iPad: Kindle killer?


Will the iPad kill off the Kindle as a device? Will Kindle only continue to exist as an app on the iPad? Or will the iPad prove to be just what avid readers have been looking for? Are the devices so radically different from each other, they are not even in competition?

There are some significant differences between the two devices, the main one being price. Currently, a Kindle 2 is selling for $259 in the US, and an entry-level iPad (Wi-fi only, 16 GB) for $499. If you are in the market for an e-reader and money is no object, would you still choose to have an iPad over the Kindle?

With both, there will be further charges – including book purchases or periodical subscriptions. With the iPad, you will also pay for many apps, and depending on your model, 3G data plans too.

There are some major differences between how the devices function, also. iPads have a backlit LED screen. This can be considered a plus in a low-light situation, however backlighting is also linked to eyestrain after prolonged periods. Also, LED screens such as this use a lot more power, so battery life between charges will be an issue. A Kindle with it’s e-Ink screen is much more eye-friendly, and functions just fine even in bright, direct sunlight. A drawback to the e-Ink screen is that you must have light from another source to read, but this shouldn’t be a big problem – after all, we have been reading books this way for over 500 years!

Battery life is phenomenal on a Kindle 2, unless you leave the 3G wireless on all the time. With the wireless switched off, a Kindle is normally usable for at least a week between charges, depending on use. Obviously the iPad can’t come close – the norm seems to be about 10 hours between charges, depending on use.

Weight and size might be an issue for some purchasers, the Kindle 2 is much lighter and smaller than the iPad, which means it’s easier to use for prolonged periods and carry around. The Kindle 2 weighs a reported 10.2 ounces, the iPad 1.5 POUNDS for the WFi onlly model, and 1.6 pounds for WiFi and 3G models. This is a significant difference, and could be problematic for some people.

The iPad does many things a Kindle can’t do, such as multimedia. We are all familiar with reading magazines and having many colorful photos or other illustrations in the article, and with an iPad you still get this experience. Kindle books and articles do have many beautiful grayscale illustrations, but it isn’t the same. It is a dramatic difference, and there is more: with the iPad, you also have clickable links that lead to further information, websites, videos, songs and more! It is truly revolutionary, and much different than the reading experience you get with a Kindle. It is hard to explain the difference – a Kindle is primarily designed to read text, an iPad is designed to be a media device. It’s kind of like the difference between a black and white movie, and a color, 3D, surround sound movie. You still enjoy the plot, but how you perceive it is very different.

Both devices let you add and listen to your MP3 music files, but the Kindle doesn’t let you organize your songs into playlists (or even see a list of files). The iPad, with it’s iTunes link, obviously does. Avid readers, though, usually tune out outside distractions such as music, and probably don’t really care about this function while reading.

There are more differences we can explore in future articles, but one thing is true of both the iPad and the Kindle 2, they will need protection from the indignities of daily life. Add a great-looking vinyl skin to your Kindle 2 or iPad, you will be adding style and personalization, and protection from scratches at the same time. Get yours today Kindle, Nook, iPad skins and enjoy your e-reader without worrying about scratching the case.

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