The Apple Tablet Is Coming...

... and some (including today's NY Times article) are predicting that, as with the iPod and iTunes, the tablet will turn the status-quo of media consumption on its head. The days of free newspaper and magazine content online are coming to an end (not necessarily a bad thing). Amazon's days of mass power over digital content pricing are dwindling (definitely not a bad thing). Furthermore, this will hopefully give media companies - magazines, newspapers, websites, publishers - a chance to go back and fix the mistakes of digital content readers past (absolutely not a bad thing).

But what is a bad thing (I think) is the power that the tablet will hand over to Steve Jobs - yes, the selfsame man who claimed that the Amazon Kindle would go nowhere because "people don't read anymore." And how wrong he was -- book apps recently overtook game apps as the bestselling category on the App Store for iPods/iPhones. In light of Jobs' earlier comments on reading and e-readers, the tablet seems a bit like back-pedaling, no?

Despite my cynicism, however, I do believe that the tablet - whatever it may look like and however it may work - will revolutionize the world of digital access, and that revolution gives new hope to the media world: just as we knew the music industry could not continue to stand on its feet if Napster remained the main source of music for the world, we now know (perhaps a bit too late) that newspaper and magazines cannot survive if 100% of their content is available online for free. We also know - well, some of us do - that publishing companies cannot survive if e-books are valued at only $9.99; the price of book is more than the sum of printing and shipping costs.

The mere fact that the tablet has successfully created so much buzz before even being officially announced lends credence to the theory that it will stand the industry on its head. Amazon, look out - looks like you're not the only fish in the sea anymore. What that will mean in the long run, though, we have yet to see.

For more information on the (rumored) tablet:

The Exhaustive Guide to Apple Tablet Rumors
New Money in Old Media (Wall Street Journal)
New potential for Apps on the tablet (NY Times)
Will Apple have to compete with its own products - the iPod & iPhone? (NY Times)

What do you think the tablet will do to the market? Or rather, what do you hope the tablet will do?

1 comment

  1. I hope it will be awesome. I read print books and love e-readers but want this device to do it all.


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