Kindle vs. iPad

All right, here we go.

To preface what follows, I should say that I am the owner of a 2nd generation Kindle, and I love it.  While I have fiddled around with an iPad, I have not used one extensively, so my opinions are largely formed through second-hand reports.

That being said, the title of this post is a tad misleading, since the thrust of my conclusion is that the two are not actually competing.  When it comes down to it, the Kindle and iPad are designed to do different things: the Kindle is designed for reading books in the most book-like way possible while still on an electronic device that lets you carry around thousands of books at once; the iPad is designed as a media-consumption device, which includes reading as one of its functions but not its sole and primary function.

This conclusion is supported by a recent survey, which found that 40% of current iPad owners also own a Kindle, and an additional 23% of iPad owners plan to buy a Kindle within the next 12 months.  (HT: Challies)

Of course, the Kindle’s much lower price ($139 for the Wi-Fi model, $189 for the 3G model, compared to approx. $500 for the lowest priced iPad) is just another testament to the fact that the two products are simply in different categories.

Here is a list of mainly what I like about the Kindle that the iPad doesn’t have:

  • Lower price.
  • E-ink technology is just really cool.  It doesn’t strain one’s eyes the way a backlit LCD screen does.  Of course, there are downsides: black-and-white, lower resolution images, no moving pictures, etc.  But, those downsides are inherently part of the design of the Kindle’s purpose: to be a book-like reading device.
  • Free 3G (no monthly fee!).  Now, keep in mind the limitations of the E-ink screen; you won’t be watching Youtube on a Kindle any time soon.  However, this does mean free, unlimited access to Wikipedia, Google, and other primarily text-based websites.  Now that’s just cool.

I’m not saying that the Kindle is better than the iPad.  What I’m saying is that I like the Kindle for what it is; of course the iPad can do more than the Kindle, but that doesn’t mean the iPad supersedes the Kindle, either.

A word about the Kindle 3: yes, I want one.  But, I’m content for now with my Kindle 2.  As far as I can tell, the Kindle 3 is mainly just a lot slicker (more memory, smaller size, higher contrast, longer battery life, etc.) than the Kindle 2 without a whole lot in the way of increased functionality.  The one feature the Kindle 3 has that I really do appreciate is the Wi-Fi capability on the 3G model; the 3G Kindle 2 cannot use Wi-Fi.

For those of you who would really be interested, here’s a video of James White explaining how he uses these technological gadgets, particularly in his ministry.

[Note: those using a feed reader may have to click through to see the video.]

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