Sorry film nerds, a widescreen iPad doesn’t make sense

Apple's iPad.When the iPad was first announced there was a lot of crying about the screen size. If the thing was meant for watching video why wouldn’t it have a 16:9 aspect ratio? I mean, who wants black bars on the size of an already smaller screen than you might be used to.

I do, actually. Why? The iPad is about more than just visual media consumption. Yes, movies are going to look great on that pretty little screen, but it needs to do more than that. From everything we’ve seen about the iPad (and everything you probably know if you’ve held one) it’s meant to be wielded a lot like a book. Imagine that book on a 16:9 aspect ratio. It would be ridiculously awkward to hold.

That says nothing of actually viewing content either. Reading websites, ebooks, and browsing content like photos makes much more sense with a 4:3 screen. The iPad is not a purpose-built device; it’s designed for all sorts of content.

If you’re really that concerned about a 16:9 screen, get yourself a JooJoo. I hear that company is doing very well.


Why Random House won’t be on the iPad

iPad running iBooks.You might have noticed that one major publisher is missing from the list of iPad adopters: Random House. You might think it’s because it doesn’t believe in the platform, or it has some dispute with Apple. None of the above. As the Financial Times has it, it’s because Random House doesn’t want to get into an ebook price war.

So let’s get this straight. To avoid a price war, the publisher is willing to stay with a company who requires a fixed price of $9.99? A company all the other publishers are glad to get away from? A company that is so desperate to keep publishers that it threatens to remove their goods from its store if those publishers don’t comply?

Yes. Apparently that. Granted, Apple’s model could potentially mean less profit per book for publishers because of the 30 percent cut it takes. It will make up for that, potentially, by giving publishers a little more control over their pricing and theoretically increasing the reach of ebooks. For the full story, head over to the Financial Times.


Amazon unveils Kindle Apps for Tablet Computers (including the iPad)

Amazon Kindle App for Tablet Computers.I almost laughed out loud when I saw the diminutive text that accompanied Amazon’s new Kindle Apps for Tablet Computers. It reads “Including the iPad,” in a tiny, scrunched up font. Funny content wars aside, the new app looks pretty great, and it gives us a look at the full color future of digital books from Amazon.

The new app include fancy features like page turn animations and adjustable backgrounds while holding onto the Amazon Whispersync technology to keep your reading experience up to date across multiple devices. While this may be the future of reading with Amazon, it makes me wonder where the future of the company’s hardware lies. I still can’t imagine a world in which Amazon wanted to get into the hardware business for just a couple years, but maybe it did. It’s still the largest online retailer, and content distribution is really a nice business. Just ask Apple.

If the future of the Kindle brand lies in apps across all platforms, though, Amazon would do well not to piss off so many publishers. All the work Amazon has done to this point will be null if readers can’t get the books they want in the Kindle store.


Happy iPad pre-order day

iPad.The Apple Store went down this morning for the iPad pre-order update. It’s back up, giving the world access to the highest profile tablet we’ve yet seen. Apple has imposed a pre-order limit of two per customer, which has me wondering whether the company expects the kind of quantity problems that lead to mad eBay selloffs.

The store update also revealed pricing on iPad accessories. That nifty little keyboard dock will run $69 while a regular dock is just $29. You can also get the official iPad case for $39. The update also revealed a nice new feature on the iPad – screen orientation lock. It’s a great idea for anyone hoping to use the iPad as an ereader. It allows you to hold the device in any position and maintain the screen. The auto-flip has frustrated me on the iPhone on occasion so its nice to see the problem addressed for a device designed for reading.

Prices start at $499.00. Will you be getting one?

Source: Apple Store


Reading Material: The iPad rocks for content creators

iPad with iBooks.There’s been a lot of talk about the iPad and its potential to revolutionize the publishing industry. I’ve never really bought it, though I couldn’t always say why. I didn’t think the new form would really encourage publishers to change all that much. Penguin proved me wrong in its discussion of new iPad content, but even Penguin didn’t completely sway me. This article by a book designer named Craig Mod did.

Craig’s whole point is that the iPad not only offers something new, it offers something very old – the experience of reading an actual book. His position is that the iPad preserves the book by more realistically allowing publishers to port their published form, books, onto a new device. The Kindle could only approximate things with its black and white display. By contrast (wink, wink), the iPad’s full color gives publishers the tools they’ve always had for creating rich content experiences. The arrival of links and what we now consider “content-rich” experiences are just icing on the cake.

His article offers a long and winding history of designing books and the kind of thought that goes into a reading experience. It’s worth reading for anyone interested in the future of the written word and/or a passion for creating consumable content.

Source: @craigmod