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Old 07-22-2006, 04:42 PM   #1
Stuart Young
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Apple do the e-book thing?

Another day another Apple rumor. Engadget is reporting the next-gen iPod dubbed the 'true video iPod' may feature some sort of e-book functionality. With both the Sony and Jinke just around the corner an the iLiad out in the wild, Mr Jobs may bring another product to market with impeccable timing as usual. Details are a bit sparse (you can't have an Apple rumor with too much detail) but apparently a huge stack of manuscripts from a top publisher are on the way to Cupertino as we read this.
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Old 07-22-2006, 05:44 PM   #2
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I love Apple products and design. But i'm surprised that such an imaginative company would do such a thing as an afterthought.
I'd rather see a more adapted product. Remember Newton ?
Color e-ink would be more Apple style.
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Old 07-22-2006, 06:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yvanleterrible
I love Apple products and design. But i'm surprised that such an imaginative company would do such a thing as an afterthought.
I'd rather see a more adapted product.
I wonder how many really believe that the Sony Reader will succeed? The eBook collapsed pretty badly a few years back -- will E Ink and Apple-style shopping do the trick this time around? I'm sure Apple believe they can take on Sony, what with Sony's preference for proprietary formats ... but in this market? Now?

If Apple does believe that ... which I kind of doubt ... what format would they be going for? Do they have a presence in any of the bigger format efforts, either directly or through a subsidiary?

My first thought when I saw the posting was that they might be trying to do audiobooks on the fly from some eBook format. It would require some pretty clever programming, along with some good voice modelling, though.

Last edited by ath; 07-23-2006 at 03:54 AM.
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Old 07-23-2006, 12:19 PM   #4
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You're right ath. These companies always go for the secondary market first. The book, song or whatever should pay more than the reader itself. And if they can safeguard that market with DRM they will.

I was only hoping for ingenuity and goo taste, and since Apple has a knack for original and media ergonomized products...

---------------------

There are many older people who refuse to adapt to the computer society, who clearly see the benefits of owning and moving about a full heavy library on a simple 9 oz e-book reader. Don't discount their presence in the balance of markets.
Older people tend to believe they are caretakers of culture and very serious about It, but that does not mean that they cannot adapt to new ways.

--------------------

I've listened to some audiobooks but I'm not sure they would catch on as much, because production is often cheap. Some narrators are boring, others have a voice not suited for different roles or are truly not good at all.
And notice that Apple has foot in the podiobooks movement with Itunes, available for free.
By the way I got hooked on some very entertaining podionovels . Mainly "Singularity" by Bill De Smedt http://www.podiobooks.com/index.php
and Scott sigler's novels http://scottsigler.podshow.com/

These mainly help pass the time in the wooshop, while I work, but I rather would be reading.

--------------

Have you tried Microsoft Reader's artificial voice ? Yuck ! But for visually impaired people It's better than nothing.

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Books still catch on and will continue . Sure there has been discussion about format, traditional booklife, openness on content and longevity of media, but the closed loop of a story will always be necessary to entertain. And specifically since a very small portion of written text can make it in interactive media or movies.

All in all I'm very confident in the latest future glance of the e-book readers. E-ink is a more fitting approach to reading compared with paper and opposed to previous attempts at digitizing the written word.
We will still need to print on paper for safekeeping, but for day to day use, nothing can beat an electronic device. And never forget what, in the long run, is happening to digital photography. That would be the death of this time period's written word, but that is an other story.
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Old 07-23-2006, 02:52 PM   #5
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If you think that the DRM issues with Sony are abhorrent you should probably brace yourself for what would come out of Apple. Apple is pretty tightly proprietary about a lot of their stuff. Just look at heavy handed integration of iTunes and iPod. They really want you to follow and be reigned in by their rather strict guidelines. They don't make it impossible, just very difficult.

I bought only 4 songs of iTunes when I first purchased my iPod. In comparison to files I made myself the purchased ones were absolutely terrible in comparison. Additionally they are crippled as to their use. I will never purchase anymore music from iTunes ever again.

Don't want to ostrasize the Apple group out there, this is just the way I feel about it.
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Old 07-23-2006, 03:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firekat
I bought only 4 songs of iTunes when I first purchased my iPod. In comparison to files I made myself the purchased ones were absolutely terrible in comparison. Additionally they are crippled as to their use. I will never purchase anymore music from iTunes ever again.
Can't you burn the mp3s to disk and then reimport them...? Apples attitude to DRM can be seen by the "Don't Steal Music" sticker...
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Old 07-23-2006, 05:04 PM   #7
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Apple design is bar-none in design with sleek, pop-culture status.

it would be a nice feel to read a book on one of their video ipods or (hopefully) yet another of their work-of-art devices as a reader alone. I can only assume the menues would be simple, etc.etc.

however, i -hate- portable apple productivity and accesibility

the ipods never matched Creative's excellent mp3 products in ease of use or power.

if anything, they are more than likely going to half-ass the e-book option on the new ipod with stupid conversions, weird page-turning, sub-par battery or "itunes-now with books!". if they do get it right, however, i wouldn't mind to pick one up myself. so good luck, apple.
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Old 07-24-2006, 11:13 AM   #8
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Ever tried that AT&T voice software? It has 2 voices, male and female, and is actually 200-300 megs in size. If I remember correctly (this was 3 years ago), I thought it was quite remarkable, and I'm sure it could be greatly improved by scripting the text. I don't know, although I'm short on cash (being a impovished very young 3rd worlder adult and all), I don't see how e-ink could become mainstream and should get a reader before these companies jump the boat. Everytime I heard Nirvana's "Smells like teens spirit", I thought the lyrics was "Here we are now, entretainers" but it actually was, "Here we are now, entretain us", which coincides with a observation I had before this little revelation, the intoxicating love society has with sound and fury, the urge to turn on lights, or televisions, or radios, anything, a enviroment which lacks book support.
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Old 07-24-2006, 11:16 AM   #9
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A couple of points.

Yes, you can burn protected-AAC files you purchase on iTunes to a CD and re-import them as MP3. However, you are re-encoding an encoded file, so the sound quality takes a hit. In addition, the sound you get off an uncompressed compact disc is superior to what you get in a 128 kbps file.

Apple is in a strange place; in some ways they are far more open and less proprietary than the have in the past (a lot of the components of a Mac are off-the-shelf compared to their pre-iMac days, for instance). But Apple does use the FairPlay DRM scheme as a customer lock-in method, which is why they indulged in such ridiculous hyperbole against the proposed French DRM laws ("state sponsored piracy" it was not!).

But to say "iPods never matched Creative's exellent mp3 products in ease of use or power" is absurd. That is, of course, why Apple dominates the digital music player market, and why Creative has sunk millions into its marketing "war" and has practically nothing to show for it. Apple is not a computer company; they are a consumer electronics company that happens to make computer products. They understand consumer electronics in a way that very few other technology companies do.

I don't see Apple doing anything with this aside from piling it on as another 'feature' (as they did with photos and videos, neither of which I think the iPod does terribly well). A lot of people like to bring up the ghost of the Newton, but remember that Jobs killed the Newton and Apple has produced nothing like it since. The iPod would not make any better a reading device than a Palm or Pocket PC, and sales of those devices as electronic reading devices has not exactly set the market aflame.

Will the Sony reader succeed? I don't know, but I am not optimistic. I still think that most of the reading public will see a $350 reading device as taking away $350 they could spend on books instead, and Sony still has plenty of time to shoot themselves in the foot in the manner they have become so adept at these last few years. (The not-yet roll-out of the PlayStation 3 and Blu-Ray products aren't going so hot either, and if I were Sony I'd sure as hell be putting more resources and effort into those products than the Reader.)
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Old 07-24-2006, 03:45 PM   #10
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Don’t forget that Apple was the first company to have a complete reading & publishing ebook software, back in the ‘90 with the NewtonBook software for the NewtonOS ( http://www.chuma.org/newton/faq/newton-faq-books.html ), IMHO still one of the best ebook software around even today…

Last edited by erwin; 07-24-2006 at 03:46 PM. Reason: Double signature...
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Old 07-24-2006, 06:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmeister0
A couple of points.

But to say "iPods never matched Creative's exellent mp3 products in ease of use or power" is absurd. That is, of course, why Apple dominates the digital music player market, and why Creative has sunk millions into its marketing "war" and has practically nothing to show for it. Apple is not a computer company; they are a consumer electronics company that happens to make computer products. They understand consumer electronics in a way that very few other technology companies do.
disagreed. the reason I see the ipods excelling in the common market is because of their excellent advertising, if anything. In my southern california area, anyway, i have never seen an advertisement besides the apple ipods. Noone has even heard of an MP3 other than the ipods! Almost everyone I have ever seen at my high school is completely shocked to have seen my archos gmini 400, which stunned them, (played video before the video ipod came out. "oohs and aahs" from the past) and my creative zen vision:M, which people actually scoff at for being for the tech-saavy exclusive (better screen, FM radio/voice recorder, can play more video codecs as well as audio, better button system IMO, longer video battery, better sound quality) The big dilemma, as I see it, is that if anyone ever heard of products other than apple, and were convinced that they were not simply knockoff products to "the only mp3 player", then that would be one step forward for the MP3 market in america, or at LEAST the west coast.

Last edited by walrus; 07-24-2006 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 07-25-2006, 11:33 AM   #12
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My sister has a Creative Zen USB 2.0, I think that's the product model, what a piece of crap, anyone who ventured would bad mouth creative and any non-ipod mp3 player to doomsday. I myself have a iRiver iHP-120, no video, but remarkable player, optical in and out, FM, voice recoder, multiple codec support, and my favorite feature, plug-n-play FAT32 mass storage driver. It seems iriver reduced the cost of their players, I think that's a huge mistake, at least the iPod has pricetag, exterior and solid frame that screams the implication of quality, not to mention the long standing hype Apple makes hardware of quality, by using SCSI(at least while SCSI mattered), Orinoco wifi hardware, beautiful monitors, probably 3com NICs and modens, etc...
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Old 07-25-2006, 05:52 PM   #13
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*EDIT

nevermind

Last edited by walrus; 07-25-2006 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 08-01-2006, 01:05 PM   #14
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I recall a discussion here sometime ago about the iPod as a reading device. If I remember correctly, there is even a version of wikipedia that can be put on an iPod. And my question remains: why bother? Book navigation is a matter of up and down and side to side, not circular motion - just try it, it's very confusing. How would you move up or down a page which is a must, given the screen size. I remain convinced that an iPod reader is a terrible idea.
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