More iPad 2, Kindle 3 threads

From the Kindle forum we get this excellent comment about the iPad 2’s impact on the Kindle 3 -

I just read two articles on the Internet confirming a rumor to most likely come true that Apple is going to launch two new iPADS geared to the e-Reader market.

I knew Apple had something up its sleeve to monopolize the E-reader production and what a more better time than Christmas!

If the prices should be in the $300-400 price range for the new models, Apple will certainly have an anaconda that will crush Kindle.

Perhaps it’s a bit of a stretch to call a 7″ screen device an Anaconda. However, the line is pure magic.

Susan U. has a response -

I can sleep better at night now. What a weight off my mind.

Love it. 

Our kindle forum original commenter also has a crazy conspiracy/spy theory -

It’s amusing how companies have spies because the prices for Kindle and Nook along with Sony have all of a sudden dropped because they must have caught drift of Apple’s new iPADS coming out.

So it seems there can only be two possible reasons for eReader price cuts – to compete against the iPad, to prepare for the iPad 2. Things like economies of scale or releasing new models at lower prices or lowering prices to clear stock just don’t apply.

Apple will certainly have an anaconda that will crush Kindle

Let’s find out a little more about Apple’s Anaconda -

  1. Some rumors mention 7″ screens and others mention 7″ and 5.6″ screens.
  2. Arriving before Christmas.
  3. Chimmei Innolux will supply 7-inch IPS LCDs.
  4. DigiTimes and Economic Daily Times (two sources of iPad 2 rumors) differ on some details. DigiTimes thinks the iPad 2 will have a OLED screen.  
  5. Compal Electronics will be assembling the iPad 2. 
  6. Cando would supply the touchscreen technology.
  7. There’s no mention of FoxConn which is not surprising.  

Details courtesy lots of sources including Fast Company. Fast Company thinks size and price are the big two factors and would probably add weight to that. If also thinks iPad 2 will debut at $300 and that’s probably quite likely.

How much of a threat is Apple’s Anaconda?

Well, it depends on whether it is a cheap $250 to $300 Anaconda or an expensive $350 Anaconda.

The Kindle WiFi is pretty safe. There’s no way the iPad 2 is going to be anywhere near $139. Kindle 3 sales will be affected a bit if iPad 2 is around $250 but not much if it’s $300 or more.

There are four main factors that make the iPad 2 better for reading than the iPad -

  1. Lower weight so you can actually hold it easily when reading and your hands don’t get tired. 
  2. Lower price so it’s more affordable. The whole ‘value for money’ angle becomes stronger when you can club ‘does more than just read’ with ‘$300 price’.  
  3. The more compact size means it’s easier to carry and hold.  
  4. It might have the new Retina Display and perhaps that reduces the readability gap between eInk Pearl and LCDs significantly.  

It’ll be quite funny to see the Press finally admit the iPad’s size and weight make it unsuitable for reading. Of course, its only the arrival of a smaller iPad 2 that makes the Press realize this.

iPad 2 is definitely more of a threat than iPad 1. The one area that’s a big concern is the ‘holiday gift’ area. If iPad 2 is $250 to $300 then a significant number of people thinking of gifting a Kindle 3 or Nook 2 might be tempted to gift an iPad 2 instead.

The Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi and Nook 2 still have significant advantages -

  1. eInk Pearl is much better than LCD. 
  2. eInk is easy on the eyes and for most people LCD is not.
  3. Kindle 3 is readable in sunlight.
  4. Prices for eReaders have become really low.
  5. eReaders are built for reading with few distractions.

However, iPad 2 narrows the gap and forces eReaders to evolve faster.

It’s interesting that Apple are re-attacking the eReader market so soon

There’s lots of talk (mostly from DigiTimes) that the smaller iPad 2s are targeted at reading. It makes you wonder if Apple really does want to go after the eReader market.

If you saw a big emerging market and at the same time thought everyone in it was lost because they wanted to read on black and white screens and wanted to read books instead of throwing birds at pigs – Well, perhaps you might feel you ought to show them the true path. Perhaps Apple feels the iPad 2 will show people that reading without color and touch is a waste and that focusing on books isn’t really worthwhile.

The other possibility is that Apple, at some level, thinks it can steal off more and more readers by promising them more than just reading and take a bigger chunk of the eReader market. By it’s very nature the iPad steals generalists from various niches and Apple must feel that with a lower price and a smaller size it can get most casual readers to choose Apple over Amazon.

We’ll just have to wait and see what the iPad 2 is like and whether or not it affects the Kindle 3. It was a nice few weeks with no ‘Kindle is going to die’ articles – it might be 2011 before we see another stretch like it.

9 Responses

  1. A 7 inch iPad is definitely appealing – better, smaller size and much lower price hopefully. However it would have to come in at £200 or less to convince me and many other UK members I suspect to buy one – don’t forget we’re still in the throes of a deep recession with food prices soaring and wages being frozen. A few years back I’d get every great gadget going but now I’ve really had to cut down on these “luxury” purchases.

    And, unless it’s great to read on outside – with a remarkably improved battery life – no way would it replace the Kindle. Serious readers I think will stick to a dedicated ereading device. It’s the casual readers who are most likely to be swayed.

    Interesting one to watch for though – might have to trade in my trusty iPod touch – and a few other items !!!

  2. I’m not sure about the target audience about this 7 inch iPad. I think it is specifically targeted for current kindle/nook owners (or prospective). Why? Because they already have the iphone/ipod touch and the original iPad which cover a lot of users (you know, those that won’t buy a kindle because “I can read on my iPad/iPhone”).
    Original iPad is great to do anything except read . iPhone is great for mobility/music/gaming. The only market that Apple is not getting is the ebook’s one. If Apple is targetting the ebook market with this new iPad, it means that the ebook market is really big and Amazon’s claim of selling millions of kindles is true.
    OTOH, maybe Apple realized that 9.7 inch is too big for a portable device that was supposed to fill a gap between smartphones and netbooks, and an smaller size would fit in that gap better.

  3. I bought the iPad the day it came out in Canada and I have been using it everyday since. I thought about buying the Kindle 2 when it came out, but I was awaiting the iPad. Technically speaking the iPad is far superior to the Kindle. I thought it would be great to use the iPad as an e-reader and have all the other available functionality of the iPad. After using the iPad for over 2 and a half months now, I have decided to buy the Kindle 3. The iPad is a great device, but it’s just not a great e-reader. The glare is a problem. I bought an anti-glare film to help the problem, and while it did, it’s not enough. The LCD screen is not ideal for reading as you are essentially staring into a light bulb. The weight is annoying. iBooks is embarrassing with it’s lack of content. The best way to get books on the iPad is the Kindle app.

    I still think my iPad is great and I will continue to use it for many other things. But as someone who is a serious reader and reads in less than ideal light conditions (train) I cannot wait for my Kindle 3 to arrive.

  4. Wall Street Journal:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703824304575435512550936090.html?mod=mostpop

    Clearance Sale: Barnes & Noble Didn’t Evolve Enough

    The simple explanation for Barnes & Noble’s decline is the Internet, which spawned Amazon.com, e-readers and digital books. But that didn’t have to be the end for B&N, which had a dominant market position and should have out-Amazoned Amazon, leveraging its brand and innovating when it began marketing and selling books online. Now I’m using Apple’s iPad, and while I predicted the demise of the Kindle in a previous column, I may have been premature. I like reading on the iPad, especially in bed at night and in other places where the device’s back-lighting comes in handy. So far, it hasn’t bothered my eyes at all, unlike the indistinct pages of the Kindle. But the Kindle is better outdoors.

  5. My ideal anaconda:

    + PDF support (and I mean good support).
    + 8″-10″ screen.
    + Wi-Fi.
    + SD slot.
    + Light enough to read with one hand (maybe less than 12oz).
    + Technology to read outdoors.
    + ePub support.
    + Less than $200 bucks.
    + Port to connect an optional external keyboard (like some Palms of yore).
    + PDF support, PDF support, PDF support.

  6. The problem with Apple is that the quoted price (or rumored price in this case) is never the real price…

    Apple Care, a docking station, case etc. will certainly push the price way north of $300. The rumored $300 intro price will be like the $499 price for the iPad 1: it’s NOT the price that anyone, except for a very few people, will pay. That’s because it’s the basic model. Most people will want upgraded memory and radio options, accessories and Apple Care extended warranty. Oh yeah, and in most places, there’s a tax for all of that stuff. I live in Washington State. Our sales tax rate is 9.5% (OUCH!).

    I’m keen on some sort of slate device in the next 4-6 months for my personal use, as I want something that replaces the iPod Touch (1st Gen) that I’ve been using for a PDA. The current iPad is too big and does too little for its size. At that size I want a full-blown tablet running a desk-top OS.

    The 7″ iPad might be just right, and hopefully more affordable than the current generation iPad (at least for me…)

    However, that does NOT mean that I’m running out to cancel my Kindle 3 order: I still want a dedicated reader. There’s room in my shoulder bag for two devices.

  7. A 7″ iPad is a good idea, as an iPad. It might fit in a cargo pocket, where a full-size iPad requires a netbook case. That would give it some of the ultra-portability of the iPhone/iPod touch (which can automatically go anywhere because they fit in a shirt pocket) while providing a larger display.

    But for reading, I doubt I’d use a 7″ iPad any more than I use the full-size one. I mean, I use the iPad a LOT (and other household members borrow it quite a bit too), but for reading it’s mostly the Kindle. Still & all, I expect the Kindle will get ePub compatibility within a year, just so it can keep up.

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