From Apple Insider and Artist AudioPollution.
The annual Consumer Electronics Show just wrapped up this weekend. There were plenty of televisions, cameras, and mp3 players. There were no new ebook readers. The only possible ebook news that came out of CES was the firm, but virtually meaningless statement by Sony that it was showing “reflowable” PDF in their booth on the Sony Reader. Reflowability means that IF the book’s contents is correctly formatted, the text will reflow to fit the screen size.
I hate to get excited about reflowability because it isn’t backward compatible. I.e., your older Adobe ebooks that were made without the proper formatting or if the publisher doesn’t know what it is doing, then even if your device allows “reflowability” it doesn’t actually make a difference.
Macworld is on January 15, 2008. Steve Jobs will give a keynote speech this year as he does every year. Last year saw the announcement of the iPhone. This year promises to bring movie rentals through iTunes. Other announcements are speculated on but unknown. One of my favorite speculations is that Apple will introduce a tablet – although this is not likely to happen. (I should also add that there was speculation yesterday that Apple would buy Adobe and all I can say to that is I HATE THE ADOBE FORMAT AND DRM system. Just saying).
If you recall, Apple was one of the first to introduce a handheld personal computer by the name of the Newton. Some have speculated for the last few years that Apple is on the verge of making a Newton come back. I have my doubts about this but only, in part, because I don’t want to be disappointed.
I would love for Apple to come out with a tablet PC to be my go-to reading device, email reader, and web browser. If it were a perfect world, this is what my perfect e-reading device would contain.
I love the look of my iPhone with is classy brushed aluminum finish and glass front display. I would like it to have a few more buttons. The new Sony Reader has a nice form and heft to it but its button placement has a lot to be desired.
- Buttons for page turning should be accessible on the sides of the device for easy page turning when holding the device with one hand. The set of buttons should include a bookmark feature, i.e., hold the page forward button in for a few seconds and it will make a bookmark. Ideally, there should be two sets of buttons on either side that are fully customizable so that readers can decide for themselves exactly how they want the buttons to function. A jog wheel could do this. One of the best features of the blackberry phones is the jog wheel.
- A backlight or integrated front light. This is a must have.
- A button for a find/go to page feature.
- A brightness button to easily increase or decrease the brightness (on the iPhone, I have to go through about three steps to get the brightness feature).
- A 6-8″ screen.
- Wi Fi components.
- USB Host. (this allows you to hook up a USB Air card or a USB keyboard etc.)
- SD slot.
- Solid state harddrive.
- User replaceable battery.
That’s it. The hardware need not be complicated because software can make it do anything.
- Ideally, it would be some version of a full operating software. Linux would be the best because it is open source but at this point, I would take anything.
- On screen keyboard. I have really gotten use to the iPhone and so realize that this is a nice feature to incorporate. I wouldn’t use it all the time, particularly when I could tether a full size keyboard via USB or Bluetooth.
- Handwriting recognition (remember that this is my “perfect” ereading device).
- Ability to make annotations and highlight text in addition to making bookmarks.
- Port of iTunes like software for organization and rating. I would like to easily swipe to make a rating of a book, to be able to search my books via rating, to make “playlists” or “collections”via ratings.
- Ability to make collections by author, subject, title, publisher, or anything else that meets my whimsy.
- Tagging for books to assist with organization. I.e., after reading a book, I could tag it European Historical, Victorian, Marriage of Convenience, Female Aviator and then go back and search my tags when I am looking for a book about Marriage of Convenience.
- Ability to purchase books over the air, whether it be via Wi Fi or an Aircard or something similar.
- A find feature and a “go to page” feature.
- Customizable fonts, font sizes, font colors, and background colors/wallpaper.
- Ability to add audio notes.
This is all I can think of at this point in time. I would love to hear others’ dream features for both hardware and software.