A lot of media analysts have had a lot to say about Apple’s newly released iPad, so I thought I might have a go at it as well.
At first, I was very enthusiastic. It’s sleek, cool, and much more portable than my MacBook. But then I read more.
HuffingtonPost released this list of 13 Things You NEED to Know about the iPad last week. I was impressed by the iTunes-like library of books and the hi-res screen that makes reading the book much easier. The iPad, in my mind, trumps the Kindle as an eReader, because it allows for color and pictures.
This, I felt, was great news for newspapers, because it speaks to the problems we all have with reading lengthy content online. The New York Times has partnered with Apple to create an app for the iPad. Given that NYT will soon be adopting a pay plan for online content, this strategy seems like a no-brainer.
Blogger Steve Yelvington made some good points about the detriments of this type of newspaper access last week. Yelvington wrote:
What are you going to do, kill your website and sell your “publication” in the App Store? Nonsense. The iPad doesn’t change the economic equation.
I was skeptical until he brought up another good point: the iPad — like the iPhone & iPod Touch, does not permit the use of Flash. And, as Steve pointed out, most online newspaper ads are constructed in Flash.
Writers at the Nieman Lab pondered the same question: will the iPad save newspapers?
My thought: It might. Just not this version and not quite yet.
I was never in the camp with those who believed the Kindle was the answer. It’s just too limited.
MediaCritic writer Scott Rosenberg wrote that the iPad will appease those who seek traditional newspaper reading capabilities online, but it will not help those who are looking for a new, evolved multimedia product.
Still, I think we might be on the right path. But, like any technology, it will take awhile to catch on and for the bugs to be worked out.
People will like that reading the newspaper is easier on the iPad. And, once the Flash issue is sorted out, newspapers that work with advertisers on a per-click pay system will rejoice at the rejuvenated readership. Where there are readers, there is money to be made.
What they (along with Mark Potts) will look for in the next version of the iPad is the ability to do it all. We want a product that makes reading online better AND that has all the capabilities of a laptop, camera, and communicator rolled into one.
Right now, the iPad falls short of a newspaper-saving device. But it feels like the answer (or one of the answers) is a lot closer now.