You Have an iPhone. Why Should You Buy an iPad?

The Apple iPad has an impressive set of features and an exciting new hardware platform. It will sell very well and will be trending on Twitter for months to come -- I don't think that anyone can argue those facts. The trending question is "Why should I buy an iPad if I already have an iPhone?" The argument is valid and not without merit. The iPad is not a revolutionary device, nor is it a must-have device. It's simply the next evolution in mobile computing. It's the device that sits between the iPhone and laptop.

For many us the iPhone is near perfection in both form and function. Its most impressive attribute -- portability -- is what I believe is the most damaging marketing position for the iPad. I was speaking with Ned May of Outsell and he explains that "it just fits in my pocket" -- referring to the iPhone. The equity in portability is why so many people have become loyal brand ambassadors.

I see the iPad as a media tablet that will not be for mass market consumption. The iPad will be for a small but progressive subset of the population. These are individuals that see the iPad not only as a device that will add value to their lives but allow them to consume, on demand. Content creators now need to think about how to best leverage the iPad.

It's no secret that publishers are struggling. They are attempting to build revenue models that will allow them to capitalize on the democratization of information. A great many of these publishers were depending on Jobs to provide that life line. I think that these publishers are placing too much faith in technology for salvation.

Regardless of that struggle, any focus on the potential dominance of one particular device or platform over another misses an arguably more important debate for publishers over how content on these devices is packaged and sold. Currently there is some good news here for publishers of all types (in that, unlike on the open web, consumers are readily paying for content on these devices today). It is likely the telephone companies and iTunes that can be thanked for this willingnes: their tight control over mobile devices up until recently has trained consumers to pay for the content they use.

-Ned May, Outsell

It's not the technology that will save the publishing industry (or content producers for that matter).  A new way of thinking must be developed. Which is based in part on a new revenue model that adds value to content. This new model must take into account and leverage the power of the iPad. I agree with May, we have been trained, for better or for worse, to pay for content on our mobile devices. The iPad has given content producers an Internet-connected launching platform, where media companies large and small can "package and sell" newspapers, eBooks, videos, magazines, games, photos and music.

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