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About my iPad

April 23, 2013

(It’s been a while since we run a Short Story Tuesday entry. If you want appear on this blog and be the envy of all your friends, drop me a line with your short story. It must be your property and must not be an entry for the FWA Collection.)

My place of employment gives anniversary gifts for long periods of continued employment–and this year, I got an iPad mini for a decade of service. (I started work there at 16 years old.)

The iPad mini is approximately the size of a Nook tablet or a Kindle fire, but so far it blows my Nook away. Then again, my Nook is two years old. The iPad mini is thinner than the Nook and it has a ton more apps available. In my estimation, Barnes and Noble would have been better off working with a straight Android operating system, rather than an bastardized variant. Given B&N’s recent notice that they would de-emphasize the Nook, I wouldn’t expect a lot of new apps for it. Why develop for a dying platform? If B&N went with a standard Android OS, they’d get to use the apps already being developed.

I’ve got all the usual distractions–Netflix, Facebook, and MLB at Bat. It amazes me to watch a baseball game on a tablet computer when the first games I watched were on TVs that had to warm up, that featured vertical hold issues, that wonderful color-jumping sensation that happened if the Tint wasn’t adjusted correctly.

But, that’s not what this blog’s about. It’s about writing and the publishing industry.

One advantage of the iPad is the ability to read books from both the Nook and Kindle apps. Many books aren’t released in Nook format and I’ve passed up books because of that. No more. When I can, I’ll buy the Nook format. If I can’t, I’ll go with Kindle.

For writing, I really like the iPad, with one significant reservation–I hate the touchscreen keyboard. I hate it with the intensity of a million white-hot suns about to supernova. Fortunately, with iPads, you can dig deep and buy accessories, like a keyboard. The one I got cost $79. It’s a bluetooth model that has nice play and a magnetic connector that makes it a book cover and a stand. The only drawback is that it doesn’t close securely. For $10 more, I could have gotten something that does. We’ll see if that makes a difference.

Another nice difference is Pages, Apple’s Word-compatible word processor. I’ve previously used Quick Office and the entire suite was available for $7.99 at the time. If you want it now, it’s $14.99 for smart phones and $19.99 for tablets. You can get the Apple office bundle (Pages, Numbers [Excel], and Keynote [PowerPoint]) for $29.99 for your tablet. I have Pages, which you can buy for $9.99. You can buy the applications separately for the iPad for a total for $29.97, and there are a number of option packs at various prices.

I like Pages a lot more than QuickOffice. It seems to be a better conversion to Word, though saving to DropBox is a little clunky. (It’s easier to save to Apple’s iCloud–go figure.)

With the keyboard–which I’m still getting used to, the experience isn’t as quick as on my laptop keyboard, but the speed will come with time. The keyboard was definitely worth the expense for me. I could have saved a decent amount of money on the purchase by shopping around, but I had gift cards from BestBuy, s0 I got it there.

As for the iPad mini, at $299, it cost more than a Nook or a Kindle Fire. Considering I paid nothing for it, it’s worth the money to me. I’m not sure I’d have paid $299. But maybe that’s too bad. It’s a solid product. If you have the cash–plus some more for apps and a keyboard, it’s a good addition.

And for me, I think the smaller tablet is better. There’s less screen room, but so far I don’t mind that. It’s portable enough to take anywhere. On that point, your mileage may vary.

  1. April 23, 2013 7:59 am

    Congratulations on your iPad. You might want to take a look at the CloudOn app CloudOn allows you to access Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint on the iPad (or smartphone) to create, review and edit files, and it’s managed through your Dropbox, Google Drive, or SkyDrive accounts. It’s basically magic. And it’s free.

  2. Peggy Lambert permalink
    April 23, 2013 7:57 pm

    All you techies totally amaze me. Chris talks about finding time to write–which can be difficult in real life. But, honestly, how does one find time to learn all this?

  3. April 24, 2013 6:11 am

    I’m still confused, but impressed…just saying

  4. Chris Hamilton permalink
    April 24, 2013 6:41 pm

    I think some of it has to do with building a baseline so each new technology isn’t a totally new thing. And the iPad is pretty easy to use. But the right technology is the right technology for you. If what you have works, then don’t mess with it.


  5. Chris Hamilton permalink
    April 24, 2013 6:41 pm

    Mary Ann, I will check that out. I hear rumor there’s a tools session at this fall’s conference.


  6. Chris Hamilton permalink
    April 24, 2013 6:42 pm

    Claudia, what’s confusing to you?


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