The iPad and the Kindle are two of the most banded-about tablet devices to date. With weeks of rumour and speculation finally revealing the Apple tablet, today Amazon is found to have invested further into mobile "Kindle-like" technology to rival the iPad.
My opinion of the iPad is not that of a positive one. It lacks Flash which whether you love it or hate it, is still an integral part of the web that we use today, irrespective of whether HTML5 video integration will have a major effect on the plug-in in years to come.
Satirist Charlie Brooker sums up entirely my feeling for the device, using words which I could only have dreamed of. (Some strong language, edited where possible).
Yet the kicker for me is the paperless student concept, and the ability to read and take notes. The whole point behind "reading" a degree instead of studying for one is because the vast majority of undergraduate degree programmes involve more reading than anything else. In theory and from my personal experience, you could probably scrape a high 2:2 at very least just from reading the course materials that are asked of you and nothing else.
The need for reading is massively important, and while I still believe a Kindle or an iPad will not negate the need for paper and physical reading materials, it could have a positive effect on storage space, overall costs and literature capacity.
But it still entirely depends on whether the necessary reading materials will be available for such devices. This is a big but, and not one that can be solved overnight no matter how hard Google tries to.
And students still don't want to read books or materials on a screen. It isn't in our nature to and with screen/eye fatigue and general rigmarole of having to become adept with the technology we are given, it's far easier to scribble a note on the margin of a laboriously complicated chapter.
In my opinion, there's nothing besides the fashion and the fun element behind the iPad that could justify even the relatively low cost of $499. It may seem to be aimed at students and academia but in practice, you'd be better off with the best of both worlds.