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Amazon Kindle ad jabs iPad's daylight reading woes

updated 11:40 am EDT, Mon September 13, 2010

Kindle anti-iPad ad shows Amazon sensitivity

Amazon stepped up the e-reader war today with an ad for the third-generation Kindle that directly attacks Apple's iPad. The 30-second spot, already shown on ABC, points out that the (thinly disguised) iPad's glossy LCD is hard to read in bright daylight and notes that the Kindle doesn't have any such problems. It's so readable that the Kindle owner can keep her sunglasses on.

The ad also tries to deepen the wound by noting that a Kindle costs just $139 versus the iPad's $499 starting price.

Much of the advantage comes from the display type, which the ad doesn't mention is a mixed blessing for its design. E-paper screens like the Kindle's E Ink display don't need a backlight or a glossy screen and subsequently doesn't have issues with glare. Even so, current technology is also incapable of displaying more than a small color range at best and can't handle video or other fast motion. The absence of a backlight also makes it poorly suited to reading in low light.

Amazon has superficially tried to downplay competition and separate the Kindle and iPad by putting them in different categories, but the new TV spot contradicts this and confirms Amazon is worried about Apple's effect on its sales. The Kindle still has the majority of market share and is billed as better for its purpose, but early studies have showed that iPad owners don't buy Kindles or are trading up as they either want the extra features or feel the Kindle is redundant.

by MacNN Staff



  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Good ad

    This is a good ad.

    If you just want to read, the Kindle is a far better device. If you want a multipurpose device, the iPad beats it, just not in bright sunlight. Maybe if you had polarized sunglasses it'd work better.

  1. Parky

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Only half the story

    True it is harder to read the iPad in bright sunlight, but on the other hand you can't read the Kindle in low light or the dark. That is just as much of an issue. Reading in the house using local lighting can be a real pain with the Kindle, just having to get the angle of the light right, plus if you want to read in bed and your partner does not want the light on then you are stuck, unless you buy the add on light unit for the Kindle.

    I own both and since I got the iPad I have not used the Kindle, it is in fact dead, battery is flat and is looking for a new owner to take it away to be honest. It is a one trick pony, with limited appeal. I have the Kindle App on my iPad so I still get the same Book pricing (so no advantage to Kindle there), I still get WhisperSync (so no advantage there either).

    The ad is also misleading, the iPad is not at full brightness.

    We could make another ad exactly the same, but more realistic....

    More people actually read inside than outside, in artificial light rather than bright sunlight.
    So the ad has two people indoors, one can read his iPad because the screen is illuminated, the other can't read their Kindle very well because the ambient light is not bright enough.

  1. Eldernorm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Why my blanket is better than my car

    Similar ad... My blanket keeps me warm. It is easy to carry and store.. its great..

    My car keeps me warm in the winter but is big and hard to store upstairs. :-)
    My car uses gas and that cost me money. :-)
    My car costs a lot more money. :-)

    My blanket must be better for keeping me warm.

    PS, my car transports me, keeps me dry, cools me, shelters me, but that is a different story. LOL

    Just a thought,

  1. JuanGuapo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Just lame.

  1. c4rlob

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Perfect ad for the Arctic Circle...

    If the world had midnight sun... but here in the real world, everyone from 9 year-olds to 90 year-olds doesn't seem to be having a problem with iPad glare. Little kids are running around fighting for their turn to play on it; business people are using it to catch-up on projects in a dim train car; election candidates are using it to sign-up voters walking by on sunny street corners; so on and so on.
    No 30-sec glare ad can compete with that!

  1. malax

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I wouldn't want to take either device pool side. Let someone steal a $8 paperback instead of my cool toy when I leave it unattended for a few minutes.

    But it's a good ad for selling Kindles, I suppose.

  1. JBytes

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Too much sun is bad for the skin

    I guess potential buyers will just have to decide how much time s/he spends reading in direct sunlight? If I were Apple, I'd be offended that the Kindle was being mentioned in the same sentence as the iPad. Isn't that akin to comparing a typewrite to a MacBook?

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Complainers vs. Problem Solvers

    No product is perfect. After I got my iPad, I noticed the glare and the zillion fingerprints, which were actually much more annoying that the glare. And the iPad is slippery, too, so I nearly dropped it a few times.

    So, I did some research and found a couple of solutions.

    I got an anti-glare film from Power Support. I liked it so much I got one for my iPod touch, too. Then, I got a non-slip shell, an Incipio Feather. So, all my quibbles about the iPad were solved.

    Parky is dead-on, too! BTW, why isn't that guy wearing sunglasses?

  1. Parky

    Joined: Dec 1969



    No point Amazon comparing on price either!

    Storage - Kindle 4BG, iPad 16GB minimum
    Screen - Kindle Mono 6 inch, iPad Colour 10 inch.
    Media Playback - Kindle, Books and Music, iPad - Books Music, Video.
    Applications - Kindle hardly any, iPad over 250,000 and growing
    Internet - Kindle a joke, iPad fantastic!
    Touch - Kindle none, iPad Full Multitouch
    Maps - Kindle none, iPad Full Google Maps and Google Earth

    Even as just a book reader the Kindle is poor in some areas, not great for illustrations or colour.

    They really are grasping at straws to try to pick one small thing to try to decry the ability of the iPad, it must be hitting the Kindle sales HARD!

  1. sgirard

    Joined: Dec 1969


    That's a high production-quality ad right there.

    The acting is forced and the tail music is jarring. Did Amazon really pay for this?

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