I get it. I really do. Amazon is not interested in adding education to the verticals that it wants to reinvent.
Movies/TV: Working on it.
Education: Not so much.
It is wonderful that Apple has some competition from the new Kindle Fire HD. As a content consumption device for Amazon Prime customers the $199 7 inch tablet looks pretty good. Add in built in Skype, Facebook, and the new Microsoft Exchange integration for e-mail / calendaring and this package will push Apple to innovate.
But unless I missed it in the coverage the Amazon Kindle launch event there was no mention of how the Kindle might be used for education. (Were textbooks mentioned?).
Contrast what Amazon is doing with the Kindle Fire HD to what Apple has for the iPad. The iTunes U Course Manager allows us to create private enrollment course content modules that easily sync up to an iPad (through the iTunes U app).
Curricular content that can be loaded includes documents and videos, including the videos from lecture and presentation capture (I've been experimenting in uploading Echo360 captures). Students can stream the video, or better yet download the video to the iPad for offline viewing.
These iPad (and iPhone) course containers do not replace the learning management system (LMS), because they do not have collaboration and discussion tools built in (although how this platform evolves will be interesting).
The combination of an iPad and iTunes U means that the iPad is moving towards being a compelling platform for education. iTunes U is also a strong signal that Apple cares about the education space.
The shame of it is that Amazon services and hardware ecosystem would be a marvelous place to experiment with new modes and partnerships for re-inventing education. Think what Amazon could do if they got serious about participating in the open source textbook and open online learning movement.
The Kindle Fire HD looks to be a nice content consumption device, but from what I can tell Amazon's 9/6/12 product announcements are of little relevance to higher education.