The first iPad was viewed by many as a serious rival and possible Kindle killer. But a year on, the domination of the ebook reader market by Amazon’s own pretty but basic device has only gone from strength to strength. So now that Apple are unleashing the iPad 2 onto the market in March 2011, will we finally see the long touted decline of the dedicated ebook reader?
I doubt it. Whilst many people do read on their tablet PCs, and iBooks is no doubt doing pretty well, highlighted with Random House joining the Apple fold, it simply isn’t the best device on which to read. Of course this move into the iBooks store may well reduce Kindle ebook sales. Previously anyone wanting to enjoy Random House best sellers such as “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” had to buy a Kindle book and set up the Kindle App for iPad. Now they could just buy it direct from the Apple store.
But we digress. The iPad 2 is still a bulky back-lit tablet great for many things, but not ideal for reading for long. It is never going to be so comfortable to hold as the ebook reader. Yes it is lighter and slimmer than its predecessor, but it is still a long way from the comfortable Kindle. The battery life is still around ten hours, which is fine so long as you are staying close to home or office. This isn’t going to be quite so great on vacation, when hours of pool-side reading are planned.
The iPad 2 is a winner; cameras, video out cables, faster processing and more mean this is a big improvement on the original. A $500 minimum price tag does nothing to suggest this could really ever be bought primarily for literary enjoyment. You will always need to be interested in all the other things it does to really spend that kind of money. For simply reading a good book the ebook readers, of which the Kindle dominate are not going to be leaving us just yet. When we see a smaller iPad 3 then perhaps ebook reading devices might be in a little more danger, but for now there simply is not a Kindle killer on offer.