Does an Apple Tablet Replace the Kindle?

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Our own Derek Thompson thinks it does.  As longtime readers know, I'm a huge afficionado of gadgets in general, and the Kindle in particular.  And I don't think that the still-mythical Apple tablet in any way replicates the key features of a Kindle. 

For me, the benefits of a Kindle are that it's extremely lightweight, is not backlit (meaning it's both easier on the eyes, and can be read in full sunlight), and has an extremely long battery life.  I can charge up my Kindle at home, take it on vacation, and unless I'm using the wireless, have it all week on one charge.  If my experience with other Apple products is anything to go by, the Apple tablet will not even survive a moderate plane ride.  I'm certainly not going to sling it in my purse, the way I do my Kindle, and whip it out in odd moments. 

I'm not exactly an Apple tablet skeptic--maybe the thing will turn out to not only exist, but also be awesome.  But like Matt Yglesias, I'm having a hard time figuring out how I'll use it.  Unless I'm going out somewhere social, I basically have a laptop with me at all times.  I don't need another computer that is less powerful and harder to type on.  Nor am I seeing any benefit to replacing my Kindle, which already fits comfortably in my purse or laptop bag, and does exactly what I need it to do, which is carry around large amounts of text in a compact space.  How much extra would I be willing to pay to be able to read Vanity Fair in glorious full color?  Not much, especially since the print magazine is available on newstands everywhere--and, like my Kindle, has excellent battery life.

But perhaps I'm missing something.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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