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The Problem With iBooks – The Platform Is Very Limited

The last 10 or so books I’ve read have all been on my Kindle. Not only are we a 2-Kindle family but I can show you that I’ve actually saved money on these devices. Every time I pick up a business book that retails at least fifteen bucks more for the dead tree edition, I realize this isn’t just a convenience issue, it’s a monetary one. And, yes, I make use of the iPhone app as well – but it is hardly the experience I want or need. And, friends, don’t knock e-ink until you’ve read a few books on it.

Side note: on my desk are a few books that only come in print and I can’t, for the moment, pull myself to even crack open.

So, Apple comes out with the iPad and the very cool looking iBooks option. We hear stories of magazines jumping on board quickly and we have something very interesting here. Embedded below is a YouTube Playlist:

At the point I wrote this, the best facts I could find about the iBooks included 1 simple fact that needs to be examined. Again, at the time of writing (3/1/2010), here’s what we know: iBooks only works on the iPad. Kindle products work on the iPad, the iPhone, PCs (Macs coming soon), and Blackberries. In short, my options are to read my stuff on every screen I own, or only one of the screens I own. I can also publish TODAY to the Kindle Network – but that’s another post all together. Obviously there are no details on that, but I don’t see it coming any time soon.

Now if I buy music through iTunes, I can play it on anything (including that Zune). If I buy a television show or movie, I can play it on any of my registered devices in the house (including my iPad).

So, yes, this is a revision 1 release – actually a pre revision 1 release but, right now, iBooks do nothing for me.

So, I ask this question, is the concept of iBooks doing anything for you? Is this something independent content developers should be considering? I guess I don’t get what they’re bringing to the table yet that, simply, isn’t provided much better on the Kindle.

Apple’s “Latest Creation” Event (the iPad) – My New Media Perspective

Thanks to Leo Laporte’s Phone, and Gdgt’s live photostream, we got an almost live look at the launch of the (surprised?) iPad. Other great pieces include Wired telling us it’s more about content, Cali Live, and TechCrunch’s live stream.

My thoughts:

The iPad name. Branding is a tough thing, but if anyone can pull it off, Apple can. Lots of folk can have slates or tablets. Only one company can have an iPad. Now they can (and will) charge more.

Mentioning YouTube but not Hulu, etc. I predict here that as this effectively has the ability to kill the purchase of content for the television, … I predict Hulu will try to ban (or severely restrict) the playing of Hulu content on the device. There will be hacks, don’t get me wrong, but, .. yeah, Hulu ain’t gonna like this at all.

Regular mentioning of Podcasts on this bad boy. Nice, but I believe this is more of a positioning statement than anything else. It might be me, but it sounds like Steve is telling some “big media” types that we can do fine without them. And, actually, I agree.

No Flash? That’s what Engadget is telling us. Answers the Boxee/Hulu question – and forces us to download content for the iPad. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

The iPad Econony.” Steve started the event with thoughts on how Apple is the “biggest” mobile device company on the planet. There is an iPhone economy (and nothing even comes close). I think they’re going for the same thing here. Hubris or brilliance … we’ll see.

Ability to use existing iPhone apps. Obvious, but extremely powerful. There are a couple of iPhone apps that I would use a lot more if I had more space (OmniFocus, Mail, Calendar, InstataPaper, Evernote, etc.) iPhone changed the way we used phones. Mix that power, already built in, with Steve’s comment that netbooks are lousy and we have an interesting new space.

Microphone jack. New media creation device.

The MLB.tv Demo. Yes, MLB has been leading the pack on this one, but those who own there media can all learn from this model of making sure their media is available on every device. An app for your show for the iPad is a LOT MORE (impressive and important) THAN AN RSS FEED.

iPad v Kindle (iBooks). Part of Kindle’s charm for me is the epaper bit (and the eyestrain that it doesn’t cause). I like where Apple is going, but I’m not sure how buying an iBook, only available on my iPad, is better than buying a Kindle book, which I can read on the Kindle, iPhone and iPad. Pricing will be a big issue here. Of course, you can buy MP3s on Amazon that work great on the iPhone – and we know where their positioning is.

iWork for iPad. Don’t underestimate brilliance of this one. If we can get an Office Suite with battery life for less than an Office Suite with laptops (with less battery life), we have a winner in the Enterprise? Remember, the promise is 10 HOURS of batter power. And at $9.99 each, yes, they’re making an Enterprise play …

$30 for unlimited 3G. No contract. But … AT&T. No commitment. But … AT&T. Remember too, this is a GSM chip so you won’t able able to move this over to Verizon without buying a new iPad. Hmmmmmm.

Price. Starting at $499 for 16 gig. $129 more for the 3G options. Most expensive 64gig and 3G – $829.

No camera. Nothing about USB. Not everything you need … but very nice.

125,000 million accounts and credit card numbers. This is a major audience ready to buy your stuff. Will you make it available to them?

Summary: So, she’s gorgeous and (relatively) cheap and a game changer. She doesn’t have the stuff we need to entirely bring her into the world we know (Flash, Camera, etc.). She is also very obviously a v1 product but color me impressed. The enterprise play and the cheaper access option (and the Apple halo effect) mean that it’s going to get a lot of play, quickly. She won’t be the streaming cable cutter like some buzz, but very impressive none the less.

We have what it takes to establish a 3rd category of products … We think we’ve done it.” (Steve Jobs)

Did they?