Pundits have been predicting that the iPad
could seriously threaten Amazon's Kindle
since Apple's slate device was first announced, but this new quirk is a first. Amazon has updated its iPhad reader software with support for a select group of books that incorporate audio and/or video material. This multimedia content isn't available on any Kindle hardware, which means Amazon opted to first support a feature on a competitor's platform rather than waiting until its own devices were ready to ship.
At present there are only 13 titles available at the usual price of $9.99, including five travel books, a book on knitting, a biography of FDR, and a book about bird songs. Unsurprisingly, these titles are significantly bulkier than standard downloads and can only be accessed if a WiFi network is available. Those of you wanting to protest AT&T's new data plans by crushing the company's network will have to find a better outlet.
Integrating multimedia capabilities into e-books is an interesting concept, but such content could actually hurt the reading experience if it isn't handled properly. Perhaps we're cynics, but it's all too easy to imagine advertisers wanting in on the action—why not put some 10-20s shorts in front of those video clips or audio expository?