Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Additional thoughts about Apple's tablet (The iPad?)

Now that I have had a chance to think about the possible paradigm shift (see previous post) due to the upcoming Apple tablet, I believe the shift will go much further than ebooks. The shift will occur to the entire print media. Users will access all forms of print media, especially newspapers and magazines. iTunes would be expanded to have subscriptions to newspapers and magazines, much like podcasts. And while we are on the subject of podcasts, podcasts and video podcasts would also be accessible on the device.

What makes this device different from accessing the information on your Mac or iPhone? Simply put, form factor. All of us have read newspaper articles, etc. on our Macs and iPhones. But something was missing. Macs (OK, PCs for you non Mac people :-) ) are good for reading articles but they're not as portable as an iPhone. iPhones have great portability but the screens are small for reading articles and you are constantly flicking to the next page or resizing the screen.

Now imagine reading a magazine or newspaper on a portable device with a 10.7 inch screen. Its easy to hold, like a book or a small portfolio. The screen can easily hold a "page" worth of information - the newspaper page looks like a newspaper page, a magazine page looks like a magazine page. Its easy to use and easy on the eyes.

The big question is will it save the newspaper and magazine industry. Advertising revenue in printed media is dropping tremendously. Would the savings in physical printing and distribution costs make up for the loss of advertising revenue. Probably not for most publishers. I personally feel that the industry will downsize leaving a few major players but then will recover with new players entering the marketplace now that the entry cost would be so low.

Steve Jobs revolutionized the music industry. Can he do it again with printed media? Lets hope so.

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