The iPad definitely ups the Kindle’s ante. Unfortunately, it ups the Kindle ante by making an e-book more like a television set.
Will it do well? I dunno. Probably. But is it the future of reading? Nope. It’s the high-def, full-color, animated version of the past of reading.
The future of reading is social. The future of reading blurs reading and writing. The future of reading is the networking of readers, writers, content, comments, and metadata, all in one continuous-on mash.
Compared to my laptop, the iPad lacks a keyboard, software development tools, writers’ tools, photographers’ tools, a Web server, a camera, a useful row of connectors for different sorts of wires, and the ability to run whatever software I choose. Compared to my Android phone, it lacks a phone, a camera, pocketability, and the ability to run whatever software I choose. Compared to the iPad, my phone lacks book-reading capability, performance, and screen real-estate. Compared to the iPad, my computer lacks a touch interface and suffers from excessive weight and bulk.
It’s probably a pretty sweet tool for consuming media, even given the unfortunate 4:3 aspect ratio. And consuming media is obviously a big deal for a whole lot of people.
For creative people, this device is nothing.