Some Fire, for a small harem?

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Big people are saying that the unimpeded march of the iPad is finally met by able competition. “The march has met its match,” they assure. I’ve been cheering the progress of all things Apple, and only Apple, but this pause in a major Apple affair has warmed me. May the best tablet win, and may the winner match my measure, too.

A few weeks ago I put my 13” Air on the shelf and began to cuddle up with the petite 11”, the custom model. She is said to be slower than my last love, but she doesn’t show it. She should have some less resolution but I can’t see it—the infallible ingredient of the perfect affair, the blindness of true love. Our embrace is yet unbroken, and my ardor exceeds my expectations of my 52-year-old self. In this state of affairs, not merely is my 13” jilted; uncared for and untouched hours sometimes is my iPad 2, who stands pouting in the dark inside my bag. She doesn’t deserve this: There is none yet to beat her allure, and there is not one on whom my magazines show as they do as they unfurl on her: The Economist; Time; NY Times; Esquire; and, most of all, Popular Science. Sometimes I ask her to wear a surprise, like the Lufthansa in-flight magazine, and in the last two issues there burst forth from her the colors of Patagonia and the bubble of Buenos Aires. How she sizzled!

But, alas! I cannot read a book on the beauty, and I cannot write for long on her. The feast of her colors and her blinding radiance mean that we engage in intense spells that are not so long as a book demands, or the time you usually give to tap and re-tap and tap again 500 words that satisfy you. No, a book and a long joust of writing ask for a companion who is gray, sober. For me, writing happens on the 11”, and I read books on the somewhat stout Kindle, who, when not in my hands, leans on the taller iPad in my bag.

I should be happy with my small harem, but my eye hasn’t stopped roving, and it is caught now by the brand new Kindle Fire. Are the big people right? Could she be the one? The one love who is more than my last and all my lost loves? Can I enjoy Outlook India, the short office document, and also War & Peace and Crime & Punishment on her? And, O yes, how good is the surfing experience?

I cannot tell for some time. I have been an ardent Apple fellow, but Apple’s favors come slow to India. And Amazon’s Kindle came to India after two models had been used and discarded in America. The Kindle Fire arrives November, first for America, and Amazon’s site does not say which model of her they will send here, and when. Until then, I will read of her with the promising name, and ask regarding her secrets, and steal looks of her in the hands of others, with some doubt and also with much hope, because even if she will eventually not stand up to the iPad she is certainly almost as photogenic. There have been times in my life, like in the days and nights of my youth, when I have been more than happy with just a picture.