Friday, January 29, 2010

iPad: fourth thought

In what may, or may not, be the last of these post-launch reflections on the Apple iPad, here is some information gathered by Steve Smith of Mobile Insider.

Smith interviewed a number of industry figures and came to the conclusion that :

More than anything, this is a media consumption device. I am actually fairly shocked at how little this device is informed by person-to-person communication and interactivity. It is really a lean-back device. With a keypad that is going to be a challenge under any scenario and no camera for video-blogging, the iPad doesn't even have some of the basic blogging and posting tools Apple encourages on its Mac platform.

But Dan Flanegan of BrandinHand says this is exactly the in-between device that finalizes his shift of media consumption from analog to digital. "The iPad completes my content consumption transformation," he says. "To this point my iPhone and MacBook Pro have pulled me away from traditional broadcast entertainment and news.  The iPad completes this, giving me a place for books, magazines, newspapers right alongside a better experience for TV and movies."

Flanegan is a true believer that this is the beginning of the end of paper. "I can see how my kids will consume media in their lifetime.  Goodbye newsprint, annoying business reply card inserts and six-inch thick Stephen King novels.  Hello, content anywhere!  What took you so long?"
 Read the whole article on the Media Post site.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

iPad: second and third thoughts

Over at Harvard University's Neiman Journalism Lab, Joshua Benton seems to have had similar thoughts to those in my last post about the new Apple iPad.

And he specifically considers magazines:

Surprisingly little on magazines. A lot of the talk in tablet land focused on magazines — several mag companies have been working on their own tablet concepts, and the design flexibility of the magazine page seems like a natural match for a bigger-than-a-phone screen and form factor. The magazine subscription model even seems like a natural match for something like the Season Pass you can buy for TV shows in iTunes. But magazines weren’t mentioned at all. Several magazines have moved in the one-iPhone-app-per-issue direction, and those apps will be much more impressive on the big screen, but magazines are in the same boat as newspapers: waiting for the iPad ecommerce revolution to arrive.
 Read the whole piece on Nieman's site.

As if to corroborate this line of thinking, Wired's Brian X. Chen and Dylan F. Tweney said:

Apple’s goal is to offer a new platform for content creators to reinvent books, magazines and online content — in addition to offering a new avenue for content producers to make money.

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iPad – one for the future?

I am as qualified as most others to comment on the Apple iPad – I haven't seen one in the plastic, held one or used one. But I have looked at the pictures and read the comments, so here goes.

After an initial gush of "must have one", more composed reflection has led me to the conclusion that Apple has got a little ahead of itself here. It is easy to envisage a use for the iPad – properly multimedia magazines, newspapers, books and whatever other forms are still to be invented. But that content hasn't quite arrived yet. There are big companies that seem to be working on it and I am sure there are small start-ups doing the same. In a year or two we may be surrounded by iPad-friendly material.

On the other hand, the iPad itself may act as a spur to magazine and newspaper companies desperate for new revenue streams; make a good app (like Distill or the Guardian) and people seem willing to buy; tap into the seamless mobile/iTunes systems of charging and people won't even think about the cost (unless the eventual bill is too big).

Two final thoughts:
1) For those who think that the iPad isn't great at any particular thing, if there is one lesson that digital media has taught us it is surely that good enough is good enough (I won't bore you by tracking this concept back to Marshall McLuhan's theory of hot and cold media);
2) Why has the word "pad" inspired such a  widespread puerile (and virginile) reaction? What do these people do when confronted with a note "pad" or a jotter "pad" or a touch "pad"?

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