There has been much discussion recently on the future of book design. Much of the debate centers around whether explicitly defined packaging such as EPUB or EPUB3 is necessary to contain an ebook, as opposed to “books” that live on the open web as networked resources. Obviously there are advantages for commercial publishing firms to preserve the constraints of packaging in order to sell goods (as opposed to services), and there are also good arguments for the portability and preservation of an author’s expressed intent. My own prejudices tend to run towards an assumption that authoring for the web, particularly as growing HTML5 support permits more advanced rendering and user interaction, will ultimately be a more compelling design experience.
Like a lot of people in my generation, I am system administrator for my parents. That’s okay – I’ve been one in real life, so I don’t mind it very much, and I try to think of it as a learning opportunity. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had to update my father’s computer, a Mac Mini, and it was instructive in unexpected ways.
Most experienced systems admins will tell you they abide religiously by several inviolable rules, one of which is: upgrade applications when necessary; operating systems, rarely. The problem with an OS upgrade is that it often changes how people work with their computers, not just in one application, but across the board. Throw in a random number of incompatibilities and surprise, forced upgrades in both peripherals and utility software, and you have a predictable nightmare. Yet sometimes, pain is necessary, and I knew that upgrading my dad’s Mac Mini was going to mean a move to Mountain Lion. I read John Siracusa’s review and got ready.
I keep system privileges for myself, and it was after I created his “standard” user account that I found myself surprised. When you create a new user in 10.8 and open up the finder, you get a very simple menu. In the left hand panel, “All Files” will show you a flattened view of your account; there are the customary folders for “Music”, “Pictures”, and “Movies”; plus “Documents” and “Downloads”. Snarkily, I didn’t expect to find “Books”, and it wasn’t there. Continue reading
One of the interesting trends this summer has been the ramp-up of interest in Google’s new tablet, the Nexus 7. Its launch portends far greater fireworks to come. Google has already sold out of its initial stock of the 16 GB version, and is shipping its remaining 8 GB tablets at a fast clip. The tablet, released with the newest version of the Android operating system called Jelly Bean, has received almost unanimously positive reviews for its functionality and responsiveness. Its 7″ screen size seems to hit a hand-holdable sweet spot between Apple’s 10″ iPad and large “phablets” like the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy Note 2, which sport 5″ or 5.5″ screens.
The Nexus tablet was released as a portal device to Google Play, Google’s media catalog roughly comparable to Apple’s iTunes and Amazon’s more chaotic we-sell-everything online store. Early write-ups of the Nexus 7 almost inevitably describe the Google tablet as everything the first generation Kindle Fire tablet should have been – it has better construction, a more fluid user experience, a more open store, and more impressive technical specifications. The comparisons are fitting; Google is not releasing this tablet simply as a Jelly Bean showcase. This is an arms race of dreadnoughts among emerging technology superpowers. Continue reading
10:51: Kindle Fire will cost $199. Ships November 15.
Bezos keeps stressing the notion of “premium products and non-premium prices.”
10: 44: The browser on Kindle fire will be something new:
Bezos says Amazon asked how it could use its server power to improve the speed of mobile Web browsing. A new product called Amazon Silk, a split browser that lives half on Amazon’s cloud computing systems, half on Kindle Fire.
10:43: This won’t kill the iPad, but it will be the first device to compete…
10:37: Bezos takes aim at Apple, saying the model of backing up content is “broken” as is the idea of syncing. All content on Kindle Fire is backed up in the cloud.
Whispersync works with all content on Kindle Fire. Pause a movie on the device, pick up where you left off at home on another device.
10:34: “Is there some way we can bring all of these things together into a remarkable product offering that customers would love?” -Bezos
“The answer is yes: It’s called Kindle fire.”
7″ IPS display, duel core processor. 14.6 oz, all the content.
10:29: Now Bezos is running down the various facets of Amazon’s media businesses: Amazon Prime, streaming video, MP3 store, cloud player. Lead-up to a tablet that synthesizes all of these?
10:27: Now Bezos is talking about how Amazon has spent 15 years building its media business.
Customers who don’t want touch can get a $79 Kindle! This devices ships today.
Pre-order starts today and ships 11/21. “We’re going to sell many millions of these,” says Bezos.
Also announcing Kindle Touch 3G. Same but with 3G. $99 was the wi-fi. 3G is $149.
Kindle touch will cost $99! The fabled $99 e-reader arrives.
10:18: New feature called “x-ray” that lets you look at “the bones of the book,” by which Bezos means looking up various historical references and real characters mentioned on a particular page. Amazon has “pre-calculated all of the interesting phrases” in a book, so along with the book comes a “side-file” with all of this information included.
10:14: Unveils Kindle Touch with infra-red touch display. This is a surprise, sort of…no tablet yet. But this is very cool. New kind of touch display that, Bezos says, enables readers to switch hands. With infra-red touch, Amazon has revised the tap zones so it’s easier to turn pages no matter how it’s held.
Bezos is running down all the things Amazon has enabled the Kindle e-reader to do: e-ink, real page numbers, Kindle singles,
10:05: Jeff Bezos takes the stage…
10:03: The event opens with a video of cool professionals touting the virtues of the old-fashioned Kindle.
10:01: Nuthin’ doing yet. Some speculation: I think we’re likely to see an inexpensive, lightweight tablet that will be, like the Kindle, a pipeline into Amazon’s various content stores and fairly low-powered in terms of other functions. Not expecting, for instance, a fancy Web-browsing experience. This will be the t
Someone’s coming on stage and taking a cover off of something on the podium…
9:50: Things haven’t started yet, but we’re seated in front of a stage with a big Amazon logo projected on the screen. The conversation here is all about whether and what kind of a big deal this announcement might be. Also, lots of complaining about the cold and the heat while waiting to get in. Things are supposed to start at 10.
9:25: I’m here with a whole lot of other journalists waiting to get in to the Amazon event where we are expecting to see the unveiling of Amazon’s tablet offering, rumored to be called the Kindle Fire.
Today’s links! And please check out our new Facebook Page.
Teen YA Lit Monster Mashup. It’s all about mixing chills, thrills, adventure, and romance at BEA’s YA Buzz Panel.
Politics and Superheroes. What’s Superman’s position on the death penalty?
Robot Librarians! Robots take over the University of Chicago’s new $81 million Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, sort of.
Book City USA. Amazon Ranks the most literate cities in the U.S.
King Kindle. Despite Agency Model, the Kindle leads the pack in titles, readers and sales, while the iBookstore brings up the rear.
Google and the Future of Everything. Google Talks at BEA; people listen.
This video, which was produced in 1994 by a Newspaper industry think tank and more or less anticipates the age of tablet computing, has been going around the Web lately, and it’s so uncannily spot on about its predictions–so many of which have come true–that I want to make sure PW readers don’t miss it.
The video features Roger Fidler of the Knight-Ridder institute, where a group of journalists and technologies got together to imagine the future of Newspapers. What they came up with was almost exactly like the iPad. In the vision of the future according to this video, “”We may still use computers to create information, but we will use the tablet to interact with print, video and other information.” Aside from the fact that video predicted we’d have tablets in our hands by 2000, it’s pretty much right about how we would use tablets (and their smaller, unanticipated precursors, smartphones) to consume information.
Of course the video mentions books as well. There’s a lot to be learned from looking back at the future of the past, which, it turns out, really became the future. The video’s a bit long, but well-worth watching if you can spare a few minutes.
Unsurprisingly, everybody’s talking about the iPad 2 today. Here are a few blogs’ and journalists takes on it. Above, you’ll see Walt Mossberg of the WSJ giving his initial impressions right after the unveiling event yesterday.
Here’s a TUAW blogger on why he’ll be buying an iPad 2 after holding off on the iPad 1.
Here’s eBookNewser’s play-by-play of the Apple event.
A blogger or TechCrunch loves the iPad 2, noting it feels a lot like holding a Kindle.
Finally, in this post, Engadget offers some video and pics from the hands-on area Apple set up after the event. One video emphasizes how fast the new iPad is, even down to the page turns in iBooks.
What do you think? Gonna buy one on March 11?
It’s going to be a big week for tablets. On Wednesday, March 2, Apple will hold its iPad 2 event, at which the company will show us what it’s got in store for the next model of the iPad. There’s lots of speculation. The image above, from the Web site BGR, is circulating around the tech blogs: it was hoped to be an illustration of the actual iPad 2, but seems, instead, to be an Apple’s fan’s imagining, according to TUAW (I frankly doubt Apple would design anything this square). There’s murmurs, too, that Apple will release this next iPad in both black and white models (see this post from MacRumors); ooooh.
Whatever Apple brings to the next iPad (a camera, better display, can opener), for the first time, the world’s most popular tablet has some actual competition: David Pogue of the NYT favorably reviewed Motorola’s entry into the tablet game, the Xoom, and he says that its operating system, a tablet-specific version of Google Android called Honeycomb, is “the real iPad competitor,” though he also notes its in some ways too complicated and counter-intuitive. But this is the OS that will power the throngs of tablets soon to hit the market.
We’ll have to wait and see whether Apple has anticipated Honeycomb’s advances and shortcomings. But whatever happens, this is going to be the year that the tablet becomes a product category, not just another name for the iPad. And that should mean more e-books, and e-books becoming more a part of readers’ way of life. And it’s likely to really get underway this week. Whoa…
Apple has sent out a none-too-subtle invitation to a March 2 press event at which, as you can see above from the iPad peeking out from behind the iCal icon, the company is almost certain to unveil its next iteration of the iPad. Note, too, the slogan, a riff on the media tag that 2010 and 11 would each be the year of the tablet. Looks like Apple is pretty confident it won’t be the year of other companies’ tablets.
Rumors have been going around that the iPad 2 will be thinner, have an improved display, a camera, a faster processor and other enhancements–Apple’s always got some surprises, so we’ll keep you posted.
In a surprising turn of events, our iPad 2 poll, in which we asked readers whether they would buy an iPad 2 when it comes out (as rumors have speculated) in the next few months, the largest group of respondents, 26.71%, said they are not ready to buy a tablet. Plus, a bunch of folks filled in the “Other” box with similar sentiments: “No. Tablets are too pricey”; “I want one but they are too expensive.”; “I would if I could afford it.”
The second largest group of respondents, 24.66%, make up that group of people who don’t buy first generation technology products but hold out for the second model. Now they are ready to dive in to iPadland. 18.5% are even more cautious and will out for the iPad 3. Almost 14% also said they’d upgrade from iPad 1 to iPad 2, though several people who wrote in the “Other” box said they liked their iPad 1 and won’t be upgrading.
Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, very few respondents have been seduced by the promise of other upcoming tablets, such as the HP TouchPad (though one person did mention wanting a Blackberry Playbook in the “Other” category). Looks like Apple ain’t losing its hold on the tablet market any time soon.