iBooks and the iBookstore: the iPad’s Killing Tool


The launch of the Apple iPad has caused much jubilation, yet at the same time dismay in the tech world. The dismay comes from the fact that the rumours had really psyched people up to anticipate a remarkable, perfect device.

But, of course, we don’t live in a perfect world. And Apple loves to fall just short of delivering the full goods, probably partly as an excuse to lengthen the product excitement with slowly releasing the excluded features well after the initial product launch (iPhone, anyone?)

But for me, the one lethal feature of the iPad comes in the form of an expected inclusion: the e-Reader capabilities of this new iTool. Apple’s called it iBooks, and it even has its own online store — the iBookstore.

While reminiscent of the MacBook’s precursor (the iBook), this new feature is going to be the iPad’s killing point, the way I see it.

And its going to be just that, because the iPad has a wonderfully large screen in the 9” area, and that screen just happens to be in full colour too, something the main competitor, the Amazon Kindle, lacks.

iBooks also benefits from riding on a subset of the platform and ecosystem that has proven to be a tremendous success: I’m talking about the App Store. By building this new store on the basis of the App Store model, Apple is playing it safe. And by signing up some of the heavyweights in the print industry, they’re proving that this is certainly going to be a serious venture.

And let’s not forget what Apple has, that its competitors (i.e. Amazon) don't: the cool factor. Apple products are stereotypically cool; they’re beautifully designed, and work in a minimalist, yet functional way. Just take the iPad and put it next to a Kindle: immediately, you’ll be able to notice what the future looks like (i.e. iPad) and what it’s not going to be (i.e. current Kindle model). Even the iBookstore looks good: the whole “shelf” concept really mimics the real life, showing us that the iPad’s aim is to seamlessly integrate with our daily and current lifestyle. The animations are beautifully rendered, and the page-turning realness of the books in iBooks make you feel that you’re reading a real book, and not just bytes on a screen, as the Kindle does.

I think that Amazon, and its brethren, really need to tread carefully. Perhaps even take a few notes from the books of the fallen Walkman empire that was slain when the iPod was released all those years ago, least they want history to repeat itself. It seems like the iPad is here to stay, slay and write its way to the top of the desirable gadget lists.

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