Is the Kindle Ugly?
I did this week’s Newsweek’s cover story on The Future of Reading, using Amazon’s Kindle e-reading device as a peg to discuss some profound changes that will take place in reading over the next few decades.
If you go to Newsweek’s site linked to above, you’ll see plenty about it. But checking out some online comments about the device, I thought I’d make a point here. Because Amazon had to file for FCC approval, some details of the book, along with a picture, wound up on Engadget. Because the picture was taken at an angle that make the device look like it was dominated by the keyboard — and the picture generally is not flattering –some people are calling it ugly. In person, the Kindle is, in my opinion, pretty attractive. And since I’ve had the thing for a few weeks, I’ve had the experience of showing it to people who haven’t seen it at all. I watch carefully to see their first, gut reaction. In just about every case it is a positive, visceral response to the product design.
This reminds me of what happened to the new iPod nano, where a picture also leaked out that was accurate, but unflattering. When I actually saw the new nano, it was interesting that it was (a) yes, the one I saw in the leaked picture, which looked ugly and (b) anything but ugly — a classic Apple techno-lust product.
Lesson: wait to you see actually see the thing (or at least some pictures make by real product photographers) before you judge it as beastly.