Maybe it’s because I’m pessimistic, but when I hear other blogs talking about the revolution to reading the iSlate will bring, I just don’t buy it. Yes, the iPod did wonders for music and the iPhone has changed the mobile phone landscape overnight, but reading is different - and if the rumours of a multi-purpose, all in one device are true, Apple doesn’t appreciate the importance of keeping it separate.
I should start by explaining that I’m an avid reader and follower of all things literary, so much so that I just spent £238 having an Amazon Kindle (http://www.amazon.com/kindle) and it’s accompanying leather case shipped across the channel to arrive on the 27th - so I’ll have two things to look forward to that day! A quick count of my bedroom highlights the presence of over 150 books, from Harry Potter to Dan Brown and with a load of lesser known authors in between - Jasper Fforde anyone?
What makes the Kindle great is its single function eInk display. It reads books, and that’s about it (there’s an experimental web browser too), but it does it brilliantly. The screen has no glare, only uses power during a page turn so you get seven days from the device without needing to charge it and - perhaps most importantly - reads even under direct sunlight.
As much as I love Apple’s glossy displays, they don’t perform well in bright conditions (try shining a torch at your iPhone) and in my mind a big 10” one just wouldn’t be suitable for reading on the go. It’d be too big and bulky to chuck into an oversized coat pocket, too uncomfortable to hold in just one hand and would you really want to take a $1000 tablet to the beach with you?
That’s why when it comes to reading on my new tablet (and believe me, I will be buying one as soon as funds permit - I’m not exactly a saver), there’s only one rumour that’s excited me so far - and I’m afraid I’ll have to run it uncredited because I can’t for the life of me remember where it was from having read so many posts this week about Apple’s latest project.
The rumour was that in changing revenue share to Apple’s 70/30 cut, and introducing an SDK for the Kindle, Amazon wasn’t gearing up to compete, but instead to ‘get in bed’ with Apple and run the tablet bookstore, using their whispernet technology to sync every page turn with Kindles and iPhones alike and enabling readers to pick up from where they left off on any device - Mac, PC, iPhone, Blackberry, Android Device or of course the “iSlate”.
So whilst I don’t believe a glossy screen with presumably high power requirements can revolutionize reading, I do think if Apple make the right partnerships now, they can enter the reading arena by joining established partners, and add even more ways for me to read my favourite novels.
And that’s pretty exciting.