The mall’s on Fire; plus, where to watch the Apple event

This week’s hotly awaited device is in the hot little hands of the reviewers, and they’ve swiped and tapped their way to a consensus: Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD is a qualified improvement. 

Wait, what did you think we were talking about?

OK, then: The week’s second-most-hotly-awaited device is having its moment in the tech press spotlight,  until about 10 a.m. today. The 7-inch Kindle tablet, with a price tag of $199, will ship on Friday. Reviews have been moderately complimentary (“top-notch build quality … a screen to die for,” says Gizmodo’s Kyle Wagner) but overshadowed by a widespread uneasiness about just how easy it is to buy things with the device.

For an extra $15, you can get a version that doesn’t throw ads at you with each new screen. But even then, says Engadget’s  Tim Stevens:  “You can never and will never shake the feeling that this is less a tablet and more of a tool for shopping — a Trojan Horse that’s let into your home thanks to its low price and then unleashes a legion of must-buy items to completely compromise any walls you’ve built around your budget.”

The hard-core Amazon consumer might fall for some cool features — for instance, the option to flip back and forth between your ebook and an audio version, which will automatically sync to the point where you left off. For the rest of us? As Time’s Harry McCracken puts it:  “If the concept of a 7-inch window into Amazon’s vast shopping mall sounds aggravating, you’ll be more pleased with the Nexus 7.”

And, points out Gizmodo’s Wagner, any 7-inch tablet  is “most likely either a day, or a few weeks, away from being punched in the face by the iPad Mini.”

That brings us, neatly, to the Fifth Coming.

Will there be an iPad Mini announced today? No, say the informed observers (though October is a good possibility).  Today’s spotlight will be unwaveringly on the iPhone 5.

In a few hours, we’ll see if the predictions are right:  bigger screen, LTE connectivity, Sept. 21 on-sale date, maybe rainbow colors?

And then there’s the whole saving-the-economy thing, as reported Tuesday on these pages.  The New York Times’ Paul Krugman raised an eyebrow at the predictions of an economic boost: “The immediate gains would come from the way the new phone would get people to junk their old phones and replace them,” he said, labeling the idea “a version of the ‘broken windows’ theory, in which destroying some capital can actually be a good thing under depression conditions.”

For those planning to break a window, the resale price is dropping fast: “The best chance to lock in a top-dollar iPhone trade was three to four weeks ago,” reports As of Tuesday night, it said, a 16GB iPhone 4S, ATT version, was fetching about $280.

Enough speculation. Come back to a little before 10 this morning, and follow live coverage of the Apple event by Troy Wolverton and Peter Delevett.


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  • gadgetsalwaysfit

    No offense but this writeup feels rather biased. Statements such as “..Amazon consumer might fall for some cool features ..” reads as though one considers buyers of the device to possibly be foolish or, to be a bit snarky, suckers. Also the chosen selection of the more negative writings from reviews also seems very biased. Overall Engadget’s review was generally favorable but reading this doesn’t convey that. I think CNET had the most balanced review recognizing it’s all about what is right for YOU. I have don’t a love affair with any particular manufacturer or device but I do have several tablets and to this day, none of them are perfect but some are more perfect for my uses than others. Specs sheets aren’t worth much if I find no enjoyment in the overall use of the device. I didn’t get a Nexus 7 because it didn’t suit my personal needs. I will buy the newer Kindle Fires because they suit my needs better. It doesn’t make me a sucker or falling for something because in the end, all of these tablets just exist to sell more services such as magazine, movies, books, and apps.

  • 5th Coming! Stop the presses!! The world has changed!

    There is a 5th row of icons on the screen!