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Discover New Music

  • Bowie at Beeb: Best of BBC Radio 68-72

    • 10 out of 10
    • David Bowie
    • The companion CD to a BBC television concert, BBC Radio Theatre has some of the best renditions of many of Bowie's best songs throughout his career. "I'm Afraid of Americans" is substantial

  • Jagged Little Pill (Acoustic)

    • 6 out of 10
    • Alanis Morissette
    • Ten years after the original release, comes the traditional celebratory acoustic re-recording. The album has held up remarkably well. While it is not as meaningful to me as it was when I was sixteen,
  • Never Let Me Down [ECD]

    • 4 out of 10
    • David Bowie
    • It must be a lonely place to be considered David Bowie's worst album by just about everyone, including the artist himself. As the last album before Bowie "rebooted" and formed the band Tin Machine, "N
  • With Teeth

    • 4 out of 10
    • Nine Inch Nails
    • In the sprawling post-A&R rock and roll world, there are two camps: the Beatles and the Stones. The Beatles are the artists that like to explore, evolve, and change styles. The Stones are the artis

  • 2112

    • 10 out of 10
    • Rush
    • We all know it, right? Well, ya just gotta have it. 2112 finally showed Rush out on their own, doing their own thing, and doing it well, IMHO.

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Quick Look Review

First Thoughts on Kindle App for iPhone

When my Twitter followers started telling me last night that Kindle for iPhone was out, I downloaded the free App immediately. I have been using a (real) Kindle for months, and absolutely love the experience and flexibility it provides. Having the ability to access all that content with the device that's almost always in my pocket sounded fantastic. And it is... within the limitations of the iPhone itself.

The Good Parts

  • The Kindle App for iPhone is free. Just head on over to the iTunes App store, download it, and you're good to go.
  • It syncs with your existing Amazon/Kindle account. Books you have already purchased for your Kindle will be automatically available for your iPhone once you authenticate with your Amazon account.
  • WhisperSync takes it one step further. If you've read a bit of a book on your iPhone and sync it back to Amazon, then the next time you pick up and sync your Kindle it will know exactly where you left off. I can totally see myself using this: reading most of the time on the Kindle, but if I get stuck in a doctor's office waiting room, I can sync up with my iPhone and read a few pages while I wait my turn. Fantastic!

The Drawbacks

  • You're reading on the backlit iPhone screen. Sure, this is good enough for light sessions, but I can't see myself reading for an hour or two on an airplane while staring at the iPhone's screen. The Kindle devices (both original and second generation) instead use e-Ink, which allows for a much more natural reading experience that comes very close to reading real paper on a real book. This is key.
  • No newpapers/magazines/blogs available on iPhone. At times I have subscribed to newspapers via the Kindle and have very much enjoyed the experience of reading them electronically there. They come in magically every day and the Kindle provides for a very smooth navigation experience that is far better than reading the paper-based alternative. This is exactly the type of bite-sized content I would like to read on the iPhone, but the Kindle app does not support this (yet?). Sure, I can use the Web browser or other apps to access analogous information, but I would probably prefer it in the Kindle app.
  • The Kindle Store for iPhone. It doesn't exist. In order to buy books for the iPhone you either have to use your Kindle or your Web browser on your Mac or PC. Sure, you can use Safari on the iPhone, too, but there's no "special" iPhone-formatted interface, and navigating Amazon's standard Web interface is an exercise in patience (and fat-fingering!). Even Amazon's store app for the iPhone doesn't allow for digital downloads, so this solution needs to be flushed out better.
  • Battery Life. Reading with that backlit screen for any long-period of time is a huge drain on the iPhone's already-short battery life.

The Kindle's reading interface is actually quite smooth, and transitioning from page-to-page is seamless with a swipe of the thumb or finger (perhaps the accelerometer can be used in future versions?)

I wouldn't want to navigate this store on my iPhone, would you?

Gateway Drug

Honestly, I see the Kindle iPhone app as either a great accessory for Kindle owners or a fantastic marketing move by Amazon to kindle the appetites of would-be, er, Kindle buyers (sorry, the pun was too good to pass up!), getting them that much closer to that critical point-of-purchase decision. But it is cool, and for free it's a no-brainer.

11 comments from the community.

You can post your own below.

Sam said:

In your post, you mention: “Even Amazon’s store app for the iPhone doesn’t allow for digital downloads, so this solution needs to be flushed out better.” I bought a book using Safari on the iPhone (accessed from the link within the Kindle app), and it was delivered as soon as I switched back to the Kindle app. So, this seems to work well (although you are right, the web interface needs an iPhone, or mobile, enhanced interface!).


Dave Hamilton said:

Thanks, Sam.  I was talking about Amazon’s iPhone App to access their store.  It’s actually a great app and it’s MUCH easier to navigate than via Safari.


r said:

backlit iphone screen? Are you tripping??

It’s the highest resolution crystal clear screen out there


jerry said:

You twit!

Best screen in the business and you could have showed a landscaped text screen which offers a lot more real estate,
or maybe you really don’t know anything about the iphone…


Dave Hamilton said:

‘r’—the iPhone screen IS backlit.  It’s clear, for sure, but it’s backlit, and that makes it rough on my eyes for more than 10 minutes at a stretch.  smile

‘jerry’—The Kindle App on the iPhone doesn’t allow for landscaped reading mode.  It’s portrait only.  Perhaps they’ll change that in the future.


r said:

It’s the best resolution screen of any computer or device bar none (or any other technology including led)  on the market . It’s easier on the eyes than Kindle and if the text is too small, zoom in- by the way it’s dumb for Amazon to ignore the landscape mode, it makes the smaller iphone a better more compact / transportable alternative to kindle


EdZ said:

Initially I’ve found that I like the page turning (touch left or right side of screen) in Stanza better than the swiping in the Kindle reader.  The small screen by definition means there’s a lot of page turning, and simply touching the screen on one side or the other is a lot quicker.

That said, given the original Kindle’s reputation for accidental page turns, I understand why Amazon probably went for an action that wasn’t likely to happen accidentally. 

Otherwise, book choice is far better than Stanza’s, and the pricing is significantly lower.  But, as you said, this is clearly a sampler to get people to swallow hard and send that $349 payment to Amazon for the regular Kindle.


Alphaman said:

As an outsider (eagerly looking in, awaiting the 64GB Touch), I’ve got to say the app certainly doesn’t look like it adheres to Touch/iPhone app standards.

Is there any smooth scroll?  Or can you only jump a page at a time?

No landscape?  Feh…

“Select font size”?  How primitive!  No multitouch zoom?

And you say there’s no Touch/iPhone optimized web interface.  Have you tried yet?  Will this work to buy books for the Kindle app?

Again, I’m asking, as I’ve only got an antique iPod mini at this time, but I want to upgrade to a Touch, and this app will be very useful for me.  (No way am I buying a $400 Touch AND a $360 Kindle!)


deasys said:

You’re reading on the backlit iPhone screen. Sure, this is good enough for light sessions, but I can’t see myself reading for an hour or two on an airplane while staring at the iPhone’s screen. The Kindle devices (both original and second generation) instead use e-Ink, which allows for a much more natural reading experience that comes very close to reading real paper on a real book

I’ve always thought of the backlit screen of the touch platform as being an advantage for reading compared to the reflective screen of the Kindle: The latter has no “wife mode” whereas the touch platform allows you to read in bed without the use of ambient lighting.


Jamie said:

Also, the iPhone’s screen auto adjusts to the current lighting conditions just like the portable line does-so unless you’re reading in pitch blackness, eye strain from an overly bright screen shouldn’t be an issue.

I personally think the Kindle is moving in the right direction if nothing else-this is definitely the future for these types of media (though I can’t imagine smaller run things like art books or what have you will end up there). Imagine how useful it would be for say, students, to have all of their books, notebooks, etc. in one device, and how much money schools would save not having to refresh physical curriculum inventory on a yearly basis. I think the Kindle is just the first of many forthcoming devices. Apple already seems to be heading in this direction with multi touch and all of its various iterations, and we all know they are the masters of integration. I don’t think Kindle nor my iPhone have gotten it perfect, but I’m excited by the possibilities.


m_olsen said:

Amazon’s move to release the Kindle iPhone app is VERY strategic.  As an MBA I found the following analysis right on the mark

Intermodal Attack - Amazon releases free ‘Kindle for iPhone’ application

What is essentially says that Amazon is attempting to capitalize on Network Effects with respect to building the dominant e-book platform.


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