Apple’s Netbook: The Kindle Killer?
Unless you’re a Luddite or a self-described computer illiterate like presidential hopeful John McCain, you’re likely one of the 73% of US adults who consider themselves active internet users. Add to that the 93% of teens online and you’ve got a majority of us living in an always-on, always-connected culture of participation online.
As such, more of us want to have a robust device with us at all times. Not that the iPhone or other smartphones aren’t meeting more of our needs to be connected and participative, but screen real estate is always key and they’re just too small to do much more than very casual reading, video watching or web application use.
The netbook craze is taking off as people want a bridge product that lies somewhere between a desktop/laptop and a smartphone. A journal replacement that will slip into a slim case and easily with you when you need it. So far, Apple isn’t participating in this space purported to be 50 million units strong by 2012.
As I’ve been using iPhone apps, I came across a free one called Stanza and downloaded it. While most of the books are public domain ones (lots of classics), I could instantly grasp how useful this was and easy to use (though again, pretty small to be an enjoyable reading experience). The next thought was how profound it would be to have a bigger form factor with this iPhone touch interface, color, video, and other media delivering a rich and robust experience.
While Amazon has nailed the Kindle for long form reading, has 180,000+ books, newspapers, magazines, news sites and blogs available, and has facilitated online purchasing and updating wirelessly quite well, I’d never buy one. It’s grayscale and image-persistent (which saves battery as it imprints a temporary page image when you “turn” the page and one is displayed). With one exception at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, I’ve never even seen one! I get around too…and am something of a gadget junkie and have zero desire to own one…and apparently others feel the same way too.
I would love to have a big iPhone-like touch device however. Something that would enable me to do just about everything I do today on my laptop, but with a significantly smaller and much more portable form factor.
I’m not the only one that thinks Apple will debut just such a device. It makes perfect sense, will kill the Kindle IMHO, and will be so simple to use and a must-own device they’ll sell millions of them.