Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Penguin reinvent the concept of 'books'. Coming soon to an iPad near you

After all the anticipation that preceded Apple's unveiling of the iPad, it is not really any surprise that the actual device seemed a bit of an anticlimax. After all, anything that didn't actually appear to be magic wouldn't have lived up to the hype. And because that isn't the way that Apple do business. For example:

Version 1 of Apple mobile products are down-specced, as millions of fans will buy them anyway. See iPhone non-3G/non cut&paste/non MMS, etc. It also means there is an easy upgrade option.

Multi-tasking apps are a software upgrade: they don't need to be there when you buy the hardware. And Apple aren't going to let them happen until the next generation of iPhone battery is ready to run them too.

But more importantly, the device seemed a bit of an anticlimax because most of the launch event was all about the device. And the exciting bit of how Apple revolutionise things isn't about devices, it's about experiences. iPods were just pretty MP3 players without iTunes. iPhones were an expensive niche until the App Store. Macbook hardware is no different to a top notch pc, except it runs OSX not Windows.

So if the software that iPads are designed for is all about content, then this should be where the magic appears. This is an example of how Penguin are thinking about books in future

This isn't the Apple approved way of thinking about books - the iBooks approach seems to be a more colourful version of the Kindle, basically a digital version of paper. Penguin are rethinking what 'book' means. And to them is means audio, video, augmented reality, live chat, 3D, communities, and anything else that is limited only by their imaginations, not by the medium. It will live in the app store rather than iTunes, and by the looks of it it will be utterly awesome. Apple's role is in creating the hardware and the ecosystem on which reinvention and imagination can flourish,


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