Not satisfied with the waves of fear it unleashed in competitors at the WWDC keynote yesterday, Apple has released yet another threatening new feature today. This time the planned obsolescence seems to hit closer to home. More specifically, bedtime reading with Mom and Dad. Oh yeah, and a local New York startup called MeeGenius! that premiered at New York Tech Meetup in April.
IBooks 1.3 now boasts a “read aloud” for children’s books. Apple says it will: “help your children learn to read” by using “a real narrator to read the book to you, and in some books, it will even highlight the words as you read along.” How can even the most convincing Cat In the Hat impression compete? Apple obsessives have long suspected that this latest upgrade would include speech-to-text technology developed by a company called Nuance.
But the emphasis on children’s books—coincidentally we’re sure—happens to overlap, or rather crash directly into, MeeGenius’ wheelhouse. At the meetup, the start-up introduced a similar children’s book service. In their case, the app, which can be downloaded on an iPhone, iPad or iTouch, offers children’s books with enhanced technology like word highlighting, audio playback and personalization. Getting scooped by your platform, just another adventure in the API revolution.
At least Mom and Dad haven’t been rendered entirely useless. Who’s gonna pay for all these apps?