Should Apple launch an e-reader?


Media consumption is one of the many things that you would buy an iPad for. Apple too offers an excellent app in the form of Apple Books for that. The app keeps things simple yet elegant. Be it reading e-books or listening to audiobooks, the Apple Books app suffices for all your requirements and won’t require installing different apps for the same.

In fact, so well organized the app is and with so much effort to ensure iPad users have a really nice reading experience, it’s a real pity the company does not have a dedicated e-reader device to offer. That said, Apple is rumored to be collaborating with Yuantai in creating e-paper sub-screens. However, as UDN reported, that is going to be for mobile phones.

That makes us wonder if Apple is working on a smartphone-sized e-reader similar to the Hisense A9 launched just days back. Or if it is going to be a dual-screen phone of the likes of the YotaPhone launched back in 2014. While the details remain shrouded in mystery, here are a few reasons why Apple should have an e-reader device in its product portfolio.

Emissive display

The iPad is a great tablet and as with many other things, it can be great for reading books or listening to audiobooks. The new focus mode also does a great job of keeping the notifications out so that you get to focus solely on your reading or listening. The display is pixel rich too and offers a resolution high enough to offer super sharp texts.

The True Tone display setting also ensures you get to have just the right amount of color and intensity so that the texts seem natural and in perfect sync with the external lighting condition. This is the best you can have when it comes to glare-free reading on an iPad though, in the end, it’s still an emissive display.

What that means is there is light that is incident on your eyes no matter what software or hardware wizardry comes into play. This again is a less desirable scenario if you are concerned with your eye health. E-Paper solutions such as E Ink displays offer the best possible solution when it comes to offering a glare-free reading experience. You will have the least eye fatigue even when reading for long hours and this is the reason most e-reader devices sport E Ink displays.

Sunlight reading

The lure of settling down out in the sun during the winter months and getting along with your favorite books could be hard to resist. Unfortunately, the iPad is not designed to fit into such a scheme of things. Rather, the Apple tablet is at its best when operated indoors or in shaded regions. The best that the iPad can do is increase the brightness setting to the max, which is often not the best solution and does little to enhance readability. Rather, this can cause a severe drain of battery power.

It is here that E Ink does a great job and can offer an optimum reading experience out in direct sunlight as well. The reason is that E Ink is reflective in nature and does not emit any light as such. Instead, it relies on external light for illuminating the display, and hence, the more is the light incident on the display, the better is the readability. Further, since E Ink displays require power only while refreshing, it can show a static display for almost indefinitely – literally speaking – without draining power.

Weight

The iPad does not come with any significant weight disadvantage. Take for instance the new iPad Mini. Not only is it light enough, but the weight is also evenly distributed to allow for single-handed usage without causing much of a discomfort. That’s hardly surprising for a device that weighs just 300 grams.

However, if you believe that’s light enough, take into account the new Kindle Paperwhite that tips the scales at just 183 grams. While it is true a direct comparison between the two makes little sense and would be grossly unfair for either device, it’s just to drive home the point an e-reader will always be lighter given that it comprises of just the components needed to serve the purpose of e-book reading and nothing else. So, that should be another reason for Apple to consider getting into the e-reader game.

Poolside reading

Never attempt doing such a thing with your iPad as none of the Apple tablets come with any official IP rating. So, no matter how tempting it might seem, slipping into the tub on a hot summer day is definitely not recommended as water ingress can seriously damage your iPad device. Bookworms who are tied to the Apple Books ecosystem might want to have an e-reader device of the likes of the Kindle Paperwhite or the Kobo Forma to get along with their reading even when you are in the bathtub.

Price

The 10.2-inch iPad 2021 model is the cheapest at $329 while the more compact 8.3-inch iPad Mini 2021 model will set one back $499. That’s quite a bit of money. In contrast, the new Kindle Paperwhite is priced at just $140 while the Signature Edition comes for $190. So, if you are looking for a device from Apple just for reading books, prepare to shell out a few hundred bucks. An e-reader would have cost much less.

Kaleido 3

Think of E Ink displays and chances are that you will have visions of monochrome displays with a paper-like feel. The advent of Kaleido 3 changes all that and adds a dash of color to the otherwise black and white display. Also, apart from introducing rich colors, there has been an all-round improvement on almost every aspect of the E Ink displays, be it performance, contrast, refresh rate, and so on. What that means is, Apple will have better display technology at its disposal if they wish to enter the e-reader space.





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