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We live and work in exciting times - revolutionary times. Technology continues to recast the media industry.

The extraordinary advance of affordable personal digital technology and the stellar rise of social networks are both distrupting and transforming the media market making this a unique moment to be involved in the convergence sectors we focus on.

This is also our place to ruminate and comment on the world as we see it, we hope you enjoy and please join in.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

The iPad - the future?

Yesterday saw the very high profile launch of the new Apple product - the iPad. Despite the fact it was widely expected to take the world by storm and signal the death of the increasingly popular Netbook it seems that the majority of the world's press have been left largely underwhelmed. Half an inch thick and weighing in nicely at 1 1/2 pounds the iPad looks the part but is it essentially just too big? Many insiders were expecting something that would actually fit in a pocket rather than have to be carried in a bag.

It is clear that Apple are aiming for people who are already their customers, the pad contains many similarities with the phone and the touch but the practicalities of its size are already being discussed. It is far smaller and lighter than a laptop, will undoubtedly be slicker and sleeker but it also clearly not aimed for business. It will seemingly be difficult to work on and so is aiming at the market as a leisure device. But can it actually do enough to be considered a ‘must have’?

The iPad has very little that is new or different from an iPhone and it appears that internet browsing and e-books are the fundamental selling points. Apple have signed deals with several major publishers including Penguin and HarperCollins and the iPad has an impressive library format for storing the books and an equally appealing reading format, described by many to be as close to reading a book without actually holding it in your hands.

Interestingly, Apple have also struck a deal with the New York Times who have specifically designed an app that showcases the power of the iPad perfectly, allowing readers to view content filled video clips immersed within an article. It is clear the NYT feels very strongly that the iPad will be a success, "The iPad combines the best of print with the best of digital, all rolled up in to one," according to Martin Nisenholtz, a senior executive at the newspaper, "It's something you can really immerse yourself in. We're pioneering the next version of digital journalism." This sounds like a full multi-media experience, bringing static content neatly to life.

A bold statement indeed, could this really be the future of digital news? Would people be more willing to pay for content on an iPad (or similar) than on a netbook or PC? Perhaps, perhaps not. Our thought is that it is just slightly too big for the pocket and surely liable for damage in a bag, if you wanted to read from it, or play a game, or surf the net surely it would be easier if your device was pocket size and less obvious?

It is definitely too early to say how well the iPad will sell, still relatively few people have actually seen one in action, but what we can be sure about though is that competitors will be quickly developing their own alternatives and that Apple have, once again, pushed technology firmly, but accessibly, into the future.

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