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Apple forces Stanza creator to pull USB book sharing

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.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. Zaren

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +8

    Bahstards

    Now granted, I've never used the USB sync feature (always done it over wireless), but this is a load of garbage. I was just posting to another site yesterday about how there are options other than getting books from Apple, that there's other software available. As I typed that, I suddenly worried that Apple might pull some stupid move to restrict third party software that's been perfectly acceptable up until the iPad was announced. Not 24 hours later, this news comes out. Why can't I do that with lottery numbers? :p

  1. cmoney

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +13

    Re: Bahstards

    Yeah I wanna see how this plays out. Will Apple have the gall to outright block all the third party ereader apps on the iPad? Especially since they're already established on the iPhone. Every little step like this kills the fanboy in me...

  1. jwdsail

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    Glad I have 2.0..

    Glad I have 2.0.

    Guess I'll have to watch my app updates in the future. (make sure stanza isn't changed)

  1. Geobunny

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +7

    Re: Re: Bahstards

    It sounds like that fanboi is still alive and well, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Having read the article and spotted this section "the Stanza technology involves detouring normal iPhone sync methods", I suspect that this is the reason why they were forced to change it. The app is still available and by the sounds of things, you can still transfer files another way. I think this is probably just a precursor to avoid problems with the iPad or a future iPhone upgrade as I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple implementing USB sharing themselves so as to allow access to whatever shared file space is available.

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +5

    If you were making...

    something, like I do, you support your own ways and your own products. You don't go around announcing you also have a competitor you are "supporting."

    I can understand that it's a pain to be using a feature and then have it dropped because of a self-proprietary interest, but that's business life. You don't stab yourself to be a nice guy and show others how "liberal" you are.

    I'm in the publishing business and you find out quickly that Amazon is not a nice company to deal with because EVERYTHING is on their terms... so I will also be looking elsewhere.

    One example: orders. Week after week they will order 1 or 2 copies of a title from me. The postage costs after their 55% "wholesale" discount is a killer. So I don't ship for several weeks until other orders from them come in. They don't like this. My alternative is not to ship at all. They refuse to order 10-12 at a time (the books keep selling) like anyone else would do. Then they take 90 days to pay for what is sold, not what is ordered. They owe me thousands.

    Amazon doesn't need defending. Their paperwork is a nightmare.

    If I were Apple, I would be blocking 3rd party apps too, and so would most of you.

  1. BigBenjamin

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -2

    Uncool

    I know that Apple is going after the Amazon Kindle device with the new ipad, but uncool if they start pushing other ereaders off their app store.

    If they can compete with better content, then compete, but please do not make me have to carry my Kindle and my iphone/ipad.

  1. cmoney

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    Right but I'm a consumer

    I'm not Apple, I'm not a publisher. I don't give two **its about what Apple wants, I know that I have Kindle books on my iPhone now and would like to be able to keep reading them if I bought an iPad, though they were purposely being vague about what iPhone apps would run on the iPad.

    Businesses don't have to be "liberals," whatever that means and support their competitors, but they do have to weigh how much they stand to make selling books and content vs how much they lose by pi$$ing off consumers.

    Example: The Mac is Apple's platform too, but can you imagine the outrage if Apple started blocking other music stores just because they replicate iTunes Music Store?

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Solution

    Write a wireless sync app like everyone else is. The timing is suspect, but he did also go around published protocols. I'm not defending Apple's action here, only noting that a wireless sync app eliminates any "ammo" Apple has against them.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -3

    Re: Re: Bashtards

    It sounds like that fanboi is still alive and well, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Having read the article and spotted this section "the Stanza technology involves detouring normal iPhone sync methods", I suspect that this is the reason why they were forced to change it.

    Except the only 'normal' iPhone sync method is using iTunes. And Apple will not allow anyone else to use iTunes but themselves.

    And, you know, when Palm tried to use iTunes to sync to the Pre, they were blasted and told "build your own sync solution!". So here's someone who's built their own sync solution, but now are told "No custom syncing allowed!"

    The only other way to transfer data to the iPod/iPhone (since Apple has closed down the filesystem and tells people they shouldn't need access) is for each application to implement their own syncing mechanism, of which you would then need to have a desktop app to get your files to/from the device.

    I have no desire to read ebooks on my Mac. Yet I need to have the Stanza eBook reader installed and fire it up just so I can put eBooks I have onto the iPhone.

    Luckily Apple won't have these ideas, as they'll be able to just sync whatever they want using iTunes, keeping their competitive advantage over any other app maker (which they can keep just by not approving a too-good competitor).

  1. cmoney

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +5

    It speaks volumes

    for Apple's latest actions that every single action they take is first interpreted as evidence of some conspiracy theory that Apple is out to block competitors for their own gain.

    This time around though, Geobunny may be correct that there are technical reasons for this. Apple did add some things to the SDK to allow shared files between an iPad and PC. It would be reasonable to think this would come to the iPhone.

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