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.

9 thoughts on “Can the Kindle Compete With Apple’s iPad 2?”

  1. Limitations? Sorry, but the iPad beats the kindle (I use both) in everything as a reader except price and weight (admittedly not unimportant).

  2. I love Amazon Kindle BOOKS, which I read a minimum of an hour a day. I have bought dozens in the last year, as opposed to one iBook. It was good, very snazzy, and I will almost certainly buy more. But just like Apple has the apps platform, which includes the ease to buy them through the App Store, Amazon has the digital books marketplace. I DO have a Kindle ereader — someplace — but put it in a drawer as soon as I could read Kindle books on the iPhone. This is now cemented into my personal habits by the iPad and, soon the iPad 2.

    What you mentioned about versatility in passing is EVERYTHING in this square-off, and there is little doubt which company has prevailed. But Amazon will continue to benefit from happy iPad owners like me who are pleased to continue browsing Amazon’s “racks” as long as there are good books to read at the right price.

  3. I bought the Kindle 3rd generation at Christmas. I plan on buying an IPad 2.
    I plan to read using both devices. Personally, I feel the Kindle will probably be my first choice…..size, non glare background, easy to read and no need for much hand movement to change pages. Fits well in my hand and smaller hand bag when traveling. Also……… way less expensive in the event it gets lost or god forbid stolen.
    I dont have and IPhone, and when you get older, trying to read small print on small devices is hard. I dont think Amazon will have any problem’s with keeping subscribers. I think Apple has more to worry about if you can read Amazon’s Ebooks books on both devices…..but cant read Apple’s Ibooks on Kindle.

  4. Interesting this article comes out. I had been holding off on buying an iPad until the new one was released, and when they released it, I was so underwhelmed with the upgrade that I opted for a refurbished iPad 1 (will be here on Tues!). I’ve owned a 1st gen Kindle DX which I preordered. I can’t recall the price exactly, but I think it was something like $469, so a $500 iPad doesn’t bother me if it is worth it.

    I love my DX, and one of the reasons I really wanted an iPad was because I do a lot of reading in the dark. I have a book light on my Kindle, but having an iPad take that over would be of great value to me. As someone who does read Kindle books on his iPhone in the dark at times, I am quite aware of the problems of extended reading in the dark.

    I’m pretty sure I won’t care about iBooks and just read from the Kindle store. I’ve had iBooks available to me for the better part of six months on my phone, and I haven’t even CONSIDERED opening it when I was book shopping.

    Although, since the DX screen and the iPad screen are about the same size, I might consider going down to a regular Kindle. That might be hard for me, though, since where I live gets great Sprint reception, but horrible AT&T reception (yes, I said I have an iPhone. I have to use a microcell in my home).

  5. Honestly, I like the fact that the Kindle has limited capabilities. If I read books on my iPad, I’d get so easily distracted with all the other things I could do (games, music, videos, etc.) The fact that the Kindle functions as just an e-reader is a strength. It is simple, priced adequately, and functions well.

    Furthermore, I like the black “ink” screen that the Kindle has. It’s not too hard on the eyes (which is the reason I bought an e-reader in the first place). If I wanted to read something on an iPad, I don’t see how that would be different than reading it off my computer. My eyes need rest!

  6. I am a kindle user, and havent found much need for an iPad. I do think that the iPad will be a better reader for richer content such as magazine and comic books. But, to replace standard book reading, I dont think that it really competes with the Kindle. The kindle is at a better price point, weight, and size that makes it very comparible to traditional paper books.

  7. I know a girl who works at Apple in support. She is a proud owner of a 3rd gen Kindle (3G+WiFi) and doesn’t plan on buying an iPad 2 immediately.

    In our opinion, the Kindle doesn’t compete with the iPad 2. For anyone who looks at glossy backlit screens all day (at work, etc), the last thing they’re going to want to do is go read a book for an hour on an iPad.

    Kindle is the way to go for that. And Amazon will always control the eBook market until Apple wises up and makes an e-ink reader. iBook Reader™, anyone? :) I doubt it.

  8. Both the iPad 2 and the 3rd generation Kindle are excellent machines and leaders in their class.

    The iPad 2 can never compete with the Kindle when it comes to reading books because the screen on the Kindle is sheer pleasure for reading. Likewise, the Kindle can never compete with the iPad 2 for entertainment purposes.

  9. The Kindle is still too inefficient to handle PDFs properly (zooming in fine steps, scrolling without losing zoom/horizontal position).

    Also, it simply doesn’t display images without downscaling so b&w comics are out. And naturally color comics are displayed b&w.

    I love my Kindle but am still looking for solutions to the above.

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