An Apple eBook? I think not.

An Apple eBook? I think not: Yesterday, in jest, I posted a sketch from an Apple patent application. I assumed the hands were out of proportion in the sketch and the patent referred to something related to a long anticipated iPod that would have a horizontal screen (think PSP with a touch-screen control). Or, perhaps that patent is a red herring — who knows? Today, engadget is spreading (creating?) a rumor-guess-speculation that an Apple eBook could be in the works. Okay, if one were to buy into that rumor (and I don’t) and view the patent in that context, then one might imagine an eBook-sized iPod that could handle music, video and “ebook” stuff. But, then, I guess that would be close to a tablet Mac, no? Or, who knows: Maybe it’s the re-incarnation of a 19-year-old Apple concept device (how old does that make me feel?) the “Knowledge Navigator“? My prediction: We’ll see neither an eBook-only device or Knowledge Navigator. Despite my near certainty we’ll see neither, I do think a device that would be, in essence, an 8″ x 10″ or so iPod that has a web-browser, iChat/iSight, wifi access and a built-in iSight camera would come very close to a Knowledge Navigator without that goofy agent guy. If it were available, I think most folks would use it to navigate entertainment and media rather than “knowledge” in the academic sense. (Bonus: Three years ago, Jon Udell revisited the Knowledge Navigator.)

While I’m on this topic, via Rafat’s tracking of the coverage of the Zune rumors, I saw the earlier engadget speculation that the rollout of the Store facet of the Zune may include Microsoft’s payment of the rights necessary to replace any songs a Zune owner may have previously purchased via the iTunes store. One of the most commented posts on this weblog ever had to do with my suggestion that Apple should allow repeat downloads of tunes purchased from the iTunes store and later lost — some Mac cultists felt that customers who don’t backup their purchases are idiots who deserve what happens to them. However, I figure that if Apple has the record of my purchase and knows that my machine is “authorized” to use the tune, then why shouldn’t I be allowed to download it again. Not to repeat my argument, but I pointed out that services like Audible.com work that way. Microsoft should build that feature into the Zunes store: Let customers know if the downloads they purchase from the Zune store ever get lost, they already have a back-up: on the Zune store.

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