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Old 02-11-2010, 01:24 PM   #1
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Fortune: Kindle vs. iPad: Far from over

http://brainstormtech.blogs.fortune....far-from-over/

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In the matchup between the iPad and the Kindle, some say it’s game over for Amazon’s e-Reader. But according to industry watchers, it’s still only the first quarter.
It's not even the first quarter. People are still buying popcorn and snacks, and lingering out in the parking lot.
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Old 02-11-2010, 01:50 PM   #2
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"It's not even the first quarter. People are still buying popcorn and snacks, and lingering out in the parking lot."

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Old 02-11-2010, 01:53 PM   #3
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http://brainstormtech.blogs.fortune....far-from-over/



It's not even the first quarter. People are still buying popcorn and snacks, and lingering out in the parking lot.
So true, we are nearly 2 months away from the iPad launch, which will be the start of the first quarter. A lot of folks (like me) really want to read real, hands on reviews of the finished product. There will I think in the end be room for Amazon no matter what Apple/iPad does. But, Amazon will have to change some things, and that I think will be good.

At some point Amazon is going to have to open up to at least the ePub format. They are going to have to get a better screen technology to truly go mainstream.
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Old 02-11-2010, 01:59 PM   #4
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I found these comments to be very interesting

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“They’re not going to convince people to make apps for a somewhat connected, barely interactive, monochrome device,” he says. “Amazon knows that.” McQuivey expects to see an upgraded device announced by the end of this year.
That was my first impression when the Kindle SDK came out. My first thought is they must be forward looking. A great move, not only does the existing kindle benefit from the API but from my experiences initial API tend to be limited and buggy. By the time new hardware comes out a more robust and feature rich API will be avialible

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The pricing battle will continue as the big publishers take sides. Right now Amazon appears to be playing defense. But as big players like Random House signal that they may stick with the status quo as consumers clamor for lower prices, defectors could be forced to bring prices down again.
Hmmm... Interesting well have to see how this plays out. My money, literally, is with Random House.

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Apple may have the fancier device and the iTunes store, but Steve Jobs didn’t introduce the iBookstore until nearly an hour into his iPad presentation
Shows the focus Apple has put on ebooks, what else would you expect from the person who said "People don't read any more"
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Old 02-11-2010, 02:12 PM   #5
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Yeah, it's really pointless at this point as it's all just baseless speculation.

We'll know nothing until we see how well the iPad sales, and more importantly how well e-books sell on the iPad.

If the iPad sells like hotcakes and people are buying iBooks, buying books in the Kindle app and other e-reader apps, then yeah it will have an impact on the dedicated e-reader market's ability to expand.

If it doesn't sell well, or sells well but e-books on it don't, then it won't have much impact on the dedicated reader market.

But until knowing both of those, it's just speculation.
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Old 02-11-2010, 02:21 PM   #6
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That was my first impression when the Kindle SDK came out. My first thought is they must be forward looking. A great move, not only does the existing kindle benefit from the API but from my experiences initial API tend to be limited and buggy. By the time new hardware comes out a more robust and feature rich API will be avialible
I agree. I know that Amazon has come under some criticism for releasing the SDK now, and with some rather crippling limitations on 3G usage, but really, they are just setting the stage for a wider range of capable devices. (I'm reasonably sure the next generation of devices will have more 3G functionality...and require some sort of 3G data plan.)

If they didn't release an SDK until the new devices were ready, they'd be criticized for being too slow..so, you can't win
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Old 02-11-2010, 02:52 PM   #7
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Here's the way I see it, solely from the perspective of people who will be reading ebooks on the devices:

(1) Mac owners

a. If you own a Mac, but not an iPhone, you will definitely buy an iPad rather than a Kindle DX. But you might buy a Kindle2 rather than an iPad, because the K2 is cheaper and a bit more portable.

b. If you own a Mac and an iPhone, you will definitely buy an iPad rather than a KDX, and you will probably buy an iPad rather a K2. The reason is that you already have a portable ereader, the iPhone, which does what the K2 does.

(2) PC owners

a. if you don't own an iphone, you will probably buy either Kindle rather than an iPad. The reason is that you will regard the Kindles as easier to use. You can make purchases via your computer, and they will just show up on your Kindle. With the iPad, you will either have to have a wireless setup at home, or buy the G3 which over time is much more costly than owning a Kindle.

b. if you own an iPhone, you will probably buy an iPad rather than either Kindle. The reasons are that the ease of use factor is overcome by your existing relationship with the iPhone, and because your iPhone is your truly portable reader. So the question will be whether to get a KDX for your home reader, or the iPad, when the price is the same and you already own all those apps.

(3) Non-owners

Readers who don't own a Mac or a PC are more likely to buy either Kindle for the simple reason that the iPad brings with it an annual G3 connection cost of $180 a year under the cheapest plan. This means that over 1 year, the K2 costs 259 to own, the KDX costs 489, and the iPad costs 809. Over 3 years, the K2 costs 259 to own, the KDX costs 489, and the iPad costs 1169. All that extra money can be spent on books!

So it seems to me that the essential question is, does the buyer already own an iPhone, or, if not, a Mac? These are people who are already within the Apple Universe, and the gravitational pull of the iPhone/Mac will mean that the iPad purchase is the best fit.

Outside the Apple Universe, sales of the iPad to readers is much less likely. There is no great incentive for these people to buy an iPad over a KDX. In fact, the incentives are in Amazon's favor.

Bottom line: it will never be "over." Amazon will lose a lot of potential KDX sales to Mac owners. and some K2 sales, but to some extent, these will be offset by the existence of the Kindle app on the iPad. In fact, I suspect that a lot of Sony Bookstore sales will become Amazon sales unless Sony gets its act together real quick, lowers its prices, and sells a Sony app. It's anecdotal, but I own Sony Readers and an iPhone, and a quick check shows me that while I have the same number of free books on the Sonys as on the iPhone, I have more purchased books on the iPhone via the Kindle app than on the Sonys.

Last edited by Harmon; 02-11-2010 at 02:55 PM.
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Old 02-11-2010, 04:16 PM   #8
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Meh, large screen e-ink devices like the KDX were always going to be a pretty niche item and never catch on in the mainstream IMO.

Just not enough people need that big a screen for reading, vs. those who read novels, straight text that can be reflowed etc.

And many who need the big screen--academics, students etc.--can't get much benefit out of e-ink as the mark up sucks because of lag (on the touch screen devices), page turns are to slow for flipping through for studying/research etc.

So the market for these large screen e-ink devices is really just people who need to read A4 pdfs, newspapers, technical manuals and other large documents who don't need color, markup abilities, quick page turns to flip through etc. Or people with poor vision who can read easier on the larger screen etc.

Vs. something like the iPad or another tablet than can handle all those type of documents but do much more--and for the same or less price than these large screen e-ink devices.

So I think the iPad and other tablets won't kill the market for large screen e-ink readers, it will just remain a niche that never had a chance of going mainstream anyway.

The real thing to watch is the impact it has on the future expansion of the market for portable e-ink readers used mainly for novels. Do they keep expanding like they have the past year or two? Or does the influx of tablets that can display e-books, are fairly comfortable to hold and read (unlike a laptop/netbook) slow their growth?

That's what I'm interested in watching over the next year or two.


In regards to 3G, I think that's pretty moot. The 3G on the kindle is pretty useless for anything but receiving books--even shopping for them sucks and is easier done on the PC and just turning on the 3G to get the download later.

With the iPad, I really wonder if most people need the 3G. It seems more a device to use in the home or office most of the time since it's not in your pocket like an iPhone etc. And even on the go, WiFi is pretty ubiquitous these days with it even being in McDonalds etc. Maybe in a more rural area there aren't as many WiFi hotspots around. But there you probably don't have 3G coverage anyway most places so it's kind of moot.

In any case, I certainly don't need and wouldn't pay for 3G on a tablet device, living in a major city WiFi is pretty much everywhere I'd want to use a tablet--and I'm mostly use it at home and in the office for document reading and mark up anyway.

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Old 02-11-2010, 04:22 PM   #9
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At some point Amazon is going to have to open up to at least the ePub format. They are going to have to get a better screen technology to truly go mainstream.
By 'ePub format', do you mean 'Adobe DRM ePub'? How do you see Amazon being able to do this without killing or greatly disrupting the Kindle Store?

Native non-DRM ePub support means very little I think, as those can be converted easily (not sure why Amazon doesn't just add that to their conversion service).
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Old 02-11-2010, 04:29 PM   #10
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a. if you don't own an iphone, you will probably buy either Kindle rather than an iPad. The reason is that you will regard the Kindles as easier to use. You can make purchases via your computer, and they will just show up on your Kindle. With the iPad, you will either have to have a wireless setup at home, or buy the G3 which over time is much more costly than owning a Kindle.
not true at all. itunes runs just fine on a PC and will transfer music/tv/movies/books/applications just fine over USB. wireless is not needed.

Quote:
(3) Non-owners

Readers who don't own a Mac or a PC are more likely to buy either Kindle for the simple reason that the iPad brings with it an annual G3 connection cost of $180 a year under the cheapest plan. This means that over 1 year, the K2 costs 259 to own, the KDX costs 489, and the iPad costs 809. Over 3 years, the K2 costs 259 to own, the KDX costs 489, and the iPad costs 1169. All that extra money can be spent on books!
but you neglect to mention the extras you get for that extra monthly fee. a more feature rich internet experience than you will get on your kindle. the ability to chat, use skype, internet enabled games, etc. it is not the same experience as internet access on the kindle.
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Old 02-11-2010, 05:43 PM   #11
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With the iPad, I really wonder if most people need the 3G. It seems more a device to use in the home or office most of the time since it's not in your pocket like an iPhone etc. And even on the go, WiFi is pretty ubiquitous these days with it even being in McDonalds etc. Maybe in a more rural area there aren't as many WiFi hotspots around. But there you probably don't have 3G coverage anyway most places so it's kind of moot.

In any case, I certainly don't need and wouldn't pay for 3G on a tablet device, living in a major city WiFi is pretty much everywhere I'd want to use a tablet--and I'm mostly use it at home and in the office for document reading and mark up anyway.
I'm pretty much in the same boat as you - big city, home wifi - & figure that paying the extra for a 3G is not worth it.

But a frequent traveler might have a different idea about that. Hotel wifi is often pretty costly. And if you are doing business travel, you don't really have the down time to hunt around and get to wifi hot spots.
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Old 02-11-2010, 05:47 PM   #12
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But a frequent traveler might have a different idea about that. Hotel wifi is often pretty costly. And if you are doing business travel, you don't really have the down time to hunt around and get to wifi hot spots.
True, but if I'm in a hotel that doesn't have free wifi, it's paid for on the universities dime.

When I book my own I'll book somewhere with free internet.

But yeah, I can definitely see some people who really need the 3G. But I doubt most really need it--especially bad enough to pay the $130 premium for the device and then pay for a data plan.
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:14 PM   #13
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not true at all. itunes runs just fine on a PC and will transfer music/tv/movies/books/applications just fine over USB. wireless is not needed..
But my point was that people who do not already have an iPhone don't realize that, and are more likely to go for the Kindles because of the (perceived) hassle factor.

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but you neglect to mention the extras you get for that extra monthly fee. a more feature rich internet experience than you will get on your kindle. the ability to chat, use skype, internet enabled games, etc. it is not the same experience as internet access on the kindle.
I didn't mention the extras because I was addressing the matter from the point of view of people who are buying a reading device. I don't think that the extras will mean all that much to people who are mainly looking to read, particularly when cost is taken into account.

I think that most people who read more than casually are text oriented people. So I think that the argument for iPad extras exists, in the sense that there is a good deal of the internet which is just text. Blogs, magazines, that sort of thing. Amazon is going to move the Kindle in the direction of those things, but the iPad will do them better, plus the iPad will offer much more in book and bookstore selection. So I see the iPad as a more expansive reading environment than the Kindle is.

But for text oriented people, I don't think the other extras are much of a big deal. They are nice, sometimes, perhaps.
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Old 02-11-2010, 07:17 PM   #14
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I understand the point you're trying to make, but it's just silly to ignore all the extras. You're getting all the capabilities of a device whether you use them or not. It's like buying a house with 4 bedrooms, a garage and a pool and saying you'll only use 1 bedroom, the kitchen and the den. You don't just do that. The price of an iPad is over a Kindle because of what you get extra. It certainly makes sense to look at those extras. I doubt anyone is going to buy an iPad to use only as an eReader and nothing else.
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Old 02-11-2010, 07:23 PM   #15
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But my point was that people who do not already have an iPhone don't realize that, and are more likely to go for the Kindles because of the (perceived) hassle factor.
I don't know about that.

I've never had an iPhone or iPod of any kind and I've been using iTunes for a long time for ripping MP3s from CDs, buying MP3s, managing my MP3 library etc.

And I know plenty who do the same. It's the best known/most used MP3 software. So I think plenty of people with out iPhones have used iTunes on their PC.

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I didn't mention the extras because I was addressing the matter from the point of view of people who are buying a reading device. I don't think that the extras will mean all that much to people who are mainly looking to read, particularly when cost is taken into account.
Agreed, but 3G doesn't really matter much to such people as it's not a big deal to buy books on the PC and drag them over to the reader which is hooked up via USB.

Plus Apple is looking to go mainstream, and not cater to the avid readers who read enough to even think about buying a reading device.

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I doubt anyone is going to buy an iPad to use only as an eReader and nothing else.
Agreed. I think the avid readers will be more drawn to the e-ink devices. People will buy an iPad mainly for other functions, but still do some reading on it. But the majority probably won't be buying it to use soley as a reading device.

Last edited by dmaul1114; 02-11-2010 at 07:26 PM.
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