I just bought myself an iPad and will be trying it out for functionality for lawyers. The iPad is truly a sexy machine, and I have to hand it to Steve Jobs for this one. More on that in another post. If you’re interested in an e-book reading device and wondering whether Kindle or iPad is for you, read on.
Let’s start with the physical attributes. There is a quite noticeable difference in weight and feel between these devices. The iPad weighs in at 1.5 lb. and is 9.56″ tall by 7.47″ wide by 1/2″ thick. Kindle 2 is a mere 10.2 oz. and 8″ tall by 5.3″ wide by 0.36″ thick. This is important, because you will be holding the device with one hand or resting it on your lap. A 1.5-lb. device is going to get heavy and fatigue your wrist pretty quickly. Kindle 2, even with the cute pink leather case I purchased for it, is so light that I am not bothered by the weight.
The iPad has Apple’s app, called “iBooks,” which allows you to download and read — you guessed it — iBooks, not to be confused with eBooks from Barnes & Noble or Kindle Books from Amazon. When I set up my iPad, I had it install my B&N eReader app, because I bought The E-Myth Revisited from B&N before I purchased the Kindle 2 in January, so now I have a book I paid for and can’t use anywhere but on my iPod Touch, which is too small for me to enjoy reading on. (I should have waited.) Anyway, here goes.
Kindle 2 is a great device for reading e-books. It has the e-ink stuff and no back-lighting, so it appears like a printed page from any book inside or out, overcast or sunny. Of course, this also means you need a book light for it. I’m fine with that. For most of my reading, I don’t need the book light, but it is handy at times.
iPad, on the other hand, has a screen just like a computer screen. As you know, if you’ve tried to use a laptop out in the sun, it’s somewhat of a challenge. With this device, it’s utterly impossible. However, indoors, it’s bright, bold and beautiful. It also has the same multi-touch screen as your iPod Touch or iPhone, so if you like that, you’ll love this. It really is very sweet.
Here is a shot of the iPad next to my Kindle 2. As you can see, the iPad has a nice bright display. I also realize I probably have the white balance screwed up because of the primary focus being on the iPad screen, so Kindle looks a little dark in this one. This mini-studio is also set up in my basement, so it’s just dark down there. As you can see, the iPad supports color. The Kindle 2 does not. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t care. I just want to read the books. Amazon’s slogan is something like “it disappears in your hand,” which it really does. You can also see here that the iPad screen is quite a bit larger than Kindle 2. Again, not a big deal for me.
Here they are, seated side by side, enjoying a sunny afternoon on my glider bench in the front yard. (The only thing missing is an iced latte.) As you can see, Kindle 2 has a beautiful display for reading in the sun, whereas you can barely see the screen content on iPad. If you look closely, though, you can see the same page on the screen from the previous photo, the tree from Winnie-the-Pooh. You can also see part of my reflection in the screen. It is a glossy black screen, just like any laptop screen. I’ve noticed that trying to work remotely on a nice sunny day with my MacBook is not as nice as I thought it would be, because the screen darkens like this. I got Transitions lenses this past year for the first time, and they darken, too. The combination of the two “darkening agents” makes it seem like I’m looking at a screen that’s off.
I’d love to read your comments or field any questions you may have on this topic. I’m sure I haven’t covered everything there is on this topic with these two devices. I may even post an update. I will respond to all questions, and most likely, the discussion will spark a future post. Watch for more.