It’s only hours away, and thousands of people have talked and published about it already, but here’s my take on today’s event.
Apple has a nice track record for shaking up entire industries by introducing new devices. It changed the way we buy and consume music with the iPod (arguably not the best music player in the field, and not the first either), it changed the mobile phone industry with the introduction of the iPhone (same here, probably not the best smartphone out there, nor the first). The core of the success of these devices wasn’t the device itself, but the way it made accessing and using content easier and more enjoyable. I think we will see a repetition of this strategy later today.
My prediction: the Apple Tablet will shake the media publishing industry to its roots. And that is what the device will be aimed at: consuming rich content.
Just look at this concept movie Time Inc. made last year, and see how this affects the way you consume your favorite magazines and newspapers. Heck, just based on that concept movie alone I’d be willing to pay for subscriptions for rich media content.
Now, if Time Inc. makes the content of it’s flagship publications available to be consumed as shown on a device like that, and others (like McGraw Hill, The NYT, Washington Post) follow it’s example, now that would make a device interesting to use.
Sure, I have a MacBook and an Iphone, so why should I want such a device? The answer is in it’s main strength: accessing rich content. And why would publishers enrich their content, basically cannibalizing on their paper publications? Because in-app purchases and content subscriptions for this kind of rich media is the future. You need a MacBook to effectively edit and create content, and an iPhone to access it from your pocket. But to get the maximum (and optimized) rich experience, you’ll need the Mac Tablet.
Now on the iPhone you can get apps for watching missed episodes of TV shows, news channels, newspaper articles, etc. This device will be the platform to access the content I want, when I want, how I want. It’ll be a new revolution, as Time Inc. and McGraw-Hill and the NYT are just the beginning.
What if Amazon.com comes with an app for the Mac Tablet that does exactly what the Kindle does, and more? If this opens up the Amazon Store to a larger audience, with the ease of use we’ve come to expect from Apple’s user interface (as opposed to the Kindle’s UI), this will drive sales for Amazon, making the Kindle less important for them. But that’s what this revolution is all about: content content content.
And because this is an Apple device, it’ll look great, and it’ll be ultra-usable. But it’s not about the device itself, but about the platform it will represent: a new era for media publishing.
So what is this prediction worth? Absolutely nothing. I have no inside information, don’t read all the blogs all the time or just came back from the future. But to me, it makes sense. It fits Apple’s previous strategies to introduce a device with the great ways to use it for something special, not about the specs of the device itself. But this’ll stand or fall with the content publishers. But as you can see from mr. McGraw, they’re as excited as I am.