something so thin" - taken directly from the iPad section of Apple's website)  and look at the iPad offering objectively it's really nothing more than a "Super iPod".  Seriously.

The iPad doesn't bring any new technology to the table that you won't find in an iPhone or an iPod Touch.  And with pricing coming in at $499 for the entry-level model with just 8GB of storage and WiFi access going up to a heady $829 PLUS monthly (optional) data plan fee for the 64GB model with 3G capability, I just don't see the iPad being a game changer. Please don't think I'm slamming the iPad.  I'm not.  It's a sweet-looking piece of technology but I'm not entirely sold.  But I want to be.  That's because I'm an Apple fanboy of the highest order.  How high? I'm proud to say that an iMac sits next to my Windows 7 PC on my desk while under said desk are two laptop bags - one holds a Windows Vista laptop and the other a MacBook Pro.  My iPhone is linked to my Me.Com (formally known as Mac.Com) account syncing my email, contacts. iDisk storage and calendar with my iPhone and I happily pay $99 per year for the privilege.  My company, Malinche Entertainment, is licensed to display the Universal Apple Logo on every interactive fiction title we sell and we were also early entrants in the Apple iPhone developer's program.  I'm all-in when it comes to believing in the Apple.

As a businessman I must admire Apple's strategy; the entry-level iPad at $499 is just $10 more than Amazon's Kindle DX.  Brilliant.  In a side by side comparison the basic iPad model blows the Kindle DX clear out of the water and several miles inland.  However, as iPad storage capacity and wireless capabilities increase so does the the price tag.  Let me play devil's advocate here; if I'm an Apple consumer looking at an $829 Apple iPad why shouldn't I take things just one step further and spend $999 on a full-blown Apple MacBook computer?  Getting back to my Windows roots I'm obligated to point out that a very respectable Acer laptop with Windows 7 and mighty fine system specs (like 500% more storage than the top of the line iPad) can be had for just $499.

And, again, it's not just a super-sized iPod - it's a full-fledged computer capable of doing everything an iPad can do and so much more.  Bring the new breed of netbooks into the picture and the price comparisons get reallyinteresting.

Melding together my three split personalities  as a geek, a writer and an entrepreneur into a cohesive whole, let me say that the iBook application on the iPad is a very impressive piece of software.  It fully leverages the technological capabilities of the iPad delivering a reading experience that's going to be hard to beat.  What's easy to beat about the iPad? The price vs. performance comparison. 

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