In typical Apple fashion, the iPad has generated a huge amount of interest. Steve Jobs has described the device as “magical”, “extraordinary” and sees the device as redefining the personal computer.
This tablet type device launches on the 3rd of April in the US, and will hit the UK at the end of April. Featuring a glossy 9.7” LED, touch screen, the device which resembles a large Iphone will support email, web browsing, all the main features (except the phone bit) of the Iphone as well as an eBook reader built in.
But is it an eBook reader killer?
Lets first look at what makes eBook readers so popular:
- The ability to carry a near unlimited amount of books around
- The sharp E-Ink screen, which reads like a real book (so you don’t get eye fatigue and you can read under any environment)
- The long battery life (most eBook readers can get over 2 weeks of use)
- The ability to purchase books from the device (available on the Kindle, Nook, Bebook Neo for example)
- The ability to load up any pdf, pre purchased eBook, or document into the device for reading later
- The compact form factor
- Varying price points (you can pick up an ebook reader for as little as $100, and as much as $500)
Add to these the fact that you can use your eBook reader as a note taking device, you can annotate text, and on some readers actually listen to music or audio books on the go.
How does the iPad compare?
- The iPad has a huge memory capacity (starting at 16GB)
- The iPad features a high resolution glossy colour screen, but this is the same as what you will find on most laptops. Which means you won’t be able to read as comfortably as on an E-Ink device (think about it as reading text from a laptop screen)
- The iPad has 10 hours of battery life which is great, but simply cannot compare to 2+ weeks of use on standard ebook readers. If you travel a lot this will be a huge issue.
- The iPad comes with an improved Itunes which will include an ebook store. Although you won’t get as many ebooks as say on Amazon or Borders, you will be able to purchase eBooks on the go.
- You can import any unlocked (non DRM) epub ebooks into your iPad through Itunes but you can’t read your ibooks from any other device then the iPad.
- The device will be bigger than most eBook readers, but definitely compact: (height: 9.56-inches, width: 7.47-inches, depth: 0.5-inches, weight: 1.5 pounds (1.6 for the 3G model).)
- Price wise, the iPad will start at $499, which is much more expensive than most ebook readers out there, but in line witht the pricing of the Kindle DX.
The iPad also innovates by providing interactive magazine content and tailored news content which mixes text and multimedia.
So is the iPad the next eBook reader? We don’t think so yet, but its definitely going to be a key player, and Amazon definitely acknowledges that by releasing a Kindle App for the iPad.
If you are a keen book reader, and you like having your books with you when travelling there is no better device than an E-Ink eBook reader. You won’t get eye fatigue, you will be able to read indoors and outdoors and you will be able to read for weeks without having to recharge the device.
But the iPad will change the landscape of eBook readers.
The start of a revolution?
So the iPad isn’t yet an EBook Reader Killer, but it is an impressive device which will force many eBook reader companies to push more innovative features.
What we will start to see in the next 3 to 12 months is:
- The introduction of colour E-Ink screens
- Faster refresh rates on E-ink screens
- Downloadable & purchasable eBooks available from the eBook reader as standard
- More magazine content becoming available for eBook readers
- More news based content becoming available for eBook readers
- Larger screens (more 8”+ devices to compete with the Ipad)