iPad: Saviour of the publishing industry or passing fad?
By Alexandra Posadzki
I thought that iPods were supposed to be getting SMALLER. The new iPad, however, the new Apple tablet PC that was unveiled this week proves that I thought wrong.
What makes this issue interesting, however, is that the Globe and Mail reports that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is heralding the new device as the multimedia saviour of the publishing industry.
The iPad touch is, after all, not merely another laptop or smart phone. Its clunky, yet light-weight, size allows it to download web pages in their entirety. More importantly, however, Jobs is hoping to market the handheld device as a book reader. During the iPad unveiling frenzy, Jobs also announced that Apple would be launching an electronic bookstore called iBooks.
A friend of mine suggested that the device would one day download magazines and newspapers, allowing readers to electronically flip through their pages.
To me, however, the iPad is just another marketing scheme with a name that makes me think of intelligent sanitary products. As Globe writer Omar El Akkad so aptly pointed out, launching iBooks gives Apple prime opportunity to challenge the predominance of Kindle, the Amazon book reader.
While it’s certain that news media will have to find better ways to adapt to an electronic format, I find it highly doubtful that readers will ever want to flip through an electronic version of a newspaper. It’s far more likely, in my opinion, that the news consumers of tomorrow will have subscriptions to RSS feeds on their smartphones that will deliver the major headlines to them during their commutes to work.
As for the iPad? It’s a gimmick that will quickly fade into memory.
Alexandra Posadzki (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a radio room intern at the Toronto Star and the Editor-in-Chief of Excalibur, York University's community newspaper.