I'll admit it, the iPad is impressive. This is both its strength and its weakness.
The machine was designed to impress. I don't know a single person who has seen a demonstration of the iPad who has not said, "Wow!" But it doesn’t last, and once the novelty wears off the iPad is little more than a precocious two-year-old tugging at your pant leg, jumping up and down shouting, "Look at me! Look at me! Look what I can do!"
But then, this is exactly what the iPad was designed to do.
Compare this to the e-book. Like it's paper counterpart, the e-book is at its best when it becomes invisible, when you’re not aware you’re reading words on a screen and turning pages, when you’re not even aware you’re holding a device in your hands.
This is what an e-book is designed to do.
While the iPad is busy calling attention to itself, the e-book subtly interfaces with another device of truly remarkable computing power — the human brain.
This is where the iPad is quickly outclassed. It's paltry A4 processor operating at 1GHz (1,000 MHz) cannot begin to compare to the human brain that is estimated to operate at the equivalent of a 168,000 MHz computer chip, processing 100 million instructions per second.
Plug that baby into an internalized, multidimensional surround-screen with — not just sight and sound, but — five sensory inputs and an emotional generator, run a bit of author code (words) and like magic you’re instantly transported to a different world. It’s an experience like no other. You’re not just watching something on a screen, you’re actually living it.
Talk about WOW! This is the reading experience.
True, while you’re in those other worlds you can't check your e-mail. Chalk one up for iPad.