Iterate, iterate, iterate. That’s the Apple mantra, according to anyone who pays attention: Launch a groundbreaking device that changes the entire market and people will flock to buy your improved version of a category that may have existed already for years. Then, every September, and pretty much every year, you release an incremental update.
Year over year, it doesn’t look like much is happening. But like a glacier carving valleys from mountains, the compound result is amazing.
Except we’re not talking about Apple here. We’re talking about Amazon and the Kindle.
The first Kindle was a big white ugly mess, but people bought it. The newest Kindle Paperwhite, just announced, is barely different from the current one, but miles from that first keyboard-encumbered model. The backlight is improved (hopefully without the striping at the bottom of the screen), it’s faster, has higher contrast and a handful of software improvements, most of which likely won’t come to the older versions, but will probably make it into the iOS Kindle app.
The standout new software features are Page Flip, which is like the digital equivalent of keeping your place with a finger while you quickly flick through to check other parts of the book; Smart Lookup, which combines the dictionary, the Wikipedia and the (surprisingly useful) X-ray functions into the same popover panel; and Goodreads integration, which is “coming soon” and might be enough to get me to buy this, even though up until yesterday I was totally happy with my current-gen Paperwhite.
So, you see, iteration wins the game. Available September 30th, from $119 (but spring for the ad-free $139 version so you can enjoy auto-unlock straight into your book when used with compatible “smart” cover).