I told Ellee that I hadnâ€™t yet.
I do read a great deal of material on a computer screen, either a laptop or desktop, but not on a device designed only for that purpose. I sometimes read content on the iPhone, especially in planes and other public transport, but thatâ€™s pretty hard work on such a small screen.
For me, the reasonâ€™s simple: devices like Sonyâ€™s and the Kindle are terrific, theyâ€™re great and do their jobs well, but thatâ€™s not enough. I want a portable device that lets me read e-books and other content as I wish. It also needs to be a window onto a wider connected and unrestricted world where I decide what I want to do, what I want to read, in a package that letâ€™s me interact with that content in a way that I donâ€™t have to squint to see anything. Itâ€™s got to be dead easy and a genuine pleasure to use.
It ought to be affordable, too, although I might be willing to pay a premium for an elegance of form and function from a trusted name and/or a device that really breaks new ground (as the iPhone and Appleâ€™s App Store did.). And the package must have enough oomph to do things in a trice, more or less.
Sounds rather like any contemporary laptop computer you can think of, doesn’t it?
So thatâ€™s the logical reason taken care of. Letâ€™s look at my emotional reason: basically, there isnâ€™t a device Iâ€™ve seen yet that makes me think I absolutely, simply, definitely have got to have one, that Iâ€™d do literally anything to acquire one.
Then I read Impact of â€˜iSlateâ€™ Could Rival iPhone in the New York Times yesterday which beautifully captures that emotional reason:
[â€¦] Many people like their e-readers (not least because they save them from having to haul around books, newspapers and magazines) but Iâ€™ve yet to meet anyone who loves them. Thatâ€™s the key. If a really great e-reader appeared, the market would explode. The e-reader is waiting for a killer product, just as the MP3 player was before Appleâ€™s iPod. Apple didnâ€™t invent the MP3 player, it made such a sexy one that many more people wanted to buy it. Thatâ€™s what it is promising to do again.
The desirability in the promise of â€˜more.â€™ That says it perfectly.
Will Appleâ€™s rumoured new device be called â€˜iSlateâ€™? Will it look even remotely like the image you see above that AppleInsider published last July? Will it have any major focus on e-books?
Meanwhile, itâ€™s fun to speculate. Think about this as well:
- Publishers Struggle with Strategies on When to Release Their E-Books (Daily Finance). For all their sound and fury, e-book sales accounted for no more than 4% of all book sales in 2009. That figure will certainly rise in 2010. With all manner of e-readers on the market (or about to hit), the boom of reading-related smartphone apps, and Apple appearing to prepare a tablet device (rumored name: iSlate) for its debut on January 26, e-book sales may hit $500 million in the next 12 months, Forrester Research projects. [â€¦]
- Amazon e-book sales overtake print for first time (The Guardian). Spare a thought for the humble hardback this Christmas. It seems the traditional giftwrapped tome is being trumped by downloads, after Amazon customers bought more e-books than printed books for the first time on Christmas Day. As people rushed to fill their freshly unwrapped e-readers â€“ one of the top-selling gadgets this festive season â€“ the online retailer said sales at its electronic book store quickly overtook orders for physical books. Its own e-reader, the Kindle, is now the most popular gift in Amazon’s history. [â€¦]