Last Minute iPad 3 vs Kindle Fire Thoughts

I am writing this on the eve of the launch of the next generation iPad. So speculations on what new features the iPad 3 will offer  and what it means for tablet competition is definitely on my mind.  As anyone who keeps up with tech news knows, the rumors get pretty wild in the days leading up to big announcements like these.

Aside from the new launch, there are two speculations that might have a more direct implication for the Kindle Fire.  The first is the possibility of a 7.85 inch iPad Mini.  Honestly, I can’t really see this fitting into the scope of Apple’s products.  I could be wrong, but right now, there is a big enough gulf between the iPad 2 and the iPhone that consumers can reconcile having both.  They serve different functions.

An iPad Mini would blur the lines a bit and give consumers less of a reason to have both.  So it would cause internal competition for Apple.  However, it would add some worthy competition to the smaller tablet market.

The other option is a budget version of the iPad 2.  This assumption seems more viable because Apple has done this in the past with the iPhone, and has had good success with it.  This would be an 8GB version as opposed to 16 or 32GB.

It depends on how much cheaper the iPad 2  is, but this is what could really give the Kindle Fire a run for its money.  Right now, Amazon’s bestselling tablet’s biggest asset is that it packs a lot of features for a rock bottom price.  Competitors certainly recognize that.  Just look at the recent price drop on the Nook Tablet.

In the next few years, I would love to see a tablet emerge that has computing power comparable to the PC.  Apple has that ability to to that with the iPad, but isn’t quite there yet.  That leaves room for the smaller tablets to serve consumers who want something more portable, inexpensive and multipurpose without too much processing power.

So, I don’t really think the iPad 3 will have too much effect on the Kindle Fire competition wise.  It serves a different market.  The thing to watch will be the introduction of either a budget iPad or a less probable iPad Mini.  So, all we can do at this point is sit back and see what happens.



Can the Kindle Compete With Apple’s iPad 2?

This week saw the much-awaited reveal for the next generation of the Apple iPad.  Needless to say, much excitement seems to abound all over the internet, along with a few groans from people who bought their iPads just a little bit too long ago to manage returns.  There’s a bit to be excited about, especially for fans of the existing product.  The new one is going to be faster, lighter, have a couple cameras, involve absolutely no price increase over existing models, and will be in stores almost immediately.

Given that part of the event surrounding the announcement was a look at how great they are doing with iBooks, highlighting the recent Random House events involving their becoming a part of the Apple book store, I was rather hoping to find some information on how this would be a better reading device than the existing one or even better than the Kindle if they got really ambitious. When it came down to it though, it was mostly peripheral to the launch.

The advantages over the old model that I believe pertain to my concerns, specifically reading and the experience thereof and disregarding any other advantages that a tablet PC might carry with it, are slight.  The improved weight is nice, even if it was only .2lbs of reduction.  The extra slimming (a 30% reduction in the total depth of the device) might be nice if you prefer that, but I’m already personally one of those people who needs a decently bulky cover on my Kindle to really feel right when I read so it doesn’t help me much.  The fact that the battery life stayed good for a Tablet PC is nice, I suppose?

While I prefer the Kindle for reading at the moment, had Apple been able to come up with something impressive to woo me I would have been willing to listen.  I still think that the $500 minimum price on them is a bit high for something that I would probably primarily use for reading, but the best experience is sometimes expensive.  Anyway, seems to not really be an issue on this one.

So, as far as providing added levels of competition to the Kindle-dominated eReader marketplace, I’m going to say it’s not particularly an issue.  While the iPad was, and the iPad 2 will be, a viable alternative eReader for people who want to use it primarily for the sake of its versatility, the reading experience for most has not been enough to justify that as its primary purpose.  This hasn’t changed, even if a couple of very minor convenience changes were made that might be useful along the way.

This upgrade seems much more interested in emphasizing the AV capabilities of the device.  Nothing wrong with that.  I’ve found iPads quite convenient as portable movie players, myself, and the HDMI out will be a welcome addition. The Kindle vs iPad competition just doesn’t seem to be an issue, however.  Possibly an implication that Apple is aware of the limitations it’s working with?  That’s probably just my POV coming out, though.  For those who are interested, look for the new iPad in any retailer currently carrying the product line as of March 11th.