iPad Could Kill the Print Publishing Industry?

Posted on February 08, 2010 by .

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Apple CEO Steve Jobs shows off the new iPad at the launch.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs shows off the new iPad at the launch.

Apple’s new iPad computer tablet is set to take the tech industry by storm. The iPad is merely a portable tablet computer designed for web surfing, emailing, viewing photos, reading books and playing music, yet the level of interest in it has been incredible. When Apple invited journalists to an event on January 27, 2010, the Internet immediately went bonkers and began speculating. So much so that when the iPad did rear its beautiful head, many critics resorted to making a mockery of the tablet.

When Apple first launched the iPod there were definitely some doubts, but the company has since sold more than 250 million of them. In the process, the iPod changed the way the public obtains music. The music industry was left reeling from the realization that people now have no interest in going to a record store and buying a CD anymore.

As Apple’s online music store, and its imitators, is changing the face of music retail for ever, their iPhone set new standards in mobile handsets, and their App Store is likewise threatening a major change to the way people buy and use software.

It seems that people really do prefer the convenience of an online store where they can pay small amounts of money for the piece of software they happen to be needing, and it seems there is a chance that the iPad is going to do the same thing to the book, magazine and newspaper sectors.

The iPad is 24cm high, 19 cm wide and 1.5cm thick, and sports a 24cm (diagonal) touch screen, WiFi, and a few other controls. It has a claimed battery life of 10 hours, comes in 16 GB, 32 GB, or 64 GB capacities, and can be used for surfing the Internet, watching video, viewing photos, listening to music, and other computer tasks such as word processing and “spreadsheeting” – if there is such a word.

One of the most hyped iPad features is that it will be able to interface with Apple’s new iBooks store where users can buy and download books, magazines and newspapers to read while they are out and about. There are lots of e-book readers available but they are still quite expensive and really only suitable for displaying text.

Apple is banking on the fact that the iPad will prove popular because it doesn’t cost much more than one of the existing e-book readers and can do so much more. The iPad is lacking in certain ways. It cannot do more than one thing at a time, and there is a lot of heated discussion going on in the Internet forums about whether it will succeed because of this.

My feeling is that the iPad is going to revolutionize the print business, just as the iPod changed the music industry. If I were a print publisher at the moment, I would move to make sure my content was available as fast, both for the iPad, and the imitators that will follow.

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