Amazon Kindle, Apple Table, My Hope

I am on an extended trip (actually to fly around the world on United is cheaper than a round trip business class to Singapore) to Singapore, Turkey, Germany, Philadelphia, Rochester, San Diego and then San Francisco.  This trip I took Monika’s Kindle DX with me.  As I sat in the United lounge in the USA waiting for my flight, I downloaded about 10 books.  Some fiction (Neuromancer, The Magicians, Candles in the Rain, Hardy Boys for my grandson) and some non-fiction (What the Dog Saw, Salon, Slate) just to be able to try it out thoroughly.

My impression after now 10 days is that I really love it.  First of all it does not weigh anymore with 1 book or 10 books.  Duh.  But for the lean traveler that has serious meaning.  Also, I am pretty sure that I love the DX version with its larger screen than the smaller version.  I do wish it had its wireless features enabled in Singapore but I will try it in other countries as I continue to move westward back to CA.

Now all of this brings me to the now-legendary-vaporware-Apple-Tablet that may sometime be released.

I confess that I now really hope that they do.  And it should be a different object than either the iPhone or their laptop or any Macintosh flavor.  Why?

After the Kindle experience, I see the value in a product that is primarily for reading.  The device would be better with a full color display and in exchange I would give back some of the Kindle’s amazing battery life (read weeks if you are careful with the wireless).

Here is my list of what I would want –

  • greater than 10″ display, full color, high resolution
  • an iTunes like book store where magazines and books are all available by the issue or by subscription
  • ideally we could buy a library card and take out books (but this would produce too thin a revenue model, I suspect)
  • of course it should have a camera (maybe a pretty good one with some zoom and good focus and of course, video) and ability to play music and videos
  • But its real purpose is to be a general reading tool and to that end it needs color to really render magazines fully.
  • it should have communications probably with embedded WiFi and GSM so that it can always be used for things like interactive ads in magazines.  imagine a much strong link from print to purchase
  • it would have most of the iPhone sensors and maybe some others so that it can be a fun platform for games.
  • it should allow students of all ages not to have to lug around so many books that have become back breaking.
  • it would be a tablet with student’s books but also enable teachers to give an entire class test and have each test different so as to reduce cheating as well as make feedback after the test instantaneous.
  • it would allow improvements in teaching in class rooms as assignments could be tailored to each students ability and rate of learning.  lessons read could be self tested for comprehension and more details can be shared as needed individually by each student
  • it would be a better typing surface than the phone level I/O devices.  it will be more easily accommodate touch typing

Back to the main point.  Reading.  This is something that is not going to die.  And just like we want our computers for real strong interaction and explanations and writing.  And we want our phone for truly mobile simple communications, I believe we would also carry our “reader”.

For me this would be the ultimate simplification as I would travel with these 3 Apple branded devices that work together, play nicely, network out to their respective worlds and so forth.

The miracle that Jobs and company have to pull off is to really get the print folks to abandon paper and to strongly support the new platform and for that there must be a revenue model that works for everybody.

With iTunes and music, the model was crush the music stores and eliminate a level or 2 of markups.  But it ended up still hurting artists and their handlers.  That is still a work in progress.

With iPrint or whatever it will be called, I see how the New York Times and Time magazine can still be in the publishing business, still have advertising revenue, lose the need to kill so many trees and so forth.  But they all must be looking at iTunes and remember how disruptive that was and if they have really thought through their portion of the revenue shifts.

Hope that they have and that we get the 3rd leg of this platform in place.

Posted in Essays, Green Perspectives

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