Home Tech iPad meets Kindle: Which platform will win out?

iPad meets Kindle: Which platform will win out?


So, we are only a few days away from the launch of the iPad in the USA. Fans of eBooks, in particular, are keen to see what delights are in the new iBookStore. There’s a natural inclination to think AppStore=iBookStore, but can Apple do for books what the AppStore did for instant-download applications? When the iPhone was announced in 2007 the AppStore was something completely new.

Anyone who had struggled with buying and installing programs on, say, Windows Mobile, soon appreciated the big advance of being able to select a program, pay for it instantly and find it installed and working within seconds. No licence codes, no installation packages, no nothing except pure instant gratification. It is not surprising, with hindsight, that the idea was such an instant success; nor that the AppStore has done more to stimulate the sales of iPhones and iPod Touch models than any amount of advertising or geek praise.

The iBookStore, although it will certainly work in a similar fashion to the AppStore, is not so revolutionary. Amazon already offer a similar buying experience, not just on the Kindle but on iPhones, Macs, PCs and other platforms. As we saw in the yesterday’s post, Apple will have to work hard to gain the initiative. They will have to meet Amazon head to head and, if possible, bring a few rabbits out of the hat. Certainly they need to offer cloud synching to compete with Amazon’s Whispersync. Once you’ve tried that you wouldn’t want to go back to having to search through a book when changing readers. In fact, I think this is one crucial aspect: without sync the iBookStore will supplant Amazon.

In some respects, though, Apple do have an advantage. The iPad is a multi-function computer that offers access to much more than books. Amazon, if you sideline the Kindle device itself, is primarily a content provider while Apple, initially at least, is more interested in the hardware. This can change, of course. I feel sure even Apple could not have imagined that the AppStore would bring in so much revenue, nor that it would prove such stimulation to sales.

To add to the debate, here’s a stimulating article on iPad vs. Kindle from MacWorld on March 24: Read more here.


  1. As ever, interesting discussion here, but equally as ever, I still contend two things in the iPad/Kindle (disregarding for the moment the other 300 eReaders out there) contest.Firstly, and most importantly, the Kindle is designed first and foremost to be a very efficient, easy to use and comfortable device on which to read books, which the iPad is not.

    Secondly, from all that I have read about the iPad, it is actually a rather stripped down Apple computer, missing a lot of those functions which every self-respecting computer would normally have. A sort of Apple-Lite, as it were.

    So, whilst reading eBooks on any computer rather than a dedicated eReader is a matter of personal taste, I am reasonably sure that the iPad is not a serious contender in this field – all the hype notwithstanding. However, probably by the time Apple have revised this device and turned it into a normal computer in a smaller box than usual, it may begin to be a reasonable alternative for those who want it all in one package. But this will happen much later than next month.

    As always, I hope that the world’s manufacturers will try and give all types of users what they desire. Diversity is good for all of us really.

  2. The iPad is more a stripped-UP iPhone rather than a stripped-down Mac. At first I hoped it would be a tablet Mac, running OS X, but now I see the advantages of using iPhone OS. It means the iPad has all the convenience of the iPhone (particularly in relation to app and book downloads). Apparent disadvantages such as lack of multi-tasking and lack of Flash Player can actually be seen as advantages in terms of improved stability and longer battery life. Having said that, some form of multi-tasking will come, perhaps even as early as this Summer when iPhone OS 4 is announced.

    The iPad (and the iPhone) actually does just what a lot of people want. It deals well with email and browses the web with elan. It also runs simple applications that do real things that people like. Many of the people, especially older people, I help with their computers do nothing other than answer emails and book cheap flights. They will get more added enjoyment out of an iPad than they would out of the more complex MacBook.


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