I still have no particular personal interest in a handheld e-book reader. But I have a professional interest, because I think these are the harbingers of what’s inevitably coming, like it or not (and I don’t entirely like it), in the next decade or so.
So here’s an interesting thing. You can now download free Kindle software for your iPhone, and read Kindle content on the iPhone.
I don’t know enough about the Kindle to know how full-featured this software is, compared to actually having a hardware Kindle. But it’s kind of a surprising choice, because I believe an iPhone is actually cheaper than a Kindle. A Kindle may (?) provide a somewhat better reading experience (how long until Apple releases a tablet-sized iPhone? Return of the Newton!), but you can have everything that comes with an iPhone plus Kindle functionality for cheaper… I don’t see the Kindle being that competetive.
Of course, the monthly charges on the iPhone will get you — although the monthly charges get you voice service etc. The Kindle, somewhat oddly, has some amount of cellular internet access, which I believe is actually absolutely free with no monthly charge — including limited access to the open web. This is really true, right? It always seemed like an odd business model.
Apple famously uses the iTunes music store as basically a loss leader to sell iPods. I wonder what Amazon’s business model here is, it almost seems like they’re doing the reverse, the Kindle is just a way to sell e-content, and if they can open up that market to the iPhone too and sell more content, fine with them even if it means fewer Kindle sales.
I wonder how hackable the Kindle DRM is when embedded in software on an iPhone.