Thursday, January 28, 2010

Will The Apple iPad Challenge The Kindle And Netbooks?

My first impressions of the Apple announcement were not so positive beyond the obvious attractiveness of the product.  Once you look ‘under the hood’ there is much to be excited about.  Apple has thought this out very well, but then Steve Jobs is all about the consumer experience first.   I believe the iPad is the Kindle and Netbook killer!  It's competitively positioned in terms of functions, features and price.  In terms of user experience, the iPad is in a class of its own.  

Reasons why the Apple iPad will win.

  • The iPad is designed with the user experience in mind – full color and a multi-gestures touchscreen that we are now so used to with iPhones and the Palm Pre ( )  A Kindle takes you back to the 1980’s in looks and functionality and a Netbook has no such touchscreen either.
  • The iPad is about consuming content of all kinds and not just reading books: watch movies or TV shows, play games, listen to music, read anything including emails, respond to emails, get navigation, get access to the internet and thousands of Apps already available on the iPhone, upload your photos and videos etc.  Netbooks can indeed offer you access to the Internet but hey, it’s Windows not the Apple experience!  You don’t get the feel of reading a book on a Netbook browser i.e. the visual aspect of turning over a page.
  • The iPad offers a pretty good-sized virtual keyboard unlike the tiny ones on a Netbook or the cumbersome one on the Kindle.  Additionally, the iPad offers a great docking facility enabling you to attach a full size desktop Apple keyboard. 
  • A USB connection on the iPad opens up access to all sorts of stored information on a Flash drive, including connectivity to a digital camera for upload to Flickr, Youtube etc.  No such thing with a Kindle! 
  • iPad supports ePub, creating compatibility with books sold in any format.  The Kindle is proprietary!  The iBook store is a whole new shopping experience and being able to turn pages in color on the iPad is also very realistic and visually pleasing. 
  • Publishers are not too happy with Amazon’s 70% share of revenue and will be eager to distribute through Apple’s iBook store for a 30% revenue share.  
  • The iPad starts at $499 for just the Wi-Fi connectivity model with 16 GB  - only $10 more than the Kindle DX!  Which would you buy: a plain vanilla e-reader or a whole-life-device on an iPad? 
  •  With the Apps store, publishers can create new experiences with e-books incorporating video within a book for example.  The Kindle is a pure textual experience and only black and white.  The processor cannot handle multi-media.

All in all, Apple is synonymous with ‘the cool factor’ and for a mere $10 more than a Kindle DX, the iPad wins hands down!  The Kindle will possibly continue to appeal to pure book readers only.  Amazon might be able to sustain sales if it dropped the price significantly, but it looks like they are entering the Apps market shortly, in which case, Kindle vs. iPad will lose. As for Netbooks, well no comparison, you’d have to be a Microsoft fan to go for one of those.  Once you’ve used a Mac or an iPhone, you will never go back to the Microsoft platform. 


Anonymous said...

You're missing one point about 3G costs. They will be a factor in adoption rate. But I agree with the general position you take here.

Audrey Peters on February 10, 2010 at 10:24 AM said...

Actually I don't believe the AT&T cost is a big issue because there is no long term contract associated with it. For most people the wi-fi connection is sufficient, but if you are traveling and want cellular connection for that trip, you can just pay for the one month. That's a flexible option and will not deter the sales of this beauty.

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