Apple's iSlate, The Grown-up Kindle: Will It Save The Publishing Industry?

On January 27th, Apple will unveil its latest creation which is widely expected to be a touchscreen tablet computer. With a screen size of perhaps 10 to 11 inches across it is a magazine-reader compared to the Kindle's paperback 6-inch screen. Indeed Apple is going head-to-head with Amazon's Kindle DX which has a similar sized screen.

Publishers around the world are hoping that they can finally start charging readers again as in the good old days of printing. "Both the iPhone and the Kindle have proven that people are willing to buy the devices, read on the devices, and pay for content," said Greg Hano of Bonnier Technology Group, which publishes Popular Science and other notable titles. "We already have a proof of concept." [Yahoo]

One potentially important advantage of the iSlate over the Kindle is the terms of service. Amazon does not allow its downloaded publications to be read on any other device, whereas Zinio, a digital publishing technology company, has recently released its eReader as an iPhone app that allows the user to read the same magazine on multiple devices whilst paying for just the one download. Yes, Kindle books can be viewed on other devices but only for another download fee.

People do seem to be more prepared to pay for content on their mobile devices than for web content. As computing becomes more mobile and communication devices become more powerful, it becomes difficult to justify these two contrasting consumer experiences. Perhaps this is just what publishers have been looking for.
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