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Steve Jobs talks MacBook Air, China Mobile, Amazon Kindle, more

post #1 of 109
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In a pair of interviews following his Macworld keynote address on Tuesday, Apple chief executive spoke of his firm's two-year initiative to develop the world's thinnest notebook and also weighed in on the iPhone in China, Amazon's Kindle and Google's Android mobile platform.

"We decided a few years ago to build the world's thinnest notebook. And so, it started in the design phase, figuring out how small we could make things," Jobs told CNBCs Jim Goldman. "And we probably built 100 models to get to this. So the first step was just holding a model in your hand and saying, 'if we could make this real, we would all just lust after this.' And, we did! So its been about two years of work to make this."

"It's [takes] precision machined aluminum to get it this light and this thin," he said.

In a separate interview with the New York Times' John Markoff, Jobs also revealed that the MacBook Air's circuit board, which includes the custom-shrunk Core 2 Duo chip, is about the length of a pencil.

Im going to be the first one in line to buy one of these, he added. Ive been lusting after this.

Meanwhile, Jobs also weighed in on other recent industry developments, like Amazon's new $400 Kindle eBook reader, which he believes is destine for failure.

"It doesnt matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people dont read anymore," he said. "Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people dont read anymore."

Jobs was equally skeptical about Googles decision to move into the cellular market with its new open-source Android software platform (1, 2).

"Having created a phone its a lot harder than it looks, he told the Times. "Well see how good their software is and well see how consumers like it and how quickly it is adopted. Jobs instead believes the search giant had actually achieved its goal of not getting locked out of the cellular market without Android.

"I now think Android hurts them more than it helps them," he professed. "Its just going to divide them and people who want to be their partners.

In his interview with the Times, Jobs also discounted reports that his company's Apple TV model will extend to cable television. "Were not going to go there with the cable cards, he insisted, referring to ongoing analyst speculation that a future version of the wireless set-top-box would ship with TV tuner cards. "That whole industry, their go-to-market strategy is pretty loopy, and its fractured, he said. "Our model is like DVD."

In his interview with CNBC's Goldman, Jobs also insisted that all those rumors of negotiations between Apple and China mobile over bringing iPhone to China are just not true. Instead, he said a single representative from China Mobile has flown into Cupertino just once, and that there are no on-again off-again negotiations as some in the mainstream media have been reporting.

Obviously, Jobs said he's eager to launch the iPhone in China -- one of the world's hottest cellular markets -- but has nothing new to announce at this time.
post #2 of 109
*Chuckle*

Well, you just gotta love Jobs for his insistence that Android is a go-nowhere platform. I tend to disagree, but we'll see.

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post #3 of 109
Job's is spot on about the Kindle. In order to succeed it has to do way more than just be a reader.
post #4 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by cygnusrk727 View Post

Job's is spot on about the Kindle. In order to succeed it has to do way more than just be a reader.

It's also an MP3 player, even though that's not obvious.

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post #5 of 109
People don't read anymore? I doubt that very much. While I'd agree that there's probably some correlation between tech savvy and reading books that might make those people most likely to use a device be the very ones to shun it while those who love books are less likely to be computer slaves, it's not right that people don't read.

The people I know want to sit with a book precisely because it's NOT a screen and a desk. That, if there's any reason for devices like the Kindle not catching on, is probably closer to the truth than "people don't read anymore". Yeesh.
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post #6 of 109
I'm surprised to hear Jobs promoting illiteracy. Its shameful if most Americans aren't reading, but I'm pretty sure that Amazon sells a lot of books, so they see a market for it. Where I think that they're going to have trouble is getting people to pay $400 for a device that helps them read books.

You need to save a lot of money on print books before the $400 starts to make sense. If a books copyright has expired, you an usually pick up a paperback copy for about $5 and if the copyright is still valid, then even an ebook is going to cost you money, so it could take a very long time to pay off the $400 cost.
post #7 of 109
If people don't read anymore, why is Amazon, Barne's and Noble, Walden Books and other bookstores thriving? You'd think they'd be 40% as big as they are if Stevo were right. I think he kinda did the "insert foot into mouth" routine he's famous for.
post #8 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"It doesnt matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people dont read anymore," he said. "Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people dont read anymore."

Erm... So does that mean the 60% of Americans read more than one book a year? Thought about picking up a maths book, Steve?

There are far better arguments against eBook readers, and particularly the disappointing Kindle, than claiming, falsely, that there isn't a market for it.


M
post #9 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkerst View Post

I think he kinda did the "insert foot into mouth" routine he's famous for.

I doubt that you can reference that. And note to make it a 'routine' it has to be with continuous frequency as defined, for example, by a Command-spacebar and typing in "routine" to select the dictionary.
post #10 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by machei View Post

The people I know want to sit with a book precisely because it's NOT a screen and a desk. That, if there's any reason for devices like the Kindle not catching on, is probably closer to the truth than "people don't read anymore". Yeesh.

I agree. As big a fan as I am of the podcast, it is never going to have the same joy as the actual New York Times on a quiet saturday or sunday morning. As for books, when it comes to usablility, portability, availability, battery life, and the selection of content available I think it's too soon to write off the format. In fact, there's a place around the corner from my house that'll rent them to me for free! (I can keep it longer than 24 hours and use it as many times as I want, I can even share it with as many friends as I like)!
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post #11 of 109
I think he meant as opposed to the other 60% who read no book last year, but I can see your logic too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mnem View Post

Erm... So does that mean the 60% of Americans read more than one book a year? Thought about picking up a maths book, Steve?

There are far better arguments against eBook readers, and particularly the disappointing Kindle, than claiming, falsely, that there isn't a market for it.


M
post #12 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by mnem View Post

Erm... So does that mean the 60% of Americans read more than one book a year? Thought about picking up a maths book, Steve?

There are far better arguments against eBook readers, and particularly the disappointing Kindle, than claiming, falsely, that there isn't a market for it.


M

Umm...I dont get what you are saying. I think what Jobs is trying to say is that 40% of the US market is not even a market. They dont even engage in this activity. So you are not competing for 100% of the US market (for example, one may not own a music player of any kind, but they do listen to music, or watch movies/tv) but only 60%. Of that 60%, a large percentage will not be able to justify it economically (too expensive to buy a Kindle). A large percentage, will not like it because it isnt a book. What you are left with is a market that even at complete saturation would be less than 50% of the US market.

And then, you have to split this market amongst all your competitors. Assuming that it even exists...
post #13 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by bryand View Post

I'm surprised to hear Jobs promoting illiteracy. Its shameful if most Americans aren't reading, but I'm pretty sure that Amazon sells a lot of books, so they see a market for it. Where I think that they're going to have trouble is getting people to pay $400 for a device that helps them read books.

You need to save a lot of money on print books before the $400 starts to make sense. If a books copyright has expired, you an usually pick up a paperback copy for about $5 and if the copyright is still valid, then even an ebook is going to cost you money, so it could take a very long time to pay off the $400 cost.

Well, he's not promoting illiteracy, he's acknowledging it.

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post #14 of 109
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Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In a pair of interviews following his Macworld keynote address on Tuesday, Apple chief executive spoke of his firm's two-year initiative to develop the world's thinnest notebook and also weighed in on the iPhone in China, Amazon's Kindle and Google's Android mobile platform.

More here: http://www.cnbc.com/id/22673034

including some video of the interview.
post #15 of 109
Ive been lusting after this. ^ boing

Missed opportunity to use the new 'boom' replacement IMO.

"It doesnt matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people dont read anymore,"

I actually agree. I don't like reading books. I read reference manuals all the time but when it comes to entertainment, I much prefer a movie or audio book. I much prefer a news movie clip than a piece of text. Reading about Paris Hilton being sent to jail isn't nearly as entertaining as watching her whine like a little 5 year old. I certainly don't read to the extent that I would need a specialized device for it. The iphone/ipod is perfectly capable of displaying text and in full vivid colors as well as doing a whole load of other stuff.

"I now think Android hurts them more than it helps them," he professed. "Its just going to divide them and people who want to be their partners.

Ouch, was that a reprimand? People immediately suggested Apple wouldn't be happy about this and they speculated there might be some deeper ties due to the khtml in Android but maybe not after all.

"That whole industry, their go-to-market strategy is pretty loopy, and its fractured, he said. "Our model is like DVD."

I tend to find that's all I do these days anyway. I don't watch all the endless reruns of crap on TV any more. I don't think I've turned the TV on this week. I just watch all the episodes from various TV series from DVD. I can watch them in my own time with no annoying adverts.

I do however wish that it was easier to get the content and I still don't think Apple's offering improves on it. There's no way that I'll try and download a DRM TV series from itunes when I can buy a box set from Amazon cheaper and it can be delivered within a few days without using up my bandwidth. Apple doesn't have enough content to make to worthwhile anyway.
post #16 of 109
The kindle is pointless. The kindle needs to be structured just like mp3s and videos. Make books readable on computers, ipod touch and iphone, and other media devices. Ebooks will never reach mass market unless the kindle cost like $50 bucks and even that's too much for people who don't care.

People have to be able to buy a book and have that be the kindle($20-50), then when they want to buy a second book they just pay $10 bucks or something. That's a model people would get behind, at least much more than the current model for the kindle.
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post #17 of 109
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Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Well, he's not promoting illiteracy, he's acknowledging it.

Perhaps the evidence is further supported here: http://www.readforpleasure.com/2007/...o-we-read.html
post #18 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by bryand View Post

I'm surprised to hear Jobs promoting illiteracy. Its shameful if most Americans aren't reading, but I'm pretty sure that Amazon sells a lot of books, so they see a market for it. Where I think that they're going to have trouble is getting people to pay $400 for a device that helps them read books.

You need to save a lot of money on print books before the $400 starts to make sense. If a books copyright has expired, you an usually pick up a paperback copy for about $5 and if the copyright is still valid, then even an ebook is going to cost you money, so it could take a very long time to pay off the $400 cost.

I think your missing the point illterate people cannot read anything. There are millions of literate americans that can read and do read (newspapers, magazines, websites, billboards, subtitles, what have you), but do they read books?

No, unfortunately not, and if they are it's not often.
That's why separate devices at that price point will fail.
Spend $400 on an iphone that hopefully might be able to be used as an ebook reader
or
Spend $400 on an ebook reader/unimpressive mp3 player

Hmmmmm.... which one would be more popular?
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post #19 of 109
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Originally Posted by kkerst View Post

If people don't read anymore, why is Amazon, Barne's and Noble, Walden Books and other bookstores thriving? You'd think they'd be 40% as big as they are if Stevo were right. I think he kinda did the "insert foot into mouth" routine he's famous for.

Go to amazon right now and pay attention to what comes up. How many items are books ? Amazon's diversity is the key to they survival and dominance in the market. Left to books alone they probably would be only 40% as big. The same is true for the other vendors you reference.
post #20 of 109
The number that matters for Amazon is the percentage of people that read more than 20 or 30 books a year. That could very well be over 20% of the US population. The only question left then is are they gadget freaks or do they embrace dead trees?
post #21 of 109
this is why ebook readers will fail:

NOBODY is going to spend $400 so that they can spend MORE money on a book.

i don't know how many eBooks you have to buy to break even - i don't even know the cost comparison between a paperback and an eBook, but i don't buy $400 worth of books in 2 years, and i read a LOT of books.
if it takes me 4 years to break even on the ebooks, how antiquated is my eBook reader by then? do i shell out another $400 for a new ebook reader?

i love having a library. l love having actual physical books that i can pick up, take with me on vacation, and not have to remember the charger or worry that i've only got 2 more hours before the battery in my book dies.

Steve's excuse of 40% of americans not being a big enough market is ridiculous - what percent of americans purchase ultralight laptops? 6 - 7%?


[aaarrrgggh - i would bet that those reading 20 - 30 books per year don't tend to have many gadgets]
post #22 of 109
Hey Steve, there's these things called "web sites", "blogs", "magazines", and "newspapers" that people seem to read a lot! Since the Kindle auto-delivers content wirelessly (from hundreds of those sources), you've always got a ton of stuff to read all day long. Unlike the iPhone, which requires the user hook up to and navigate through the internet one site at a time on a much smaller screen. They are both flawed in their own way, but don't knock it - there's faster access to the content I enjoy reading on the Kindle (newspapers, magazines, and blogs), and it's much easier to read.

I'm a little disappointed that Steve sees the present and future Mac faithful as part of the non-reading public or maybe as a bunch of youtube idiots. We're really not, most of us read quite a bit every day, even if some choose not to read books.

EDIT: Of course with the Kindle, you have to select your sources since the best do actually cost money.
post #23 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by pixelcruncher View Post

I'm a little disappointed that Steve sees the present and future Mac faithful as part of the non-reading public or maybe as a bunch of youtube idiots. We're really not, most of us read quite a bit every day, even if some choose not to read books.

Which is why Steve is marketing a $400 handheld that browses the web and pooh-poohing a $400 handheld that reads books. It's not that people don't read at all.

What Steve didn't say, perhaps because it's too obvious, is that expecting people to pay a lot of money up front for a downgrade in convenience and presentation is completely insane. Why not read PDFs on an iPhone? At least the iPhone will preserve the font and layout of the original manuscript, and you can print or move the PDF around and display it on other machines if you need to. Or you could just... read a book.
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post #24 of 109
If the Kindle does not succeed, the real reason would be because people don't want to carry around yet one more device. The trend is going in the other direction. People used to carry a cell phone and a palm pilot and a laptop and a walkman and .... Now I carry a Treo that can do all of the above, including eBooks. If I was given a Kindle for free, would I carry it around with me? No, but I have my all-in-one device with me, so if a book was on there I would have it with me if I ever had time to read. Whether or not I read isn't the issue, convenience is the issue, for convenience is what determines how much I read.
post #25 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by desarc View Post

NOBODY is going to spend $400 so that they can spend MORE money on a book.

The prices are lower than the paper book variants. I think part of the problem is that it's not enough cheaper.
post #26 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkerst View Post

If people don't read anymore, why is Amazon, Barne's and Noble, Walden Books and other bookstores thriving? You'd think they'd be 40% as big as they are if Stevo were right. I think he kinda did the "insert foot into mouth" routine he's famous for.

Books are a big industry, the number I saw for a post-2000 year was that there was more money spent on books than music and movies combined. I think that means that it's a smaller group of people spending a lot more per person.

The argument doesn't mention magazines and newspapers, which I think Kindle delivers too.
post #27 of 109
Fine Steve,

I and hundreds of thousands of others (maybe millions around the world) will just have to buy our pdf/txt (and the rest) ereaders, needed to read and reference our extensive collection of digital books, off some other brand with infinitely more clunky interfaces such as sony etc.


;-(.

p.s. if you ever change you mind and please include spotlight integration
post #28 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by bryand View Post

I'm surprised to hear Jobs promoting illiteracy. Its shameful if most Americans aren't reading, but I'm pretty sure that Amazon sells a lot of books, so they see a market for it. Where I think that they're going to have trouble is getting people to pay $400 for a device that helps them read books.

There is a big difference between promoting illiteracy and accepting that people don't read many books. There's a difference between saying people can't read and choose not to read a particular format of literature.

Quote:
You need to save a lot of money on print books before the $400 starts to make sense. If a books copyright has expired, you an usually pick up a paperback copy for about $5 and if the copyright is still valid, then even an ebook is going to cost you money, so it could take a very long time to pay off the $400 cost.

If it's out of copyright, it's probably on Project Gutenberg for free.
post #29 of 109
I am happy to hear that Apple is working on an eBook concept of their own.

Of course, I suspected as much, since content creation and distribution are big parts of Apple's customer base. However, it's nice to have it confirmed from the very top.

Those who don't get this from Jobs' comments should understand that misdirection is one of his foremost strategies. Nobody needed a PDA until the iPod Touch was ready, there was no subnotebook market until the Air was released. Oh yes, and all flash players were junk until the Nano was ready.

Bring on the iPod Reader, the sooner the better.
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post #30 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

I am happy to hear that Apple is working on an eBook concept of their own.

Of course, I suspected as much, since content creation and distribution are big parts of Apple's customer base. However, it's nice to have it confirmed from the very top.

Those who don't get this from Jobs' comments should understand that misdirection is one of his foremost strategies. Nobody needed a PDA until the iPod Touch was ready, there was no subnotebook market until the Air was released. Oh yes, and all flash players were junk until the Nano was ready.

Bring on the iPod Reader, the sooner the better.



He also said last year that 'games weren't important' when I wanted to buy a $4,200 Mac Pro but the graphics card options were lacking, so instead I got a $2,000 iMac and kept my PC for games. It's odd to hear a computer company say games aren't important when computers got their jump start in the 90s by kids who wanted to play games. Otherwise we'd all still be using a 386 16MHz to do nothing but type up our homework. Remember 'Doom'? It spurred the run for 486s, and then Pentiums. Otherwise, all the average user needed back then was an electronic typewriter and a dumb terminal for text email. Even today, the only reason Vista could go to 3D graphics is because consumers had already created a 3D-card market to play games.
post #31 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Meanwhile, Jobs also weighed in on other recent industry developments, like Amazon's new $400 Kindle eBook reader, which he believes is destine for failure. "It doesnt matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people dont read anymore," he said. "Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people dont read anymore."

Ok, I too think the Kindle is destined for failure. BUT, I believe books like Harry Potter show that the big gray mass read. And then students read, a LOT. And then, why not look at books like music?
Q- How do we get people to listen to more music?
A- We give them a great model that makes it easy to access and discover great music. The iPod/iTunes.
Apple accelerated the music industry this way, and it certainly made me listen a lot more to music. The people at Kindle should adopt this model... and hire a dedicated designer.

Steve's short comment sounds like he thinks reading is doomed anyway, so why help saving a sinking ship? That is just a very sad stance..
post #32 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by kkerst View Post

If people don't read anymore, why is Amazon, Barne's and Noble, Walden Books and other bookstores thriving? You'd think they'd be 40% as big as they are if Stevo were right. I think he kinda did the "insert foot into mouth" routine he's famous for.

Amazon started with books. Amazon is huge because they sell EVERYTHING.
post #33 of 109
Jobs should be very wary about spouting off percentages. Once could easily look at the Apple market and conclude that because they have a small percentage of the market share that they are unsuccessful or will fail.

The written word whether it be read from a paperback books or on a computer screen (i.e. the Kindle) will never cease.

The Kindle may very well fail but it will not be due to percentages of people who read books. It most likely will be the design/price/functionality of the product.

If they were smart, they'd figure a way to drop the Kindle to $99 and then you'd see a huge surge in ebook reading. Amazon should be smart enough to know that the money is in the subscriptions - not the hardware.
post #34 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

It's also an MP3 player, even though that's not obvious.

I agree that it will fail. With people talking about how expensive Apple's products are, this one makes them look inexpensive.

Even with the advantages of being able to download books straight to the device, it's far too expensive. It's also far too big for something that's basically a one trick pony.

The fact that it plays MP3's is meaningless. Who is going to abandon their iPods for a monstrosity like this? No one.

If the price came down to $149, and they lost that keyboard for a touch interface with just a very few keys so as to simplify and shrink the product, it just MIGHT become interesting to any other than early adopters.

But with people complaining that iTunes movies cost too much to buy, and too much to rent, the cost of e-books is a joke.

Look at this typical pricing:

http://www.mobipocket.com/en/HomePag...sp?Language=EN

They have GOT to be kidding!
post #35 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

... Those who don't get this from Jobs' comments should understand that misdirection is one of his foremost strategies...

Yeah that's like the first thing I came to think of too... but it's really sad though to hear anyone talk about reading like this. It's so sad so it overcame my initial feeling of misdirection.. perhaps this way he REALLY mislead me..
I guess it would be possible to combine a great screen and an e-book screen.
post #36 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by fixmdude View Post

He also said last year that 'games weren't important' when I wanted to buy a $4,200 Mac Pro but the graphics card options were lacking

Why would you want to buy the most expensive version of the Mac Pro? What did you do, throw in the Quadro to get that number? You're certainly not going to get an Octo + similar quadro for the same price in PC land.

The base cost for a decent Mac Pro has changed too. Right now, you can do pretty well with the $2300 single 2.8GHz quad core version + the 8800 for a total of $2500.
post #37 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

I am happy to hear that Apple is working on an eBook concept of their own.

Of course, I suspected as much, since content creation and distribution are big parts of Apple's customer base. However, it's nice to have it confirmed from the very top.

Those who don't get this from Jobs' comments should understand that misdirection is one of his foremost strategies. Nobody needed a PDA until the iPod Touch was ready, there was no subnotebook market until the Air was released. Oh yes, and all flash players were junk until the Nano was ready.

Bring on the iPod Reader, the sooner the better.

Hope so, ;-).

Also, renting stuff was just stupid in general till yesterday! LOL!.
post #38 of 109
Apple is wise to stay away from any cable card business. I haven't met a person who doesn't hate his/her cable carrier for being money-grubbing price-hike-crazy bastards. Apple doesn't need that association.

Instead, with video, music and podcasts, I'm hoping that the whole iTunes infrastructure grows into an alternative source of information and entertainment that can rival cable and satellite tv. Then content makers will be knocking on iTunes' door to let them in on the party.
post #39 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by silver99 View Post

If they were smart, they'd figure a way to drop the Kindle to $99 and then you'd see a huge surge in ebook reading. Amazon should be smart enough to know that the money is in the subscriptions - not the hardware.

I doubt it. It's still one more clunky gadget, it's still ergonomically inferior to a book in several important respects, the display still looks like crap, and there are all these artificial limitations that pretty much negate the advantage of having the content in digital form. I don't think they'd have many takers if they gave the thing away.

Mostly, the Kindle is Jeff Bezos decide that it would be really nice if people bought e-books so that he could save tons of money storing and shipping books. That was the design goal. Unfortunately for him, any consumer product that is not designed first and foremost for the consumer has the odds stacked against it.

Now, if Apple simply added a nice PDF reader with markup and search capability to the iPhone and iPod touch, it would work on a device that people already have, it would be genuinely portable, and the high-resolution color screen could do a much better job of reproducing not just the text, but the book. That could change the game.
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post #40 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amorph View Post

Now, if Apple simply added a nice PDF reader with markup and search capability to the iPhone and iPod touch, it would work on a device that people already have, it would be genuinely portable, and the high-resolution color screen could do a much better job of reproducing not just the text, but the book. That could change the game.

afraid you've completely missed the point of the ereader! Perhaps you haven't seen one.

It's all about the screen.
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