Thursday, February 04, 2010

iPad vs Kindle = WTF?

I had a friend in high school that could play the guitar. I mean REALLY REALLY play the guitar. He was the envy of every wannabe in the county. I was assigned to do a portrait of him for a story in the school newspaper. He sat down and said "I'm going to play Stairway for you. Take my picture and make sure you caption it - XXXX Playing Stairway to Heaven - so I never have to answer that question again - ok".

In his spirit - I'm going to give you my comments about the iPad and the Kindle so I never have to answer the question again... (I hope)

1. The iPad is just a 10" ipod touch. Get over it. It will fill some odd niche for people with too much money but will never sell like the iPhone or even the iPod.

2. It may be ok for reading, and If I already had an iPad - I'd probably read on it while traveling. It would never become my primary reading device. Why, because it's a back-lit LCD and touch screen. Give me both and I'll read books on the Kindle every time.

3. I don't want a back-lit / touchscreen Kindle. I've read books on many devices - large and small pda's - laptops - netbooks - desktops. The experience is tolerable if it's convenient. I would occasionally use a Kindle app on my Droid if it were available but as nice as the screen is, it would never replace the Kindle itself. Please don't ruin the device just to be like Apple. Are you listening Amazon?

4. The Kindle works because it duplicates the experience of reading on paper. My eyes don't burn after 30min of reading on it. It's small enough to fit in a large pocket just like a paperback. I can take it out in the sun and read in the park or a hammock in the backyard. I don't worry about changing screens/functions by accidentally touching the screen. This means I can hold it pretty much any way I want. Try reading with a touchscreen in bed, or an LCD at the beach.

If my eyes hurt and I had to hold the device delicately I would have stopped reading on the Kindle long ago. Instead - it's my preferred reading platform for books and has been for almost a year. Don't mess with it.

5. Stop comparing the iPad to the Kindle. This is like comparing a 10" tv to a paper copy of a book. Sure you can read on the TV but why would you if you have the book. Then again if you have a big screen - even a 20" in a hotel why would you watch tv on a 10" you have to hold.

In summary; The iPad is pretty and if I had $500 bills laying around doing nothing I'd consider one just for the gadget factor. Except my Droid does everything the iPad does (and more) and fits in my pocket. Plus I've already dealt with the awful itunes store for my son's iPods and that experience was more than enough to put me off the world of Apple permanently.

In the world of e-readers Apple is the new excited kid on the block that doesn't know what it's doing. Take for example this stupidity of $15 books from MacMillan. The Kindle readers banded together some time ago and boycotted books over $9.99. Amazon learned that lesson. So will Apple. No one will buy e-books for $15. Even on a superior reading device.

The iPad hysteria will pass. A few fanboys will own it. Yawn.

So I ask the question iPad vs Kindle, WTF?

UPDATE: One of my favorite blogs Lifehacker ran a poll. They found out what I have been saying. "Majority aren't interested in paying more than $10 for an e-book"

The gist of the results of 10k respondents:

* 45% would pay $5 to $10
* 25% would pay $1 to $5
* 15% say it depends on the book
* 7% never plan to buy e-books
* 5% are willing to pay $10 to $15

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