Let me start by saying that I love love love my Kindle2. It does what it does exceedingly well. Here are my faves in no particular order, and how it compares to what we know of the iPad:
1) Offering free samples, and long ones at that (sometimes as much as 10% of a book – more than enough to get a fair impression). It never occurred to me when I bought the thing that this would become pretty much my favorite feature. I love knowing whether I *really* want to read a book before plunking down the $. According to the keynote, the iBookstore will offer free samples. And if book prices are indeed similar or equal, then this is a toss up.
2) Easy to change font size on the fly. It’s amazing – if I’m tired, or in a car or plane which is a little jiggly, or for any reason at all I love being able to make the text bigger as needed. Or smaller if my eyes are feeling strong and young 🙂 The iPad allows this.
3) It’s reasonably easy to hack the Kindle to get other fonts on it. I did this and chose a sharper font which provides the benefit of added contrast, something otherwise lacking on the e-ink screen. The iPad comes with multiple fonts (I believe 5 was the # specified) and my guess is that more will be made available.
4) I skinned my Kindle black for greater perceived contrast. Google – there’s a great site prepared by someone who using simple optic principles figured out that the e-ink screen would look more contrast-y if the Kindle were black. Well, the iPad already is black, but the screen is infinitely more contrasty than the Kindle’s.
5) Battery life is amazing. To be honest it feels like I never have to charge my Kindle. It’s crazy. I’m talking every 1-2 weeks. That’s definitely a one-up over the iPad. But I can live with overnight charging of the iPad as I do with my iPhone.
6) Lightweight, portable size. The Kindle2 is smaller and lighter than the iPad. However, I don’t consider the iPad “large” or “heavy” especially when you consider that my Kindle will no longer be in my bag 🙂
7) Easy on eyes. Bottom line: the amount I read has increased enormously since I got my Kindle. It’s not only convenient, I can read focused for hours at a stretch without any hint of strain. Not so on my MBP. YMMV of course, but this is my experience. It seems that iBooks use neat tricks to make the screen look like actual paper – a slightly textured off-white/cream color. And I guess I can turn the screen brightness down. This is going to be the major test for me. If I can read on the iPad for 3-4 hours at a clip, then the Kindle is a goner.
8) Here’s one thing the Kindle does “okay” that the iPad will do amazingly: read PDFs. I read scripts. A lot of scripts. They are “okay” to read on the Kindle, but the reformatting does some things that are not quite right, and the text in the non-reformatted versions are waaaay too tiny to read. I should be able to read pages on the Kindle at more or less full size. Amen to that.