Five ways the iPad is lagging behind the Kindle Fire HDX

Five ways the iPad is lagging behind the Kindle Fire HDX

Summary: Regular readers will know that I'm a big fan of Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX. A huge fan. I like it because I feel that Amazon now makes a better tablet than Apple. While I think that the fifth-generation iPad Air is a great tablet, I feel that Apple is iteratively evolving the iPad as opposed to giving it a full revamp it deserves.

TOPICS: Mobility

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  • Price

    The 16GB wi-fi variant of the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HDX is $379. A similarly spec'd iPad Air is $499. Bumping the Kindle Fire HDX up to 32GB and 64GB sets you back $50 per bump. For the same storage Apple charges you $100 per bump.

    For both Apple and Amazon, these storage bumps cost about $10 in flash memory.

    I get it that premium products command a premium price, but $200 for silicon worth less than a tenth of that is rather hard to swallow.

    I believe that Amazon's pricing structure better reflects the actual cost of the storage and I'd like to see Apple give people who need more storage – most of it storage for stuff bought from Apple's digital empire – a break.

  • Speakers

    Five minutes with the Kindle Fire HDX and you realize just how bad the iPad speakers are. The sound from the Kindle Fire HDX is rich and covers the highs and lows brilliantly, whether I'm watching a movie, listening to an audiobook or playing a game, which is to be expected given that it is kitted out with a Dolby Digital Plus audio engine.

    Compare this to the iPad's speakers sound tinny and weak. In anything but the quietest of situations I find myself having to resort to headphones.

    Given that the iPad is seen as the ultimate content consumption tool – don't let this statement fool you though, you can create content on it – this is a massive oversight and a huge win for Amazon.

    The image above is of the inside of a 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX.

    (Image: iFixit)

  • Battery life

    Apple has managed to squeeze 10 hours of "surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music" time from the iPad Air, which isn't that bad until you see that Amazon has managed to get 12 hours of battery life out of the Kindle Fire HDX.

    Amazon wins here big style.

Topic: Mobility

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  • The Mayday thing is Amazon's killer feature

    Though you have to wonder how they can afford to staff it?
    • Mayday is killer

      How can they afford to staff Mayday? Most buyers think they will use it, but in the end, they rarely do. Mayday was a big part of my purchase decision and I was very pleased with the service and used it a few times, but I don't actually need it that much. A few users will use Mayday so much as to wipe out Amazon's profits for that unit, but Mayday will pay off overall, especially since the real goal is to place a kiosk of their media store in your home. Apple will have to blink and develop their own Mayday if they want to keeep their payday.
      Producto Endorsair
      • Wow

        That's a highly speculative post you've just made! I used it twice looking for features that were removed in the new OS.

        My daughter has used it as well and we are the only two people I know with an iPhone...
        • Only two people with an iphone?

          I've gotta be honest 90% of the people i know with smart phones have a version of iphone or a samsung s3/4.

          The main reason i gave up on windows phone in the summer was app availability and lack of fellow users. When i was weighing up the hdx when it came out, a big tick for me was the abulity to cyanogen mod it.

          As for this article... Seriously?! This is the third regash if this exact review i've seen by the same author, each with less points of conparison than the one before. Talk about rehashing for clicks!
          • Probably not the Last

            You are right, this is the third rehash of the same article. This time at least he used a different format. To bad most people hate the multi-screen format (me included).

            I agree with the author that the Kindle fire is superior to the iPad hardware wise. Software probably not. Ecosystem, close but Amazon is ahead in some ways and Apple in others.

            I think the Kindle has struck a fatal blow to the iPad. At the same time iPad has speared the Kindle. They both die and someone else will reign.

            Hopefully this will be the rehash but I expect it will not. What else can you do with a slow news day but talk about your favorite toy.
          • Fatal Blow?

            The Kindle has struck a fatal blow to ipad? Didn't Apple just report sales of 26 million or whatever it was iPads this past quarter? They smashed expectations. Look at Apples latest financials and compare it with Amazons and then get back to us with your "fatal blow" argument.
          • Market Share

            Why is the market share falling? Absolute numbers prove nothing. Current statics are statements out of context. Trends are what maters.
          • Apple drops 8%

            Why? Those that analyze things professionally can see Apple is in decline.
          • No not decline

            The analyst wanted more, threw out arbitrary numbers they expected, wanted, Apple to hit.
          • Really..... NOT!

            Kindle doesn't have the apps of iOS ( world class apps ). As for cost, there is a reason it costs less -- you get less with Kindle. Smaller device -- yeah, a little longer batter life ( it is not a 9.7" screen ), smaller price on Kindle, yep less apps, less size, just a less experience. As for Mayday -- iPad Air is pretty simple to use and the Internet has solutions to problems within a Google away. Actually, my gal Siri is about as sharp as can be. If I was into books / Amazon, I would consider the Kindle. As for WiFi, the iPad works great !
          • "World Class Apps"

            Which "world class apps" do you believe iPad can get that the Kindle can't? In fact, most people who use the apps argument against Amazon take exactly the opposite approach: Yes you get most of the best ("world class apps") on it, but that it's harder to find the more obscure apps that not as many people use.
          • blissful ignorance

            Apple fans keep trotting out the same old argument about quality apps but have no idea how far behind they are.
            I have 2 iOS devices, I know where iOS stands.
          • more on apps

            Oh and by the way, study after study shows that while people download scores of apps, they overwhelmingly all use the same 4 or 5 apps.....which are all available on pretty much any format (Yes, even Google apps can be downloaded for the Kindle from some place such as
          • world class apps

            Show me a world class ereader app for iOS.
            And don't say the kindle app.
            On Android I can get an epub reader that allows me to scroll pages instead of flip pages (very annoying skeumorphism thats inefficient on digital readers - I hate reading halfway thru a sentence and then flipping). It will also read aloud highlighted pages to me so I can listen to a book while mowing the lawn, cooking or walking the dog. And if I've got BBQ sauce all over my fingers, I can scroll the page without touching the screen!
            There is nothing on iOS that can do all that.
          • ipad as a defaut choice

            ipads will keep selling as a default choice for those who know nothing better.
            Plenty have moved on from Apple and not going back.
            Apple is content with hanging onto the blissfully ignorant.
    • Here's how they can afford it...

      I think I got the answer for how Amazon can afford to staff Mayday one time when I used it. Right after I got connected, the guy said "Thank you for calling Amazon....uh........I see you're calling with Mayday, how can I help you?"

      It seems to me it's probably techs who double as telephone support.
  • Its the ecosystem that matters

    Comparing Fire to the iPad is like comparing Apple's and Oranges. The Fire is a niche product, with a niche market share.
    • While there's some truth to this

      I don't think any company should ride their ecosystem laurels. Having a head start is nice, but just remember the story of the tortoise and the hare.
      • the apps

        The apps are not only more numerous, they are better done. The iOS tablet apps are simply the best. Some Android apps are pretty good. The number of tablet apps which are of the highest caliber will remain iOS for some time.
        • the most important app on a tablet is the browser

          Android has better browsers than iOS.
          Even Win RT has better browsers than iOS.
          Daylight third.
          iOS browsers are so crap they make thousands of web replacement apps so you can avoid using crippled browsers on iOS.