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Thursday Links: Apple’s iPad Underwhelms

iPad sideview

The message that I heard from others yesterday is that they were underwhelmed by the iPad. Significantly, it lacks the ability to run applications simultaneously, has no camera, lacks a USB port or external memory slot. Further, there is no innovative input, only a large screen keyboard. I’m not certain how easy it would be to type with that thing in your lap.

For reading, the battery life is a promised 10 hours at half brightness. The screen is 9.7 inches with a backlit IPS LED screen. IPS is also known as “In Plane Switching” and supposedly provides better lateral views of the screen. IPS also is reported to need a stronger backlight so those claims of 10 hour battery life might be overhyped.

Steve Jobs talked briefly about books on the iPad. First, it looks as if the bookshelf is based on the Classics application. Second, the platform is ePub but we don’t know if iBooks can be read on other devices. Likely not.

Classics Shelf v. iPad Shelf

For me, the design is very unlike Apple. It looks dated. Further, the only feature that Steve showed during the keynote was that you could change the font. Whoop de freaking do. One concern expressed by readers like author Shannon Stacey was whether the iBook application would spell the end of the existing applications like Stanza, Kindle, BN’s eReader. Kobo books is working feverishly to get iPad ready.

Kirk Biglione, from Media Loper, pointed out that “Apple has typically restricted apps that duplicate built-in functionality. That’s why there are no third-party web browsers or media players in the App Store.” Upon further examination, he noted, “It’s clear that users will have to download the iBookstore application through the App Store. After they’ve done that they can buy books from within the app, read, and manage their libraries. I’m guessing this means books won’t be added to the device’s main media library as a new type of media.”
The pricing appears high for ebooks: $12.99 and $14.99 for hardcovers and some lower price for trade and paperbacks. I would expect this to trend downward if Kindle remains in the App Store. To kick Kindle out, along with other booksellers, would trigger a DOJ investigation, in my opinion.

The take away for me is that this is a giant and, very fast, iTouch and at the price of $499 for the entry level version, that’s enough for me. I’ll be ordering the mid level (32 GB) wifi enabled version as soon as I am allowed to do so. I’ll review it here, of course, for your consumption. The iPads are expected to ship in 60 days.

A new ebook store was launched called ebook pie. It is selling MS Lit, eReader, and Adobe DRM’ed formats. Interestingly, it doesn’t designate which Adobe DRM platform it is selling, either PDF or ePUB which signals a rather stunning lack of understanding of the technology for an ebookstore.

The Millions has an interview with a book pirate. He buys a lot of books, uploads a lot of books, and downloads a lot of books. He knows its wrong but I don’t get the sense that is stopping him.

Mother Jones features an essay wherein the editor of a journal asks for literary writers to do less navel gazing and start writing things we want to read. Ted Genoways argues graduate literary programs have been churning out writers but few of them are generating consumable material.

India company, Mehta, is going to release an ebook reader. India is projected to be the largest English speaking country in the world. Currently it sits as second only to the U.S. The U.S. has 251,388,301 English speakers and India has 232,000,000.

On Thursday, Mehta will announce the Infibeam Pi, an e-book reader that looks like the Amazon Kindle, has the same e-Ink screen that the Kindle sports, and has a rights architecture than is more open than the Kindle. The Infibeam Pi, which can now be ordered online and will start shipping in February, is priced at Rs 10,000. The Amazon Kindle, when shipped to India, costs about Rs 18,000.

Kindle has released a book light (non affiliate link) which clips on to the top of the device. It has two LCD bulbs which will provide a bright, bright light. I like the design of it and how it is kind of hooded but those lights will be very bright.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Shannon Stacey
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 09:54:42

    The ONE thing I really wanted from the iPad was the ability to run apps simultaneously and switch between them with the swipe of a finger. Considering how strongly I feel the lack of that ability on the iPod Touch, it would really get on my nerves on a device that’s supposed to be fully functioned. And the fact that the Droid (I think it was) designed an entire commercial campaign around being able to multitask where the iPhone can’t, the technology must exist.

    I want the mid-level wi-fi, too, but I think I’ll wait and see how everybody likes it. And maybe wait for the second gen, hoping it has multitask.

    It’s so very shiny and pretty, though. I may not be able to hold out.

  2. HeatherK
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 10:07:38

    Add me into would like a card slot added and multitasking, would be great, too. However, I do like the screen size and the ability to see iPages and Word docs on it. I’ve been eyeing the iPod Touch, but really leaning toward the iPad now.

    Shannon, I know what you mean about first gen, but oh the temptation. I’ll probably end up getting one as soon as I get the cash for it rather than the Touch, mainly due to screen size and the iPages thing.

  3. Shannon Stacey
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 10:13:18

    I weigh in the portability factor, since I do my work (Word, etc) on a laptop, I want my ebooks and my casual surfing and my Twitter and my email to run amok with me. The iPad won’t fit in my jacket pocket or my purse, which means having a case and all that jazz. I’m probably going to end up with both the iPod Touch and the iPad, but if I had to choose between the two, I wouldn’t give up my Touch.

    Oh, and was anybody seriously planning to use the iPad as a camera anyway?

  4. Jane
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 10:18:35

    @Shannon Stacey Camera would be for video conferencing.

  5. Shannon Stacey
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 10:27:23

    Oh. Well that definitely makes more sense than chasing Kodak moments around with an iPad.

    (I’ve never done video conferencing or used a web cam for anything, so that never even occurred to me.)

  6. DS
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 10:38:26

    I’ve been waffling but right now pretty firmly on the will not purchase side.

    I didn’t buy an iPod until it did something I wanted– audio books and lots of memory to hold them as well as video. The iPhone I wanted as soon as I saw the presentation. Oooooh, shiny.

    I have to agree with the post I read somewhere that said the iPad looks like a digital picture frame.

  7. Anion
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 11:23:02

    @Shannon Stacey:

    The mental image of someone holding up an iPad on Christmas morning to get pics of the kiddies is totally making me giggle.

  8. Michelle
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 11:25:15

    The comments on the pirate article were interesting. I don’t understand though why every time they talk about piracy they bring up plagiarism. I wasn’t following Esther Mitchell’s whole why was everyone mad at Cassie Edwards “minor” plagiarism when you all are dirty rotten pirates. There really seems to be a feeling that all ebook readers are guilty until proven innocent.

  9. seressia
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 11:41:59

    Looks like I’m sticking with my netbook.

  10. liz m
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 11:52:15

    I wasn’t impressed with the memory – that knocked me out of buying one – but I don’t understand why so many sites are comparing this to Classics – it looks like Shelfari or any one of a hundred other sites. Books on a shelf is not revolutionary or unique.

    I’m interested in iBooks if it is available to non iPad uses, in the way that ITunes is. I haven’t found a program that sorts books as easily as iTunes does music – calibre and I had a blind date but the spark was missing.

  11. Shannon Stacey
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 11:52:38

    @Anion: That was pretty much the image I got, which is why I was so perplexed by the “no camera” complaints. “Come on, Joey, smile for the iPad!”

  12. Lyn
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 12:02:37

    The iPad is ALMOST what I want in an wireless 3G ereader device. I already have AT&T 3G cell service and need to know if I have to buy additional service from ATT for the iPad. No one is saying on that. I also want to use a different browser..not Safari! And I don’t want to just be able to connect to iTunes or iBookstore…I want to shop at other places and it’s not worth it just to be able to connect to those 2 websites. Plus I haven’t heard anything about security and that is a big wireless issue to me. The Apple website isn’t saying and it’s not addressed in their blog.

    Therefore I’ll wait.

  13. Robin
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 12:08:54

    This Tech Crunch article I hadn’t seen until Mike Cane tweeted it this morning is interesting (re. the iBooks app) and somewhat troubling if true:

  14. Maria Schneider
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 12:12:58

    I thought it would be more competition with the Kindle…but it seems like it’s more a competition with the iTouch or a netbook. The price was better than expected…but on the book thing…nothing really innovative there except that they seem to have gotten into the textbook market–which is a key market that Amazon hasn’t really been able to do well (make good deals or enough deals.)

    I think I’d be more inclined to look at it as an itouch type tool or a netbook. But unless I was in school, I’m not sure it grabs me as an e-reader. Those still need to be lower in cost and small for portability. The thing is light, but looked awkward to hold, carry/deal with.

  15. Marsha
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 12:16:03

    I can’t figure out if I’m impressed or underwhelmed with this thing. On the one hand, I kind of like it for my nine year old. It replicates some of the function that his in-classroom smartboard has, provides something closer to his likely computing future than what my mac and pc (yes, we go both ways at home) do and is less likely than an itouch to become lost in his bedroom.

    For me, I don’t know. The whole thing complicates my e-reader thoughts even more. Believe me when I tell you that I can be confused for free and don’t need to shell out $500 for the experience.

  16. Lisa
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 12:57:07

    I also want to use a different browser..not Safari!

    There are about a half-dozen non-Apple browsers available for the iPhone:

  17. Ridley
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 13:03:08

    The only people who will buy the unfortunately named iPad will be the Apple fanboys/girls. I am not an Apple person at all. I hate the Mac OS and detest proprietary hardware. I do own multiple iPods, however, because that was a true killer app with wide appeal. I didn’t bother with the iPhone, nifty as it is, because AT&T can go fuck itself and Apple with it. Let me use it on Verizon,and we’ll talk.

    I absolutely do not see it having much of an impact at all on ereading. It’s not nifty enough to overcome the most commonly stated obstacle to ebook buy-in – that the devices are too expensive.

    Apple shot its killer app wad on the iPod.

  18. DS
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 13:08:27

    @Michelle: I wasn’t aware that Cassie Edwards ended up in court. In fact, I’m pretty sure she didn’t. It’s hard to take people like that particular commenter seriously.

  19. Jane
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 13:28:37

    @Lyn I’m pretty sure you have to buy additional service from ATT for the iPad. It is an unlocked device, though, and can use any micro SIM card

  20. Lyn
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 14:19:08

    @Jane: @Jane: Forget that then. I’ll wait for the next wave of technology…or design the damn thing myself. I’ve been waiting for a few years for someone to come up with the “perfect” device. All this proprietary stuff has to go.

  21. Ridley
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 15:02:35

    Just read the pirate interview and I’d say he’s pretty typical.

    I was a voracious music pirater back in the day, but I also have more than one 7ft CD rack full of CDs I bought new. I downloaded stuff to see if I’d like it, or stuff that I’d never buy but I had stuck in my head/wanted my husband to hear how bad it was/wanted to have for a themed mix CD for a party. We had a separate hard drive just for pirated music and videos (oh the dark ages before YouTube, /shudder) but I was also a weekly customer at Newbury Comics and Tower Records, buying at least 2 new CDs at a pop. Often I bought the CDs of the music I downloaded, for the packaging and better sound quality.

    Now I buy all of my music from Amazon’s DRM-free MP3 store (I dislike iTunes, but my husband hates it so much he’s forbidden me from putting it on any of our computers) with the occasional collector’s edition CD mixed in.

    Why the switch? Amazon made it easier to buy than it was to steal it and sites like Pandora and YouTube made it easier to sample music before we bought it. A few albums we bought through iTunes were lost when the iPod they lived on broke and iTunes got wiped from a computer. That soured us on DRM, so we didn’t buy MP3s again until Amazon.

    People like my husband and me are the sort of people publishers need to consider. I know how to remove the DRM from some books, and I do at every opportunity. I have a history degree, not a programming one, so it’s obviously not very hard to do. They need to find a group of music piraters who are also readers and find out what would push them to pirate books as well. DRM won’t do a thing to stop it. Any fool with Google can find a message board post somewhere that describes a way around it. Stemming piracy is about making purchasing the more attractive option.

    Why don’t I pirate books? Because, right now, it’s easy to buy them and strip the DRM off. If they make the DRM trickier, or the books less available, I’ll be visiting the nearest sharing site. I know it’s wrong, but so is doing 80 down rt 3, smoking weed, and not renewing my inspection sticker that expired in August. I also had a wheelchair ramp built without getting a building permit that I know is not up to code because I didn’t want to demolish my very nice deck to have the room to do it by the book. I’m a renegade.

    Curbing piracy is about making books more available, not less so.

  22. Moriah Jovan
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 15:59:15


    Now I buy all of my music from Amazon's DRM-free MP3 store (I dislike iTunes, but my husband hates it so much he's forbidden me from putting it on any of our computers) with the occasional collector's edition CD mixed in.

    I resemble that remark.

    Watch Amazon capitalize on the iBookstore the way they did iTunes.

  23. Lisa
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 16:08:42

    @Ridley and @Moriah —

    You do know that iTunes music is DRM-free now, right?

  24. Moriah Jovan
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 16:19:45




    Because Amazon trumped them. However, I still despise iTunes. I don’t find it nearly as simple as Amazon.

  25. Shannon Stacey
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 16:32:37

    I’ve bought a little music from Amazon, but I can’t resist the instant gratification of the iPod Touch/iTunes pairing. I can think of a song I like and a couple of taps later, it magically appears on my device.

    But even though I’m an admitted guzzler of the Apple Kool-Aid now, I don’t see myself doing the same with iBooks unless the prices are the same as Kindles. Paying @ $.30 more per song isn’t too much of an issue for me because I’m not a big music person. A few songs a month, maybe. But for books I have to go with savings over convenience. And with the Kindle app being about as simple a book-buying experience as you can have, the price would have to meet Amazon’s, not just be close.

    That’s assuming we can keep the Kindle app. Just because the DOJ doesn’t like something doesn’t mean they can stop it. I’m not sure, anyway, how Apple could be forced to provide access to a direct competitor. Nobody seems to mind there’s no app for Walmart music downloads to compete with Apple’s iTunes, so why would it be different for iBooks?

    (I have zero legal knowledge and speak absolutely no legalese. That’s merely the ponderings of a simple, uneducated about such things as anti-trust laws mind.)

  26. Maili
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 16:35:03

    My husband (a self-confessed Apple fanboy) was all for it until he learnt he wouldn’t be able to multi-task on iPad. And that it requires a computer (Mac or Win) and has no USB ports. Plus, excuse his shallow self, he’s not impressed with the name iPad either.

    The other problem is the size. It requires a case, dock/keyboard, etc., which makes iPad basically an all-in-one laptop. He already has a mac laptop and an iPhone, so what’s the point of getting it?

    iPad doesn’t have a real edge over his mac laptop and iPhone, so those issues pretty much killed his decision to buy.

    He wept a little, I think, because he’d anticipated it for what, five years? Yeah, he was quite gutted. But knowing him, he’d probably buy it on impulse in a month’s time or so.

  27. Shannon Stacey
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 16:38:23

    @Maili: I’m in the same place. I have a Macbook and an iPod Touch so what does the iPad bring to the table for me? Nothing worth $500. (Which makes me sad because it’s shiny and new and I want one anyway.)

  28. Ridley
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 16:47:17

    @Lisa: But it’s still in that retarded aac format, no?

    I rock standard formats – mp3 for music and epub for books. No me gusta proprietary bullshit.

    Also see: no USB on the iPad.

  29. Deb
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 17:32:34

    Apple blew it in my opinion.

    What kind of web experience it must be w/out Flash? Major Fail.

    iBooks: At 55yrs, eyestrain is a serious consideration when going digital with reading. You simply can’t beat the eink technology here. It may not be sexy and may at first glance, be “flat” but then so are print published books. 3 font size choices? The Kindle has 6. Text to Speech hasn’t been mentioned, that’s a great feature for persons with low vision. Kindle/ebook reader killer, Not.

    How wonderful it is to know the major publishing houses found a “distributor” which will provide their price point and most probably lock the books down to a single device. I will not let Penguin, HarperCollins & Hachette tell me which device I need for their books. They still don’t get it: I am the customer, I decide how, when and if I spend my hard earned money. The Library is my choice for these publishers from now on. To add to that, I wouldn’t consider using software which was developed by someone else without compensation and recognition. Another fail here.

    No multitasking, seriously? This grand multifunction device can’t handle that? Fail.

    Hard drive space here is not big enough to demand the price. You still need another device for storage. By the time you download tunes, videos, photos and books, you loose the speed and battery consumption is higher. For me, this is a fail.

    An extra $30.00 per month for WiFi and 3G on a network which is already overburdened? That’s a WTF?

    I love my MacBook & iPod classic. I also love my Sony Pocket Reader & Kindle. Not in a million years would I invest in a device so lacking and so expensive. Apple can do better. I question whether they are really serious about this device. It is pretty though, I’ll give it that.

  30. Castiron
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 17:49:35

    If I hadn’t gotten an iPod Touch for Christmas, I’d be very interested in the iPad. As it is, I don’t need a similar-but-larger device right now. The Touch is working great for me as an ebook reader, at least as good as my Palm was (and thanks to the eReader app, I’m able to read all the books I had on my Palm!).

    A netbook would probably be better than an iPad (even with the docking keyboard) for out-and-about writing; the main advantage of the iPad over a netbook, though, is that it looks like it’d be easier to use when standing. When I’m standing in line, I can use my Touch with no problem; an iPad looks like it wouldn’t be much harder on my hands than a large paper book, but a netbook seems like it’d be hard to hold. (I bet the netbook’s batteries are easier to replace when they wear out, though!)

    Verdict: My inner tech luster wants it, but I’m waiting to see what second-generation version looks like.

  31. mary beth
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 19:25:57

    I watched the engadget liveblog yesterday, and my initial reaction was meh. But after 24 hours, I’m on board. I already read on my iPod, and this is going to be so much better. I’ll get the dock with keyboard because that screen keyboard is odd. Undecided about the 3G or just going wifi. This thing could certainly revolutionize classrooms, but I think it’s bigger than that. It’s not a computer, it’s not an iPhone, it’s something different.

  32. Ann Bruce
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 20:32:43

    I have a 13″ MBP and an iPod Touch…and I still need something in the middle because the MBP is too big to be truly portable and the iPod Touch lacks a full-blown word processor–and has anyone tried typing more than one paragraph on the Touch?!? I wasn’t excited about the iPad during the rumor stage because, frankly, it sounded like a really big iPod Touch, which doesn’t fit my needs.

    Then I saw Jobs & Co. demo Pages. And I’m sold. I don’t need a camera and I don’t need multitasking. I just need something for writing while traveling. Yeah, I could get a netbook, but most are esthetically challenged, heavy, and hampered by the OS.

    And since the iPad is priced at half of what I was willing to pay, it’s a done deal.

    – A former Microsoft employee and Unabashed Apple Fan Girl

  33. dotty
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 20:55:01

    #Deb. Why would publishers lock their product to a single device? You can buy music through many places and formats including iTunes and Amazon and also directly from many publishers.

    Just generally, why a usb, and a card reader.

    It’s not meant to be a mass storage device just like the Touch or Phone. They don’t have usb either.

    It has Wi Fi and Bluetooth and I can plug it into my computer to sync it if I want. At 32g the mid range one will take a lot of stuff.

    I for one, am fence sitting until I see it. I love the thought of a bigger screen for my older eyes. I don’t care it doesn’t have a keyboard.

    I can’t wait for Apple to get their hands on the ebook market, I love what they did for the music through iTunes.

    Maybe we will end up with the ability to have a single format for all books on a single device. If the rumoured eventuates maybe we won’t even need to go through iTunes.

    I know many people hate the way Apple control their devices and what goes on them, but not everyone minds. I like the seamless integration that I get from my laptop to my iPod to my iTouch. I even like acc format, I think Apple Lossless produces great sound. Frankly the easier it is the better for me.

    I do realise I sound like “a fangirrl” but I remember very clearly what the music industry was like prior to Apple so I have great hopes for books. I maybe disappointed, c’est la vie,

  34. Lyn
    Jan 28, 2010 @ 22:00:00

    @dotty: I think the device is more than adequate in storage, speed, and ports for what it was designed to do. It might be a tad big, but it’s not THAT big.

    It’s not a laptop. I don’t need a third one. What I need is a decent non proprietary ereader device!

    My inner geek is dying to have a shiny new gadget, but it will wait for now since the iPad is not quite where I want it to be.

  35. Mina Kelly
    Jan 29, 2010 @ 03:57:56

    I’m glad I’m not the only one completely underwhelmed. Too big to hold, too small to touch type, no multitasking, no USB, no eInk… If I didn’t have my netbook, I’d be tempted, but I’d probably be disappointed. I bought the netbook because I needed something portable (I have a laptop which very much isn’t) that I could write on during long train journeys, and maybe watch a couple of TV episodes or surf the web.

    Basically, it’s a tablet. It’s a very good tablet, but I don’t think even Apple are going to persuade people they need a tablet outside of a niche market. Maybe people who really need to browse the web on the move, to the extent the iPod Touch and the smart phones are just annoyingly small, but don’t need to type much in? If you want to read, you’d get an eReader, if you want to watch films, you’d get a portable DVD player, if you want music, you’d get an MP3 player, and if you want to type, you get a netbook.

  36. Stumbling Over Chaos :: Linkity from the land of ice and snow
    Jan 29, 2010 @ 07:18:51

    […] Speaking of Apple, the iPad’s been the big news of the week. Smart Bitches comments on the name – I, too, thought it sounded like a feminine hygiene product. Gizmodo has posted all sorts of information on the iPad, the highlights of which are summarized in that link. TeleRead highlights links from a variety of sources. Lifehacker covers the good and the bad. Dear Author touches on the iPad before covering additional book news. […]

  37. Lisa
    Jan 29, 2010 @ 08:54:35

    Someone cornered Jobs after the initial presentation about how iBooks plans to compete with Amazon on prices:

    Mossberg: “Why should she buy a book for $14.99 on your device when she can buy one for $9.99 on Amazon on the Kindle or from Barnes & Noble on the Nook?”
    Jobs: “Well that won't be the case…”
    Mossberg: “You mean you won't be $14.99 or they won't be $9.99?”
    Jobs: “Uh…the prices will be the same.”
    Jobs: “The publishers are withholding books from Amazon cuz they're not happy with the…”

    It's not a definitive statement by any means, but still interesting.

  38. Jane
    Jan 29, 2010 @ 08:57:11

    @Lisa I saw that this morning Lisa and emailed the publicists of the five companies that have signed deals with Apple. I’ll let you all know if I have a response.

  39. Lisa
    Jan 29, 2010 @ 08:58:14

    @AnnBruce: Then I saw Jobs & Co. demo Pages. And I'm sold. I don't need a camera and I don't need multitasking. I just need something for writing while traveling. Yeah, I could get a netbook, but most are esthetically challenged, heavy, and hampered by the OS.

    This is the situation I’m in too, although I’m not sure I could type for any length of time on iPad’s keyboard. I certainly wouldn’t want to travel with the dock. I’m hoping a third party developer comes out with a keyboard/case combo that just flips out. Then the iPad would work great for me.

  40. Lisa
    Jan 29, 2010 @ 08:58:58

    @Jane: Thanks!

  41. Jane
    Jan 29, 2010 @ 09:00:51

    @Lisa Don’t know if this makes a difference, but bluetooth keyboards reportedly are to work with the iPad

  42. Lisa
    Jan 29, 2010 @ 09:04:35

    @Mina Kelly: If you want to read, you'd get an eReader, if you want to watch films, you'd get a portable DVD player, if you want music, you'd get an MP3 player, and if you want to type, you get a netbook.

    Ack, that’s a lot of stuff. I agree that a device meant to fulfill one function is going to achieve that function better than a device meant to do multiple functions. However, I don’t have the money or the inclination to tote around four devices when I could tote two that fulfill those functions almost as well or at least well enough for what I need. I do have reservations about the iPad and plan to wait to see what third party developers produce before making any final decision.

  43. Lisa
    Jan 29, 2010 @ 09:17:04

    @dotty: Why would publishers lock their product to a single device? You can buy music through many places and formats including iTunes and Amazon and also directly from many publishers.

    Yes! Apple set a precedent for this with iTunes. Certainly Apple would prefer people buy their music solely through iTunes, but there’s nothing stopping someone from ripping their own CDs or purchasing MP3s from somewhere else (like Amazon) and adding it to their iTunes library.

    Following this model, readers should have the option to purchase ebooks from any vendor and add it to their iBooks library or even add in ebooks received elsewhere (I have a bunch of those free PDFs Tor gave away a while back). As far as I can tell, iBooks doesn’t offer that right now. It seems likely that the market will push for that, however, as I suspect isolating groups of consumers (Apple/Amazon/BN) won’t ultimately make any of those vendors the profits they could make otherwise.

    Re: DRM, we might see tiered pricing or subscription plans eventually. Just as the music prices in iTunes jumped from .99 to 1.29 when DRM went away, some readers might be fine with DRM if it means a lower price (lower than 9.99, though, I think). I bet Harlequin could make an e-subscription plan work for category books.

  44. Lisa
    Jan 29, 2010 @ 10:54:22

    Does anyone know anything about the Kobo ereader?

    “With Kobo for iPad, you will be able to read all the books you have already purchased, buy and read new ones, highlight, annotate, and leverage some very exciting new features we have in store for our new apps.”

  45. Moriah Jovan
    Jan 29, 2010 @ 11:48:10

    Yes! Apple set a precedent for this with iTunes. Certainly Apple would prefer people buy their music solely through iTunes, but there's nothing stopping someone from ripping their own CDs or purchasing MP3s from somewhere else (like Amazon) and adding it to their iTunes library.

    Is this where I admit I’ve never owned an Apple product in my life? (Never mind I went through J school on Macs.)

    I don’t have an iPod. I have a Rio Karma. When I was researching mp3 players, I knew I didn’t want to be tied to the Apple store. I was happy ripping my extensive CD collection, and by the time I’d finished that, Amazon had their mp3 store up and running.


    I’m STILL waiting for the perfect multifunction device. I believe it WOULD be the iPhone, but I don’t need/want a data plan. (I leave the house to get away from the internet.) The iTouch would be perfect, except I DO want the phone part (which I use for business and emergencies).

    (To be fair, all the other smartphones require a data plan, too, so they’re not in the running, either.)

    So that leaves me STILL waiting for the perfect multifunction device and I MUST be able to fit it in my pocket.

  46. Robin
    Jan 29, 2010 @ 12:15:39

    @Lisa: Not only is there nothing stopping you from importing your own cds, but on the Mac, anyway, when you insert a cd into the machine and iTunes opens, the first thing it asks you is if you want to import the contents into iTunes.

    I freely admit my Apple fanigirl status, but still recommend this piece I read this morning (thanks to someone posting this link on Twitter) analyzing the iPad from the perspective of Old World and New World computing paradigms:

  47. Ann Bruce
    Jan 29, 2010 @ 13:38:08

    @ Lisa – I’m going to give the virtual keyboard on the iPad a whirl when it gets into the Apple stores. From my experience with the iPod Touch, I think it should be fine if I buy the case so the iPad doesn’t wobble on my lap while I type.

    @ Mina Kelly – Ditto what Lisa said. Why would you want to travel with so many devices? Why spend money on an e-book reader, a portable DVD/Blu-ray player, an MP3 player, and a portable gaming system when I can save myself money by buying one single, sexy device? I bet that even when I add the case to the 64 GB iPad that will be my early birthday gift to myself, it’ll cost less than all those single-use devices combined.

    And for all those people who don’t want to buy books and music from Apple: uh, you can download the Kindle and Stanza apps onto the iPad and access the Amazon database or upload books bought elsewhere. And nothing’s stopping people from uploading their own music to iTunes. I haven’t bought a single track off of iTunes. All my music comes from my CDs or Amazon.

  48. dotty
    Jan 29, 2010 @ 16:45:58

    @Moriah Jovan:

    I guess you don’t want to know in Australia, we can buy them (iPhones) outright, or we can choose from pretty much all our phone carriers so the plans are pretty varied, including pre paid

  49. Tweets that mention Thursday Links: Apple’s iPad Underwhelms | Dear Author: Romance Novel Reviews, Industry News, and Commentary --
    Jan 29, 2010 @ 18:19:28

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Erotic Romance and V, dearauthor. dearauthor said: New post: Thursday Links: Apple's iPad Underwhelms […]

  50. gwen hayes
    Jan 30, 2010 @ 15:13:47

    Dear iPad, Nook, and Kindle makers,

    If you want me to plunk down $500 on a dedicated ereader, this is what I want and these are the concessions I’d make to have it:

    I want a reader that will switch back and forth from e-ink to LCD. I do most of my reading in bed at night next to a sleeping person–but if I’m spending that kind of money, I’d also like to read it outside in the sun.

    I want a reader that will read more than one DRM file extension. Please don’t tell me it’s not possible. My PC has many kinds of software on it, if I’m spending the same amount of money on dedicated reader than I would a basic computer, please go ahead and make it complex. That way everyone can keep their DRM and I can still read the books I buy. And more importantly, the books I have already bought.

    I don’t need to surf the internet on it–but I would like the option to download wirelessly from somewhere. I don’t want to ONLY be able to buy books from BN or Amazon or iBooks–but I can concede that whichever of you makes my dream machine can make me only able to DL wirelessly from your store. That seems fair.

    I will also concede to pay the same price as print books–be it hardcover or paperback. I will either wait for the paperback price or I won’t. Probably, I won’t. I am an impulse buyer. If I’ve been desperately waiting for an author’s book, and I can push a button and have it magically appear on my screen, I’ll pay the same price as someone who went to the store to buy it.

    So, if I can buy my books from several outlets, in several formats, what will make me choose your ebookstore over another one?

    Service. I have several grocery stores in town. Sometimes I shop sales, but mostly I shop service. I hardly ever go to the deep discount store because they aren’t as nice to me and they don’t have a Starbucks inside. Make your website user-friendly, make your interface prettier, offer me perks I can’t get elsewhere. Make the experience of shopping better and I will likely have most of my books in your format.

    But I won’t spend 300-500 dollars on a device that limits me so severely and that I can only read in a well-lit room or ruin my eyes using all the time.

    Love, Gwen

  51. Moriah Jovan
    Jan 30, 2010 @ 16:02:30

    @dotty: *turning green*

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