Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change
Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change

Amazon's Fire Already Disrupted My iPad Purchase

Amazon’s Kindle Fire

I was on the verge of buying an iPad.

I had resisted buying a iPad for a long, long time. The reasons for my resistance were spelled out in a post I wrote shortly after the iPad was introduced.

Although I didn't quite think that the iPad would be, in [ writer] John Gruber's words, "nothing short of Apple’s re-conception of personal computing," I did hope that it would make a compelling case that my life would be lived a bit better if I owned one.

But the iPad isn't progress, it won't unburden me of anything. Just because it doesn't have physical buttons doesn't mean it will lead to a simpler, better life.

I think I'll skip this one this time.

But a funny thing happened in the intervening period. The iPad has started to live up to Gruber's hype. It is re-conceptualizing personal computing.

This became clear to me at CNBC's hedge fund conference, Delivering Alpha, back in September. Everyone there, it seemed, had an iPad. They were comfortably tapping away on their iPads while sitting in their seats at the conference. Taking notes, sending emails, surfing the web. All those things I was doing on my laptop — except I had to sit on the floor in the back of the room because laptops aren't really good for using on your actual lap.

The iPad was a laptop that could work on your lap!

I spend a lot of time working in unconventional places. Cafes, bars, restaurants, sidewalks outside of investment banks, conference rooms of law firms, subways, cars, radio studios.

Being able to conveniently work more without the bulk of a laptop, without the need for a desk, would be a great improvement. A great unburdening. My life would be better, simpler.

So I was all set to buy an iPad — until Amazon announced its Kindle Fire.

The Kindle Fire looks like it will let me do everything I need to at a fraction of the price of the iPad.

That price point matters to me more than many people, I suspect, because I know ahead of time I will lose any tablet I buy. I will break every one I don't lose. I'm going to have to buy one of these every few months. At iPad's pricing, that's just not practical for me. The Kindle makes it possible.

So Kindle disrupted my plans to buy an iPad. I bought the Kindle Fire on my iPhone, with the Amazon app.

It's still possible I'll decide I need an iPad, particularly if I figure out that I really need 3G connectivity before Amazon sticks this into a Kindle Fire or someone shows me how I can hack the Fire to get 3G. But I'm giving the Kindle Fire a chance, and not buying an iPad this year.

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