What Amazon doesn’t have is a simple system for online purchase and usage. That’s why iTunes and the iPod are dominant. They make it easy to purchase and use. Amazon makes it easy to buy stuff in boxes, it’s download service has never caught on. One reason is that most people can’t figure out how to get digital files on to their MP3/Video player. Jon Udell explores this theme in his writings on unexplored software idioms. Something that seems very straightforward to long time computer users can be unfathomable to the average user.
Jason Calacanis’s Mahalo tries bridge that gap to the user in Search. Apple was able to make synching painless for the average user, and that’s what made digital entertainment through the network possible. Dave Winer thinks that synching sucks, but not because it’s hard. He just doesn’t think things need to be in more than one place. So where’s that online safe where I can keep copies of all the digital media that I’ve purchased? It contains all the music, audio books, podcasts, TV shows & movies, software, online art and photos that I legally own. It’s automatically backed up and I can reach it from all kinds of devices wirelessly through a ubiquitous network. My home stereo, car stereo and iPod all access the same music. A connection is established once, and then you’re all set. iTunes could become this.