Kindle vs iPad – Hello, I'm a Kindle and I'm an iPad

The Kindle 3 finally gets an Ad that’s got bite and it’s beautiful.


It’s so much like an Apple ad it’s awesome the joke’s on an Apple product –

  1. Apple uses a ‘cool’ guy as a Mac and an awkward, out of shape guy as a PC. Kindle’s Ad goes one better because it shows a pretty good-looking, in shape, stylish woman as a Kindle user and an awkward, mid-life crisis stricken, delta looking man as the iPad.
  2. To make things better they actually bestow him with the capability of asking inane questions.
  3. Being by the pool gives them a chance to give the Kindle owner a magic flat stomach and the iPad owner the hint of a paunch. It’s so unfair.
  4. They throw in the $139 and ‘my sunglasses cost me more’. 
  5. It’s true – the iPad really does reflect your face just like that in sunlight. A lot of the things in the ‘Hello, I’m a Mac’ ads were exaggerations – However, readability in sunlight and low price are both solid and valid Kindle 3 advantages.

The ad gets a lot right – the man being a bit out of shape but not too much, the woman being good-looking but not unrealistic, the man having the sense of style of a Greyhound bus, the woman having a lot of social intelligence so she isn’t condescending, the man making all the facial expressions required to cement him as someone you wouldn’t want to be.

My favorite aspect is that they never make it too stark – the guy doesn’t have a big pot belly and the girl isn’t unreal beautiful and the conversation is not condescending and it’s just very, very well done. There’s not really any nastiness except at the subconscious level.

Who would have thought Amazon would finally start using killer advertising for the Kindle 3.

Best Comment Ever about ‘iPad can read in the dark’ at CrunchGear

The typical ‘iPad can read in the dark’ nonsense started creeping in amongst the comments at CrunchGear’s Kindle vs iPad ad article.

First, we get a couple of valid responses to ‘reading in the dark’ –

Jack: If you purchase the cover available for the new version of the Kindle, it has a built-in LED light. It is much easier on the reader’s eyes and much less likely to affect a bed partner.

Posh: Yeah, the new Kindle cover with built-in light is almost better than the new Kindle itself.

Posh is so right – the lighted cover is almost better than the Kindle 3.

And then we get this amazing comment –

Some morons are saying that the Kindle is hard to read in the dark.

How often do you find yourself reading in the dark dumbass? Unless you’re a Chilean miner trapped in 500 feet below ground trying to catch up on his Marquez, you wouldn’t be reading in the dark.

It’s typical Apple fanboy attitude to start exaggerating the importance of reading in the absolute dark. We shouldn’t really be surprised Apple and Apple people have been promoting ‘reading in the dark’ as a super big advantage. It’s exactly what you would expect from a company that talks about using ‘aircraft grade aluminium’.

With the Kindle Lighted Cover even their exaggerations can’t hold up. Hopefully we can get them to stop hammering on the fact that iPad has a backlight and bleeds out your eyes.

Kindle vs iPad Mini

There had been rumors of a 7″ iPad Mini to take on the Kindle in April. It’s mid-July and Kindle vs iPad Mini rumors are heating up again.

Kindle vs iPad Mini – 7″ and 5.6″ iPad Minis by end 2010?

At that time we had heard –

… a smaller 5- to 7-inch version of the iPad that is expected to launch as soon as the first quarter of 2011 …

… priced below US$400 and will target the highly portable mobile device market and consumers that focus mainly on reading.

Now we are hearing (iPad Mini hints courtesy DigiTimes) –

… second-generation iPad, using 5.6-inch and 7-inch OLED panels, as soon as in the fourth quarter of 2010 …

The sources noted that Apple has recently placed new iPad orders to Taiwan-based component makers for the fourth quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011 with 9.7-inch, 5.6-inch and 7-inch models all included.

The new 5.6- and 7-inch iPads will mainly target the e-book reader market, separating them from the 9.7-inch model, which mainly targets multimedia entertainment, the sources stated.

It’s basically the exact same rumors – expect this time there’s talk of contracts having already been signed and OLED displays being used on the iPad Mini 7″ and iPad Mini 5.6″.

Is this about Kindle vs iPad Mini or about gaming?

While both in April and now in July the rumors have claimed that the 5.6″ and 7″ iPad Minis will target readers it’s hard to believe Apple would be building OLED screen reading devices.

  1. OLEDs consume more power than even LCDs. How are they going to compete with eInk? 
  2. OLEDs are pretty expensive – DigiTimes says Samsung and LG Display are reducing prices and you still have to wonder what prices they can get OLEDs down to.
  3. The choice of OLEDs hints at a desire to bring the prettier Retina Display to iPads rather than to create a more readable display.
  4. OLEDs aren’t readable in sunlight.
  5. How will OLED powered do-everything devices for $400 compete with $189 Kindles and $109 refurbished Kindles?

Perhaps Apple hits $300 – However, the device would still not be ideal for reading. Whether it’s lower battery life due to use of OLEDs, not being readable in sunlight, or more eye-strain than eInk you get the same set of problems the iPad currently has.

The only dimension Apple would improve on is price. Perhaps they think Retina Display ads will be enough to convince people the iPad Mini is better for reading than Kindle eInk.

Sub $400 7″ iPad Mini vs $189 6″ Kindle 3 – What would readers choose?

People who want a device that does more than just read are already picking an iPhone or an iPad. So we really aren’t talking about that demographic. This is about people who want a device for reading books.

Let’s consider some of the most important qualities related to reading –

  1. Readable screen. The Kindle wins due to eInk. There will, however, be people who are seduced by the Retina display and color and touch capabilities of the iPad Mini.  
  2. Easy to get books. A tie as both devices are good.
  3. Good value for money. This is a difficult one as for readers the Kindle is better – However, it’s hard to claim the iPad Mini won’t offer as good or even better value for money if you start factoring in non-reading uses.
  4. Low Total Cost of Ownership. Kindle wins as wireless browsing and downloads are free. This is never really considered when people discuss the iPad. 
  5. Doesn’t tire the eyes. Kindle wins for people who aren’t LCD compatible. LCD compatible people find no difference.
  6. Lots of available books. Tie due to the Kindle for iPad app.
  7. Low book prices. Tie due to the Kindle for iPad app.   
  8. Readable in sunlight. Kindle wins.
  9. Readable in the dark. iPad wins if you can’t (or don’t want to) turn on a reading light. It might affect your sleep and cause insomnia – However, if you’re LCD compatible you’re probably immune to this.
  10. Apps that add to reading. Depends on what the Kindle App Store looks like and when it releases. iPad wins at the moment. 
  11. Light Weight. This was a major iPad disadvantage and this will now be a tie.
  12. Portable form factor. Another major iPad disadvantage that will be a tie.

We arrive at a rather interesting realization – The iPad was losing out to the Kindle in a few key areas including total cost of ownership, intial price, weight, portability, readability in sunlight, and readable screen.

Due to the lower price and smaller size the 5.6″ and 7″ iPads would counter some of those Kindle advantages – initial price (to an extent), weight, portability.

The gap between iPad Mini and Kindle for readers would be smaller. There will be a few groups of readers who’ll obviously stick with the Kindle – people who aren’t LCD compatible, people who want a device focused on reading and don’t want distractions, people who consider total cost of ownership. There will also be a few groups of readers who will leave – those who want one device that does everything, those who are LCD compatible, people who aspire to own an Apple product but couldn’t afford one until the $300 iPad.

Smaller, cheaper iPads would make Kindle vs iPad Mini a very close fight

Amazon still has a strong price, portability, and readability advantage over the iPad. However, when Apple introduces cheaper iPads Amazon will have to either create new advantages or match Apple advantages.

The possibilities include a better eInk screen, even lower prices, a really good Kindle App Store, more focus on reading, a multi-tasking Kindle that attacks Apple, Kindle subsidies, more focus on Kindle Apps, and creating a new killer feature Apple can’t match.

The iPad is not a huge threat because it’s still too untailored for reading and too expensive (particularly if you consider total cost of ownership). However, Apple are clearly indicating that they intend to go after readers – even if it is with a multi-purpose device. If Amazon doesn’t create a few big advantages for the Kindle by the end of 2010 Kindle vs iPad Mini might turn out very bad for the Kindle.

Kindle necessary for iPad owners – ComputerWorld

There’s a new trend starting – People who bought the iPad had begun to think the Kindle was no longer needed. Of course, they felt it necessary to scream it out from the rooftops and declare the Kindle dead. Now after a month or so with their iPads more and more of them are changing their minds as they realize the Kindle really is better for reading.

We saw this with Clayton Morris who pointed out several reasons the Kindle is better for reading than the iPad. We now have Mike Elgan at ComputerWorld have a change of heart –

But now that I’ve used an iPad for a month and a half, I’ve come to realize that I still want, need and love my Kindle.

In a nutshell, the e-book reading on the iPad is generally great. But the list of things the iPad does badly is identical to the list of things the Kindle does well. And vice versa.

He’s hedging his bets – However, it’s much better than the initial ‘Kindle is dead’ sentiment.

13 reasons iPad owners need a Kindle

Courtesy Mike Elgan at ComputerWorld we get a list of 13 reasons the Kindle is necessary even if you have the magical iPad –

  1. Reading in the Sun. He rightly points out that the iPad is unreadable in direct sunlight. It’d be nice if people started pointing out that the iPad doesn’t handle bright light that well either.
  2. Free Mobile Broadband – He rightly points out that if you only need 3G to browse for books and download them then the Kindle has free 3G. He misses out that Wikipedia, Google search, and mobile sites also work quite well.
  3. Auto-Reader (Text to Speech) – Elgan talks about letting his Kindle read to him and the usefulness. Apple also has text to speech though its an accessibility feature (Voice Over) and it’s a pain to use as all the buttons become voice activated.
  4. Overheating. He says that in direct sunlight, in a hot car, and in hot weather the iPad can overheat and shut down.  
  5. Security. A very valid point – the Kindle is less likely to be stolen and at $189 much less of a loss if it is.
  6. Reading before Sleep. Mike Elgan quotes a study that suggests reading on a device using a back-lit screen can interfere with the quality of your sleep. This is one of those things which varies from person to person – for me, backlit screens at night do mess up my sleep.  
  7. Battery Life. iPad’s 10 to 12 hours versus the Kindle’s 2 weeks.
  8. Book Availability. Not as much of a pro-Kindle argument as a pro-Kindle Store argument.  
  9. Magazine Availability. Also a pro-Kindle Store argument. 
  10. Weight. The iPad weighs 1.5 pounds and holding it with one or both hands gets tiring very quickly. You have to rest it against something which sometimes means bending your neck awkwardly. The Kindle is just 10.2 ounces and you can hold and read it for a long time – even if you’re using just one hand.
  11. Multiple Users. Elgan points out that kids, family, and friends always want to borrow the iPad and it’s tough to get time for reading.
  12. Peace. He says that he gets interrupted once every 15 minutes when using his iPad outdoors.
  13. Multitasking. Mike Elgan says there are lots of situations where two devices are better than one.

His ending is pretty interesting –

If I had to choose between an iPad and a Kindle, there is no question that I’d choose an iPad. But I don’t have to choose. I can have it all. And I recommend that all serious readers who buy an iPad do the same.

It’s pretty obvious that after 1 to 2 months of owning an iPad the ‘This device does everything better than everything else’ sentiment begins to disappear. Makes you wonder what other feelings are going to dissipate over the next 3 to 4 months.