I just noticed a news article about Send-to-Kindle, a browser plugin or desktop tool to transfer web pages or documents to a Kindle, and quickly zipped over to Amazon to try it. It’s trivial to download and install. Web pages or documents get reformatted some to be compatible with Kindle format but are completely readable, although simpler page layout is better.
AFAIK this is not some feature of Apple devices, at least as supported by Apple (who knows, maybe some 3rd party app is something equivalent). So Amazon is putting a move on here, making Kindle yet another step superior as an eReader. Being able to snip all sorts of content for offline reading on the Kindle is going to be spectacular for me.
I’ve always felt Kindle is the superior eReader (at least the eInk versions), primarily for a simple reason – battery life. So color screens that can refresh quickly and play movies are nice, and multifunction device is nice, BUT, try flying to China with an iPad. I actually did once, with an iPod for music and Kindle for reading and long after the iPod was dead the Kindle was going strong. Power is the Achilles heel of all mobile devices (the charging cord is hardly mobile) and so for a reading device all that power consumed to run that pretty screen is a waste. Up in the mountains of Wyoming I can read the Kindle all day, long after an iPad would be a door-stopper.
And, the weight. Sure an iPad is pretty but lug it around compared to a nice Paperwhite (including that the Paperwhite does actually fit in a pocket just like a book). And outside where the glare will destroy being able to see that pretty iPad screen, sorry a Kindle blows it away. And then there is the price, $99 vs $899 – just to get books. Sorry, Apple your toy just isn’t even close.
Now OTOH Apple really optimized the iPod Touch for music. There they got it right. Turn that power-hogging screen off and drop to minimal power consumption. Even my aging iPod Touch that doesn’t charge so well any more can play for hours.
Now mobile means battery life, not visual tricks. Put me near a power plug and have someone to carry it, yep, I’ll use an iPad (with Kindle app, of course, which is so much better than Apple’s books). But mobile, thank you Amazon and please keep the eInk Kindles going forever.
The Send-To-Kindle app just made the Kindle even more compelling and I hope it works. Apple just ignores the optimization for eReading Amazon has done and hopes their glitz and must-have fad branding will carry the day. When it comes to an eReader I’m willing to undergo the expense (another gadget) and having to carry multiple devices to get optimal experience (Kindle and iPod Touch are ideal choices for me, with separate MiFi, which is much more flexible than iPhone). So don’t let the Apple bandwagon stop you from getting the right device to do the job.
In your kitchen you wouldn’t have just one pan or one knife, in the garden you wouldn’t have just one tool. This notion that everything has to be done on one device (in a pinch, sure, but who’s really that constrained) means compromising and having mediocre tool for each particular job. When it comes to reading, Kindle the THE choice and Apple is the second-place compromise.