Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Good News for Apple, Bad News for Amazon

First up, the bad news. Amazon got its Kindle line into some hot water the past few days, mainly due to a customer service nightmare that cropped up. A Kindle user woke one morning to discover Amazon had closed her Kindle account, effectively eliminating her access to all the books she'd ever bought for her Kindle. She emailed to find out why, and she was told she had a Kindle that was associated with an account that had violated rules in the past. Some emails back and forth, and Amazon was just stonewalling her. (Amazon has since claimed this was all just a mix-up, and that customers should have access to all their Kindle content, regardless of their account status. To me, this sounds like damage control after the fact, but whatever.)

The point is that when you purchase all these things through a company--books, music, movies, television shows--you get access to that content through your account. True, you can often download the material and store it locally, but often it's just easier to keep it in the cloud and use it when you want it. (And we all know how easy trumps difficult almost every time.) But if the company shuts down access to that content, you're pretty much out of luck. You're suddenly at the mercy of the provider, and you need to hope that they iron it all out.

I'm not saying that's always going to happen. A lot of my content is in the cloud, and I use it all the time and love it. But when you own a physical copy of a movie or a book, no company is going to show up one day and demand it back. It's yours. You have it. That's not necessarily the case with digital content. (And what happens when you die? Your former physical possessions go on to your next of kin, but no one's really looking at former digital possessions just yet. That's an item that has yet to be wrangled into law, really. Lovely.)

So there's the bad news. (And I should note that's not specific just to Amazon. Any company could do that to you, Apple included. Google. Facebook. They can shut you out just as easily as they let you in.)

But enough doom and gloom. Some bright points today from Apple's new product line launch:
  • New, thinner, smaller versions of iMac, Mac Mini, and MacBook Pro. Because thinner and smaller are pretty much always going to happen these days. (How small and thin can we go?)
  • New software--particularly iBooks and iBooks Author.
  • New 4th generation iPad--This was a bit of a surprise, since they just introduced a new iPad earlier this year--six months ago or so. This one has a better camera and faster processor.
  • New iPad Mini--Basically a size between an iTouch and an iPad. An iPad's screen is about 10 inches. This one's about 8. Same resolution as an iPad 2, however--meaning there doesn't need to be new versions of apps developed, which is always nice. $329. Ships in November.
Apple's always tweaking their lines and prices, but it's also always nice to see things getting better and costing less. Innovation at work.

No comments:

Post a Comment