Apple Releases The iPad, Just In Time To Save Publishing

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Do you remember the day the Kindle came out? No? What about the Zune? You don’t even know what that is? Trust me, you’re not alone. However, chances are you or your friends lined up to get the iPhone, or the iPod, or the iPod Touch, or the new iMac, or the MacBook Air, or the… you get the idea. No other company produces products like Apple, and no other person knows how to effectively judge the needs and desires of consumers like Steve Jobs.

It doesn’t hurt that Apple’s products also give a significant boost to – if not completely reinvent or even save – industries that have not done well in the transition to digital media, companies who’ve helplessly watched their print and video content make its way into the hands of consumers for free. Apple’s strategy is actually quite simple, but highly effective: Choose a portion of the online marketplace (mobile apps, music, etc.); invent a device that makes the content associated with it easy to purchase and consume (ideally a device that is slick, slender and portable); sell the content.[more]

And so we have the Apple iPad, the savior of not only the newspaper industry, but of publishing itself! The device will provide a new way to read books, magazines and newspapers, along with a new way for that content to be monetized. It’s like an iPod/iTunes for print media (the new app is actually called iBooks). Already, Time, Hearst and Condé Nast have created mockups of their publications for the device, and HarperCollins, McGraw-Hill, and Penguin have made their books available on it.

Oh, and aside from text, the iPad will allow users to watch films, play games and surf the Internet, not to mention run all the iPhone and iPod Touch apps. It comes with Google Maps, an almost full-size keyboard and a new version of iTunes built in. It’s way too early to tell if the iPad is a “truly magical product” as Jobs described it before he introduced it – or if it will indeed save publishing – but so far so good.

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