Apple event disappointing from e-reader standpoint
October 4, 2011 | 10:46 pm
From 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.