By now, I assume you’ve seen pictures, or videos, of Apple’s new iPad. And I have some thoughts about it, but first I want to mention another technology that got buried by Apple’s hype: An electronic newspaper.
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So, the iPad. For what it is, I think it’s great: if you want to consume any sort of media — movies or TV shows (like Heroes), books, the New York Times, and maybe music — it provides a big screen and a long battery life, for a light weight and relatively low price. For me, a laptop is too heavy and the screen of an iTouch or iPhone is too small for things I want to look at.
This is absolutely not a machine for producing with: it’s a portable high-definition video screen. And you can check your email and Google Maps on it.
I’m pretty happy with it being what it is.
But! I’m more interested in e-paper: the black-and-white display technology in the Kindle and Sony Reader and a bunch of other e-readers, which has advantages of power economy (because it only requires power to change the display) and better ergonomics (since it isn’t shining light at you the way most computer screens do).
LG Display demonstrated a really darn big (19-inch, or in other words, newspaper-sized) e-paper display that is both very thin and flexible. Unlike most of the e-readers we’ve seen, it uses a metal foil substrate rather than glass, and the electronics are handled fairly gracefully.
I think it’s really darn neat! Okay, and I remember episodes of Babylon 5, where people were reading the Daily Universe (?Was that the name?) e-newspapers, which just makes it that much cooler.