Will the iPad Kill the Kindle? In a Word, Yes

91 Comments

Om is drooling over the iPad at the moment, getting ever more excited about the feel and capabilities of Apple’s (s aapl) new device. His thesis is that the Amazon (s amzn) Kindle is dead thanks to the rich media capabilities of the iPad as well as the full software-based keyboard. Oh yeah, and there’s all those apps Apple already has in its App Store, which put the Kindle’s platform efforts to shame.

The iPad already delivers some of the stellar features the Kindle does in order to make that a dedicated e-reader (and as such, better than your smartphone), such as a long battery life and a bigger screen, but instead of offering it in black and white, it offers it in color, complete with rich media. It’s like comparing Kansas and Oz. That rich media experience will change the way organizations deliver their content in that it will allowing them to include video, interactive charts and all sorts of other fun things. The price for rocking your media world? At the low end, an iPad with Wi-Fi will set you back $499, but if you’re willing to splurge there’s a version with more memory and a data plan (that’s extra) for $829. It will be available starting in late March.

Check back for more from Om  later.

91 Comments

Deap

Uhhh, 10 hours vs. 1 week. Are you kidding me? Thanks for making my decision easier, Apple. I’m buying a Kindle

Stud Jones

I have owned an apple product from the very first Mac introduction with a mouse. The thing I appreciate about Apple is that they always build in a little flexibility and forward looking technology enhancement. There was a time when everyone thought Apple was dead, now it is debated all over with several products in the wings and in production. As far as the iPad being a Kindle killer, well I would say that depends on what people buy a kindle for in the first place. The Kindle is easier on the eyes as opposed to a monitor which is in color and increases eye strain as most computer monitors. The Kindle’s battery life goes way beyond the iPad which allows for more flexibility and the other advantages the Kindle has over the iPad are minor. On the other hand the iPad has several options for productivity which is the reason Apple created it in the first place. It has considered all of the folks who don’t have a reader who were on the market for a device which could several things albeit not all perfect including reading ebooks. If you want an ereader, then for now Kindle is the ticket for a small time at least since the iPad has created a situation where Amazon can either decrease its prices or risk awesome competition using the aging Kindle. For those who are on the market for several devices in one I believe the iPad with all of the hype it receives stands in the perfect position to do just what the iPhone did and that is show the naysayers that they simply have not considered the entire market of people who demand the latest multi-tasking, gap filling product (not just a reader). As for Kindle’s demise at the hands of the iPad, well Goliath thought size or in this case popularity matters until he met David.

Stud Jones

I have owned an apple product from the very first Mac introduction with a mouse. The thing I appreciate about Apple is that they always build in a little flexibility and forward looking technology enhancement. There was a time when everyone thought Apple was dead, now it is debated all over with several products in the wings and in production. As far as the iPad being a Kindle killer, well I would say that depends on what people buy a kindle for in the first place. The Kindle is easier on the eyes as opposed to a monitor which is in color and increases eye strain as most computer monitors. The Kindle’s battery life goes way beyond the iPad which allows for more flexibility and the other advantages the Kindle has over the iPad are minor. On the other hand the iPad has several options for productivity which is the reason Apple created it in the first place. It has considered all of the folks who don’t have a reader who were on the market for a device which could several things albeit not all perfect. If you want an ereader, then for now Kindle is the ticket for a small time at least since the iPad has created a situation where Amazon can either decrease its prices or risk awesome competition using the aging Kindle. For those who are on the market for several devices in one I believe the iPad with all of the hype it receives stands in the perfect position to do just what the iPhone did and that is show the naysayers that they simply have not considered the entire market of people who demand the latest multi-tasking, gap filling product. As for Kindle’s demise at the hands of the iPad, well Goliath thought size or in this case popularity matters until he met David.

Kapil

iPad is not a kindle killer. Kindle has competition for sure, but folks who appreciate form factor, battery life, something more eye friendly will go for kindle. Kindle is e-book reader/vertically focussed device and it will do that job well and will only get better.

I think apple may have made the same mistake that Microsoft did, when MS basically shrunk the Windows OS into a mobile phone(early iPaq’s and Windows Smart Phones) and we all know it ended up being a horrible experience. Apple has done the reverse and basically delivered a incomplete experience. If they are really pitching a product between a phone and a laptop, how can they not have camera & multitasking. Ability to change backgrounds, wow thats an experience?

Bottom-line, while you can debate that iPad has its purpose & may be it does, the fact is apple has delivered a incomplete product. I would like to see v2.

Adi

Disagree. Kindle will only lose out if Amazon makes the fatal mistake of trying to turn the Kindle into a multi-use device that competes directly with the iPad. If instead they focus on making Kindle the best e-reader out there – think better content, eInk, battery life, RSS integration – they’ll do fine. Haven’t given it much thought but the netbook guys could get screwed though.

El Marko

I don’t agree that the iPad kills the Kindle. But, if Amazon keeps Kindle at its current price point, they sure won’t be doing themselves any favors. And, the Apple’s iBooks storefront is really going to give Amazon’s distribution model (and pricing) a run for its life.

I own a Kindle and like it. Pretty much. One thing I can say is, it’s sure comfortable to read on. Is it colorful, with spinning, flippy graphics and noisemakers? No. But I’m using it as a reader.

I also own a tablet. And I use that for different kinds of activities.

And, I’m pushing 50 years old. I can tell you, at the end of a day, the last thing I want to do is settle into a chair and read something that’s shining back into my eyes. Kindles electronic ink provides a superior reading experience.

If Amazon can lower the price of the Kindle and continue to offer more books at low prices, I think it’ll survive fine, in a world with the iPad.

Richard C. Marcus

And if Amazon lowers the price on the Kindle well below $200?????

Paolo

What’s wrong with you GigaOM? Seems that readers here have made a much better analysis. I Agree with the general opinion: iPad is not for book readers. And I’d choose my laptop or my smartphone for the rest of purposes. So, I think it will be a ‘fiasco’.. Maybe the beginning of Apple’s end?

Tofino

I’m curious if you’re going to move the goal post when apple sells more than 3 million iPads in two years. Is the Kindle a fiasco?

chipwinter

No wireless. Too expensive. Doesn’t play OGG.

Nomad and Rio have nothing to worry about with Apple’s new iPod.

Phil Tolhurst

This has to be the worst Apple product in years. Give me a decent netbook over this anyday. At least with a netbook when you want to type you can put it on a surface and angle the screen!!! It doesn’t look comfortable to hold, it looks awkward I doubt you’ll catch my trying to watch movies on it on the commuter train like you would say an Archos.

It’s also not going to replace a laptop/netbook when it comes to productivity and getting those presentations, spreadsheets reports written on the way to work.

Will it let me read books? Yes but then so will something less than half the price. Will it let surf the web? Yes but then so does pratically any smart-phone out there and with Google upping the anti in that market you’d have though iPhone 4G would have been more welcome.

Lastly did HP and MS not already steal Apples thunder at CES?

Bernie

re: Lastly did HP and MS not already steal Apples thunder at CES?

What? Are you saying somebody actually paid that any attention? I didn’t see the MS announcement of the HP Slate on anything other than the tech blog sites. Whereas the Apple iPad was on every news channel. Who had the thunder then?

P.S. I was disappointed with the iPad and expected more; I just couldn’t swallow that thunder statement.

Scott

What thunder? The HP Slate was announced to be “under $1,500” or in other words, the price of THREE iPads.

Bernie

Ouch!

Like I said, I didn’t pay much attention to the HP Slate :)

Hmm, with that in mind, the iPAD looks like good value, maybe I should get one LOL.

In all seriousness, I’ve given the device some more thought. Maybe I shouldn’t think of it as a computer but as an appliance, which is how the general public will view it. Yes the home screen is ugly, but I probably would never use it as a computer anyway. So for all media, light creation, email and browsing (I don’t care about flash) it would suit me more often than not.

Rob

I use to trust this site, but more and more I feel as you get paid by Apple to post this stuff. That was a complete disappointment, as is this site.

Sean

The Kindle is dead.

And anyone complaining about 10 hours of battery life is a fool and obviously bias.

George

So a majority of the public and press are bias? I think the only people who are biased are Apple gambits who are the only ones who actually (somehow) see a point to this product.

TimB

I certainly would not call this a Kindle-killer, but Sean is right – if your usage-scenario is e-books, then how can anyone complain about 10 hours of battery life? (yes, I’m aware that the Kindle’s is significantly higher)

Andy O.

Kindle Killer? Knot!

Kall me a knaysayer, but they serve totally different markets. Not sure how big the iPad market is, but the Kindle market is nicely growing.

Carlos

I’m an avid reader and am shopping for a eReader. I can justify one based on the savings in eBook vs print prices from Amazon or B&N, at least partially. But Apple is encouraging publishers to price their eBooks at $15…wtf. That’s what I get hardcover books for. Guess I’ll wait to see what others bring to the table.

carl

Geez, Om, you’re in the business of, supposedly, being able to distinguish where a product fits in a market and how markets differ from each other. People who are interested in reading a book — and I have plenty of Apple products as well as a Kindle — can not look at the iPad and see a reason to dump the Kindle. 2 week battery life vs. 10hrs? No or significantly reduced eye strain vs. eye strain? Greater portability? Why do some commentators/pundits/whatever reflexively assume a Swiss Army-type device is always better than a unitary device? If you really want an e-reader you likely won’t dump your Kindle and replace it with an iPad; this isn’t to say that you won’t get an iPad and read on it and enjoy it. Look, the iPad might be more elegant, etc. and the Kindle might need some improvements (e.g. color screen), but the Kindle is much, much closer to a book than is an iPad. Again, nothing wrong with the iPad; but I don’t see Kindle readers or book readers flocking to the iPad.

Doug

I think you’re missing the point. People that already have a kindle (or that type e-reader) will not dump it for the iPad. The iPad is likely to kill the growth of the Kindle. Also, if you happen to have both and can only take one on a trip with you or only take one to work or class…which one would most people choose? That said, Apple has to do something about the lack of multitasking–what’s the point of all the great features if you can only use them one at a time?

Jeff Gerrits

The iPad does a lot, sure. But it fails at all of them.

EReader – Eye Eyestrain, low battery Life
Netbook – Terrible ergonomics, no Flash support, no multitasking, max 64gb storage, can’t carry a backup battery.
Music Player – Too bulky
Video Player – 4:3 Screen, no HDMI, no HD

It does a lot of jobs, poorly. No thanks.

Doug

@Jeff

I know people make a lot of reference to eye-strain, but it’s not nearly as problematic as people think. I, for one, have read many books over the years on everything from the old-school palm pilot to Windows Pocket to my iPhone. Usually reading is broken into chunks–35 min commute, 20 mins waiting for class to start or a doctoros appointment, etc. That’s a benefit to the iPad as an e-reader. Instead of carrying your netbook/laptop + a book/mag, you only carry the iPad. Kindle only has a single function and at the price point, I can’t see it actually growing the market much.

I think the iPad will be a huge success, but I agree that the no multitasking is a problem (although easily rectifyable). But I’m sure you haven’t even seen a device, so how can you say “it does a lot of jobs, poorly” ?

Jeff Gerrits

I would love an iPad, and would even deal with the form factor, if it could replace more of my portable devices.

Right now, I use:
Notebook: Running iTunes/Chrome/DropBox/TVersity
iPod Touch 2g – 8g
Cheap LG phone
Kindle (non DX)
Garmin 265w

The only benefit over these devices, would be a nice form factor for reading Manuals/Cookbooks.

It doesn’t do the job of any of these devices, without fairly serious comprimise.

  • I would use my laptop or iPod over it as a couch Internet device
  • I would use my kindle over it to read a book (lighter/eInk/battery)
  • I can’t replace my laptop with it. It can’t stream HD to my home theatre, my picture library doesn’t even fit on it.
  • It is a bad form factor to use as an in car GPS (and it would be illegal in Ontario)
  • iWork? iD rather bring my laptop and actually be productive, sorry.

This device was made for the sole purpose of creating a new market between handheld and laptop devices. It doesn’t solve anything, or do anything new or better than previous devices that are just as portable/easy to use.

Doug

Okay…let me walk you down a consumer’s thought process.

You’re sitting in an airport terminal with a couple of magazines/newspaper, a hardback novel, your laptop/netbook, and your mp3 player. You have to dedicate a Personal item just to carry these things. Meanwhile the teanager sitting beside you has a iPad and the old guy next to you a Kindle. You think “this is the way to travel” and decide to buy one. Which one do you choose? Kindle–great reader (for those that read 1-2 books a week), wireless, mp3 capability, limited browser. iPad–capable reader (for those who read in increments), wireless, fully capable browser, HD video rentals, iTunes mp3 player and music store, flight tracker app, expense tracking app for work, games, full color newspapers, books, mags with contextual linking.

The iPad is clearly not a better reader (at least most don’t think so even though they haven’t tried to read for more than 1 hr on one), but it’s better at everything else and has endless capabilities…considering the price point of both, Kindle will be stuck with those that read A LOT (not many people) and want a dedicated reader.

Jeff

I just don’t see enough value to justify spending 989$ US (16gb, 3g, 1 year of wireless service) for the opportunity to own a pseudo laptop for a year. I see the value of a tablet device. Just not this particular iteration. Still, it’s a step in the right direction.

Bernie

I don’t see why you’re including the wireless cost? Its $499. If you doing it because your comparing it to the Kindle, then it’s a consideration, but do you need the unlimited data plan? Not for books you don’t, which is what the Kindle is for. If your comparing it to a netbook or laptop then factor in the cost of the USB modem and that data plan (which is a lot higher).

slappy

Kindle is dead in the water. The iPad at this price point and everything that you can do with this is simply a better value.

Doug

As for the Kindle…the epaper is great, but when faced with a choice most consumers will pay about the same price for a device that can also surf the web, watch movies, play games, play music, control your home theatre, give you directions, record audio, take notes, track your golf game, present a slide show, etc.

I agree that the epaper (e-ink) is great to look at, but at the price point Amazon is selling the Kindle DX I think people will be willing to put up with a little eye strain to gain all the functionality of the iPad.

Pat

As always, anyone who thinks this will “kill” the Kindle, or any other e-paper product, simply doesn’t read (defining this as reading less than 5 novels a year) or hasn’t used an e-paper device to actually read complete novels in long sittings. It’s PURE ignorance to suggest that this is a replacement for e-paper. It might be better for literally everything else (magazines, newspapers, media-rich articles) which may make it a more popular product, but it’s still very different than a electronic novel.

odel

I also completely agree with Broadcast James. I love Apple products, have a MacBook, have had every iPhone model. Recently changed to try out the Nexus One. Also have a Kindle. I’m keeping my Kindle and am not tempted to buy, what is essentially an iPod Touch with an eating disorder. The reason I got the Kindle in the first place was because of the e-ink display, so I could read for hours without it being an eyestrain. Bonus that the Kindle battery far outlives the iPad’s. And it’s cheaper. I’ve got a laptop, I’ve got a smartphone, I’ve got a real ereader. I don’t need something that doesn’t really know what it’s trying to be.

I was looking forward to this announcement for something truly revolutionary, but have been left distinctly underwhelmed. Meh.

tivoboy

TIVOBOY says, nope, AMAZON will still have a large market for the kindle.

Much lower price point, much longer battery life, much easier on the eyes, much cheaper books at least 50%, so I’m not worried more than I was yesterday about Amazon and their Kindle product.

Kaushal

I think Kindle beats iPad in many ways:
1. Global wireless
2. Paper-like display
3. Loooonger battery life
4. Cheaper option ($259)
5. I don’t know if iBook has this but Kindle has dicitonary lookup, capability to highlight, add notes which is really good.
6. Thinner than iPad, 1/2 lighter than iPad

So people who just want to read will surely go for Kindle.

Tofino

Could you clarify how the ‘global wireless’ in the kindle beats the iPad’s optional 3G? Don’t they use the same global standard?

i think you’re right that ‘people that only want to read’ will be better off with a kindle. The question apple seems to be providing the answer to seems to be: ‘what if you want more?’

There are always going to be devices that do JUST ONE THING better. i think that Apple has shown with the iPod Touch that they believe there is a bigger market in ‘not quite so dedicated’ gadgets.

meks

If I can read a book on the ipad in the sun out by the pool in Vegas, then you’re right.

ajbraun

Completely agree with broadcast james. though I bet e-ink wished they had an ipo already

Broadcast James

The point of the Kindle is the “digital paper”. You could always read novels on your Laptop’s LCD, but it’s an eye-strain issue.

Different product. You’re comparing SUVs to trucks here. You’re probably right that it will cut into that market, but really the Kindle is a different product, and that’s worth pointing out.

Art

Jobs: “It is the best browsing experience you’ve ever had.”

Are you kidding me? So my 25″ monitor provides me with a worse experience? How naive does he think we are?

How does he propose I carry it around?

Jobs (talking about the keyboard): “It is a dream to type on.”

Sure, it can be a dream to type on, if it is on my desk. Or, if I am on the go with this magical mobile [insert what you think it is] device, on the back of a homeless person on the street. What if I drop it accidentally? Do I just buy 5 of these to make sure I can get my mail on the bus!

Call me an Apple hater all you want, but this giant iPhone is going nowhere.

Scott

Unless you’re 25″ screen is also capacitive touch, yes, I can see how this would be better. Direct touch is always going to be easier for the end user than anything indirect like a mouse.

K1

“Direct touch is always going to be easier for the end user than anything indirect like a mouse.” Simply not true. With touch you have things like mishits. Selecting things with a mouse is more accurate than by touch and also quicker.

Yes you heard me right. You might not believe it until you experience it. Ever heard of the game Elite Beat Agents? Probably not, but it’s a rhythm game played with a stylus. Someone made a PC version that is played with the mouse which now has a community of over 100k+ users. If you ask the users there, they will tell you they prefer it to the stylus counterpart. This game is also available on the iPhone (in the Cydia store) and the mouse has the best experience.

Pete

3 million Ipad’s in 80 days. Going nowhere? Clueless, you are.

blake41

I just don’t see what purpose the ipad really serves? As an ereader with only ten hours of battery life you have to constantly be recharging it. As a computer it does basically the same thing any other computer does. I don’t see how this really adds any value over existing devices.

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