With the release of Apple's iPad, we are now one step closer to discovering a new world for old media.
Likened more to a giant iPod touch than an iPhone, the iPad is a mobile computer of sort that will also allows you to consume magazines, music and moving images like never before.
We think we've captured the essence of reading the newspaper. A superior experience in a native application.
Yet the iPad is also leveraging its larger screen to delve deeper into another area of media consumption, including mobile web browsing. Combined with its touch screen capabilities, the iPad has more room to play around on than its predecessors. With mobile browsing being revamped specifically for the Apple iPad, many content providers are anxious to see how they can take advantage of the mobile device’s new options.
It boils down to having more interactive options with content coming from traditional media cornerstones, such as The Wall Street Journal and other printed content providers. The New York Times and MLB.com both demonstrated their iPad apps at announcement, showing how users will be able to more readily access the content they want.
"We think we've captured the essence of reading the newspaper. A superior experience in a native application," said Martin Nisenholtz, Senior Vice President at The New York Times. The layout is astonishingly similar to that of a print version of a newspaper and fully utilizes drop-down menus, pop-out images, and embedded videos that can be played within the application.
Through a series of new tapping, sliding and touching options on the iPad, The New York Times is hoping to combine the best of the digital and print worlds to create an entirely new experience for readers.
While the iPad may not be the savior of the printed media industry per se, it is shifting the way in which we actually consume our content. The idea of making content more inviting and interactive through a mobile device such as the iPad was once something we dreamed of for our future, though Apple and the growing number of app developers are looking to make it an option for present times.
For many, I seems as though the print industry was already doing this with the iPhone. Users can make phone calls and read a newspaper’s mobile site. However, the iPad tablet has a focus on the computing side of mobile devices, moving away from a phone that also offers apps and web browsing. This places more emphasis on the usability of its touch screen interface, granting far more browsing and media-viewing options than the iPhone alone.
Having multiple devices with so much overlap places Apple in the unique position of seeing which holds the most promise, which can be particularly beneficial in light of oncoming competition from companies such as Amazon. Having created the Kindle as a mobile book reader, there are existing devices out there designed specifically for viewing printed content.
Between distribution and monetization of printed cntent, the growing marketplace will only reinforce the competition amongst mobile devices, while offering consumers a great deal more options than they had just a year ago.