It honestly feels like the "kindle is awesome" side of the clearly made up their mind people have some amounts of vision trouble which has gone uncorrected. I don't understand at a slightest, the feeling they're talking about, nor do several of the iPad owners of various ages I've talked to.
It honestly feels like the "iPad is a clearly superior reading device" group don't ever walk into the sun though. Honestly, even with the contrast controls, that shiny screen gets you in troubles in sunlight heavy situations. And really many don't get that the kindle is meant to be used the same places books are? So many people seem to not understand you need just as much light to use it then complain about the lack of light.
Ultimately for me it feels better to read on the Kindle. The Kindle is made for reading and it shows in the engineering, just as the iPad is a multimedia device that has a few apps for reading books.
The compelling thing about the iPad, for me at least, is that it isn't just a reader.
The only times I really use the iPad in place of the Kindle is when I'm in a dark place (I've used it quite a bit outside at the hot tub at night), and I use the iPad for Instapaper usually instead of the Kindle.
Another reason I prefer longer reading (which Instapaper doesn't really fall under, while articles are usually longer form it's not like it's a book) on the Kindle is because with the iPad I find that I'll be too easily tempted to press Home and mess around with something else (I realize this is my own fault and not necessarily a fault of the iPad, but it's something that I'm sure other dual-owners have experienced).
Yes, how many times have I earmarked papers only to find myself web surfing or playing games? gah...
There is, however, a surprisingly major difference (at least to me) which is highlighted by this microscope comparison: Dot pitch. The iPad's IPS panel has a pretty average dot pitch, but I was surprised to see that the Kindle's e-ink display has essentially none. Even though the eye compensates for dot pitch, I have to wonder if that still might make a difference.
So, to say that using a Kindle is more like reading a book than an iPad strikes me as bogus. I don't understand how a backlight or not decides an item's bookishness. Certainly, neither has pages.
Anyway, there are many reasons why the Kindle is more like reading a real book besides the display that looks identical to a piece of printed paper. First of all, neither books nor the Kindle have a backlight which does, in fact, make the Kindle more simliar to a book than an iPad despite its lack of pages... You can read a Kindle on the beach or on a deck in the brightest sunlight you can imagine and the screen will just look better. The same goes for a real book. Just try that with iPad with a backlight and you will see a difference there.
Also, due to the lack of backlight the Kindle is much better suited for reading before sleep just like a real book. The backlight of a computer monitor is the reason computer people struggle with falling asleep. A good fiction paper back is the best sleeping pill in the world and you just can't get that effect with a backlight screen.
Finally, just look the article we are commenting on. Do you not notice how similar the Kindle character is to the newspaper, magazine, and book characters at 400x? I would dare sare it is sharper.
"The iPad measured at 6.2% lower reading speed than the printed book, whereas the Kindle measured at 10.7% slower than print. However, the difference between the two devices was not statistically significant because of the data's fairly high variability.
Thus, the only fair conclusion is that we can't say for sure which device offers the fastest reading speed. In any case, the difference would be so small that it wouldn't be a reason to buy one over the other."
Also, that study wound up being based on 24 subjects reading for about 17 minutes. Hardly a comprehensive test.
Really it comes down to personal preference.
Reading speed is not all I care about. In fact, I don't care about it at all, really, so long as it's within acceptable limits.
I use my kindle on my boat. 99.9% of the time I'm sitting in the sun reading it. I can do that with a book, and I can do that with a kindle. The iPad or anyother backlit screen is just not an option. I can barely see my cell phone or camera screen on the water, but I read the kindle becuase it is a fundamentally different technology.
I am curious if the kindle, in your use case, will- at the end of it's life- have distinct hand-prints where the original color is intact (if not physically smoother).
Me? I still prefer print. Though I imagine that much like my preference for CDs over mp3s, my preference for print is doomed to die out over the next few years as the technology improves and I slowly get over my nostalgia.
Perhaps when I get older/my eyes get broken in more. But for now, I'd be fine with reading on something with an LCD - it really doesn't bother me.
I genuinely prefer reading text on an active, high contrast display (monitor, ipad) rather than a passive, low contrast display (physical books, e-ink).
I find the sharp edges of a monitor's display very relaxing after reading an actual book.
That said, the form-factor is a little awkward for longform reading.
When the iPad gets the so-called 'retina display' from the iPhone 4 model, it's all over.
If you have an android phone, check out Aldiko.
I'm personally of the opinion that e-Ink is what I'd prefer for reading, but I absolutely despise reading on screens; anything lengthy I print out. And while I think that e-Ink is better for reading, that's all that e-Ink devices (while being a lot cheaper than the iPad) do. If you read less and do other things more, then e-Ink is unlikely to even be an option for you unless you feel like shelling out for another device for the few times you do read at length.
Your mileage may vary, of course.
Aside from that, the first Kindle had some sort of really awesome scrolling mirror thing on the right. What is it, and how does it work? How can you make material selectively reflective like that?
Clearly eInk has advantages and equally clearly it has faults. Neither better nor worse, just different.
And, best part of all - I have a MiFi (I spent many, many hours trying to decide whether to go with the 3G Ipad) - and I am astonishingly happy over the fact that I can now support the K3 (WiFi Support - Yay!), my iPad, my Laptop, and my iPhone with my 5 Gigabyte Capacity Sprint MiFi.
I'll have to try a kindle someday. I had to wait for high resolution LCD because I am nearsighted and can literally see the pixel grid "screendoor" at HDTV resolutions on the desktop (even at 23" size) and it was driving me crazy - used a CRT until this year!
I must bring a magnet to barnes&noble...
It'll be really cool if Amazon ever figures out colour on the kindle.
Actually, the display is made by eInk, not by Amazon.
There are color versions in development, last I heard they should be going in to mass production around the end of this year. I'd guess that Amazon will have a color version of the Kindle soon after the displays are available.
a transflective screen could also do the job... I had one of the little green OLPC jobbes for a while, and I really liked the transflective mode, though the device as a whole, imo, was fairly useless other than as a bulky e-reader. Still I'd pay money for transflective panels for my desktop, and I'd pay quite a bit of money for a transflective screen on my laptop.
As a side note: IIRC there is a 10" thinkpad X netbook in Australia (for schools) and for a short time earlier this year, they displayed a 10" model on the lenovo website, so there may be hope...
A 11.6" or 12" version of the pixel qi diy kit would certainly be great.
I think it's a matter of preference and which best suits your lifestyle; there are pros and cons of both.
That's what I use the iPad for.