When the iPad first came out it was marketed as a crossbreed between a reader, like the Kindle, and a laptop. It was an attempt to combine the best features of both devices.
The iPad was supposed to be light and portable, the current model barely weighs a pound to compete with the Kindle and other portable readers which are meant to mimic the size of a folio or pocketbook. Actually the iPad mini later came out which was designed to even more closely compete with the e-book reader in terms of price and size.
While it was supposed to compete with e-book readers, the iPad was also competing with laptops. In terms of computing power the iPad is just at a generation behind contemporary laptops. The iPad has processing power close to equal to that of a laptop. Also because Apple optimizes the system to make the most out of its resources when you attach a keyboard and mouse to an iPad feels like it is a laptop.
But we are here to talk about the iPad as a reader; the latest iteration of the iPad is the iPad Air 2 which came out last year. At less than a pound this beauty has a 9.7 inch (diagonal) display which is larger than most e-Book readers. This means it can either display more text or display it at a larger font than other readers can.
The 2048-by-1536-pixel resolution at 264 ppi may seem excessive for a reader which is meant only to display text but then if your books have pictures prepare to be amazed by the breathtaking clarity of Apple’s proprietary “Retina” display. The A8X chip with 64-bit architecture and M8 motion capture coprocessor along with all the other baubles that comes with being the most powerful and capable tablet device in the market are wasted when the iPad is used as an e-book reader. The same can be said of its powerful dual-cameras.
Another factor that the iPad has going against it is cost. The cheapest iPad Air 2 is $499 on the Apple Website. Perhaps it can be cheaper if you look for a deal at other websites or offline stores but still expect to pay $400 for one. Clearly it is a very pricey e-book reader.
Yet another potential downside is the size, because it is larger than most e-book readers it is not as handy or portable. This isn’t really a big deal as some people might actually prefer the convenience of a larger screen. But for some the size may be a turn-off.
At the end of the day the iPad is really too much power to use for a purely an e-book reader. If the ability to read e-books is just a plus or one of several reasons why you would want to get an iPad then by all means get one. But if the main reason is you want an e-book reader then might as well buy a cheaper dedicated reader or an iPad mini if you insist on the Apple brand.