Amazon said on Monday that it plans to introduce a new version of its Kindle software for the Apple iPad, going head-to-head with the iBooks ereader Apple intends to bundle with the much-discussed device.
According to an Amazon web post, the company will also offer similar software for other tablet computers, but this announcement is clearly all about the iPad, due to arrive on April 3.
Asked which tablets the software would run on - beyond the iPad - a company spokesman said: "There are going to be many general purpose tablet computers and we want to show customers what they can expect for the category in general. I’ll have to ask you to stay tuned for specifics."
The company's Kindle for iPad app will operate much like the Kindle apps it offers for iPhones, Macs, Windows machines, and BlackBerries. You'll be able to access your Kindle account from the app - purchasing, downloading, and reading books from Amazon's online store - and you'll be able to synchronize the app with other, similarly-equipped devices.
If you've read to a particular page on your iPad, for instance, that page will appear when you power up your physical Kindle or launch Kindle software on your iPhone, PC, or other device. You can also synchronize notes, bookmarks, and highlighted text.
Amazon goes on to say that its tablet apps will be "tailored to the size, look, and feel of your tablet computer" and that they will include a "page turn animation that replicates the look of turning a page in a book". Speaking with the New York Times, the company said it had redesigned "the core screen and the reading experience".
"Our team had some fun with it," said Ian Freed, vice president for Kindle at Amazon. Apparently, this overhaul includes not only the "page turn" UI but also two new ways for users to view their entire ebook collection. One of these views, the Times says, puts large images of book covers against the backdrop of a silhouetted figure reading under the tree. And, well, the sun's position in the image changes depending on the time of day.
Amazon did not say when its iPad app will be available. "We look forward to making Kindle for iPad available very soon. I’ll have to ask you to stay tuned on specific timing," the company told us. As with previous versions of its Kindle software, Kindle for iPad can be used even if you haven't purchased a physical Kindle handheld. ®