updated 12:25 pm EST, Tue February 2, 2010
Part of campaign against Amazon?
Lexcycle's Stanza e-book reader for the iPhone and iPod touch has been stripped of USB book sharing, at the request of Apple, the developer says. Stanza 2.1 is now being distributed through the App Store, and makes the removal of USB sharing the only change. App owners were previously able to transfer ePub or eReader books into Stanza through a USB cable.
Why Apple would want the feature removed is uncertain, particularly as Lexcycle says it has been blocked from discussing its conversations with Apple. USB transfers have been removed from other apps in the past, and the Stanza technology involves detouring normal iPhone sync methods. Apple could also, however, be pursuing a campaign against Amazon, Lexcycle's parent company.
Amazon sells e-books through the Kindle, currently the most popular dedicated reading hardware. Apple will soon compete against Amazon with the iPad, which has its own e-book software, iBooks. Apple may want to discourage the presence of an Amazon reading app on its tablet, particularly as iBooks includes a first-party store. While Stanza does not support Kindle files, users can still buy books from stores outside Apple's influence. A specific Kindle app is available separately, and does not sell books directly.