The Kindle is dead, long live the iPad

January 30, 2010

The Kindle is dead, long live the iPadApple 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.

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11 Responses to “The Kindle is dead, long live the iPad”

  1. Jimmy:

    Kindle doesn’t use a proprietary format. It uses Mobi/PRC files. Amazon does use proprietary DRM, just like I expect apple to for iBookstore books. I think the iPad will be great for Amazon. Kindle readers will still buy books from Amazon and they’ll automatically sync on the Kindle and the iPad Kindle app, so you can pick up where you left off, no matter which device you pick up. I’ll have both.

  2. Sorral:

    Man, there are many wrong stuff in this article it is not even funny.
    Hell, I thought that you were sarcastic until I finished reading it.

    -One of the main points of using e-ink screen is to reduce eye strain while reading, not using that defeats the main purpose for many which is -READING-
    I’m sure those who get iPad over other e-readers are about what it offers in areas other than reading e-books.
    Even colored e-ink screens are not cost effective right now and are worse for reading than non-colored. Regular screens are even worse, especially for battery life.

    - I know many who don’t want all of the stuff that come with having an iPad(giant iPod touch) and certainly don’t need all of them when they want to just read. The price difference between the iPad and the cheapest e-reader that I know of is at least $300 (non-touch Sony one).

    - Apple is pretty damn annoying with the DRM and properity stuff as it is, so comparing that to the kindle is pointless (Yes, I realize that you were comparing the ebooks formats)

    - You’re forgetting Sony in the e-readers market. The kindle may be the best seller in the US, but the world doesn’t evolve around it.

    I understand the novelty of having an all-around device as I’m typing all of this from my iPhone; however, I miss the sound quality from my Sony Ericsson phone, would rather play on my psp/pc/console, take photos with my DSLR camera, etc.
    The point being I’ll take an actual e-reader to read on over a wannabe device that’s missing futures same way or more than my iPhone.

    And yes, from the brand on the iPad being Apple, excuse the metaphor, people are like sheep and it will sell because of that.

    No flash, no multitasking, battery life not so good, $30 per month for unlimited data, and more… I already hate all of these about my iPhone.

    This is my personal opinion I guess and no, I don’t like the kindle and wasn’t practically defending it, more of not for the idea of calling something’s demise with mere personal preference, and short sight.

    Sorry I probably sounded rude, can’t sleep and been trying for some hours, so decided to type this while trying to zzz…

  3. FreedomLover:

    well, Apple’s use of iTune’s AAC proprietary format has not hurt its success, so I am going to venture that iBook’s proprietary format will not hurt it either.

  4. Kindle:

    The Kindle will not die because of the iPad. All of this Kindle killer talk is ridiculous. The price itself makes it not a kindle killer along with the $30 per month fee plus being back lit.

    Some people just want a reading device and that’s what the Kindle is and if you just look at the reading part of the iPad the kindle has it beat easily. Why do you need to read in color anyway?

  5. Rimmer:

    kindle killer? not going to happen – just wait until you try to read something on that glass screen on a moderately sunny day – and then give up very quickly. this is where e-ink displays run rings around any backlit screen.

  6. Rick:

    ha! you’ve gotta be an apple lackey…or an idiot. just an overgrown ipod touch. that’s all it is

  7. chi:

    reading books on a backlit screen sucks, and its the reason why e-book readers use e-ink. all this talk about how the ipad is going to kill the kindle is ridculous.

  8. kindle accessories:

    Of course Apple is going to try and get a piece of the e-reader pie. Why not, they have everything in place to give it a go

  9. james braselton:

    hi there your wrong nintendo 3ds will be a 3d e-book reader 3d movie player takes 3d pitures will use pica 200 gpu at 400 mhz all for $189.99 on http://www.nintendo3ds.org

  10. James:

    People are really thinking this backwards. Why pay 500 dollars for an e-reader ( iPad ) when if all I want to do is read books, I could just get a 150 dollar Kindle. Plus, a week on a charge with wireless on, and I go through 1-3 books a week. Of course it’s not going to die. I don’t give 2 craps about apps or whatever else is on this iPad, i want to effin read.

  11. Evilcyber:

    Reading these predictions from supposed professional technology seers two years later is quite amusing.

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