Wed 27 Jan
It’s not as if I haven’t had a point of view on all of this tablet computing device stuff that’s been lighting up the Internets for the past several months, but for professional reasons, I’ve had to keep mum. Suffice it to say, I’m really excited about Apple’s iPad, announced today, and I’m even more excited about what can be done with it.
However. I’m pretty sure that I’m in the camp that believes that this is not the salvation that most publishing companies have been looking for. Not that the device falls short in some way, but rather because nothing can save publishing as it’s been operating for the past several decades. The iPad does nothing to change the brutal mandate that has been pushing publishers to change for these many years; if anything it compounds the imperative.
As a general principle, there’s no way around evolution, and in this specific instance the reality is that there is no direct translation of the print experience to digital media. That is, the content can be translated, but it’s not likely to be as literal as many might expect or even hope. Those looking to the iPad to return us to some semblance of a print-like reading experience are basically wrong, I believe. In fact, lots of really smart people will continue to get this wrong going forward. We’re all still figuring out. That’s the definition of an opportunity.