Apple Ipad vs. Amazons Kindle....who will win ?

Posted on February 13, 2010

For many a seasoned e-reader, the imminent arrival of the Ipad is tinged with ambiguity. Is it, as some crowing fans might have it, the evolution of the e-book, standing "on the shoulders" of the Kindle just as the Kindle did the dead-tree-book before it? Or is it just another step down the road to excess, turning what should be a sophisticated reading device into just another smart-gadget, so overbursting with colors, lights, sounds, and media that one hardly has time to sit down and read a good book from cover to cover?

The Ipad has many surface advantages. Its gorgeous, color-rich touchscreen allows for blogs, newspapers, and other web-based media to appear in their full, illustrated richness - a feat the Kindle has yet to perform. Likewise, its enormous size - roughly that of a glossy magazine - renders it useful for college students not too keen on lugging around the thirty hardbacks required for Psych 101 or Physics 222.

But when it comes to sitting down with a nice cup of tea, curling up, and just plain reading, the Kindle is vastly preferable. Its main advantages are its compact size, its simple e-ink technology, which is as easy on the eyes as the Ipad's LCD is taxing, and, in a strange way, its simplicity; readers can get lost in a classic novel precisely without the distractions (blog articles, newswires, internet access) that the kindle offers.

Thus, the kindle/ipad rivalry is rather a false dichotomy - they serve two entirely different needs, and one's strength is the other's weakness. While this author doesn't see the need for an Ipad - owning both a compact netbook for media and Internet, and a kindle purely for both on-the-go and at-home reading - it's nevertheless less competition for the kindle than it is an alternative to the netbook - and a vastly pricier one at that. For a more complete breakdown of kindle and iPad specs, visit

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Tara Isabella Burton (Director of Media relations)