Issue: Will the Apple iPad help print media reestablish a revenue model?
Commentary by: David Vinjamuri
Apple has just introduced the iPad – the long awaited tablet computer.Â Just as this advertising blog predicted that the iPhone would revolutionize the mobile internet, we believe that Apple has taken an important step towards rescuing the print news media from oblivion.
As you may know by now, the device itself has a 9.7″ touch screen, wi-fi and some versions have 3G from AT&T.Â Pricing runs from $499 to $829 (for the 3G version with 64gb of memory) plus $30 a month for unlimited data.
We have long believed that the Kindle will revolutionize publishing, but it is not a realistic device for advertising because it lacks color and a high resolution display.Â Even the larger Kindle DX is too expensive ($489 – as much as the base version of the iPad) for a black and white low-res reader. On the Kindle, you can have newspapers delivered to the device daily and then read the text of each article.Â The iPad allows you to read the newspaper as a newspaper, or a magazine as a magazine.Â In fact, magazines and newspapers can improve on the paper experience by incorporating video, interactive and multimedia content.
This suggests that news organizations and publishers will be able to create a subscription model for iPad content which can be partially advertising-supported.Â The advertising will be measurable, just as with online advertising.Â Although this has not been discussed, it is reasonable to assume that widgets – or other functional ad units – could be created for this device.
Immediate reaction to the iPad has been somewhat muted because the technical characteristics did not excite tech fans.Â Apple’s real genius, however, is understanding how to evolve consumer behavior – a far more difficult and important task.Â The so-called “paperless office” has been hyped and discussed for over a generation, but it has not come to pass because paper is portable and easy to read.Â Although the iPad and subsequent devices will not outdate paper, they take an important step forward.Â Just as the iPod delivered the ability to carry around hundreds of cds worth of music in a tiny device and the Kindle allowed us to carry a thousand books, the iPad will allow average consumers to keep books, movies, pictures, magazines, newspapers and important personal documents on a device that is the right size to view them.Â That’s a bigger deal than it may initially seem to be.