At least once a week I get an e-mail from a friend or reader asking me whether I think a Verizon iPhone will be announced on June 7 when Steve Jobs is expected to unveil the fourth-generation iPhone at Apple's WWDC (Worldwide Developer Conference). A lot of the folks who e-mail me have fulfilled their contracts and are free to go to whichever carrier they want but are anti-AT&T. Others, of course, are simply loyal Verizon subscribers who refuse to switch to AT&T to get an iPhone.
"Have you heard anything on the Verizon … Read more
Recently, Scott Turow, the best-selling author of legal thrillers, including "Innocent"--his just released sequel to "Presumed Innocent"--was named president of The Authors Guild. That Turow, a practicing lawyer, was named president is probably no coincidence, considering the myriad issues that authors and publishers now face as digital books and e-book readers not only disrupt the marketplace but leave it vulnerable to that nasty little vermin commonly known as piracy.
In an interview with Media Bistro's Galley Cat (see video below), Turow talked about how author royalty rates for e-books were too low, but the larger problems for authors and publishers involved piracy. "It has killed large parts of the music industry," he said. "Musicians make up for the copies of their songs that get pirated by performing live. I don't think there will be as many people showing up to hear me read as to hear Beyonce sing. We need to make sure piracy is dealt with effectively."
Why this suddenly more-alarming tone? Well, though Turow recognizes that the iPad has clearly taken the e-reader to a whole new level, he doesn't specifically single out the iPad as the No. 1 catalyst for pirating. But I am.
To put it in the context of the music world, it goes something like this: You remember the first MP3 players to catch on? They were from a company called Rio and the early ones used SmartMedia memory cards as their storage medium. Then there were more Rios, and most of them were really pretty good (I still run with a Rio Chiba). I look at these players as the Kindles, Nooks, and Sony Readers of the e-reader world. … Read more
We've put together a few roundups of top Blu-ray discs, but for some reason, trying to do a list of the best concert Blu-ray discs was more challenging. Part of the problem is that music--and musical tastes--are such personal things that it's hard to declare something the "best" or "top" when it's more than likely that a lot of people will think the pick is bad because they simply don't like the artist or band.
That's totally understandable, so I apologize in advance if some of these picks don't appeal … Read more
You know the story by now. Some Apple guy leaves his iPhone prototype in a bar. Some guy finds it. A few weeks go by. He then leaks photos of the thing to both Engadget and Gizmodo. Then he sells Gizmodo access to it for $5,000.
It's a good story, with a lot of ins, outs, and what have-yous, as Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski would say. But while a lot of attention has been focused on whether it was, like, cool, for Gizmodo to have paid for information, man, the real question is what would you … Read more
"Where's iBooks?" the man was asking. "I want to see iBooks."
An older guy, one of the half dozen or so Apple sales associates on the floor, didn't know exactly what he meant at first. But then he figured out the man just wanted to see an e-book on the screen. That's why he'd come to the Apple Store: to see what an e-book looked like on an iPad.
The customer peered down through his fairly thick glasses at the James Patterson novel the sales associate had opened for him.
"Is it backlit?" he asked.
"Sure," the sales associate said. "It's an LCD."
For some reason the guy seemed shocked to learn the truth.
"I will go blind reading this," he declared.
"Why?" the sales associate asked.
"It's backlit. I will go blind."
The sales associate asked him the next obvious question: Did he use a computer? … Read more
For those of you who didn't read part one of this little tale, I was recently in an Apple store in New York looking for the new, updated MacBook Pro units and toying with the idea of buying an iPad, when I was approached by one of Apple's friendly and knowledgeable sales people, who asked me whether I needed any help finding what I was looking for.
After conversing with her for a few minutes and having a frank discussion about some of the product's shortcomings, including its overheating issues, I found myself ready to take possession of Apple's "magical" new slate despite my reluctance to buy first-generation products. I wrote how she'd sold me with her zen-like anti-sell and I realized that "a thousand iPad ads seared into my retinas had taken their toll and worn me down. I was a beaten man, ready to submit."
But alas, there were no iPads to be had, and when we last left off, I was in the MacBook section of the store, filling out an online form to reserve a 32GB iPad, feeling disappointed yet relieved that I'd been temporarily released from the iPad's gravitational pull.
As I filled in my iTunes account name and password to generate the request, I actually thought the white entry-level $999 Macbook I was writing on looked better than I remembered it looking (somehow when you're in an Apple store, the products just have an added glow to them, a halo effect if you will).
"Do you have the new, upgraded MacBook Pros?" I asked, suddenly having an urge to pick up a laptop instead of an iPad.
Maybe the fact that there were no iPads in stock at this particular store was a sign from God for me to buy another product instead.… Read more
Recently, I was in an Apple store in New York looking for the new, updated MacBook Pro units and toying with the idea of buying an iPad, when I was approached by one of Apple's friendly and knowledgeable sales people. She asked me whether I needed any help finding what I was looking for.
I really didn't--or at least I didn't think I did--but we started chatting anyway. I told her I'd heard the iPad could overheat in the sun and shut down. To my surprise, she responded that yes, it could, especially if you had it lying flat on your lap. But, she explained, it wasn't that big a deal, because it would just take a few minutes to cool down and then start up again.
The way she said it made it seem like it was an integrated feature to protect the device--not a downside. She talked about how the iPad didn't have a fan inside to cool it down like a laptop, which was why it shut down if it got too hot.
"Where'd you hear about it?" she asked.
"I read this article on the Internet," I said, then quickly changed the subject, afraid she might have actually read the article and somehow associated it with me. "Has anybody returned an iPad because it was overheating?"
"No, I haven't had to process a return for that."
"What about a cracked screen?"
Nope. No one she'd seen had come in yet with a cracked screen. She thought that was because people were treating them like laptops, rather than phones. They were more careful with them.
"So, why do people return them?" I asked. "You have 15 days to return it, right?"
"Well, people really only seem to be returning them because they decide they want the 3G version, which comes out at the end of this month. We get some of those." … Read more
In case you haven't noticed, Amazon's changed gears a little bit when it comes to its Kindle platform. If you look at Amazon's homepage, you'll notice a different message. Now that the iPad is here, no longer is Amazon just advertising the Kindle e-reader front and center, it's all about the Kindle app, which is available for a variety of devices.
As I've argued all along, Amazon is ultimately more interested in selling software (e-books) than hardware (the Kindle), so the whole multi-prong app effort is key to its strategy of dominating the e-book market. A lot of people talk about how closed the Amazon system is (it uses its own format for its content while the rest of the industry, including Apple, has standardized on the ePub format), but in terms of accessing your library from multiple devices, Amazon is actually the most open and flexible. (Note to Nook owners: You can move an e-book from your Nook to your iPhone, but the Kindle app's page-syncing feature, which takes you to the last page you read on either device, isn't available yet).
So while we can sit here talking about walled gardens all you want, what people really want is the freedom to move their content around.… Read more
Now that the iPad is upon us and the reviews have started coming in, it's becoming clear that the iPad is an excellent e-reader, perhaps the best one out there. This isn't exactly a great surprise. The fact is that ever since we had an inkling that Apple would come out with a slate-style device that resembled a giant iPod Touch, we knew that it would have a profound impact on the e-book reader world. We always figured there would be a before and after shot of the market--and it wouldn't be pretty for certain companies that … Read more
Back when the Palm Pre came out, I wrote an article about about first-gen jitters. I said that I usually follow a simple rule when it comes to consumer electronics: I avoid buying any first-generation products. That doesn't mean I haven't ever done it, but I tend to wait for generation two or three before I plunk down my dough, particularly when it comes to heavily hyped stuff.
I know a lot of people who are looking at the iPad in the same way. They're intrigued by it--and the price isn't too bad--but they're not … Read more