At last we have photographs (just clever photoshop renderings, but exciting nonetheless) of what Apple’s forthcoming tablet browser/reading device may look like.
And what it looks like is the death knell for the Kindle and its low-contrast screen and back-to-1985 design aesthetic. As well, this should break for good Amazon’s attempted stranglehold on digital books. There will be more vendors and more formats available, and there will be little reason to abide by Amazon’s draconian only-on-our-devices form of the ebook.
The Apple tablet should do for books and print what the iPod did for music—break the media free of the medium and really change the landscape of publishing. Seriously, if this thing is half as beautiful as it looks in these images, posthaste it will consign the Kindle and Sony eReader to that peculiar graveyard of ebook Also-Rans. (Remember the RocketBook? No? S’okay, neither does anyone else.) What Apple “gets” that escapes Bezos and Sony is that any device must be more than just an ereader; it should be a browser, a picture display, and so on—a multi-media device for these multi-media times.
Of course, this begs the question: What does this mean for books? What does this mean for authors? What does this mean for publishers? How will authors make money when content is just a data file beamed between reading tablets? Anyone out there have any ideas? Want to sketch them out here? We’ll kick your thoughts around and expound further in a post next week entitled “W(h)ither publishing?”
[Update: And there is this in the New York Times, which certainly merits discussion. Trust we will fling our puny minds at this, too, at some length in the next few days.]