At a surprise late afternoon press event, Apple announced its new e-book reader, the Apple Book, which will compete directly with Amazon’s Kindle. In a stunning move that has vaulted the e-book industry from sputtering to red hot, the company said it had shipped 14.5 million units in the three hours after its announcement.
“What the fucking hell?!” said a visibly angry Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
“I spent like four years of my life working on this stupid thing! Now it’s been out like three weeks and it’s dead. Poof! Kaplooie! Game over, man!”
Muttering to himself, Bezos walked off, kicking the dirt and loudly slurping on a juice box.
“I fricking hate Steve Jobs.”
Essentially an iPod touch with a larger screen, the Apple Book downloads e-books via WiFi or syncing from the now horribly, horribly misnamed iTunes Store thanks to a partnership with Amazon rival Barnes & Noble. While these features actually trail those of the Kindle, the feature that is likely the primary cause for the device’s immediate success is the fact that the Apple Book is free and books are priced significantly lower than what Amazon charges. Customers simply supply a credit deposit upon receiving each Book and will be charged $500 less the amount of media they’ve purchased over the five year term of a contract.
Further, contrary to Amazon’s system, the Apple Book does not use DRM for e-books, relying instead on the same god damn system that’s been used for, you know, actual books for hundreds of years: making stuff that people want to buy.
Asked to explain how Apple could do this and still expect to turn a profit on the venture, CEO Steve Jobs said “We’re going to make it up on volume of books, movies and music sold. The reason Amazon has to charge $400 for the Kindle is because they don’t think it’s going to be adopted that quickly or that they’re going to sell that many e-books. Also, it’s fricking butt ugly. Have you seen that piece of crap? Holy hell. Makes me want to stab my eyes out with something pointy. Hey, Jeff! 1992 called! It wants its design ethic back! Ha-ha-ha!”
The gathered Apple executives, particularly Jonathan Ive, howled with laughter.
“Anyway,” Jobs continued, holding his aching sides and wiping tears from his eyes, “we’re going to move a ton of these suckers and sell a shitload of media.
“Razor blades and handles, my bitches. Razor blades and handles.”
Jobs was suddenly taken aside by senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller who whispered in his ear briefly.
Returning to the stage Jobs said “Actually, I’ve just been informed that we recouped all of our hardware costs about fifteen minutes ago. And we made enough to buy every Mac user a pony.”
Seeing the hopeful looks on the faces of the collection of mostly Mac-using reporters in the audience, Jobs quickly added, “But I’m not going to do that.”
Reporters then sighed heavily.
The Apple Book is available at an Apple Store near you immediately.