Apple’s latest iGadget, the iPad, has just been released in the United States over the weekend, amid much fanfare from the legion of tech blogs around the blogosphere.
It goes without saying that we’re at the brink of something big here — something revolutionary, and one can liken this historic moment to that of nearly 10 years ago, when Apple introduced the world to the iPod.
At that time, the concept of carrying 5GB worth of music around in your pocket — or, to paraphrase what Apple CEO Steve Jobs said at the keynote, “enough music to last you a trip to the moon and back” — was quite novel.
Couple this remarkable new hardware with the tight integration to the newly released iTunes, and the iTunes Store, and we have something that can sell like crazy. And it sure did sell. So much so that the term “iPod” has become synonymous with “mp3” and “music”.
Fast-forward to three years ago, when the first Amazon Kindle was released, and the world’s attention shifted from portable music to portable reading — or, more appropriately, digitized reading.
Amazon’s Kindle reader has grown to become the definitive standard upon which ebooks are consumed. But we can liken this to Sony’s Walkman player around the time of the iPod birth: whilst novel in its concept, it is still cumbersome, and especially for book publishers, ties them to “fixed” price models that leave little to no room for flexible pricing and thus higher revenue.
And so we come to the iPad’s iBooks and iBookstore: perhaps the “saviour” for publishers the world over. With this “magical” new product and store interface, Apple brings to the table what Amazon lacked: Style.
You just have to take a glance at the beautiful interface that iBooks has to realize that it’s going to be a success: Apple’s managed to integrate that “natural-ness” of the book, bringing back the feeling of reading, and not playing with a fancy new gadget.
The iBooks feature of the iPad will certainly get the masses into the next generation of reading, just like the iPod got millions taking their album collections on-the-go with them. And who knows, ten years from now, the terms “ebooks” and “e-reader” will become synonymous with one word: iPad.
I'm a young writer from South Africa, chronicling the changing tides in the ever-flowing river of technology. Focusing mainly on Apple-related technologies, I enjoy sharing my opinion and giving a few tips and tricks here and there on the latest and greatest from 1 Infinite Loop. I'm an avid blogger, and an even more avid reader.