Will Apple’s iPad Kill the E-reader?

iPad vs. eReaders

It plays music. It plays video. It surfs the Web. And with the iBooks app, backed by five major publishers, you can read books on it, too.

Will Apple’s iPad make standalone e-readers like the Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader and Barnes & Noble Nook obsolete?

No. But just as do-it-all smartphones that play music have nibbled away at the market for standalone MP3 players, you had better believe the iPad will thin out the e-reader market.

Inexpensive readers like Amazon’s Kindle 2 and Barnes & Noble’s Nook, both of which retail for $259, will likely remain safe based on price alone. Even if they don’t pull the same multimedia tricks as the iPad, they sell for roughly half the price, with a lifetime of free, unlimited 3G service included (iPad owners will pay at least $15 a month for the privilege, and they’ll need to upgrade to the $629 3G model to even get access). Given the enormous discount these readers offer – especially taking into account the monthly charges – they should keep selling to true bookworms, even with the iPad looming over.

Apple iPad iBooksBesides the price that will preserve these smaller readers, Apple has also conveniently glossed over the iPad’s lack of the vital technology that makes e-readers so attractive to begin with: e-Ink screens. Although the company’s marketing materials try to make the iPad’s ordinary LCD screen more exotic by referring to it as an IPS display – a high-quality type of LCD – it sucks power just like any other active display, and won’t have the same stellar daylight viewability or natural look of e-Ink. In fact, you could call any existing Windows tablet an “e-reader” on par with the iPad by installing Kindle for PC. Ten hours of battery life might get you through a plane ride, but traditional e-readers can practically keep you busy through a steamship voyage.

Higher up the price scale, where premium e-readers collide with the iPad, things start to look a lot hazier. Plastic Logic’s Que ProReader, for instance, now seems a lot less competitive at $800. On some of its main selling points, like the ability to view PowerPoint presentations and other Microsoft Office documents, the iPad matches and exceeds it. Where you can view your colleague’s presentation on the ProReader, you can edit it, rearrange the slides and drop in pictures on the iPad. Spending $800 on a glorified newspaper seems downright silly when you could get what amounts to a similar-size computer for the same price.

Will e-Ink and lifetime service wireless plans be compelling enough to make these premium readers sell, even priced right next to the iPad? We’ll have to wait and see. But in a market looking to buy as cheap as possible (as witnessed by the success of netbooks) or wring every last bit of function possible out of an expensive do-it-all device (as witnessed by the success of the iPhone), high-price devices with a very narrow range of functionality don’t have a very bright future.

Also check out our video, Is Apple’s iPad the Ultimate e-Reader?

Product Review

This is the best budget laptop you can buy

One of our favorite laptops, the Asus Zenbook UX330UA, has been updated to feature the 8th-gen Intel Core CPU. It's still the best budget laptop on the market, offering great battery life and zippy performance at a discounted price.
Gaming

The plug-and-play PC Classic joins the retro console bandwagon

Gaming company Unit-e is creating the PC Classic, a plug-and-play retro console that will come bundled with around 30 of the best DOS games. The system will support gamepads and keyboard setups.
Mobile

Our favorite ebook reader is not a Kindle. Here are all the best options

If you're a bookworm, an ebook reader can be an important part of your life, one that allows you to read your books whenever and wherever you like. But which should you get? Here are five of the best ebook readers available.
Deals

The best iPad deals for November 2018

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for November 2018.
Apple

iPhone users are finding themselves randomly locked out of their Apple ID

According to posts on Reddit and Twitter, it looks like users on Reddit and Twitter having some issues with their Apple accounts. Specifically, it seems as though users are getting randomly locked out of their Apple IDs.
Mobile

Pocket Casts adds more cross-sync, curation, and Siri Shortcuts

Pocket Casts is a pocket staple for many podcast fanatics. But it's about to get even better with the introduction Pocket Casts 7.0 that adds intelligent curation, Siri Shortcuts support, and a streamlined UI.
Product Review

With style and feature upgrades, Misfit's next-generation Vapor 2 gets it right

Misfit’s next-generation smartwatch, the Vapor 2, packs built-in GPS, a heart-rate sensor, and more, into a beautiful design that starts from $250. We take a closer look at the company's latest device.
Mobile

Check out 30 of the best iPhone games you need to be playing

The iPhone has some of our favorite games available for any mobile platform. Here are the best iPhone games for every big-name genre, whether you're into puzzles, strategy, or something else entirely.
Mobile

You can now message businesses straight through Google Maps

Google has been updating Maps with a ton of new features over the past few months, and now it's back with another one -- the ability for users to message businesses directly through the Maps app.
Mobile

The Motiv smart ring is coming to 20 more countries and physical stores

Remember Motiv's activity tracking smart ring? It's back with a raft of new features that adds biometric identification and token authentication, all on a device that fits on your finger.
Mobile

The best protective iPhone cases to defend against dirt, dings, and drops

If you’re going off-road or work outdoors, it could be a good idea to invest in a tough case. These are our picks of the best protective iPhone cases for all iterations of the iPhone, from the iPhone XS to the 7.
Deals

All the Best Target Black Friday deals for 2018

The mega-retailer opens its doors to the most competitive shoppers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 22, and signs indicate that the retailer means business this year. We've sifted through all of the deals, from consumer electronics to small…
Computing

The MacBook is smaller, the MacBook Air is faster, but which is better?

This year, Apple's MacBook Air got a powerful internal upgrade, but the redesign makes it slimmer and lighter. So should you get the MacBook Air over the MacBook? We'll compare both notebook's major features and help you decide.
Mobile

Best iPhone 7 Plus screen protectors to shield your big, beautiful display

Cracked screens are expensive to replace. Fortunately for you, we've rounded up what's available in terms of protection for Apple's large iPhone 7 Plus. Here are the best screen protectors you can buy.