The Industry Formerly Known as Print
Tuesday, February 16th, 2010
Tech sites were abuzz with disappointment after the iPad announcement. The iPad will be the first mainstream tablet, but it won't be the device that "saves print media". E-book readers have been around since 2006, but they are meant only for text, not pictures. The iPad can display print media like newspapers and magazines that rely heavily on pictures as well as text. But Apple failed to make that as much of a selling point as many magazines and newspapers hoped.
"Why did Jobs have not one single magazine company on stage?" asked Brent Schindler of bnet.com. "The iPad would seem an ideal magazine delivery platform. And the failing magazine industry is certainly looking for a magic solution."
Saving the print industry is not Apple's goal. Apple makes money by providing the avenue for content (i.e. iTunes), not the content itself. The magazine industry might be able to save itself by making apps for the iPad, but by not mentioning any magazine partnerships, Jobs made it clear that Apple isn't going to do the work for them.
The iPad can't replace a cellphone, nor can it replace a laptop, making it a $500 to $829 luxury item. Other tablets have been announced that theoretically will be able to take the place of laptops, because they will have the multi-tasking and Adobe Flash support, among other things, that the iPad lacks. They will have all the advantages of the iPad, but will be a more justifiable purchase.
With more and more magazines and newspapers trying to figure out ways to charge for online content while their circulations drop, the burgeoning tablet industry as a whole, led by Apple's iPad, may yet become their savior.
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