When I first saw Ariana Eunjung Cha’s article title in The Washington Post, (“The mouse faces extinction as computer interaction evolves“), my first reaction was that the computer mouse will be around for a long time to come. But after reading the article my opinion is now attenuated. Before reading the piece, I felt the mouse was still unchallenged as the ideal computer interface because of its precision, and I still feel that way. If you are working in a program that requires pinpoint accuracy, the mouse is still the best computer interface on the cheap. Trackballs and trackpads work well, but the mouse, and it’s more expensive cousin, the digitizer (used with engineering applications), offer a precision that cannot be found in other computer interfaces, especially touch screen interfaces. But does precision matter?
This article is written from the perspective of someone looking for a portable device to read long form books. I own both a Kindle 2 and a 16GB iPad Wifi-only. I purchased the Kindle in April 2009 and the iPad in April 2010. In the 4 months that I’ve owned the iPad I can say with confidence that I have no intention of giving up the Kindle. I believe any articles that are written with the idea of the iPad being a Kindle killer are written from the perspective of somebody that either (a) has never seen the Kindle e-Ink screen or (b) does not read books, at least not regularly. If you read long form books and like the idea of carrying around a small, light-weight device the Kindle is really hard to beat. The fact that it doesn’t do all what the iPad can do is not a negative, but rather a big plus. If you read long form books, you are not concerned with web browsing, email or anything else while you are reading the book. In fact, the most important thing you probably would be concerned with regarding the technology itself would be the clarity of the text and the ability to read outside in daylight. If you’ve never seen an e-Ink display then it’s very hard to understand HOW much better it is for long reading sessions compared to a backlit LCD display, like on the iPad or your computer monitor. Reading on the Kindle is very natural and feels very much like reading from a book with regard to the appearance of the text on the screen compared to printed text on paper. This is something no backlit LCD display could ever duplicate. This single point alone is justification for owning a Kindle if you want a device that allows you to carry all your books with you in a small, light-weight package.