Why I didn’t pre-order the iPad

Unlike a lot of you who might have bounded out of bed this morning to pre-order the iPad, I slept comfortably until 8am and then began my workday without so much as a thought about Apple’s latest toy. Why? Well, I have a laptop computer. And I have a Kindle. And I have an iPod.

And I like the fact they are all in different pieces.

See, when it comes to mobile computing, I like having a computer with a lot of memory, a lot of power, a real keyboard, and the ability to do anything a home PC can. I carry a giant laptop with me on my world travels. It’s now in its fourth (!) year of service and still getting the job done. I wouldn’t want anything less powerful.

My iPod (a 160gb Classic) is my baby. It’s been everywhere with me. It literally has more storage space than my laptop. It’s tough. I can watch movies on it if I want. My entire music collection fits in my pocket.

And then there is the Kindle, the beautiful, beautiful Kindle. Who knew one device would change my life so much? I am a devotee of the Kindle. I love it as much as I love ECCO shoes, Degree Clinical for Men, and soft cotton t-shirts.

Some people don’t get it. E-book? Why? Here’s my list:

  • The Kindle is small–It’s more lightweight than most books and slips easily into my backpack. Even in the cover I bought for it, it’s still the same size as a trade style paperback. I’ve owned the Kindle for a couple of months and have read more than 2,000 printed pages on it. That would’ve been a lot of weight to carry around. When I go on a trip, I like to take at least two books. Now, I take the Kindle.
  • The Kindle gives it to me NOW–I’m the type of guy who finishes a book and picks another one up within 60 seconds. While I love wandering through bookstores, I hate having to wait to read simply because I can’t drive to the store that second. Now, I pick a book and I can download it in 30 seconds over a 3G connection.
  • The Kindle is smart–If I come across a word I don’t recognize, I can look it up on the Kindle with the click of a button. If I love a passage and want to save it for later, I can digitally clip it for later review.
  • The Kindle is quiet–This many not seem like a big deal to people who sleep alone, but I’m the type of guy who likes to read in bed. It’s not uncommon to find me awake reading at times when most people are already in REM sleep. Turning the pages of a big book can actually wake up some people (read: my light-sleeping wife). The Kindle barely makes a noise when you turn the page. But, wait, you say. What the Kindle has no backlight, so what about your wife now? True, the Kindle’s biggest problem is that, unlike a computer, iPad, iPhone, etc, it doesn’t have a built-in light. That’s why I bought the Mighty Bright XtraFlex2 Clip-On Light (yes, that’s a brief commercial). But, my wife continues to call it the best $20 I’ve spent. The little LED light works very well, and even if you don’t have a Kindle, it’s worth trying out. And while I’m on the subject of reading in bed, it’s pretty nice to be able to prop the Kindle on a pillow and only touch it when I have to turn the page.
  • Indeed, I love the Kindle so much, when my wife finished reading her hard copy of Game Change, I nearly bought it for Kindle just so I didn’t have to hold the big book in my hands while I read (I ended up making the reasonable decision, but I’m not all that happy about it).

    Sure, there are some things about the Kindle that I don’t like. I am annoyed I can’t share books with my friends. It’s frustrating when a book on Amazon is not Kindle-ready. Finally, there are a few occasions in which the Kindle is a little wonky (footnotes make for some fiddly navigation–but I guess that’s the case with real books too, sometimes).

    No matter, though, because I love my Kindle, I love my iPod, and I respect my dinosaur laptop for its ability to survive what I do to it. I like that when I want to listen to music, I don’t have to lug out an iPad. I like that when I want to use a computer, I have a full keyboard and powerful machine. I like that when I want to read, I have something that serves the purpose in a technologically advanced way without forcing me to buy an $800 mini-computer with less than half the memory of my iPod and an additional 3G data plan cost.

    It’s rare for me to see a new piece of technology and not covet it. Today I feel pretty good about not caring about the iPad pre-orders, because I have everything I need (except for a 17″ MacBook Pro…).