Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Apple: Pulp for the New Media

Wired has a piece on the unveiling of Apple's new tablet and points out an interesting shift (or rather refinement) in the Apple business paradigm:

“The focus is going to be on content creation and participation,” a technologist with close ties to Apple told “If the tablet is going to be an answer to things like the Kindle, which are purely about consumption, what you’re going to see is Apple is going to be full-blown about creation.”

 There's no doubt (at least in my mind) that this is a game-changer:

Then, instead of deploying that content on a website and asking for donations or trying to sell ads, creators could deploy their web pages-cum-e-books to the iTunes store, where a built-in retail apparatus takes care of collecting payments as small as $1 while Apple holds on to what looks like a reasonably small 30-percent cut.
A recent Wall Street Journal story suggests that Apple is in last-minute negotiations with book publishers, urging them to adopt a model where most books are priced at $13 or $15, instead of the $10 that prevails on Amazon’s Kindle e-book store.
By distributing through iTunes, creators would have access to users on any of Apple’s platforms, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, MacBooks, desktop PCs, or possibly even the Apple TV. Even more significantly, iTunes users on Windows PCs would also be part of the available market.
And sure, that content will no doubt look good on a tablet, too. Our guess is the tablet will have exclusive functions for displaying iTunes book content in a special way, which will be one of the gadget’s main selling points (among other new, yet-to-be-known features, of course).
In one fell swoop, a move like this would give content creators easy-to-use and powerful tools for creating interactive content, and give them a way of making a living from it, too.


Christian Lindke said...

Of course Kindle users already have access to the full Apple line of products through the Kindle app. I read Kindle books on my iPhone all the time and look forward to reading Kindle books on a tablet.

Cunningham said...

Yes but Kindle is only black and white, doesn't play videos and isn't touch controlled. I can read B&W books on both devices, but i can do far more with the iPad. It is a reader and a netbook in one.

Lindsay Stewart said...

um, its a really big iphone without all the functionality of either the phone or a netbook. it locks you in to only apple apps, there's no usb, no sd card reader, no camera, no multitasking, no flash in fact the thing is little more than an expensive and largely crippled toy. i'll stick with my netbook. i like being able to play music, surf, email or do any of a number of things simply by switching windows. don't let the shiny fool ya, apple screwed the pooch on this for anyone that wants functionality. i mean really, you want to read... no music for you.

Kangas said...

I called myself the anti-Bill Cunningham on another blog because I always seem to (unintentionally) be on the negative side of looking at things.

And I gotta stay true to form here.:)

It all sounds like a desperate grasp at Kindle money. It IS just a larger Iphone(and who wants to walk around with that? If I want something that large I'll take my laptop, which will do all that and a million other things...)

So Apple would like to talk book publishers into making their books more expensive? THAT'S a good idea? (I hear you--for a creator, if that creator is also NOT a consumer...I may write 2 books a year, but I READ far the end I lose out)

Cunningham said...

Guys -

This IPad may not be all things to all people (and let's face facts that NO computer product is) but it has been a very conductive lightning rod for change.

Companies have been lining up with competing products just because the Ipad was in development.

That's change.

The fact is it comes with a keyboard dock, it works like a netbook (word processing, email, video play, etc...) but it's even lighter than a netbook.

The product is only going to get better as people develop programs and other things for the device. Same thing happened with the IPhone.

So WHAT if it's a big Iphone? The IPhone has changed a lot of how we access media and info. This device is going to change things again. I think more people will be watching video on this device than the IPhone. That = opportunity.

S. Harlan Cone said...

A friend (and often production partner) is talking about picking one up for production purposes. He's convinced he can use it as a teleprompter, clapboard and as some other useful elements (including off-loading footage in the field).

Lindsay Stewart said...

harlan, i think you'll need something a little more robust for off loading footage. a few of my friends are iphone addicts, and i'd love nothing more than to grab their pestilent devices and dunk them in soup. they're nothing less than socially crippled, incapable of putting the frigging things in their pockets and insisting at the least provocation of squinting at the damn things. they are itarded. when they get their multi-touch grubbing fingers on these things they'll be dead to me. but then i am an admitted luddite when it comes to portable devices. i detest cell phones and anything upstream is just an order of magnitude worse.

i was at a media function the other night and i was aghast at the number of open mouthed blank eyed hipsters were standing rooted in place texting and gawking like idiots at their devices. and anything you want to do on the ipad that isn't on the surface will require adapters, cables and gizmos galore. my netbook opens and away i go, everything is right there, built in, with more power, more powerful software and cheaper. the purpose of designing a slick, clean device goes buh-bye when i have to carry a keyboard dock, a camera, a camera adapter, a usb port adapter, an sd card reader adapter... now i have a bag full of smaller, easily lost or damaged doodads. that equals failed premise to me.

if apple had announced an mac netbook, i'd have been delighted. is this thingy an opportunity and a new market for pulpy goodness, maybe. it remains to be seen whether the thing is actually useful and usable. the curved back and larger format might make it less handy than the proven and annoying iphone.

S. Harlan Cone said...

I read an article recently (I think over at Engadget or Gizmodo, I'm not sure) where the author was making the argument that Apple doesn't care about people who care about netbooks and tablets and trappings already. They want everybody else-- a slick device, an easy interface to surf the web, check email and such. The argument was that the iPhone was this for everyone who wanted a smartphone but wasn't already addicted to a Blackberry. The iPod for everyone else who wasn't already eying a Jukebox or other MP3 player.

I think there might be some merit to that argument, especially with the iPad. I have an iPhone and a Macbook Pro so between the two I basically have one already.

My friend, though, seems interested in a storyboarding app and an article at ProLost makes an intriguing case for the usefulness of more intuitive post production tools.

This is largely speculative, though. The necessary software hasn't appeared yet.

I refuse to get one at least until they solve the multi-tasking issue.