Will the iPad transform the media?

If you wander past an Apple store these days, you’re likely to see huge crowds eager to play with the latest tech novelty, the iPad.

But in the media business, it seems there’s a different question than just “how does it work?”

It’s wondering — or maybe hoping — if the new Apple device can transform the media business. An unscientific sampling:

While many Americans already have a computer and/or smart phone, Apple is betting many of us are craving a third screen — bigger and more functional than a phone, lighter and cheaper than a computer.

Let’s say you’d like to watch the latest episode of Glee on the subway, or show baby pictures to Grandma, or get a cooking tutorial in your kitchen. Those are probably functions where the laptop is a little clunky but your cell phone is too small. So Steve Jobs hopes you want the Baby Bear “just right” tool.

That consumers have shown a willingness to pay for apps on iTunes when they lament having to pay for anything on the Internet  is very appealing to a media industry battered by the decline of print circulation, the increasing competition for eyeballs and the freefall of advertising spending during the recession.

But will enough consumer want to spend several hundred dollars — iPad prices start at $499 — to really change the market? If you’ve already got a cell phone with a monthly plan, a laptop and cable TV, do you have enough room in your monthly budget and enough time you aren’t already spending absorbing content that you need another iSomething? Will enough people buy them to make iPad attractive to advertisers?

That was the question asked at a SXSWi panel called “Could the iPad have saved Gourmet magazine?” Best I could tell, the answer was “Hard to say” but check out this Austin360.com synopsis or this venturebeat.com write up to see for yourself.

Spoiler alert: the headline on the Venture Beat story is “An ‘unanswerable’ question: Can the iPad save magazines?”

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Categories: career, creativity, lifestyle

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1 reply

  1. I am a Mac guy, but I don’t have any interest. I have an iMac on my desk, a MacBook, and an iPhone. My bases are covered.

    A friend of mine got an iPad, and said it was pretty cool. Then he sold it less than a week later.

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