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 –
iPad (Wi-Fi + 3G Base Model)
|Dimensions||9.56” x 7.47” x 0.5”||10.4” x 7.2” x 0.38”|
|Display||9.7” Backlight||9.7” E-Ink|
|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,
|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
- 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.