Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Why the iPad will drive reading of digital content

Here's the thing. People won't buy the iPad to read books, they'll buy books because they bought the iPad.

Remember when the very first first iPod launched back in 2001?
At that time I was working with 20 of the most hyper loyal Mac enthusiasts you can imagine. We were all huge Apple fans. Of course we were thrilled by the iPod launch. Or were we?

Just like with the iPad now, media were not entirely sure who the iPod was for and what problem it actually solved. Remember that File Sharing wasn't on everyone's tongue at that time. Also bear in mind that iTunes Music Store launched a year or so after the release of the iPod. To use the iPod you actually had to rip your CDs, and who wanted to do that?

I was not just media that had their doubts. Out of my 20 hyper loyal Mac enthusiasts only two of us ended up buying the iPod. The others decided to wait. Then something happened and it was not only the rest of my colleagues that decided to invest in their very own iPod. You know how the story continues. Now, Apple have sold more than 200 million iPods

So what exactly did happen? Well it's Apple and Apple's great at marketing. It didn't take long before celebrities started using the iPod. Everywhere you turned there were iPod Ads. Product placement where ever you turned your head. Thanks to those little white ear plugs you could immediately spot people who were listening to an iPod. What happened was that demand for the iPod surged. It became a hype. People started buying iPods, and because they bought iPods they started ripping their CD's and eventually they started buying songs and albums on sites like iTunes Music Store. It was the iPod that drove the demand for digital music - not the other way around.

I predict we'll see the same with it iPad. People will buy the iPad because it's such a great product.
You and I will buy it, and because we have our iPad we will begin to change the things we do everyday. We'll start reading books, magazines, blogs on the iPad. We'll discover that browsing at our photos on the iPad much more resembles they way we used to browse our old photo albums. No more fight for who's in charge of the mouse/track pad.

Soon we'll forget how we used to use the computer to do these things. Just the same as we have forgotten what it was like to search for a CD in our collection, put it into the CD player and press play. Not to mention how it was to operate those CD changers...

I really believe the iPad will drive change. Don't just limit this change to your personal life. Think about all those books students ar forced to buy. Think about what it could do for sales reps making presentations. Think about what it could do for gaming. Think about what this could mean for the software industry? Who will ask for a Desktop Application in the future? Perhaps we won't even ask for web applications? I already think Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are better experienced via my iPhone apps than via the web. I for one, will start start waving bye, bye to the File meny, Trash Can and even the Finder/Explorer.

Just one last thing. The iPad won't save anyone. The iPod didn't save the Record Labels so why should the iPad save Publishing or the Newspapers? Sure, people will start to buy digital content but from where, or from who? That is the question.

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