Kindle for iPad: A superb reading experience

Although I was curious about everything iPad has to offer, I was most curious about the reading experience on the iPad, since it’s been touted as the potential Kindle Killer in the media by some. So after familiarizing myself with the iPad, syncing my iPod apps and iTunes library, I downloaded the iBook app, Apple’s iPad reader application. The interface is gorgeous as you gaze upon the wood-like (albeit empty) bookshelves of your personal library. Well, almost empty, anyway. There is a lone copy ofWinnie the Pooh, standard equipment on the iPad, if that’s your pleasure.

I have to say, reading on the iBook app is a great experience. There are two things you notice right away using the iBook application. First, the books are in color, something technologically impossible on the Kindle and other similar eReaders. The second thing you notice is the navigation. On the Kindle (and most standalone eReaders) you turn pages by pressing a button. Depending on the eReader, the page turns either slowly—or extremely slowly. There is a significant lag time between the button-push and the actual turn of page.

Reading in iBook is a completely different experience. The page turns as you turn the page; there is no lag. Sweeping my finger (actually very much like “paging” through a real book) at the page edge causes the page to turn. Really. (At least that’s the effect.) The faster you sweep, the quicker you leaf through the pages. Cool. As on my Kindle, I can manipulate the font size so that my presbyopic, middle-aged eyes can read without benefit of the reading glasses I’m always misplacing.

One of the big selling points of standalone eReaders is that they’re reproduced using something called e-Ink. E-Ink provides the reader with a book-like feel and no backlighting (which is theoretically easier on the eyes because it’s not so bright). The absence of backlighting and relative simplicity of the device also means that there is virtually no battery drain while reading. My Kindle’s battery lasts for weeks when I’ve got its onboard wireless signal disabled.


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