It even works offline! Very nice...
Amazon has created a web-based Kindle app that does everything the desktop version can do, letting Chromebook users read on the plane but also bypassing Apple's cut on the iPad. The Kindle Cloud Reader only works on Safari and Google's Chrome, and uses HTML5 to download books for offline reading. It also links directly to the …
The problem with ebooks is you're not buying a book, you're buying a licence for a book. Hence you get whacked with VAT and Amazon / Apple / whomever can revoke your licence whenever they feel like, or even shutdown their service entirely with no repercussions.
If you want to be exempt from VAT, you need to be petitioning for some legal definition of digital property that ebooks (and other media) can be classified as. A person can own a such a book, they can sell / transfer their ownership to someone else in an irrevocable way. Basically they can do exactly the same things they can with their digital property as they can with physical property and be subject to the same taxes and laws.
I don't believe this is impossible either. If bitcoins can establish the concept of owner ship of currency then digital files such as books, videos, music should be possible too.
Apple are in the business of selling *hardware*. If people buy an iPad because they want to read books on Amazon's cloudy Kindle site, Apple will be more than happy. The income they make from App sales is pocket change.
Seriously: remember that "We've distributed $2bn. to developers already!" line not too long ago? That's 70% of *all* iApp revenues, since the App Store went live. So Apple will have made about $600m., *total revenues* over all that time, out of which they have to pay for all their data centre infrastructure, as well as customer support, and support for developers using the iOS SDK and development tools. (And, of course, the team who maintain the App Store itself.)
Given that the iOS SDK has been around since early 2008. So that's $600 million over *three years*. Or about $200m. / year.
For a company that has over *$70 billion* in its bank account, $200m. a year isn't even in "loose change dropped down the back of a sofa" territory. It's peanuts compared to how much they make from their *hardware* sales.
Can you imagine how much Apple would have to pay to handle customer support for an iOS version of a British tabloid newspaper? Too bloody right they want a cut of the sales! But if The Sun or The Mirror go for an HTML5 web-based site instead, Apple will be just as happy: no cut of revenues, but no support (or political) headaches either.
Get it now? Apple DO NOT CARE about developers, developer communities, or Amazon's bloody Kindle. (I'm not kidding: Apple is far more willing to kill legacy software than Microsoft, who still have features in Windows that let customers run MS-DOS-era applications.)
Apple sell *hardware*. The software is just a component of that hardware. It's utterly, completely, and totally replaceable.
"Apple are in the business of selling *hardware*."
No, Apple is in the business of selling solutions. The iPod isn't just a device to play music, it's part of a mobile music solution: from purchasing (iTunes Store), organizing (iTunes), converting your CDs into MP3s/etc (iTunes), to taking your music with you (iPod). GarageBand adds to that if you want to make your own music and take it with you
The iPhone and iPad are part of mobile solutions. As are their wireless devices, laptops, iOS and OS X, etc.
Mine's the one with the Newton running an apache server
Actually, this is what Apple told them to do: You make an app to distribute through the App Store, then you pay the price. The price includes no access to external stores or distributions, and a 30% cut of all in-app purchases. You don't want to pay the price, fine, use a web app and deal with distribution, sales, payments, and scale yourself.
Some are making this decision to be some sort of ultimatum or display of power in anticipation of banishing competition, but it is actually a very reasonable, wise, and *common* business position.
Only the customer's experience is impacted--and that's _only_ if the web app is not properly implemented or maintained. If it offers the same experience as a native app would, then even the customer is happy.
Apple's view is that a native app would be inherently superior than a web app, and because of that most developers will opt for the latter, as most customers will clamor for it. This ultimately increases their value proposition and sales more hardware.
Note that none of this requires that *all* developers to implement native apps, only a substantial amount. I don't see that changing.
... because it uses the new 'HTML5' database feature, so that all your interaction is entirely within the page itself and handled invisibly by the browser. There's no manual work involved and no need to have access to and an understanding of a traditional file system. You just pin the books you want to be able to read offline and everything is done for you.
I don't actually like reading on the iPad or on any similar light-in-your-face-with-visible-pixels device, but I appreciate what Amazon have done here.
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