The iPad is the latest in the ‘i’ series of consumer electronic gadgets after the iPhone and the iPod Touch and one that promises to take things to a new high, both for its users as well as its maker Apple. Essentially a multifunctional device, the iPad can be both a PC as well as an e-reader at the same time. A whooping 140,000 apps can be availed of from the Apple App Store as of now and the figure is ever increasing. And if that’s not enough, the iPad is also compatible with all the apps present on the iPhone or the iPod Touch.
The e-reader news that’s slowly but surely gaining prominence is that the iPad will not only render e-readers obsolete but is also likely to bring in revolutionary changes in the entire publishing industry. To what extent e-readers are likely to be affected by the advent of the iPad is what this article is all about.
For starters, e-readers are handheld electronic devices which has the capability to simulate a conventional text book. The story of e-reader and e-reading started with Amazon launching its Kindle in November 2007. This prompted others to join the party so that what followed next is an onslaught of e-readers. Companies like Sony or Barnes & Noble soon became major players in this segment along with numerous other vendors both with established brand names or without. But, there’s no denying the fact that the monochrome e-readers were in reality a step back from the in vogue multi color and media capable laptops. However, e-readers continued to advance with time so that the e-readers of now are capable of connecting to the net and download e-books on its own. They now have HD resolution, the facility to customize text along with so much more.
This perhaps led to the demand for gadgets which can serve both as a laptop as well as an e-reader. E-Readers changed their features to include wireless net connectivity as well as higher screen resolution. Thus came into being a new breed of a hybrid between the e-reader and Laptop.
Apple happens to be one of the pioneering companies towards this development. iPad is one of its contributions to the continuous line of gadgets that work as a mobile communication device as well as an e-reader. It has a large 9.7-inch LED backlit screen and weighs just 680 gram. For connectivity, it comes with Wi-Fi and 3G features. It has various memory options ranging from 16, 32 to 64 GB which factors the price range from $499 to $829. It has an IPS multi touch screen and can be used for browsing or emailing. It can perform as an e-reader and has stupendous multimedia capabilities. With such amazing features, it’s all but certain that with iPad in the scene, the very existence of e-readers is at stake.
Now for some statistical facts – the Amazon’s Kindle is the largest selling e-reader in the US and is the reading device of choice for reading 32% of all e-books sold in the US. Also, every 5th book sold in US happens to be an e-book. All of this means a huge market for the iPad to drive into. Another immense advantage with the iPad is that while Kindle takes books to its screen, iPad can takes even periodicals and magazines in its folds. Sure e-reader prices are coming down while governments too are keen to promote e-readers with a view to save papers and hence trees. But then, even here iPads can do a far better job with its multifunctional capabilities and touchscreen display. In fact, at the Princeton University, a recent attempt to introduce kindles as an alternative to real books did not turn out to be encouraging for Amazon.
To further improve its appeal, Apple is in the process of setting up an iBook Stores in line with the iTunes. For books Apple has co-opted with publishing houses like Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Hachette which are all big time book publishers.
The iPad is a marker to the future of today’s print media. What is today’s print content world be the online content of the morrow for downloading and reading depending on personal choice.
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