Not long ago, I got a letter from a reader named David Hildebrand that nicely summed up the problem. Hildebrand managed to teach his 82-year-old mother how to use a few easy programs, but that wasn’t enough: “While one or another program may be simple enough to use,” he wrote, “it is still very difficult to manage folders, force-quit applications, adjust screen displays, tweak volume, and do all the other fairly arcane things one must learn about an OS in order to get the simpler applications to be simple.” The reader wondered whether that would ever change. “In short, when will the computer become an appliance?”
This is exactly what the iPad plans to be, to the average user. Arguments about the iPad’s screen quality, its wireless connectivity, its lack of published content, is besides the point. People aren’t going to buy the iPad for ebook reading – they’re going to buy it for whatever reason and then they’re going to buy ebooks on it. Computing is what the iPad’s going to be about, and that’s why the Kindle is screwed.