Can the iPad Pass Off as an E-Book Reader?

Before iPad was formally introduced by Apple , some fans say that it will become a netbook killer.  But after realizing that there is no way iPad can defeat netbooks and their Flash support and integrated cameras (both of which iPad lacks), these same fanboys claim that the iPad will become the e-book reader killer.

Matt Hamblen of Computerworld compiled analysis from different gadget experts about their take on the battle between iPad and e-book readers.  The analysts over at Gartner Inc. are flailing at the prospect of using the iPad for reading text-based content.

“The iPad hardware would certainly be a great platform (for reading content over a school’s WiFi network),” according to Van Baker of Gartner Inc. 

Although the iPad could be used to read digital books and other print media, as well as create documents with the help of its touchscreen keyboard, other experts see otherwise.

“Overall, I’m unimpressed with the value proposition for textbooks on e-readers,” said Carl Howe of Yankee Group Research Inc.  He added that e-textbooks cannot be resold due to digital rights management rules, which could put off some college students who are used to reselling a used paper textbook for a fraction of the original price.  With the iPad starting at about US$500 and technical e-textbooks costs hundreds of dollars, replacing traditional textbooks with digital counterparts will be expensive for students in the end.

Baker disagrees, saying the savings students would see by buying e-textbooks “would easily pay for the price of an iPad over a four-year college stint.”  Howe countered the argument by stating that iPad’s lack of multitasking would prohibit students from perusing several books at one time when doing intense research.  “Its best application as a textbook reader will be for those courses such as literature, where the focus is on a single book at a time,” he added.

Jim McGregor of In-Stat sees the effectiveness of the iPad as an e-book reader in a different light.  At 1.5 pounds, the iPad can be a bit too heavy for an e-reader.  “There are e-readers out there that are a better option (for heavy reading) because they are light and look good in the light,” he explained.

So what’s your judgment on the iPad?  Does it threaten the existence of e-book readers?

Source:  PC World

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