The Amazon Kindle is lighter than the Apple iPad, and the dedicated function of the Kindle can abet more focussed reading. The Kindle’s sharp and stable electronic ink is indeed very readable, and I hear that the font of the Kindle 3, which I use, is appreciably sharper against the light gray background than that of previous editions of the Kindle.
But the iPad also has its advantages. The iPad, to begin with, enables more ereader-app options. But let’s look only at the Kindle app. Its great advantage over the Kindle is speed. That doesn’t matter when I’m simply reading the text. I’m not oppressed by the soul-destroying black that briefly flashes every time I flip to a new page on the Kindle. But it takes longer to search for a passage or book on the Kindle, longer to look up a word, and lots longer to consult Google or Wikipedia to unpack an allusion. The iPad is nothing if not celeritous, at least when its functioning doesn’t depend on the bandwidth and stability of an Internet connection.
I was pleasantly surprised by how the iPad Kindle app integrates access to Google and Wikipedia. Buttons linking to those resources are glued right into the app. Click on the button, do the research, and then click immediately back into the Kindle app, returning to the exact place in the text you were before, without having to first galumphingly exit a browser and re-enter the app. If it weren’t a little clunky to switch between apps on the iPad, this wouldn’t be as nifty a convenience as it is. But it is, and it is.