UPDATE: Odds are good that the iPad will NOT replace my B&N nook

UPDATE: Odds are good that the iPad will NOT replace my B&N nook

Summary: I have mentioned several times here on this blog how much I like using my B&N nook, including how nothing I saw at CES could knock it out of my hands. However, I have been thinking quite a bit about this upcoming Apple Tablet device to be announced in a few hours and honestly think it could take the place of the nook as an ebook reader. The revelation last night from McGraw-Hill's CEO that the Tablet runs the iPhone OS actually has me more excited about the device than if it ran the OS X, from an ebook reader perspective.

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Special Report: Apple Tablet

I have mentioned several times here on this blog how much I like using my B&N nook, including how nothing I saw at CES could knock it out of my hands. However, I have been thinking quite a bit about this upcoming Apple Tablet device to be announced in a few hours and honestly think it could take the place of the nook as an ebook reader. The revelation last night from McGraw-Hill's CEO that the Tablet runs the iPhone OS actually has me more excited about the device than if it ran the OS X, from an ebook reader perspective.

The iPhone lets me read books from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Fictionwise, and just about every other content source on a single device. I also found that the iPhone offers the best applications for reading and studying the Bible, compared to any other smartphone platform (you can see my reviews of Mantis, OliveTree Bible Reader, and Laridian PocketBible). While all of this excellent content is accessible on the iPhone, the display is quite small and does not offer the best ebook experience while the nook with its larger eInk display is perfect. The upcoming Apple Tablet device will have a larger display than the iPhone and since it runs the iPhone OS it will support all of these applications and content.

I already have a MacBook Pro and do not need another OS X device without a keyboard. Applications are more plentiful and varied on the iPhone OS and the ability to run all these applications mentioned above helps me justify the cost a bit more by offsetting it with elimination of the nook from my collection. I will have to wait and see what is actually revealed today, but the chances are higher that I will be buying one if it runs the iPhone OS rather than OS X.

Granted the new Apple Tablet won't have an eInk display that models the paper experience, but the larger display and ability to have it backlit for use as a reader in bed or on the bus in low lighting may outweigh the eInk clarity. Honestly, I only read for an hour or two at a time and never had issues reading text on my PDAs and smartphones.

UPDATE: OK, I guess I was sucked into the Apple RDF a bit with all the hype. The iPad (what a dumb name) is double the weight of the nook (1.5 pounds versus 12 ounces) and is really just a big iPod touch. I was hoping for something shocking and revolutionary, but am just not seeing it. I am sure it is better in your hands than what we are seeing in photos and it will be an awesome device, but it won't replace my nook. I also find a compelling part of the iPhone and iPod touch to be their pocketable form factor and am not yet seeing the market for a device of this size without a keyboard like a netbook.

Topics: Tablets, Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Laptops, Mobility, Operating Systems, Smartphones, Software

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14 comments
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  • Depends on battery life

    E-ink is another factor, but battery life IMO would be the determining factor over which I would use. If you can get a day out of the Tablet, then it's a winner. If not, then it's not so much of a slam dunk.

    Also, this may not matter to some, but if you are limited to Apple's App Store then there is no way I would buy one, unless it could be jailbroken and have Android or something else installed on it. I do not like my choices limited.
    Michael Kelly
    • I definitely agree!

      If they took the guts of an iPhone and stuck it in a bigger enclosure (for a larger screen) and filled the rest of the enclosure with battery, I'm optimistic that we might see two or three days of battery life. If it turns out to have less than one day of battery life, it's dead.

      As far as the App store, out-of-the-box the iPhone is limited to grabbing applications through the App store unless you jailbreak the phone. If this really is based on the guts of an iPhone, it will be jailbroken, too.

      On the other hand, for reading books, the App store lets you buy apps which allow you to read other formats of books. Unless this changes, the App store is still a plus to me.
      BillDem
  • hmm...

    you haven't seen it but you think it's better than the nook...Job$ is very proud of you
    Linux Geek
    • For once I actually agree...

      ...clearly Jobs has everyone drinking the kool-aid by the bucket-load to be so excited about a giant iPod.
      GoodThings2Life
  • Wait Till After the Announcement to Post

    I know that you (like every other person on this planet)
    want to jump on the hype bandwagon. You want to be
    part of the history. You want to have evidence that you
    just knew (unlike all the skeptics) that the tablet would
    change the course of history. It's part of what makes you
    human.

    But please don't post stories like this before an
    announcement is made. It makes you look like a moron
    and a tool. How you do know that the tablet will be a
    more worthwhile reading device than your Nook? From
    completely unsubstantiated rumors and hype? Because it
    has the same form factor? Please.

    From my vantage, this device will fail as a reader for one
    reason: it has an LCD screen. I already spend between six
    and eight hours a day at a computer monitor. I do not
    want to come home and relax in front of one. My eyes
    simply can't take that.

    Before selling your credibility and journalistic integrity for
    page views, at least see what Apple has to offer. Once you
    actually have some evidence, then post an edited version
    of this article.

    Misplaced faith is no alternative to reasoned analysis. I
    read your blog because you (usually) provide smart and
    insightful analysis. This article was neither. If I want
    corporate PR, I'll read "The Unofficial Apple Weblog."
    Rob Oakes
    • This is funny !

      You criticized the author for writing about the device even before it is released and then you went on to say - "From my vantage, this device will fail as a reader for one reason: it has an LCD screen". How do you know for sure this has an LCD screen ? What if it doesn't ? You are no different from the author. At least the author did not criticize anyone before making his statement.
      mKind
    • Okay to post early

      I believe the author's headline reads, "Odds are..."

      There have been plenyy of rumors and even some leaks before the tablet is officially announced. Based on that information, I think it's fair to say that the Apple tablet may have a chance at becoming the author's new e-reader based on these predictions.

      I'm sure other e-reader owners are feeling that same way as Mr. Miller. Now, after receiving all the details from Steve Jobs' announcement, then Miller can write a follow up on why he will or will not change.
      semirg
  • Nook fanboy goes apple

    I have to say that your comments are very surprising given what a nook fanboy you've been. There are several holes in your argument: 1) Price at least 5x that of an e-reader. 2) Size at least 4x larger than an e-reader. Don't underestimate this. Moving from a paperback book sized device to a tablet is substantial. 3) Battery life. Yes, the nook hasn't lived up to it's purported battery life of 14 days, but it is doubtful that the tablet will be any better. In fact it is likely to be much worse.
    ajrmd
  • RE: Apple Tablet: Odds are good that it will replace my B&N nook

    I agree...never did I so highly anticipate a product, to be so sorely disappointed. Hopefully B&N has Nooks in stock.

    Bad enough I got a miniature (and basically unusable) PC in my Netbook, I don't need an oversized iPod Touch.
    paular8706@...
  • RE: Apple Tablet: Odds are good that it will replace my B&N nook

    Ha, ha jumped the gun on that one, not really an oversized
    iPod since you can get it with 3G, more like an oversized
    iPhone for those that want to do real computing. Can't wait
    to see the new apps for the iPad. As for the name, keeps it
    in line with the iP segment, good choice.
    marc415
  • Isn't the nook based on Android?

    So all B&N really would have to do to match the iPad is
    open Android back up. It would certainly be no worse than
    the iPad.
    storm14k
  • RE: Apple Tablet: Odds are good that it will replace my B&N nook

    You're overly hyped talk was pretty dumb. Whether it was your experience with the PRS-600 then buying a 505 or buying a nook and now thinking the iPad is going to replace it even though it's just an LCD screen like a typical computer monitor. I wish you would do more research when publishing your articles then just say what comes to mind and regret after. The iPad will fail, people who buy it will regret it, especially NO FLASH when websurfing???? Use your podium to write about serious issues with technology, not just girly hype.
    butterpat2000
  • Not a good offering! Misses the mark!

    When you consider that the iPad is far too big for eBook Reading while traveling... I do not see it as much of an eBook Reader. What it is up against is the MID (Mobile Internet Device). Astak is just one company working on an MID (code named "Spectrum"). The Spectrum is a 7 inch device, far lighter and more portable than the iPad. It is ideal for eBook Reading and does everything the iPad does. Unlike the iPad, it will have webcam, camera, SD card slot. This device will MSRP for around $299. It is Touchscreen and will have Wi-Fi/3G and a full web browser and play games and much more.

    So, the iPad seems to be a decent enough device that is imperfect for most of what it tries to do. Apple could have had a winner with something lighter and smaller... but was aiming for Newspaper reading. I just do not see a big market for such a device.
    RobertbEZ
  • RE: UPDATE: Odds are good that the iPad will NOT replace my B&N nook

    My Nook fills a niche and won't be replaced by an iPad. I've had my Nook for a month and my Droid for two months and although I love my Droid for all it does so well I much prefer reading off the Nook versus my Droid. The Nook is just the right size for reading novels - today I was surprised to find I could put my Nook into my front pants pocket! I might get a bigger ereader such as the Que or Skiff for reading newspapers and magazines and pass on the iPad.
    NedNedson