New Update to Kindle for iOS Suggests Amazon Now Values Apps Over Hardware

mzl.odqtnzlf.320x480-75[1]Amazon updated the Kindle iOS app today and something tells me they’re no longer seeing the Kindle as the center point of their ebook plans.

In addition to a fix in the brightness control and a new end of book pop up menu with suggested actions, the iOS got a subtle byt meaningful addition to the highlight option. You can now highlight text in 4 colors, not just the single color offered before. As you can see in the screen shot at right, your color options now include pink, blue, yellow, and orange.

I know this doesn’t look like much, but the important detail isn’t what it looks like on the iPad (or the fact the Kindle Fire doesn’t have this option yet).

No, the important detail here is that you can’t see those 4 different highlights on the Kindle’s E-ink screen. Amazon has given the iOS app a feature that the Kindle will never have (unless there is a color Kindle coming).

I think this adds to a point I made last week. I wrote a post about hardware no longer being the determining factor for ebook sales, and one detail I used to support my argument was that Amazon was giving the Kindle apps all the same features as the Kindle hardware. Today Amazon proved my point by adding a feature that the Kindle can’t have.

On the other hand, perhaps this is a sign that Amazon has a color Kindle on their product roadmap. It would explain their rumored interest in Liquavista, and even if it’s not true one can always dream.

And in other news, Amazon also added a new end of book reminder similar to what is currently included on the Kindle Fire. When you get to the last page of a Kindle ebook, the iOS app will now suggest that you write a review, rate the ebook, or share with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. The app will also suggest other ebooks you might be interested in reading.

You can find the app in iTunes.

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. The Ogre14 February, 2013

    “No, the important detail here is that you can’t see those 4 different highlights on the Kindle’s E-ink screen. Amazon has given the iOS app a feature that the Kindle will never have (unless there is a color Kindle coming).”

    Eh. No big deal. Kobo did the same for their iOS & Android apps. Just because they added a color-specific feature doesn’t mean they’re giving up on their black & whites.

  2. Tom Semple14 February, 2013

    Along these same lines, Kindle for Android includes a Send To Kindle feature that allows you to send content (PDF, doc, docx) to any registered device (that supports personal documents) from many Android apps, using that app’s Share option (or equivalent).

  3. DavidW15 February, 2013

    It is amazing that so much was read into such a minor update!

    1. ucfgrad9315 February, 2013

      I agree. This seems like quite a stretch on Nate’s part.

  4. Colleen Cunningham15 February, 2013

    Can anybody confirm yet that the Kindle App supports KF8 universally? That, to me, would be an indicator as well.

    1. Nate Hoffelder15 February, 2013

      The Android app, yes. I think the iOS app is still missing some features.

      But the apps also support X-Ray, Kindle Cloud, email addresses, and other features that first appeared on the hardware. It’s the other features that make me think the apps are valued highly.

      1. Rob Siders15 February, 2013

        Yes, the iOS app remains a half-step behind in fully supporting KF8.

  5. k1tsun315 February, 2013

    If they really valued the app they would add in some desperately needed functionality: they would enable users to make collections! It drives me crazy that that function isn’t in there; making folders of documents is one of the most basic computer functions and it makes no sense to have that in the e-ink Kindle and not in the Kindle app. Unless I’m missing something? If anyone knows how to do this in the iOS app please let me know!

    1. Bree15 February, 2013

      Nope, it’s not there (yet?) in the iOS app, which is keeping me from embracing Amazon as my eBookstore.

    2. ScottA20 July, 2013

      I think it’s disgusting and shows an arrogance towards their own paying customers that Amazon has yet to add such a simple (and necessary!) option as folders/collections to their app. If you look at the reviews of the app in iTunes, people have been screaming for this functionality for years.

  6. […] Hoffelder’s comments on Kindle for iPad […]

Leave a Reply

Scroll to top