To iPad or to Kindle?

11Feb10

To iPad or to Kindle? I am a little stuck at the moment. My heart is screaming, “BOTH! BOTH! Please?” My head is saying, “£750 is a lot of money, like a whole month of rent a lot of money.” Stupid sensible head.

Kindle pros: Sleek, easy to use, consistent and beautiful. Rounded edges and brushed metal always give me goosebumps. Easy to annotate books with the qwerty keyboard and highlighting tool. Prettier than other e-readers.
Cons: No experimental browser available in the UK. Amazon can delete books. No way to set personal cataloging of books (i.e. my books are arranged according to genre, then author last name, and also with some reference to time frame – why have I just admitted this to the internet?).

iPad pros: Yummy. So beautiful, I could eat it (though it would be the most expensive and least satisfying meal I have ever had). The admittedly copied Delicious Library-inspired iBook application is satisfying to look at and, I imagine, fabulous to use. Multi-functional device.
Cons: Harder to read the backlit screen for long periods of time. More expensive books. More expensive generally.

And all of the iPad stuff? Pure speculation. That is what is so annoying. What seemed like an easy choice a few months ago is suddenly so difficult because there is no way of knowing what the iPad will be like.

And there is no way to compare. And no way to understand how this new gadget is going to fit into my life. I have a Macbook and an iPod touch; what will it replace? Will it straddle the two devices? Will it create new room and make me find something that I never knew I was missing?

I am aware of the ridiculousness of the above sentiment, but the point remains.

And I have to applaud Apple for the frenzied fever-pitch it has once again inspired. Steve Jobs is really the Maestro.

Overall, I think it is unfair to compare the Kindle and the iPad side by side – they have different functions, different purposes, different strengths and will fulfill different purposes. Ultimately, I think Amazon’s and Apple’s respective target markets may be different, with significant overlaps (hello, affluent, childless, 30-something urbanites!), so it’s perhaps useful to refer to the Kindle as the Mothership E-Reader (the Nook is not yet available in the UK and, let’s face it, the Sony E-Reader is just plain ugly) and the iPad as the Netbook Killer.

At least, that is, until Amazon unveils what they plan to do with Touchco’s flexi-screen technology…

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