13 Comments

Summary:

Kindle for iPad has peeked out to show what Amazon is bringing to the slate, and it looks pretty. The bookshelf takes advantage of the bigger iPad screen, and presents books in a pleasing format. The reader is receiving a facelift, but will Apple approve it?

Kindle iPad thumb

The iPad will be in user’s hands in just a few weeks, and developers are scrambling to get versions of their iPhone apps ready to take advantage of the larger tablet screen. Kindle for iPhone has been a big hit for the phone crowd, and Amazon has made it clear they are hard at work on an iPad version. This new version has peeked out to show what Amazon is bringing to the table, and it looks pretty.

The new bookshelf takes advantage of the bigger iPad screen, and presents book covers in a pleasing format. The reader is receiving a face lift too, with pages turning graphically to mimic a real book experience.

Barnes & Noble is also working on an iPad version of its iPhone reader app. Like Amazon, its goal is to extend the customer experience to as many devices as possible to sell more e-books. While both companies are working on iPad versions, there is a possible fly in the ointment for actually getting them on the device. Apple would be foolish to deny the approval of competing e-book reader apps for the iPad, but that hasn’t stopped them in the past.

While third party readers were allowed on the iPhone, and there are quite a few, at the time of the approval of those apps Apple was not in the e-book selling game. With the release of the iPad and the iBookstore, that is no longer the case. Apple has a nasty habit of disapproving apps for the iPhone that compete with its core businesses, and unfortunately e-books now fit that description on the iPad. If Apple decides to reject these iPad apps we can expect a firestorm of outcries. It’s not clear if they would retroactively remove the iPhone versions of e-book reader apps, since Apple’s iBooks only runs on the iPad.

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  1. This should be interesting indeed.

    1. Yep, Steve is going to change the entire landscape of eBooks starting April 3. Actually he has already changed it by having a dramatic effect on pricing even before iPad is available. Hopefully with Apple’s leadership they can fix many of the problems in the Publishing industry in much the same way they saved the Music industry by bringing much needed price stability.

      The really sad part is that as Apple slowly fixes the Book Publishing industry quickly followed by the Magazine, Movie and TV industries they will have possible too much control and jealous companies like Microsoft and Google will cry foul and want some form of Government intervention which could be devastating to Apple’s rapid growth. I hope the feds stay out of this and let the market decide and given the huge success with music there is no reason Apple cannot translate that with books.

      Interesting indeed the iPad is such a great disruptive technology! As time passes consumers will fall in love with this magical device just like they did with their iPods and iPhones.

  2. If they can’t remove the iPhone versions of third-party readers – and they can’t, for PR reasons if nothing else – then there’s no good reason to disallow the iPad versions, since iPad users can just install the iPhone apps. Allowing those apps, on the other hand, provides a great incentive for those who are on the fence about a dedicated e-reader, or would like to migrate to the iPad but are worried about losing already-paid content (those who aren’t staunchly committed to the advantages of e-ink, anyway): “iPad can read books from Amazon, B&N, and the Apple iBooks Store!” Hell, this could even be an incentive for those intending to keep their Kindles or Nooks, since they can read and sync the same content across multiple devices.

  3. Oliver Barrett IV Monday, March 22, 2010

    If I was the honorable Mr. Jobs I would not hesitate to protect Apple’s interests here. After all he has a fiduciary requirement to the shareholders of his company. Given this requirement and Steve’s mastery of the mobile gadget marketplace he will no doubt either remove all competing apps or somehow impose an additional requirement by said apps (such as an anti-competitive surcharge tax on each competitors book sale that is facilitated by Apple’s market leading storefront technology). Either way Apple will most assuredly be rewarded for any extra book sales made through the new advanced technology incorporated in the iPad.

    Another option Steve might do is to humbly offer exclusivity on the iPad with a requirement that their competing bookstore apps not be offered elsewhere (such as on any Android device, or at least not on any Google branded device for sure).

    The only thing for certain is that whatever Steve wants Steve gets, make no mistake about this as Apple has all the leverage in this game.

    1. I think the latter sounds more likely, especially in light of the fact that an Android reader for Amazon continues to fail to appear.

      1. Anti-trust monopoly lawsuits sure to follow!

    2. First of all – I can’t believe you used Steve Jobs and “humble” in the same context…

      Apple is still principally a hardware company. This is where it makes the big bucks. Itunes is great, but Apple makes, if nothing else, a killing on their hardware. The software/ebook sales afforded to amazon in this situation, would provide minimal revenue for either Apple or a competitor compared to the hardware sales generated by allowing said competitor. I’d venture to suggest that his fiduciary duty here isn’t some puritanical quashing of competitors, it’s the allowing of a stable development environment, so that more applications can be made without previous farcical examples for why things have been denied. This stable development environment would further engender appreciation for the platform and most probably a larger installed user base which is unquestionably worth more to Apple than a few ebook sales.

      Steve might have all the leverage here, but he’s already destroyed Amazon’s price advantage, he doesn’t give a crap about the rest of it.

  4. Patrick Moorhead Monday, March 22, 2010

    This will certainly turn a lot of heads if the ereaders aren’t supported. As a Nook AND Kindle owner AND an iPad on order, I will be watching closely.

  5. Books have been available on the iPhone for awhile and developers and companies have shown them to be popular. Apple sees this and says, “Hey! Let’s get in on this!” So they come up with their own reader and bookstore and kick out everyone else.

    And you wonder why the App Store is filled with fart Apps and tip calculators? Because nobody is going to invest the time and effort into coming up with something useful only to have Apple come along and say, “Thanks for kick-starting the market. Now go away…”

  6. I hope that Amazon (or anyone else) will make the reader app text book friendly. I’ve played with a Java certification book on my kindle and it was painful.

    To make text books work they need to be faster than the kindle (DX), support a better bookmark system (to flip back and forth), etc.

    I have a 32G wireless iPad on order and think that it will nicely replace the Kindle DX, however I’m not dumping the Kindle yet.

    It will be nice to have my library on the iPad though.

  7. Note that iBooks apps and iBookstore will not be available in other countries like in Canada. Check the description of features http://www.apple.com/ca/ipad/features/, there is no mentions of iBooks. So in in those countries, ebooks readers would not duplicate something Apple has. Are they going to punish us Canadian users (and other countries) by not making it so no ebooks readers available on the iPad? I certainly hope not.

  8. I really wish Apple would start allow competing apps on their platform it would make it much easier to like them. An alternative email application or browser would be great. They are a hardware and marketing company so the more successful Kindle would be on a ipad the more devices they would sell.

  9. Tom Reestman Monday, March 22, 2010

    Assuming it doesn’t violate any SDK guidelines (there’s no indication at this time that it does), of course Apple will allow it. Not even sure why the question is being asked.

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