Originally Posted by rmeister0
Understand that I'm not saying eBooks don't have their advantages; they clearly do. But I stand by my point - they don't solve problems most people are wrestling with. They're like Tablet PCs (another technology I like; Hey Steve Jobs, where's my OS X tabler?) - very successful in certain vertical markets but a relative failure in consumer and most business markets. Why? Because they solve a problem most people don't have.
I agree with you that at this point in time, e-books don't solve problems for most people, but that doesn't mean that they couldn't have mass market appeal.
I'll use your mention of the Tablet PC and an OS X tablet as an example. I agree with you 100% that Tablet PCs, as they are currently designed and marketed by Microsoft today, are most appealing in vertical markets, healthcare, and with the early adopters, of course. Steve Jobs sees the (Microsoft) Tablet PC struggling to gain adoption, and won't offer an Apple OS X "PowerTablet" until the mass market is ready for it, or
when Apple creates appeal for the mass market by solving problems the current Microsoft Tablet PC implementation does not. What might Apple offer that Microsoft doesn't that would appeal to mass markets?
A digital lifestyle tablet.
A tablet device that offers not just pen input in the traditional sense (thinking inside the box), but finger input. For what? To use a tablet as a portable media playback device (think Apple's version of Location Free TV when the iTunes Movie Store is up and running) in addition to a touch screen remote control tablet to control your audio and video playback around your home. Wouldn't such a device also be well suited to reading? Do you think all of the magazine and newspaper publishers who are losing subscribers in droves would love to have such a device for their content?
If you think this is such a far out idea, take a look at Apple's tablet patent
(5/10/05) as well as their job posting
(8/11/05) for a handwriting recognition engineer:
Do you strongly believe that using a stylus and a tablet is the way to interact with computers?
My point is that innovation and offering compelling "lifestyle" features can create mass market appeal. Just because current devices don't offer solutions to problems doesn't necessarily mean that other devices won't come along and solve the right problems.