iPad, Kindle, and e-Learning

Apple launched iPad yesterday amidst lot of hype. It was slated to be Kindle killer and a serious threat to Netbooks. We try to analyze where would iPad fit in, and whether it will be for elearning what iPod was for music.

iPad Vs Kindle

First some facts - I have compared iPad – Wi-Fi + 3G model with Kindle DX as they are the comparative models amongst various versions made available from both the providers –

Description
iPad (Wi-Fi + 3G Base Model)

Kindle DX
Picture

iPad

Kindle

Dimensions 9.56” x 7.47” x 0.5” 10.4” x 7.2” x 0.38”
Weight 0.73kg 0.53kg
Display 9.7” Backlight 9.7” E-Ink
Resolution 1024*768 1200*824
Capacity 16 GB 4 GB
Wireless/Connectivity 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Dock Connector to USB Cable 3G, EDGE/GPRS, USB Port
Battery Life 10 Hrs 1 Week
Supported Content PDF, PPT, PPTX, DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX, JPG, TIFF, GIF, HTML, MP3, WAV, MPEG-4, MOV,
H.264
Kindle, PDF, TXT, MP3, HTML, DOC, RTF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, & BMP
eBook Format ePub (Open Format) Kindle (Proprietary)
Supported Content Web, Mail, Photos, Video, Music, Books, Maps, Notes, Calendar, Contacts, & 140,000
apps via App Store
Books
Price $629 $498

Analysis

  • If one is an avid book reader & is going to use the device primarily for reading eBooks only, then Kindle would make more sense – its display technology is better, weighs & costs less (Kindle also has a base version which is smaller, weighs 0.29kg & costs $259), and has huge content repository.
  • However, if one is looking to do more with the handheld device than just reading books, such as browse web, emailing, view videos, listen to music, and make presentations etc, than in that case iPad beats Kindle hands down.
  • iPad also has access to Apple’s application store, which has tens of thousands of apps which can be downloaded on to iPad

Take on iPad Vs Kindle – iPad is not a Kindle killer and both would fight for top two eBook reader spots. iPad would however, certainly hurt new eBook readers that are now coming in the market.

iPad & Its Impact on e-Learning

Apple’s new device was also seen as something that could have given mobile learning a big push. Will it? I have my doubts. My reasons -

No Support for Flash – Like iPhone, even iPad doesn’t support Flash and there is no mention of when it will be supported. Majority of the elearning course-ware however gets published in Flash and no support for flash is a major irritant for rolling out courses on iPad, as few would make the investment to adopt new technology.

It’s Not a Netbook – iPad doesn’t support multi-tasking, is not a phone, has upper limit to disk space (64 GB), doesn’t have an inbuilt camera, and doesn’t support MS Office (does support MS Office’s formats though) among other things.  All this would put iPad in entertainment/lifestyle product category, and would thus not get endorsed by Management/IT departments for corporate use.

iPad would have limited impact on mlearning unless some of the parameters mentioned above change, either as a result of technological advancements over next couple of years or as upgrades from Apple.

Written by Manish Gupta

Manish Gupta

Manish is CEO, G-Cube. Over last 13 years Manish has led G-Cube from a startup stage to its current stature as one of India’s and the world’s leading e-learning organization.

Comments

  • Lots of of bloggers aren’t really happy with the new iPad.There was just 2 much hype regarding it and lots of people got disapointed.Quite frankly, I can actually see lots of the cool potential uses of the gadget. Third-party apps for doing music, games, newsprints and magazines and books, all kinds of awesome stuff, but IMHO they just didn’t really sell it very well (aside from the books). It smells sort of unfinished

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