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Why I'm Returning the Coveted iPad

Since my last tweet I've gotten quite a few responses about why I'm returning my iPad tomorrow (unless of course someone wants to buy it from me for 1.50 on the dollar). I've got several reasons but the background should probably be first.


I dig "reading". More to the point, I've got an Audible Platinum subscription and spend a lot of time listening to books during my commute and 5 hour spells working out in the yard on weekends. There's one problem with my use of audio books is that I'm constantly trying to remember the name of the book I got a concept out of. I read something, but where? This made me decide to augment my listening with an eBook reader. That way if I like a book I'm listening to, I can download it and have a searchable, annotatable, version of the book at my disposal for later reference.

Enter the iPad

Apple announced the iPad and I, like everyone else, was intrigued. I really didn't think that the iPad was a game changer or anything, but I thought it would certainly be a more versatile eBook reader than my other options and it only cost about 250 bucks more. I quickly dismissed the idea because I really didn't need that much horsepower and I was losing sight of my primary purpose for purchasing a device: to read on.

But it didn't last. By the time the iPad was released, I was examining my computer habits a little more closely. If you look, it says that around 50% of my time is spent on the web. I thought about the amount of time I spent lounging on the couch with my laptop and decided that the iPad was a good choice after all.

Pull the trigger

So I did it. Purchased the iPad, the ultimate book reading/web surfing device. Took it home and was pretty impressed. It was nice. It worked like my iPad Mini (aka iPhone). I downloaded Kindle for iPad and and iBooks. I also bought a couple of my favorite books. Then I started to actually use it...


Once I started using it on a regular basis I started to find some subtle things that I just didn't like.

Portrait Mode Keyboard. The size of the keyboard in portrait mode is a bit too big for me. I wasn't really comfortable typing on it (using my thumbs). If I tried to set it down on my lap and touch type, it's too small. I like the landscape mode keyboard quite a bit and I'm very happy with my ability to touch type on it.

I realized that I spend quite a bit of my web time doing things like responding to e-mail/twitter and jumping from site to site (yeah, I've heard of RSS, back off) looking at different things. All of these activities required the use of the keyboard which, as I stated above is much easier to use in landscape. Unfortunately, even in landscape mode I had issues.

Lapdancing. Whenever I needed to respond to an e-mail or switch to another URL, I would switch to landscape mode and set the device on my lap. Because of the back of the device being sleek, it would often slide around on my lap unless I was sitting just right. After adjusting to get into typing mode, the weight of the device got in my way. Pressing 'Shift+A' while typing a capital a would cause the whole thing to lean to the left and cause my right hand to make contact with the keyboard, giving me some interesting new words.

Mobile Safari. I don't like it one bit, not even at all. I use websites like Twitter and GMail, and when you click on a link it opens in a new window. My workflow is to open a number of tabs while going through Twitter and then go read them all after I'm done viewing the latest tweets. In Mobile Safari I get a new window on each link and have a two step process to get back to my original page.

Speaking of two step processes, have you ever tried to close a window in Mobile Safari?

Glossy Screen. The screen on the iPad is sweet, maybe just a little too sweet. When sitting outside in my yard and trying to read, there was a lot of glare. The eInk based readers don't suffer from that issue.


So there you have it, all the stuff I don't really like about the iPad. Remember what I was looking for in the first place? An eBook reader. A plain old, boring, non-game changing, device. Bye Bye iPad, the Kindle's on its way.