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Apple iPad

The first and market-leading tablet PC, however, is the Apple iPad (see Figure 6). It dominates the tablet market, and registers as a respectable second-place player in the market for eBook readers—after the Kindle, but catching up fast.

Figure 6 Apple’s iPad—more than just an eBook reader.

There are many things that make the iPad attractive for reading. First and foremost is the screen, almost 10” diagonal—great for reading larger-format books, magazines, and the like. It’s a color LCD touchscreen, so you’re not limited to black & white books. You can configure the iPad to display larger font sizes than with competing readers; it’s the best unit out there for large-print reading.

Naturally, the iPad does more than just read eBooks; there are a ton of different apps out there to do just about anything you can imagine. You use Apple’s iBooks app to read books in the universal EPUB format, and Amazon’s competing (and also free) Kindle app to read MOBI-format eBooks.

At present, Apple offers six different versions of the iPad. There are three models (with 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB storage) with WiFi-only connectivity, and another three with WiFi plus 3G. Prices start at $499 and go up to $829.

That makes the iPad the priciest eBook reader on the market today. For that price, however, you get a full-featured tablet computer, and a screen that’s much larger than competing units. To some, that’s a good deal; to others, lower-priced dedicated readers make more sense.

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