I just got back from an excellent panel here in D.C. hosted by Slate and the New American Foundation on the state of the mobile technology industry in the U.S.. Trust me, it was geeky, and I won’t bore you. However, there happened to be some relevance to my favorite issue – traditional media producers trying to hold on to the send-receive transactional messages of old. One of the panel members, Tim Wu from Columbia Law School and Slate, took a quick detour into the media world by way of Apple’s iPad.
Wu pointed out that the iPad has a significant amount more in common with television than the personal computer, and most of that is from a medium/delivery standpoint. Content gets created by someone and whoever is using the device gets served it. It’s broadcast to a passive media – it’s anti-social media.
As Wu put it perfectly, “With the iPad, you do nothing yourself.” And that’s why old media will love it.
It puts traditional broadcast back into the position of streaming shows they create, on a delivery they can serve ads on. They have to be ecstatic. The iPad is not a creation tool – probably exactly why there isn’t a camera – it’s just an accepting tool. And it will be popular because of its simplicity and portability of this content, and as Sascha Meinrath, another panelist, noted, the simplicity is what will make it likable.
I’m no Apple fan boy; I’ve never been shy about my mild disdain for over-simplified products. But that does put me in the minority and outside of Apple’s profitable demo. Producers are probably glad I’m with my Android and not in the way, but there are many many people who want the iPad for exactly the purpose described above. Old Media has to be happy about the audience it is about to gain back.
Originally posted at Dave’s State of the Fourth Estate.
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