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iPad Versus the Kindle – Too many technologies or a killer in the mist?

Posted on | May 4, 2010 | 4 Comments

I’ve heard so many arguments online lately about how the iPad is going to kill off the likes of Amazons Kindle and I’m still hearing the same influential people (e.g. Techcrunch writer MG Siegler) banging on about how great this new iPad is and how they never use their Kindle’s any more.  It seems that sometimes people like technology for technologies sake and forget the real arguments behind why some of these devices have been created.

Even though I own a good number of Apple products I don’t class myself as a fanboy and being a bit of a technology geek myself I wanted to write an article and put some views across from a different angle about the iPad and the Kindle..

The question that everyone has been trying to answer here is – Will the iPad kill off the Kindle?

  • The Kindle uses E-Ink technology making it look more natural like a real piece of paper whereas the iPad uses an LCD screen (laptops etc).  Although you can use the iPad in the dark (whereas the Kindle does not show up), you can’t read the iPad in direct sunlight like you can with the Kindle.  This is a BIG piece to note as a lot of people read on holidays, outside in their gardens etc and NOT just inside their house with lights turned off.
  • Most people who buy the Kindle just want to READ…  They want to move away from the distraction of their ever flashing blackberry light, or the email alerts from their GMAIL account about some kind soul from Amsterdam who wants to give you a few Million pounds from winning the Dutch Lottery.  If I want to read blogs or quick newspaper articles then I currently do that on my laptop or iPad but I scan through those articles and don’t give myself over to the reading as I do when reading novels on my Kindle.
  • Having been privileged enough to grow up with mobile phones from the old analogue days (shudder) my main concern with new technologies is now battery life.  Whilst the iPad’s battery life is very good at around 10 hours, the Kindles battery life is way ahead (due to the e-ink display and it’s minimal use of battery except when turning pages) up around the 30+ hours mark. For people who don’t want to take chargers with them on holidays etc the Kindle is on another big plus here.
  • The iPad does so much more than the Kindle though so it makes more sense to spend that $300 more??  Hold on here..  Doesn’t a real laptop give you more functionality whilst not acting like AOL of the old days in a walled garden?  Aren’t notebooks, or things like the Mac Book Air, light enough to carry around and housing a hell of a lot more power and functionality?? Don’t we all love real keyboards more than virtual ones and haven’t we all already gone out and bought ourselves something that does what the iPad does?  Don’t get me wrong here, I’m just saying that that Ipad is for more than just reading, and does not do “just reading” better than the Kindle but also does not do other computing stuff better than other options..
  • Readers, because that’s what we are talking about here, people who will stop buying the Kindle because they can read and do so much more on the iPad, have reported that they get eyestrain from reading on the iPad for too long..  I know I get tired eyes from working in front of a laptop and LCD screen all day..  The Kindle, with E-Ink technology is much easier on the eye and is totally fit for its purpose of, yup you’ve guessed it, reading..
  • Volume and Price – To date, Amazons Kindle store has over 450,000 titles (the iBookstore has 60,000) and many classic and new books either free or from $2.99.  I’ve not come across any discounted books through Apples offering and knowing what Apple have done to keep the price of their iPhones up (almost cementing in 2 year mobile phone contracts in the process) so I don’t think they’ll be able to compete with the likes of Amazon for price and volume.  The iPad does however accept more e-book formats opening it up to a much larger library of books but if Amazon were to start renting books and cutting prices, I think they have the power to stop the competition.
  • Kindle is a platform that can go across multiple devices.  Yes, unlike Apple and their walled garden, the Kindle offers multiple platform access across the Iphone, Blackberry, PC’s, Macs and also the iPad.  Books bought can be read across these platforms so you don’t have to be tied down to the Kindle if you really don’t want to.
  • The iPad weighs just under twice what the Kindle weighs making the Kindle is a hell of a lot more comfortable to read from for a long period of time than the iPad.

In terms of functionality and technology for technologies sake, the choice between both the iPad and the Kindle is ultimately down to you and what overall functionality you need.

  1. If you simply want to read books, take your whole library with you and settle into a novel wherever you go then the Kindle is yours..
  2. If you want to flick in and out of apps and read blogs/newspapers then the iPad is good for you..
  3. For anything more powerful then it’s a laptop/notebook for you..

Just so you know though..  Personally I’d go for both.  I wouldn’t feel comfortable reading with my iPad next to the pool on holiday (battery life, chargers, sunlight etc) but do with my Kindle with its leather looking book cover.  I like the iPad for watching movies on the plane when I find it hard to concentrate on reading anything at all.  It’s a simple choice sometimes.

What do you think?


4 Responses to “iPad Versus the Kindle – Too many technologies or a killer in the mist?”

  1. Tweets that mention iPad Versus the Kindle – Too many technologies? | The world according to pglewis --
    May 5th, 2010 @ 1:03 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Paul Lewis. Paul Lewis said: Blog post – IPAD VERSUS THE KINDLE – TOO MANY TECHNOLOGIES OR A KILLER IN THE MIST? – #ipad #kindle #apple #amazon […]

  2. Kem
    October 28th, 2010 @ 5:27 pm

    6 months later….you still loving your kindle? I’m thinking of jumping into that boat.

  3. Paul Lewis
    November 1st, 2010 @ 4:42 pm

    Yup, 6 months later I’m very much still loving the Kindle. It’s THE BEST for reading books on and Amazon have all of the books I’ve wanted at great prices..

    FYI, I do also own an iPad, but not for books, so feel my view is pretty well made across a range of devices.. Kindle for reading any day…

  4. Still Like Kindle, Still No iPad | NSLog();
    November 4th, 2010 @ 4:12 pm

    […] echo a lot of the sentiments shared in this post. The Kindle is far and away a better "reading" machine than the […]

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