A recent eMarketer study has shown that ebook readers are holding their own, but that was before Apple’s changes.
The iOS 9.3 update brought the “Night Shift” feature to iPhones and iPads and comes with the controversial claim that it has reduced the amount of blue light emitted by the mobile devices and may, therefore, help to push the ereader further toward being obsolete.
The reason is that while Apple says its devices may no longer interrupt sleep patterns, ebook readers still might.
The design of the “Night Shift” is meant to decrease the blue light emitted by the device. Those wavelengths of light are often blamed for disturbing people’s ability to sleep, so by removing them, the thought is that it will stop people from harming their sleep cycles through the use of tablets at bedtime. With this in mind, some have predicted that the use of the ereader, a device that is not backlit and that does not emit any blue light, will decline.
Some people have been using an ereader to read ebooks at bedtime in order to avoid wakefulness problems related to tablet use.
Overall, most doctors and sleep specialists recommend that patients stop using any kinds of mobile devices for an hour to 90 minutes before they go to bed. That is meant to decrease exposure to blue light but also to the stimulation these gadgets can bring with their use. Many doctors also recommend that patients use only dim lighting throughout that same span of time in order to help to encourage the production of melatonin (a sleep-promoting hormone that is light sensitive).
For that reason, eink displays from dedicated ereaders have been seen as great ways to take advantage of a certain limited amount of internet connectivity, as well as the comfortable ability to read an ebook, such as a favorite young adult fiction novel or the latest murder mystery in a series you’re enjoying.
So far, eink ereader displays haven’t been connected with sleep struggles and have been very appealing to people who are trying their best to give themselves a restful night of sleep. What has yet to be seen is whether the Night Shift in combination with the iPad mini from Apple will be enough to replace ereaders by providing a full tablet experience without the blue light exposure.