Apple event disappointing from e-reader standpoint

ipodtouchFrom an e-reader point of view, the Apple event today was a bit of a disappointment. The iPad is the best-selling tablet ever? We already knew that. One bright spot is that the entry-level iPod Touch price will drop by $30 to $199, basically equivalent to the price of the Kindle Fire which it outspecs in a few ways (camera, microphone, motion sensor, etc.). I wonder whether the new iPods are enough of a change from the old that the old will get an additional refurbishment discount when they launch. I wouldn’t mind having one of those retina display screens…

There was no new iPhone 5, though the iPhone 4S is basically that in everything but name. It includes the new Siri voice-command technology, and is also compatible with both 3G and CDMA networks—so for the first time you could take your iPhone from one carrier to the other without needing to buy a new device. (The lack of an “iPhone 5” nonetheless caused Apple’s stock to drop by 5% after the show, however.)

The (old-style display) iPhone 3GS is now going to be available for free with contract, with the 8GB iPhone 4 costing $99 and iPhone 4S going up from there. That could get e-reading capable devices into a few more hands, too, though I’d tend to call the 3GS a bad bargain—when you compare the overall price of a 2 year contract, you’re really just saving a pittance, and getting a low-resolution screen out of it.

iOS 5, a free download on 10/12 to those with devices that can support it, will include Apple’s new e-magazine and newspaper store, Newsstand, though given that we knew this was coming already it’s not exactly news. iCloud will give everyone 5GB of cloud storage, with extra space available for yearly fees, and will allow PC-less wireless syncing—PCs will no longer be necessary to own iOS devices, it seems.

There’s also a new AppleCare+ plan for $99 that includes coverage of accidental damage—so if you drop your iPod Touch and break the screen, you’re covered.

Contrary to expectations, Apple is not killing off the iPod Classic yet, so people who need to carry 160 GB of media in their pocket are safe for another year.

Those who want to view the keynote for themselves can find it in a Quicktime stream on Apple’s web site. CNet has a slide show covering all the changes in the iPod line and their current pricing. TechCrunch has a great set of articles covering the entire keynote, too.

If anyone can think of any implications for e-books that I’ve missed, I’d definitely like to hear about them.

6 Comments on Apple event disappointing from e-reader standpoint

  1. No news about ebooks because Apple doesn’t care about them. That’s why Amazon is eating their lunch in that market. It’s probably that simple.

    Think back to high school. Did the really cool guys and girls carry packs stuffed with books? Of course not. Books were for the nerdy, geeky, take life too seriously to be cool sort. Of course, now many of the really cool guys have jobs pumping gas and the nerdy types are things like surgeons and lawyers. But–hey–they were cool once weren’t they?

    Apple’s ideas about cool are a lot like that. They may work like beavers themselves, but in their advertising the Mac user is a smirking teen or young adults at play without a care. There are none of the grim, whatever-it takes-to-get-ahead types you see in those TV ads for online universities.

    I’m not sure Apple will ever feature grownups in their ads. It isn’t their style. But at least Amazon has begun to balance their ‘men are so stupid they use iPads’ commercials with some where the woman who likes paper books is the clueless one.

  2. I never cease to be amazed at how some people can find something to whinge about it in everything …..

    The Apple event was all planned to be about the new iPhone. How on earth was it ever to be anything to do with eReading ? How on earth can there be disappointment when there was no rational basis for any expectation to the contrary ?

  3. Although billed as the event to launch iPhone 5, it wasn’t just about iPhone 4S … a good deal of time was spent on other Apple products, and especially those that feed the iContent ecosystem. So, pointing out there was little to nourish the ereading public is pertinent. iBooks ought to flit from iCloud to iPad to iPhone seamlessly synced; to the extent yesterday’s announcements enhance this, it make it relevant.

    I do agree Apple way over-promised on what iBooks brought to the iPad 1 — in terms of what users ended up doing with them. Giving ereading a miss yesterday probably reflects that Apple has not seriously cracked this market and is less inclined to make noise about it now that Kindle Fire is on the way. If iPhone 4S / iCloud doesn’t improve on your ereading, better perhaps not to mention that at all.

  4. It was an iPhone event. Period. That they also referred in passing to some hardware issues re iPod upgrades is irrelevant. It is ridiculous to concoct a disappointment out of nothing.
    I have no interest in iBooks and have no interest in praising it. It is a very average app and store. But it is also ridiculous to claim that they over promised anything. It is not possible for a producer to over promise what users will end up doing. That is up to the users.
    This is all really silly stuff.
    Giving eReading a miss was because a) it was irrelevant to the event, and b) it is a tiny fraction of the what the iPhone is made to do, and c) eReading and the iPad are subjects for a different Apple event. Simple.

  5. You could “read” the slides, right?

    The world revolves around Apple a little less each day.

  6. I just checked yahoo! news and I retract that last comment.

    The world revolves entirely around Apple today.

    RIP Steve

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