iPhone OS 4 event, Apple announced that it plans to bring iBooks and the iBookstore to the iPhone once the new OS becomes available later this year. It is not clear, however, why Apple plans to wait this long to bring its e-reader software and e-book store to the iPhone. After all, being able to sync books between the two devices would put Apple's feature set close to being on par with Amazon's Kindle platform.During today's
Just like the Kindle apps, iBooks will be able to sync pages and bookmarks between the iPad and the iPhone versions. Judging from what we have seen so far, iBooks on the iPhone basically looks like an exact copy of the iPad version - with a few concessions to the smaller screen.
Isn't iBooks Just Another App?
At its core, the iBooks application is nothing else but just another iPhone app. As far as we can see, iBooks doesn't rely on any special abilities that are only available in the iPhone OS 3.2 on the iPad or the newly announced iPhone OS 4. Given that Apple is tying iBooks so closely to the next OS release, chances are that iBooks for the iPhone won't work on the original iPhone and older iPod touch models and won't be available as a stand-alone download.
Maybe the team behind iBooks was just to preoccupied with developing the iPad app in time to also focus on the iPhone app. Maybe Apple doesn't want to blur the lines between the iPad as an e-book reader and the iPhone. None of this, however, really explains why Apple plans to wait until the release of the iPhone OS 4 to launch iBooks for the iPhone and forgo all the possible e-book sales it could get from iPhone users.
One of Amazon's big advantages over iBooks and the iBookstore (besides the fact that some people simply prefer the Kindle app and that Amazon has a larger book selection), is that users can easily read and sync their Kindle books between the iPhone, iPad, Kindle and desktop. There is also a good chance that Barnes & Noble will soon release an iPad version of its iPhone e-reader. With this, the company's e-books will then be available on the B&N Nook, a number of third-party e-readers, the iPhone and the iPad.
By not releasing iBooks for the iPhone for another few months, Apple will probably lose quite a few customers to Amazon. After all, Apple has already sold close to 80 million iPhone OS devices and less than 1 million iPads.
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