iPhone: The Ultimate eBook Reader?

So the iPhone was released today and another contender for the ultimate digital reading device enters the Australian market.

What? No one said anything about the iPhone as a digital reading device (or eBook reader if you want to get cute).

Actually, in places where the iPhone has already been available for up to twelve months, a lot of speculation has come out of the kind of people who speculate about such things.

As far back as January 2007,the iPhone was already being touted as a potential saviour of the publishing industry.

The iPhone, with its small, backlit LCD screen and finger-flicking interface is far from the ideal device for curling up in bed with, however it has a couple of significant advatages over other, more specialised, readers.

The device's desirability, stoked in no small part by the Apple publicity behemoth, will ensure the iPhone sits in the pocket of more potential readers than the Kindle could ever hope to match. Its sheer ubiquity means readers won't have to shell out more for yet another plastic box.

The iPhone's other big advantage is the advent of its Software Developer's Kit (SDK). Why is this such a big deal? The iPhone is not an eBook reader out of the box, it requires a third-party application to be downloaded and installed. Several of these are already developed and available. This means reading applications will likely take advantage of all eBook formats regardless of what Microsoft, Adobe, or Amazon attempt force onto the market.

Is it the long awaited killer device eBooks and digital publishing? In the great tradition of fence-sitting, I'm plumbing for a big, fat "maybe".

How's that for brave?