Proving once again, in case we’d forgotten, that there’s more to the Kindle as a platform than simply the great eReader hardware, Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN) has upgraded their software for the iPad, iPhone, and iPad Touch to include audio/visual integration in eBooks. The Kindle Store now includes a section labeled as “Kindle Editions With Audio-Visual” that highlights these new products. Right now the pickings are understandably slim, it being a new type of product, but already there are travel books including the popular Rick Steves: Paris, Rose’s Heavenly Cakes for the bakers among you, a copy of Knitting for Dummies that actually shows you on-screen what to do, and more. Also, while it’s not my hobby I would imagine that bird enthusiasts will get far more out of the audio-enabled Bird Songs: 250 Northern American Birds in Song now that there’s an edition that plays back what each of these songs sounds like. You don’t have to be an enthusiast to know a good idea when you see it.
This is an interesting idea that will likely go a long way toward keeping the Kindle software on top in the portion of the eBook customer base that relies on Apple(NASDAQ:AAPL) for all their media consumption needs. The Kindle itself, of course, will not be receiving this functionality on current devices, but it does raise some question about the future of the hardware. Will Amazon be putting a video-capable screen of some sort on a future upgrade? Right now most signs point to a negative response, but long-term options are always a possibility. eInk types of displays are always evolving and who wouldn’t want to be able to integrate some form of A/V experience if it were possible without sacrificing the superior screen and battery life?