My iPad2 died in the Baton Rouge airport, at the very start of our trip to France last month. When I got to Paris, I went to the Apple store, and spent an hour at the Genius Bar there having it diagnosed. The answer: an electrical short within. Not repairable. Only thing to do is to buy a new one. The genius clerk advised me to wait till I returned to the US, because iPads are much cheaper there. He said that I am entitled to buy a new one at a discount, under these circumstances — and that he had put all the information about the diagnosis into Apple’s system, so I shouldn’t have a problem when I got back to the US.

I told my dad last night that I was going to have to go to the Apple store to buy a new iPad on Monday, after I dropped Matthew off at his tutorial.

“Why do you need a new iPad?” he asked. “You have a laptop, don’t you?”

“Yeah, but I read a lot on the thing, especially when I’m on the exercise machine. I can make the print size big enough to read.”

“Oh.”

Well, as it happened, Julie took Matthew to school this morning, and went by the Apple store when it opened to make the purchase. They insisted on her making a Genius Bar appointment. The first appointment was for this afternoon, long after she would have left town. She called and asked me what to do.

“Wait, we don’t need to see a Genius,” I said. “The problem has been diagnosed. It’s in Apple’s system. All they need to do is to check, then sell you the new iPad. It’ll take a couple of minutes, max.”

“I told them that, but they won’t bend,” she said. “They’re making me make an appointment. Do you want me to hang around town and take the first available afternoon appointment?”

This pissed me off. I told her no, to come home after she finished her other business. I’ll go by on Wednesday, the next time I have to drive to Baton Rouge, and take care of it.

But now I’m feeling ill-disposed towards Apple, and wondering about my dad’s question. Should I replace the iPad at all? I used to use it to read newspapers, but now I spend most of every work day on my laptop, and read the papers that way. Pretty much the only thing I use the iPad for now is reading e-books, especially when I’m exercising. I’ve always preferred iPad to the Kindle, because I like the backlighting; it makes it easier for me to read.

I’m wondering, though, if the changes in Kindle since the last time I saw one makes them easier on the eyes. I’m thinking the Kindle Paperwhite, which features a higher contrast on the page, might go a long way toward solving the problems that put me off earlier generations of Kindle. I think its smaller size is an advantage over iPad, and so is its much-longer battery life. Plus, it can be read in sunlight, unlike the iPad.

One downside: according to Amazon.com, if I order a Kindle Paperwhite today, it won’t ship till December 17. I’m not willing to wait five weeks.

If I remember what the Parisian Apple store clerk said, the discount price of the replacement iPad 2 would be not far over $200, though I couldn’t swear to that. That’s comparable with a Kindle Paperwhite, which, with power adapter, comes in at around $200. Not sure what I should do. Advice?

 

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