The iPad versus…

Okay, I’ll back off on the iPad information shortly, unless something big breaks.  I just had a reader ask me if I’m switching to the iPad.  Nope, not for me, at least not as an EBR (E-Book Reader).  I love my Kindle…I like the look of the E Ink, I like the long battery life.  I think that the iPad may find a real market with people who “should” have been carrying a laptop places, but found that a burden.  I think it’s not for the super-techy, it appears to have some limitations that will affect that adoption.

However, if you simply think it would be cool to have web access and e-mail and such when you are out at the park or eating lunch, I think it may find admirers.  People for whom the iPhone was too small, and a laptop was too big.  I think Baby Boomers may possibly be part of that group.  For readers, though, it seems like a dedicated EBR is a better deal.  For one thing, I’m not that into monthly payments…I even bought the one-time lifetime subscription for Tivo.  🙂

In this post, I’m going to compare the iPad to some other items, to see which one might come out ahead.  That’s going to vary, of course…individual needs will make a difference.  We also will learn a lot more about the iPad in the coming months, but I’m going to make some guesses now.

“In this corner…the iiiiiiiiiiPaaaaaaaaaaad!”

“Weighing in at 1.5 pounds, and wearing a black Apple cover, the iPad features a 9.7” backlit touch screen.   This feisty newcomer packs a punch in its featherweight design.  It promises e-mail, e-books, and e-everything else.

In this corner…”

Kindle 2

I don’t think the iPad is that much of a direct threat to the 6″ Kindle 2, at least for readers.  It’s backlit, and people just haven’t bought into backlighting for long term reading.  It only claims ten hours of battery life, where the Kindle can run more than ten days.  It should be able to use the Kindle app to get books from Amazon, but the iBooks store looks more limited in choices, and more expensive.  Speaking of expensive, the iPad is more expensive, and needs a monthly dataplan.  The K2 wins this one.

Kindle, Too

This is a different category.  If you get an iPad, you may decide that you don’t need a Kindle, too, even though reading on the iPad isn’t as pleasant.  It’s like considering whether or not you really need a second car, in a sense.  You might be able to make do with a kind of clunky second, or take public transit, rather than buying another nice car.  Reading is not the iPad’s main function…the iPad is for Internet, mostly, in my opinion.  However, lay out more than five hundred bucks for an iPad, and you might not want to put out another $250 for a Kindle.

Kindle DX

At $489, the KDX is in trouble against the iPad.  I’m only talking about perception here, but people are going to say, “$489 and no video?”  Yes, some people will still want the KDX, but they’ll need to be pretty savvy to see the advantage.  The K2 starts out more than $200 cheaper…that’s enough even without technical expertise.  When the prices are that close (even if it’s only for the cheapest iPad without the dataplan figured into it), that’s going to invite closer analysis.  The KDX would be better for some people, but without editable native pdfs, it’s going to fall short for a lot of them.  The iPad wins this one.


The iPad may cause a problem for this upcoming EBR from Spring Design.  It has E Ink, which is a plus, but it also has web-browsing on a little LCD screen.  I thought it might carve itself a nice little slice of the EBR pie, and it might.  If web access is important to you, though, you may just choose that iPad. 


This is where I think the iPad can take a solid slice of market share.  Why do a lot of people want a laptop?  Large screen web access.  However, for many users a laptop is just too big.  When you have a laptop on the table next to you in a restaurant…well, you look like a geek…not that there’s anything wrong with that.  😉   Two or three hours of battery time doesn’t cut it for a cruise on the bay, either.  Is the iPad as good as a laptop?  Nope…but do you need it to be?  I think there is a solid group of non-techies who just want to check e-mail, watch a movie, go to a website, maybe do a little word processing for work, who might prefer the sleek iPad.  For non-geeks, I have to give this one to the iPad.


This one is closer…battery life is longer than a laptop.  However, the iPad is still much slimmer and easier to tote.  It’s also cooler, and comparably priced (well, pretty close, anyway).  If someone recently bought a netbook, they may not make the switch.  But if somebody was just thinking about a netbook, the iPad is going to loom large.


Slips in a pocket…that can be important.  Some people, though, have an iPhone mostly to be able to get on the web…and they haven’t been entirely happy with the iPhone for that.  This one is going to depend on whether you want a phone or a webportal.  If you want a webportal, you’re going to think about the iPad.  However, the iPad is much more expensive (since you usually get an iPhone with cellular service).  iPhones will still sell well…but there will be some share siphoning here.

iPod touch

The touch is a lot smaller and more convenient, but it has some other significant similarities.  A lot of people are going to prefer the smaller price and size of the iPod touch, but I can certainly see some people moving up to the iPad. 


Well, they are both webslingers, but I have to give this to Spidey.  For one thing, he has a camera.  😉 

The Flash

Sorry, I couldn’t make this comparison…the iPad doesn’t do Flash.  😉

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog


7 Responses to “The iPad versus…”

  1. Frannie Says:

    Just a quick comment re: the baby boomers thing…I read a lot, and I love my kindle. We only have dail up internet access and I find e-mailing and some web search easier using kindle than going online in the computer.
    Signed, Frannie
    (A Baby Boomer)

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Frannie!

      Oh, I agree…Baby Boomers love their Kindles! Even the previous generation does, in informal, anecdotal data.

      I was saying that Baby Boomers might prefer the iPad to a laptop, not to a Kindle.

  2. Goldarn Says:

    Quick correction: according to the announcement, the iPad only needs a dataplan for the 3G models. Of course, the Kindle doesn’t need a dataplan, either.

  3. Anie Says:

    If the iPad is bought for using outside, at the park, etc., then the buyer will need to get, at the least, the $630 model plus the data plan.

    Also needed is the camera pack, to get the adapter needed for transferring files to/from the computer.

    $500 will not get us web browsing at the park. But one can run a video that’s already downloaded.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Great information, Anie!

      I’ll need to update something about the dataplan, clearly…another reader wrote about that as well.

  4. Joan Price Says:

    Just discovered your blog — it’s terrific! I hope you’re right that the iPad will let me have access to my Kindle books, as my iPhone does.

    I read my Kindle all the time, carry it everywhere, love it — but my old eyes would prefer a backlight and sharper contrast. So I’m getting in line for the iPad IF it doesn’t mean giving up the Kindle books I’ve already bought (especially those I haven’t read yet — my “buy” trigger finger is faster than my reading speed.

    Thanks for this blog — I’m following it now.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Joan!

      I think quite a few people may end up with both a Kindle and an iPad. I don’t see them as equivalent or self-exclusive. The Kindle would be for long-form reading, the iPad for web acccess.

      Amazon confirmed that the iPad would run the Kindle iPhone app…but data, like babies, are subject to change, of course. 🙂


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