Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The Apple iPad and a New York Times app for the tablet computer were presented together Wednesday. (Photo: Apple)

Apple finally unveiled its iPad, a tablet computer that will (along with several other functions) serve as a reader for e-books. Since Apple products have a tendency to dominate markets, this could be a threat to e-book readers using the technology of Cambridge company e-Ink — and that’s 99 percent of e-book readers.

When we looked at this threat early this month, Sriram K. Peruvemba, e-Ink’s vice president of marketing, was confident his products will always be wanted by people who need a premium, long-term reading experience. Susan Kevorkian, an industry analyst at IDC, agreed an Apple tablet wouldn’t significantly threaten e-Ink’s market share.

Now the iPad has been revealed, and that still seems to be the consensus. From The New York Times:

Gerry Purdy, an independent analyst who keep a close eye on the e-reader industry, said, “Reading a book on an iPad isn’t necessarily going to be that much better — a whole lot better — it will still be in black and white. The Kindle still represents a good vehicle for people who only want an e-reader.”

“Right now, it will have some effect on the Kindle market but it won’t be gigantic,” he said. “There will still be people who want to buy the Kindles or the Nooks.”

More revelations from the article: Apple has contracts for content from book publishers Hachette, Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan, whose content will be available through an electronic bookstore called iBooks. Newspapers and magazines will be represented as well; New York Times representatives were onstage today with Steve Jobs to show off a Times app for the device. The Wall Street Journal, in fact, is saying  the iPad “to do for Newspapers, Magazine, Books, What iPod did for Music.”

And the tablet will have an always-on 3G network from AT&T, which has been the bane of iPhone users complaining of dropped calls.

Actually, AT&T has gone beyond bane to outright villain. Angry users of the iPhone even attempted a protest called Operation Chokehold last month in which they used data-intensive functions to show the network’s weakness; for whatever reason, it wound up not having a discernible effect. Adding a bunch of iPad users may.

Then there was the debacle in which AT&T refused to sell iPhones in New York City.

It all has iPhone users (or potential iPhone users) eager for the moment Apple breaks its contract with AT&T, possibly in favor of Verizon. The iPad being contracted with AT&T isn’t a very hopeful sign, though.