iPad vs. Kindle

Posted by K.C. with 19 Comments

Unless you live under a technological rock you know 2 things.

  1. Amazon released a new lineup of Kindles (including a tablet)
  2. Apple is going to announce it’s latest iPhone(s) tomorrow

After Amazon revealed the newest members of the Kindle family the internet was abuzz with talking heads postulating if the Kindle Fire†would be an “iPad killer”.

Let’s get one thing straight. The only company that will develop an “iPad killer” is Apple. They have a cannibalistic strategy when it comes to innovation and no one does it better. They just ousted Exxon as the most valuable company (in the world?) for crying out loud.

Over 37 million iPads have been sold. That’s at least 36,000,000 more than Amazon has sold of it’s Kindle Fire.

However, and my main point is, Amazon doesn’t need to make an “iPad killer”. The Amazon Kindle Fire, much like it’s Kindle brethren, is in a niche class all it’s own.

courtesy of DVD to iPad

As a long time fan and user of both Amazon and Apple products (specifically the Kindle 3 and iPad 2) here are 5 key differences between the Kindle Fire and iPad.

1. Size

When it comes to screen size some would say more is better. That’s why people have televisions the size of an entire wall. However, too much of a good thing can be bad. The iPad 2′s 9.7 inch screen is crystal clear and smooth, but it can get heavy and cumbersome especially when it comes to reading. The Kindle Fire has a 7 inch screen and can easily fit in one hand.

2. Price

The “entry level” iPad is $499 (with the top model at $829). The Kindle Fire is $199. The $300 difference in price tag alone creates a gap in the target market. Nearly $500 is hard to justify. A lot more people could think up an excuse to drop almost $200 on a promising table.

3. Features

The most notable difference is the Kindle Fire does not have a camera. Beyond this the disparity in features comes down to applications. Apple has a bazillion apps while Amazon has slightly less. However, most of the popular apps (Angry Birds anyone?) are available on both platforms.

4. Whispersync

This is actually the one reason Apple should be sweating. If you want 3G on the iPad the price jumps $130 and you have to purchase a monthly data plan through AT&T or Verizon. The Amazon Fire comes with free Whispersync. Let me say that again. The Amazon Fire comes with free Whispersync. For people wanting to sync digital content or stream video on the go, this is a game changer.

5. Content

When it comes to music and movies for mobile devices I think Apple has a slight upper hand, but when it comes to books no one can beat Amazon. That being said most new release albums, DVDs and novels are available on both.

BONUS: Purpose

All of the factors above really boil down to one question:

What are you going to use the tablet for?

If you’re looking for a pseudo laptop replacement with computing power, stellar graphics and enough screen real estate to check emails at arms length then you’ll want the iPad. Assuming you can convince the spouse you need one.

If you’re looking for a content consumption device to watch movies, read books, play games and casually check email all on the go then I’d seriously consider picking up a Kindle Fire.

Do you have a tablet?
What do you like/hate about it?


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My name is KC and I LOVE being a husband & dad. I am a Mac fanboy, tentblogger, MBA grad, cubicle dweller and frequent abuser of Twitter & Facebook.

19 responses to iPad vs. Kindle

  1. Great stuff K.C. I must say I have no need for the Kindle nor want it. BUT my wife wants it badly, she thinks the iPad is too much of a distraction for her while she reads.

    I just challenge her that it’s not ONLY for reading, which is what she uses her kindle for currently.

    • Thank you, Matt. I have a similar issue with the iPad which is why I like the plain, bare bones Kindle. There is something to be said for a dedicated reading device free from games, movies and social media.

      I think the Kindle Fire will be a good bridge between Kindles and the iPad for users like your wife. And you can’t argue with FREE 3G either. :)

  2. Actually Fire does *not* come with 3G. But I am getting it anyway. Scroll down to see comparisons: http://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Fire-Color/dp/B0051VVOB2/

  3. I have a first generation iPad and I love it and am hoping to upgrade to the iPad 2 soon (or hold out for the iPad 3, whenever that comes out!). I like the fact that it syncs well with my Macbook, Macbook Air and iPhone, that it offers a ton more apps than the Kindle, while allowing me to enjoy the features of the Kindle.
    I use my iPad all the time – for meetings, games, reading blog posts, even as a remote control when I have my Macbook hooked up to my tv.

    • I use the iPad every day and my kids love the games and educational apps. I don’t “need” it, but it’s so much fun.

      • My roommate would probably tell you that I need my iPad – and would completely freak out if I didn’t have it, but that’s not true. Well, at least not the freak out part. Kinda. lol

        I’ve just found it to be a great tool for what I use it for. And I am an iWhore, so I wouldn’t even consider buying a different kind of tablet. :D

  4. I have a Kindle 3 and love it…. but you’re right, the Kindle and iPad are in different classes all together. What I would like to see is a Kindle vs. Nook review…

  5. I’m excited to try the Fire. I want it to be an entertainment device and that’s really it. It does have Whispersync included, BTW. Whispersync just isn’t 3G. It still only takes about 20 seconds to send a full book to my OOOOOOLD Kindle, so I’ll take it!

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