Apple unveiled its latest product, the iPad, on Wednesday to a very mixed response. But whatever you may think of the device itself, and its limitations and missing features, one thing is clear: it is set to kill off the Amazon Kindle and all the other single-purpose e-readers on the market. Seriously, let’s face facts: the Kindle is dead, long live the iPad.
I was as disappointed as it seems most other people were by the iPad upon its unveiling. Sure, it looks nice, and the price of the entry-level model was both a surprise and a welcome relief for those of us who hate Apple’s overpricing of its products. However, there remains doubts as to whether the iPad can fill the void between smartphones and laptops, if such a void even exists.
However, though the iPad may have too many features missing to make it an indispensable product, it’s still set to sell well. And that will surely spell disaster for the Amazon Kindle, the biggest-selling and best-known of the various e-readers which have been released over the last couple of years.
The fact is that I can’t see many people choosing a single-purpose device which costs between $260 and $490 when they can have a multi-purpose device for as little as $500. What’s more, for that money they get a piece of Apple hardware which will no doubt make them the envy of their more hard-up friends.
During the iPad unveiling iBooks was shown in some detail, and it looks absolutely brilliant. The design of iBooks on the iPad appeals to me much more than the Kindle does, and that’s coming from a big reader who has craved a Kindle for some time.
The Kindle does have a couple of big advantages over the iPad – its E-Ink screen is better suited to displaying text than the LCD screen boasted by the iPad, and the battery life of the Kindle is much better than that of the iPad. But everything else is in favor of the iPad.
The iPad has full e-reader capabilities but can do so much more besides. Its screen is full-color and multi-touch. The iPad supports ePub, while the Kindle uses a proprietary format. Pictures, videos, and links come to life on an iPad in a way not possible on the Kindle. It’s an Apple product, which brings a certain amount of judos and guaranteed sales. It looks much sexier than the Kindle.
Maybe Amazon could save the Kindle from the scrapheap but I can’t see how. The early adopters may stick with the Kindle, but those people like myself who have held off purchasing will likely buy an iPad now. Sorry Amazon, but I think the Kindle’s days are numbered.