So, yesterday Apple announced the newest version of their IPhone operating system, which contains several advances including bringing Apple’s IBooks to the IPhone and ITouch.
In theory, that should be good news to the company’s bookstore, which I’m thinking is off to not quite as great a start as they were hoping.
Here’s the thing. In his announcement yesterday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said they had so far sold 450,000 IPads and that 600,000 books had been downloaded from IBooks. Let’s assume that none of those 600,000 are Winnie the Pooh, which comes free with the device.
That’s roughly 1.3 books per device, which I think should probably be higher. And given that IPads can download free books from Project Gutenberg, you sort of have to wonder how really significant that 600,000 number is — or at least wonder if it’s significant in the way Apple wants you to think it is.
Which brings me to the point of the headline — while adding IBooks to the IPhone and ITouch will certainly help Apple, every advance that makes their devices a better reader also helps Amazon with their Kindle.
See the thing that makes all those Kindle vs. IPad arguments invalid is the IPad is a device while the Kindle is a machine on its own as well as an app that runs on many machines including the IPad.
Apple’s software, meanwhile, runs on Apple devices — and while there are certainly a lot of them and while people are developing “enhanced” versions of books to run on those devices — the question remains whether it will be enough to steal a significant chunk of Amazon’s market or, actually, help Amazon grow.