As the faithful gathered before His Steveness at the iPad event, I was reminded of Apple’s marketing brilliance. The tablet rumors were well managed, with plausibly deniable leaks to the fans, media and stock analysts. Speculation built up to a suitably high level of excitement (or anxiety) among publishers, software developers and e-reader rivals. And, as usual, Jobs delivered the demo in classic style.
The device itself opens many new opportunities for publishers and advertisers — which I’ll be discussing at length in an upcoming study on digital editions. I regret not having publicly discussed my prediction of the iPad name, so my bragging rights will have to be limited to a few colleagues and my (thankfully) tolerant family. Bragging aside, however, the iPad is a game-changer.
In the upcoming study, I’ll be discussing the value of paginated media. In the e-reader world, pages should not be mere fascimiles of their printed counterparts. They should be well-designed, functional “idea containers” for creating what I call sequential engagement. An e-page may add interactivity and new media components, but it should not abandon those qualities that made pages desirable in the first place. A truly functional e-reader — probably led by the iPad example — can provide the best of both worlds.
The Apple iPad will allow magazine, newspaper and other publishers to retain the intrinsic value of paginated media, while adding interactive and new media components not possible with print. The question is: can publishers and advertisers build products worthy of a truly functional reader platform?