Monthly Archives: January 2010

What Do You Think About The Apple iPad

Apple released the much awaited iPad earlier this week. But did it meet people’s expectations? well! as far as I am concerned these are my thoughts on the iPad:

First of all, it’s hard for me to understand whether there is at all a need for this device. I mean it is not clear what the core purpose or usability of the iPad is. it is no doubt not a full fledged replacement of a laptop – we would always need most of the MS office suite (Word. PowerPoint, Excel) to work with (working on these through apps is of course possible but might not be the most convenient experience). Moreover it cannot even replace an iPod or an iPhone and I don’t think someone who already owns a Mac, iPhone and an iPod is going to shell out another $500-$800 for a forth device with same functionalities  as that of the existing devices.

Secondly, this is yet another attempt by Steve Jobs to roll back the trend towards more open source platforms.  I  mean Jobs seems to be clearly moving closer to his vision of a series of proprietary stores —music, movies, books, and so forth — all controlled by Apple.

I think the primary use of the iPad is as an eBook Reader. Apple might have just wanted to get into the eBook Reader device market and pose serious competition to Amazon’s Kindle but just to be little different is offering some more functionalities than just what a simple eReader would offer. But I guess even as an eReader the iPad falls short.  iPad is using the ePub format as compared to the e-ink format that is being used in Kindle and we all know what the two primary advantages of e-ink are – longer battery life and superior readability due the the bright backround light. If eBook is the only functioanlity that iPad is intending to offer (I mean in addition to the functionalities of the existing iPhone, iPod) then why not buy a Kindle at less than half the price($259) of an iPad.

Soething to think about….

There are some more reasons why the iPad failed to meet users’ expectations:“As per Hitler”

  • “The iPad won’t support multitasking”
  • “They didn’t give it a camera, fine. But it’s on AT&T!  How am I supposed to use their crappy network?”
  • “eBooks?  If I wanted eBooks, I’d buy a Kindle.”
  • “It could have single-handedly destroyed netbooks.  But what do we get instead? An oversized iPod Touch!”
  • “It can’t even make phone calls!”
  • “I wanted to watch videos of lolcats while laying on the couch. But no, they won’t even give it flash support.”

All of these sound even more genuine when we hear the Hitler saying so….enjoy the video


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Steve Jobs Unveils Apple iPad

Steve Jobs unveils the Apple iPad today.

Jobs positions it as a third computing device between a laptop and a smartphone geared towards the “key tasks” of Web browsing, email, sharing photos, watching videos, playing games, and reading digital books.

All current iPhone apps will run on the device, as well as new games and digital books designed specifically for it. An enhanced iPhone SDK released today will support both the iPhone and the iPad.Some specs: The device has a 9.7 inch display, weighs 1.5 pounds, and is half-an-inch thick. It is powered by new chip made by Apple itself, a 1 GHz A4 and will come with 16Gb to 64 GB of storage. It supports WiFi, has an accelerometer, compass, and built-in speaker and microphone, just like the iPhone. The screen is a full capacitive multi-touch screen. Battery life is supposed to be 10 hours. In addition to WiFi, it will have a 3G option from AT&T. The Wifi-only version, with 16GB of memory, will cost $499. A 32GB version will be $599, 64 GB will be $699, and with 3G from AT&T it will cost $829 (for the 64GB version). AT&T will offer two data plans: $14.99a month for 250 MB of data or $29.99 for unlimited. All the 3G iPads, however, will be unlocked, meaning they can be used on other carriers as well.

On-stage, Apple highlighted the iPad’s use as a digital reader. The iPad comes with a new app called iBooks and an iBooks store. Apple partnered with five publishers to make books available for sale through the iBooks store. “Amazon has done a great job of pioneering this technology,”says Jobs referring to the Kindle. “We’re gonna stand on their shoulders and go farther.” The iBooks support the ePub format, allows readers to flip through pages and supports pictures, video, and other graphics. The first book available will cost $14.99.

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Barnes & Noble Bookstore Built Into The Apple Tablet

The much awaited and the much talked about Apple Tablet will be launched on Wednesday, but out of all the varied rumors about the eReader one rumor pretty much confirmed to be a fact is that the Apple Tablet will be a full colored eReader (Now that might be a big worry for Amazon’s Kindle).

Newspaper and magazine publishers have been trying hard to get on to the device but something to think about here is that whether Apple will be adding these newspaper/magazines to their existing iTunes or will they be building a dedicated ebook store (like the iTunes store)

We believe there is a good chance there will be a Barnes & Noble bookstore built into the Apple Tablet, either as one of the showcase apps which launches with the device, powering a new book section in iTunes, or integrated directly into the Tablet’s e-reader. The two companies are thought to be working closely together, increasing the likelihood that Barnes & Noble will be part of the announcement on Wednesday. While Apple can run around cutting deals with the larger publishers, a built-in Barnes & Noble bookstore could include up to a million titles in one fell swoop, just like on B&N’s own Nook reader

Read the full story on Techcrunch

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Effects of Apple’s Entry Into The e-Book Market

There is a lot of notion going on out there in the eBook market that the launch of Apple’s iSlate (a.k.a Tablet) that is expected to launch in couple of days will bring a huge shift in the entire paradigm of how the ebook/publishing market operates.

Here is why this could happen: Apparently as per sources publishers have worked out an agreement with Apple to shift from the existing wholesale model to an agency model for their ebook sales. Let me explain the difference between the two models: In the wholesale model the publisher sells the book to an intermediary based on the established retail price and the discount terms(which usually ranges between 50-55%). The purchaser then re-sells the ebook at whatever  price they wish to sell it for. When publishers offered discounts that were the same as the physical world discounts, they partially subsidized retailers who wanted to offer much lower ebook prices to consumers.

In the agency model on the other hand the publishers sets the price and any agent that gets the deal for the publisher gets commission from the publisher. Since Apple’s normal share that they have set is 30% and the usual range of discounts from publishers have been 50% off the established retail price, publishers can actually keep back some of the margins even if they don’t get Apple to concede anything from the 30%.

So this change in the entire pricing model could actually accomplish three major things for the publishers:

1) Greater control over the ebook pricing as compared to the print book pricing

2) Ability to re-design the revenue share and supply chain splits of the sales dollars

3) Last but not the least gaining an almost permanent edge over some of the smaller publishers on the margins.

That said, it surely indicates that Apple’s entry into the eBook market might have a huge impact on the future of the ebook market.  But what is more interesting here is what will happen when Google Editions launches-will that again change the paradign of the eBook market?

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To Buy or Not To Buy The Barnes & Noble Nook

Came across an interesting article on Washington Post where the editor-Rob Pegoraro shares his experience of the Barnes & Nobles Nook (that he did not buy but borrowed from one of his co-workers). This is the feedback that he has to give about Nook although some of it might not fit the comments from his recent interview of Barnes & Nobles digital-devices vice president Doug Gottlieb::

Although B&N says the device runs only on AT&T’s 3G service, it works on that carrier’s far more extensive 2G “EDGE” data network, too.

* While just the Nook and B&N’s Windows reader program can send loan requests now, the company plans to add that capability to the Mac, iPhone/iPod touch and BlackBerry versions of that application by March. (The BlackBerry reader software can’t receive loans either, but Gottlieb said that should be fixed next week.)

* While the Nook uses only the ePub format, downloads to B&N’s other reader programs come in the older PDB format (those of you with Palm handheld organizers may remember that file-name extension; yes, this is the same thing). Gottlieb said that the 2.0 releases of its reader software due late this winter will also accept ePub files; at that point, re-downloading a book will get you an ePub file instead of a PDB document.

* I copied a couple of PDF files to the Nook, and they looked pretty much as they did on a computer — just without color of any sort. Larger PDFs may take a while to display, though. I also copied over some MP3s; the Nook’s music player includes a shuffle function and runs in the background, allowing your reading to have the soundtrack of your choice.

* The Nook runs Google’s Android operating system, but I didn’t even mention that in the review because I never saw any sign of the underlying, Linux-based software. Naturally, that hasn’t stopped some enterprising souls from hacking into a Nook to make it to do other things.

I am sure while reading this you must wondering whether to buy or not to buy the Nook? Well! whatever you decide please do feel free to leave your comments here


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Competition Over e-Book Price Makes Publishers Sacrifice Quality

Publishers are definitely not happy with the pressure they are facing due to the price war over eBooks. They are increasingly becoming so focused on their sales earnings that they are compromising on quality to keep their costs down.

The editorial process which is probably the best value addition that publishers do in the entire value chain is where they are doing the cost cutting. In the long terms this is going to harm the quality of books that come out of these publishing houses specially the smaller ones.

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Amazon’s Next Step for Kindle: Kindle Apps

Just yesterday I posted about Amazon’s announcement of their new royalty program for Kindle eBook sales where authors and publishers will be able to make a larger share(70%) of the Kindle eBook sales revenue and see what we have today? Amazon is soon to open the “Kindle” doors for App developers. You heard me right…now there is a Kindle Development Kit and there will soon be Kindle Apps.

So guess what the Kindle world is going to look like. Users can not only read their favorite books, but also play Sudoku, Space Invaders… (and who knows what more?)

So now you know how right I am when I say “Amazon has been thinking hard/creatively to stay ahead of the “eBook market competition”. Read my previous posts to get a full understanding of the 2010 eBook Market and the competition

So which Kindle App are you waiting for? Read Full Story from Techcrunch here

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