iPad, the latest gizmo from the Apple stable, has garnered a lot of buzz in the last few weeks. The iPad launch is typical of the way Apple introduces its products – it builds up tremendous anticipation before the actual launch. The actual delivery of the pre-ordered products has began only on April 3rd, 2010, and it will be a while before a wider user audience will get to lay their hands on the devices.
iPad pre-launch reviews, and a number of videos released by the company itself, reveal a number of features that the device is loaded with. Experts agree that the iPad purports to be a combination of multiple gadgets- its is a laptop plus a gaming console plus a smartphone plus an iPod plus an e-reader. There have been some loudly expressed surprises over the absence of an integrated camera in the iPad (which means no video chats) and no support for Flash videos (which means you will not get to enjoy most of the websites). And there are already a number of jokes around the name of the device itself!
The fact that iPad is loaded with a number of features has also given rise to much speculation about whether iPad will kill some of the devices that provide the same features. For example, some enthusiastic experts (who got to use the device much before its actual launch) have even sounded the death knell of laptops! Another iPad feature that is drawing much attention is the e-reader feature, which compares to the Kindle platform offered by Amazon.
Will iPad Kill Kindle?
To answer this question, let us consider a few points where both the devices, iPad and Amazon Kindle, come head to head.
First, Kindle is a platform, which works on devices like Amazon Kindle / Kindle 2 / Kindle DX and a number of other devices such as laptops / computers / Macs, Blackberry and iPhone. It is expected that a Kindle application will be introduced for the iPad also. On the other hand, Apple iBooks, in true Apple tradition, will be readable on iPads only – yes, even iPhones, iPod Touch and Macs are excluded. In other words, if you want to read an Apple iBook, you will need an iPad.
Second, the range of book selections is widely different on iPad and Kindle – while Amazon Kindle selection has close to 450,000 titles, the iBookstore is expected to contain around 60,000 titles.
Thirdly, the prices of the two devices are widely disparate, with iPad being twice as costly as Amazon Kindle, on an average. While Amazon Kindle devices start at USD 259, iPad has an introductory price of USD 499. But admittedly, with an iPad, you get so much more than a mere e-book reader.
Fourth, Kindle is only half the weight of iPad, and has a battery backup of close to one week, when compared to 10 hours that the iPad provides.
iPad has also a few things that can tilt the balance in its favor. For example, it has a much bigger screen which provides for a much better reader experience. It is also considered to be more ‘future ready’, when e-books will come loaded with a host of multimedia features, including videos and other interactive elements.
It is a bit too early to predict whether Amazon Kindle will survive the iPad onslaught, or fall along the wayside. As pointed out, it has a number of advantages that will seem to drive in its favor. On the other hand, iPad can be considered to be a device of the future, though its e-Book reader facility is just one of its many features. Also, though it is difficult to assess the exact contribution of Kindle to Amazon’s bottom line, it is generally agreed that Amazon can easily weather even a Kindle demise.