Apple last week launched its much hyped iPad tablet, selling approximately 300,000 units on the first day. The company also announced that at least one book was downloaded within several hours of the purchase of each unit. Several online blogs announced that the iPad would be the eReader market leader and called it the ‘Kindle Killer’. The device may be cool (although I think it is a giant iPod Touch!) and should help people reduce the number of times they switch on their good ole’ PC or notebook for web browsing, the iPad is certainly not a ‘Kindle Killer’. The technical reason for this is the iPad’s panel. The iPad features a 9.7-inch IPS LED display versus the commonly used e-ink panel in most eReaders. If you have not seen an eReader until now, an e-ink panel looks almost exactly the same as a printed page and has no backlight. What this means is that the device does not produce any glare, allowing one to read even in bright sunlight and making the panel easy on their eyes. However, unlike the backlit iPad, eReader users would still need to switch on their reading light if they were to read at night, which they would do anyway if they were reading an actual paper book. The iPad also gains an upper-hand when it comes to reading color e-content. e-ink panels currently lack support for color and only allow users to read in black and white, thus not being the ideal choice for reading magazines. The nascent e-ink technology also lacks the fast processing speed of the iPad. However, companies are working towards developing much improved and faster e-ink panels and these disadvantages are expected to be minimalized by the end of the year.
iPad to Kill eReaders – Not Yet!