Here’s an interesting piece about the growth of e-readers:
I think it was last year, or the year before, when Steve Jobs answered a question about the Amazon Kindle with something to the effect that he didn’t see much of an opportunity with such products because nobody reads anymore. That statement infuriated some on this board, including Keith. And then I recall that someone posted that Jobs made a similar dismissive statement about digital music players before Apple came out with the iPod. That poster stated, and I’m paraphrasing here, that you’ve got be careful of those kinds of Steve Jobs’s head fakes because it usually means that Apple is in the thick of developing such a product. As it turns out, that poster was right. Apple has been developing a large tablet device for the last several years. In fact, the latest predictions suggest a product launch in early 2010. The device will basically be a large iPod touch, a multi-function device that will include an e-reader of some kind. Rumor also has it that Apple has been quietly negotiating with book publishers, newspapers and magazines for content for its new device.
It seems like the big debate going on right now is about multi-function vs single-function devices. Most reliable industry watchers believe that single-function devices, like the Kindle, are not long for this world; that multi-function devices are the wave of the future. All of which will make for an interesting 2010 with Apple, Microsoft and HP coming out with such products.