As I have explained elsewhere, the iPad has become a major teaching tool for me. But as a reading device . . . not so much. I have not had as much of a problem with the backlit screen as I thought I would: it doesn’t seem to tire my eyes, and it’s nice not to have to worry about surrounding lighting. But here are my chief issues:
1) The reflectivity of the screen means that reading anywhere there is a strong source of light is difficult if not impossible.
2) Especially near the edges of the screen, it can be very difficult to get the device to respond properly when you want to highlight a passage.
3) The recent 4.0 update of iOS means that you can sort-of multitask — more specifically, it’s very easy to reveal your open apps at the bottom of the screen to see if you have Mail, tweets, and the like. For me, that’s quite a temptation. Yes, I can check those things on the Kindle, but only after I (a) turn on the wireless, which I usually keep turned off to save the battery, (b) go to the home page, (c) click on the “Experimental” link in the menu, (d) click “launch web browser,” and (e) choose the site I want to visit from my bookmarks. Very unwieldy, and not worth the trouble. So on the Kindle I tend to keep reading.
4) When I’m reading, the inevitable fingerprint smudges on the iPad screen drive me nuts. And of course, every time I annotate a page I make more smudges.
So I will rarely, if ever, use this iPad for serious reading. Everyone praises the Instapaper
app for iPad, and for good reason — it’e beautifully designed — but I don’t even use that much. Instead, I have my Instapaper items sent to my Kindle.
January 11, 2011