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Apple iPad vs. eBook Readers of Today

Apple iPad or eBook Readers of Today

For months one of my business partners has been telling me about the new Apple iPad. He knows I own an eBook reader and kept telling me that this new iPad was also being advertised as an eBook reader. I continued to ask him if it had ‘e-Ink’ technology but he was unfamiliar with this term.

When I received news that I was giving the honor of being the PDA/eBook editor I began doing some research in what this new Apple iPad really had. I have to admit I was impressed with what Apple boasted. However, I am still not convinced that their ISP-LCD screen resolution would be the best solution for reading a book.

I began to understand that e-Ink was much like a plasma TV and this ISP-LCD technology was much like the LCD TV’s today. Studies have been conducted on the relative eyestrain between these two technologies. Conclusions do show that plasma has less eyestrain than LCD. Some studies testing the viewing angles and distances of e-Ink are good in comparison with the LCD. It has always been noted that the LCD has limited viewing angles but the ISP displays are marketing that they have much wider viewing angles.

Personally, I work on computers during the day and after a few hours my eyes are tired and have a difficult time readjusting to words on a page. However, when I read from my eBook Reader I have no eye issues at all. In fact, I have tried to place things I need to read on the reader so as to save my eyes from having to adjust. What I have also found is that those who do comparisons are not actually avid ‘readers’ so they are not using eBooks as I am. I read a few hours a day from both my computer and my eBook reader and there is no choice for me.

One critic of e-Ink stated that eyestrain had little to do with a surface being back-lit or reflective. I strongly suspect that this critic is not an avid reader as the glare from my screen causes me to see blurry after a prolonged length of time. I believe that age plays a role in this eye fatigue as well.

Reading is always an eyestrain when done for large amounts of time. Today, this eyestrain continues to be more worrisome because we have video game, tv and computers that place strain on our eyes. When I was younger I believed that all this activity was not causing me eyestrain. The older you get the harder your eyes have to work and I want to protect my eyes.

So the debate continues. In the TV world LCD screens have taken over the Plasma screens, even though plasma has more bright vivid crisp colors. What caused the shift to LCD when Plasma had the better picture? Price. When I first began writing about eBook readers I wrote very early on that if they did not bring down the price eBook readers would not be around in the form they are in. It seems that what I predicted is happening. e-Ink, like Plasma, will come down to price. Makes me wonder about greed. eBook Readers came out ‘over priced’ and has taken to lower prices as more eBook Readers entered the market. This yells greed to me. It has been announced that e-Ink will soon be revealing a color and touch screen version, but at what price? And. . .is it too little, to late? I believe that the e-Ink technology is the right one for our eye health but unless they choose to lower their pricing from the release date they will fall to ISP-LCD technology.

Today here is what you have:

The iPad has an LCD screen, LED-backlit for power efficiency ~ NOT so easy on the eyes!
eBook Readers use e-Ink Technology, no back light but great power efficiency ~ Easy on the Eyes!

The iPad is a full multimedia device with APP’s added quickly and efficiently.
eBook Readers dims in comparison to the iPad as there are no APP’s that can be added.

The iPad is full color.
eBook Readers are only black and white.

e-Ink and eBooks Readers are facing challenges that will define them. I believe the technology is there and the proof of which platform is best for the eyes has been confirmed. e-Ink is the leader as the key display for eBook readers but I believe unless some changes happen in their business plan this lead position will be lost. It won’t disappear as leader anytime soon and I hope that the manufacturers realize their errors and continue to hold the market share they have today.

I will be reviewing this issue again in the near future because I see the Apple iPad not only pushing the eBook Reader market but the table PC’s as well. Competition is what drives this market and brings the consumer a better product.

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