The Future of Media… Again
After years of rumors, I finally understood what the playing field was going to look like when ComicBookLover released their viewer
for the iPhone yesterday. I knew that Apple’s new iPad would run on the iPhone OS, that it would be high-resolution enough to read comic books on a 10” screen. I knew it was going to become the cool platform of choice for newspapers and magazines and books that need color and graphics support.
All stuff that had been generally predicted, along with a lot of other stuff. But what I didn’t know was the price. And I don’t know if people are even interested in reading newspapers any longer, although Apple chief Steve Jobs doesn’t know that either.
If the iPad price was too high, a whole lotta people in the media racket would be out of jobs. Magazines and newspapers, and to a slightly lesser extent book publishers, cannot survive with the present distribution models. Textbook publishers would be marginally more secure. So if
I heard a figure with five nines in it, I knew there’s be quite a number of
people on Sixth Avenue selling their pencils.
Apple always prices their products high under the belief
that a BMW is worth more than a Toyota. But this time they took a turn. Pricing between $500 and $830 – the difference is in 3G connectivity and the amount of memory you get – even the high-end model is reasonably priced. AT&T’s service is low-priced; $15 a month for 250 MB of service, and only $30 for unlimited service. This includes full access to AT&T’s Wi-Fi hotspots, providing even faster service than 3G. And the iPad promises 10 hours of video use on a single charge.
Oh, and it weighs 1.5 pounds. Check out Marc Fishman’s excellent piece with all the details here.
It’s got a large on-screen keyboard and it can use Apple’s Bluetooth keyboard. You can get Apple’s word processing, spreadsheet and
presentation software – fully comparable with Microsoft Office – for $10 a
module. Doubtlessly, Microsoft will offer their far more expensive versions of the same stuff before too long.
Lots of publishers have already signed up: Penguin, Harper-Collins, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Gameloft, Electronic Arts, the New York Times, and Major League Baseball. And the iPad will run most all iPhone and iPod apps as well.
So. Will the media thrive? Maybe. Is this a lifeline?
Absolutely. Will it be the cool thing to own? Probably. Will it save the comic book format? It will if I have anything to say about it. Will the streets of
midtown Manhattan be splattered with mediaworkers’ blood?
No more than usual.