Well I’m delighted — absolutely delighted — that we may well have a serious competitor arriving for Apple in the form of Amazon. I’ve been sitting considering the possibilities of a truly integrated Amazon Tablet.
I spend a lot with Amazon. The company is fast approaching business critical status for me — and for my wife. Indeed we’re getting to the point that when one of us thinks of something we need, we just order it — there-and-then.
We bought Amazon Prime a few years ago and never bothered looking back. So delivery is ‘free’, provided we’re buying from Amazon themselves (or via a seller with a fulfilment arrangement with Amazon).
Here’s an illustration as to how mundane and integrated Amazon is into our lifestyle: Over the weekend my wife commented that we needed more washing up liquid. I briefly interrupted what I was doing on the iPad to ask her, “What colour Fairy Liquid?”
“Don’t mind,” she replied.
I hit the one-click button. Neither of us thought about it again until the 4-pack of Fairy Liquid arrived — at which point we both smiled briefly and got on with our day. That’s how integrated the company is right now.
Rarely do we actually bother to go out and buy mundane stuff. Like envelopes. My wife has to send a dress to a friend and was wondering where the post office is on Ascot High Street. She was planning a visit. Why bother, I prompted, unless you need to actually *go* to the High Street. Just order some envelopes and get the package picked up tomorrow. You can guess who she turned to for the envelopes. Yup. Amazon.
For us, it literally is ‘Amazon and you’re done’.
We’re big users of the Kindle app on multiple devices — typically iPhones and iPads. We haven’t yet purchased any Kindle devices though. I haven’t felt I need to. I haven’t needed another device in my life — yet. Although I appreciate the Kindle reading experience, I’m actually quite content to use the iPhone myself.
But a Kindle Tablet? With all of Amazon’s services integrated? From the music store to movie streaming to apps? Yes. Step into my office. I’d use the company’s services even more. And almost every time I reach for Amazon, the company takes a revenue stream. It’s not the same with the iPad. Indeed, when I consider the possibilities that could result from a Kindle Tablet, they could potentially eclipse the value I derive from an iPad.
It’s conceivable that Amazon can deliver an integrated experience that — at least — rivals the one we’re familiar with from Apple. It’s further conceivable that they might take the existing platform model we’re familiar with and whack it out the park.
The most exciting element for me in this situation is Apple. I’d like to see Apple under severe stress. I think it’s fair to say that, for the most part, Apple has had a crazy-easy ride. The legal games they’re playing with Samsung are most definitely a distraction (and the 800lb Gorilla that is Samsung is most definitely playing in the big leagues). However the way in which Apple has been able to dictate terms to its partners has been rather disappointing. Witness, for example, the Financial Times withdrawing their native applications because of Apple’s rather direct policies — that’s simply ridiculous. Or forcing customers of Amazon’s Kindle app to have to buy via the browser rather than ‘in app’. Obviously designed to degrade the experience for customers of the Kindle app in favour of Apple’s own platform.
Apple are entitled to do what they wish of course. Such blatant self interest only highlighted their hugely powerful position.
There’s been no come-back other than some seriously frustrated partners and one or two sniffy articles in the media.
How would Apple react to marketshare being eaten up by Amazon? How would they react to a mighty challenge from a worthy competitor? I’d like to witness that — I think we could see great things emerge from all participants.
I can’t help but feel we’ve gone through a period of limited innovation thanks to the stranglehold Apple has had over the wider market — not just the tablet market.
A $250 or $300 price point for the Kindle Fire — as TechCrunch is reporting — would tickle me pink.
I’ve been trying not to think too much about Amazon’s entry into the tablet market. I really don’t want to be disappointed. I’m hoping they’ve really given a lot of consideration to the user experience. I’m hoping that the hardware is good enough, that it’s not been too rushed, or too limited.
I’m hoping that we’ll see a credible competitor to the iPad hit the market this afternoon.
Come on Jeff, come on Amazon, let’s see what you’ve got to show us.