My quick take on the iPad, based on the video footage of Steve Jobs’ announcement, is that it is a transformational device. I believe that the iPad will transform the publishing industry. Magazine and newspaper publishers are breathing a sigh of relief. The iTunes/iPhone model of delivering content encourages people to pay for subscriptions or by the issue. On the Web, publishers worry about charging for content. But once the content is downloadable on a mobile, portable device, people seem to be more willing to pay for it. Steve Jobs pioneered paying for music through iTunes. Jeff Bezos made it work for digital books. Steve Jobs will now do it for newspapers and magazines.
The other good news for book publishers is that Apple’s eReader (iBook) uses the ePub format. Book publishers have already begun to standardize on ePub as their e-format of choice. ePub formats are accepted on a wide variety of e-Readers, so content providers won’t have to publish in a different format for each platform.
My earlier hope, based on Don Nicholas of Mequoda’s prediction that Apple and Amazon would strike a deal to allow Kindle eBooks to be read on the iPad, did not come to fruition. At least not yet. But remember that all iPhone apps will work on the iPad, and there is already a Kindle app for the iPhone. So, you WILL be able to have both your Kindle books and your iBooks on the iPad. While I’m sure that the iPad will seriously damage sales of the single-function, less-sexy Kindle, it may not eat too far into sales of Amazon e-books.
How the iPad Fits into Our Lives. A lot of people are wondering whether consumers need yet another device with yet another form factor. My take is that the iPad will be the device of choice for leisure activity. We’ll use it at home, on airplanes, and on camping trips.
I envision my iPad sitting on the coffee table, next to my favorite chair, with the latest issues of all of my favorite magazines. In fact, I suspect that I will read a lot more magazines on the iPad than I do in paper form. Why? Because they’ll come alive. Magazines will no longer be flat. They’ll be interactive—the way they are on a Web site—but with greater intimacy and sex appeal due to the high resolution screen and the full motion high def video, combined with the interactivity of social media. Steve Jobs describes it as “holding the Internet in your hands.”
I predict that many households will wind up with several iPads, just the way we now have multiple cell phones and laptops—one for each person. In fact, I am worried about the impact on family life. Instead of sitting together to watch a movie or TV show, family members will be sprawled on their separate couches or chairs, each person watching their own personal movie or show, probably with earphones on. On the other hand, gaming will be another killer app for the iPad, so perhaps instead of each watching our individual shows, we’ll play more games together.
Will we use it for business? Probably. In particular, I suspect we’ll use it for online meetings. Instead of sitting at our desks and staring at a computer. We’ll relax in a comfortable chair on the deck and participate in productive meetings.
As someone who already owns an Apple/Windows laptop, an iTouch, a Blackberry, a cell phone, and a Kindle, I know I’ll be buying an iPad too. Then it will be interesting to see which device(s) I gravitate to the most.
Like the rest of the pundits, I was appalled that Steve Jobs apparently made the mistake of continuing his exclusive agreement with AT&T. I hope it expires soon. In the meantime, I’ll use my iPad with Wifi and avoid paying additional connectivity costs. I can’t wait!