Friday, January 29, 2010

More iPad: quite simply it is way too big!

I think I'm on fairly safe ground in predicting that Apple's new iPad will never make it as an eReader that competes with the Kindle. It's just TOO BIG!

No humungous device like this has any chance whatsoever of capturing a sizable share of the standard trade ebook market. Amazon can rest easy. Can you imagine consumers lugging this thing around just to read Dan Brown in a cafe, on a small wobbly table which can barely cope with a coffee and a Danish now?

I was eagerly anticipating the iPad as I imagined it would be roughly the same size as the Kindle but with far more screen real estate; and in color; and web-enabled. One of the Kindle's biggest design flaws for me is the fact that the keyboard takes up far too much room at the bottom, thus making the actual screen far too small. I use the keyboard infrequently - it's only a search function - but of course read from the screen constantly. The entry hall of a house shouldn't be the same size as the living room! No sense there.

The iPad will most probably become a niche device, used by sales reps for product presentations, etc, much as existing tablets are now. But it is in the textbook space that the real revolution will take place. Content combined with interactivity and communication: that's the textbook future. Most students in five years time will be lugging around iPads instead of laptops, and certainly instead of textbooks.

So there is still a space in the market for a multi-functional ebook reader that is actually aimed at the ordinary consumer who goes to a cafe, travels on public transport, and flies in planes. It ain't gonna be the iPad.

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