The iPad: A Natural Fit for Digital Magazines
As you all know, I have been tracking the iPad very closely. It is my belief that it is an important device. But why? The answer is that it isn't so much a device as a universal translator platform, much the same way that an iPhone is not just a phone. It's also an ever-evolving platform for the new Web 3.0 concept called apps. Apps are nothing but applications, much like we all have on any of our computers. They perform specific functions and are sold by the hundreds of thousands. On an iPhone, or now on an iPad, they transform the device/platform into damn near anything. That is the beauty and the innate power of the concept.
This terrific power is being offered to publishers, but at a terrible price. The price is the total revision of our age-old business model. If we sell products through the Apple iStore, we don't get to capture the customers' data. And that is a relationship-breaker rather than a relationship-developer. Our publishing model used to be about developing relationships and up-selling our products over an extended period of time. I will speak more on that subject in another blog post.
That said, it is my belief that the iPad is more powerful than most people realize, because the product is a constantly morphing, magical, anything-you-want-it-to-be thingamajig. Only your imagination—or lack thereof—can prevent it from becoming, well, almost anything. There are 140,000 apps right now for the iPhone. They all work on the iPad, too, and we are just getting started. Apple announced the iPhone on Jan. 9, 2007—a mere three years ago. Can you imagine what is in store for a device like this three years from now?
For publishers, it is a special moment in time—a chance to gain a new set of readers without abandoning the very special realm of paginated media. Above all else, we need to take the concept of the page where perhaps it was intended to go all along. Keeping the page format empowers us to do what we have done for 100 years—sell advertisers our very valuable real estate. The iPad is a natural digital magazine apparatus that just might bring the luster and the profitability of the Internet age to the publishing houses of the world. This, of course, doesn't at all mean that we have to abandon the printed page, but rather that we now have an additional pathway to monetize our franchise of content.