by Patrick Fairlie on January 28th, 2010
Following the launch of Apple’s iPad, the question has been raised on many blogs: ‘is this detrimental to the e-reader device, most notably Amazon’s Kindle?’ Undoubtedly the iPad, with its iBook App, is going to bring extra competition into the eReader market. Then when you look at its extra features such as email, videos and access to any of the 140,000 Apps from Apple’s App Store, you have to ask yourself why you would want an eReader where all you are able to do is read books, magazines, etc?
When you look closely, the limitations of an eReader aren’t such a big drawback. A consumer who buys an eReader wants to use it as reading device and eReaders provide this service to a reasonably high level. If you need extra features you can use your smartphone, netbook or laptop.
So will the contest come down to price? The entry level iPad comes in at $499, considerably lower than some predicted but it is still a long way off the $259 price tag of Amazon’s Kindle, the eReaders market leader. With the one off payment for the Kindle you also get unlimited free 3G access, but to get this with the iPad you are forced to pay more initially for your iPad and then $30 a month for the 3G access. So the costs of the iPad are mounting up.
The iPad is almost certainly going to take sales away from the eReader market, however I think these will be at a fairly low level because really they are distinct markets. I also believe there is room for both devices in the market place and the iPad is more likely to encroach on the netbook or laptop segment of the device market.