Friday Slide: iPad Pre-Order? No Thanks

Got any plans for April 3, 2010? A little light yard work, a date, maybe, or a call to your granny?

Or maybe you’re drawing up plans for a long wait in a long line with other Apple enthusiasts?

The iPad became available for pre-order late last week, and sources have apparently told the Wall Street Journal that pre-order numbers are in the “hundreds of thousands.” Come April 3, you can pick up the Wi-fi only model of the iPad, the 3G + Wi-fi model, or drop $19,999 on a splendid diamond-encrusted version of the gadget (though you’ll have to wait until June for that one).

Did you put in a pre-order for the iPad? Have you even made up your mind about whether or not you intend to own Apple’s big boy? I’m still watching the frenzy from afar and wondering if I’ve missed some press release that outlines what the iPad can do besides, y’know, be a giant iPhone.

Of course, if I didn’t have an iPhone, spending $499 USD would seem a lot more attractive. Throwing out an example in another context, I might actually end up with a Nintendo DSi XL because I don’t have a Nintendo DSi yet. I don’t even have a Nintendo DS Lite. I’m still chugging along with my Phat, and even though I love it, it’s time for it to go to the pasture.

At the very least, I plan to keep an eye on things and see what Apple pulls in terms of software. The iPad is meant to be a “do-it-all” device: It’ll read books, magazines, papers, show off movies, TV shows, and play games. Unfortunately for Apple, networks and publishers are reportedly a bit hesitant to cut licensing deals. Giving Apple permission to sell movies and music via iTunes is a good idea for most media distributors. Giving viewers a reason to tune into their iPads instead of their TVs and thus depriving networks of satellite and cable subscription fees is a bad idea for TV producers.

If I am successfully swayed to Camp iPad, it’ll be because of the iBooks feature. I’ve surprised myself with this revelation, because I don’t have a whole lot of fondness for the e-book industry: I’m a reader, but I’m also a book collector. I like lining my shelves with books and making myself look like one of them real smart folks who know how to put words and numbers together and stuff.

But I also have to face up to facts: Even if e-books don’t eat the print industry, they stand to become something that won’t just go away. And I can certainly deal with the convenience of having several books in one device. If the plot hits a tar pit in whichever paperback novel I’m reading, I don’t want to be book-less at 36,000 feet.

Given games, books, word processing, music, and personal fits of clumsiness that inevitably see my electronics tumble down a sewer grate, I may yet end up with an iPad. I just won’t be in the queue on launch day. But when you foster a few in-line relationships with neighboring enthusiasts, tell them I said hi.

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