iPad – Content, Marketing & Comics

Steve Jobs presents the iPad

Steve Jobs presents the iPad

If you’re a Macintosh fan or a Steve Jobs zombie (Jobzie?) today was like Christmas. Maybe even better. Today, as if you didn’t know already, Apple finally announced the long-awaited tablet device “iPad.”

If you follow this blog, you know that I primarily talk about content, interactive media, and marketing. Oh yeah, and occasionally comic books. So let’s talk about what the iPad means for each of my favorite topics:

  • Content: Well, as I’ve said before, it all comes down to content. The best device in the world will only go so far on mediocre content. Touch screens are cool, but they need to be worth the extra cost.
    Positive: As usual, Apple fully delivers on the iPad. Right out of the gate, you’ll be able to tap into the iTunes store for eBooks, videos, games, and music. Plus there’s probably a lot more content on the way. You can buy the iPad knowing that Apple will provide plenty of content in full, brilliant multimedia and color.
    Negative: It’s hard not to compare the iPad to the Kindle when it comes to reading ebooks. At this point, it looks like Kindle’s e-ink has an advantage over the iPad’s screen. It’s just nicer to read books on a reflective surface, as opposed to an active matrix display. Sorry, color just isn’t that important for the enjoyment of text, particularly long-form prose.
  • Interactive media: We’re now in a society where we fully expect to be able to interact with a certain amount of media. And Apple doesn’t disappoint here. The iPad is packed with nifty new tech that will allow us to touch, drag, scale, and game. We are at the tip of the creative iceberg, and it’s exciting to just dream about the amazing applications that will take advantage of the iPad platform.
    Positive: What’s not to like? It’s going to revolutionize gaming and allow you to take your fun wherever you go. As a parent, I love portable movies and games. Apps are what made the iPhone special, and the same tech will work on the iPad. Nice.
    Negative: It looks like I may have to re-purchase movies that I have on DVD so they play on the iPad. Something tells me I will be buying a lot of stuff to feed my iPad.
  • Marketing: At the core, Apple is an electronics manufacturer, but somehow they have managed to position themselves miles above the rest of the industry. Their brand is huge. No other manufacturer can launch a product quite like Apple. Plus Steve Jobs knows how to give a presentation. If you’re a marketer, take a close look at your lame PowerPoint decks and ask yourself if you can somehow do better. (You can.) Apple’s marketing is a brilliant mix of art, science, and magic. This is what they should study in universities.
    Positive: Apple breaks many marketing rules, but somehow they make it work. We can all learn from them when it comes to branding and event marketing. Apple makes it look easy, even though they are probably working like mad in the days leading up to the event.
    Negative: What they do as marketers isn’t really taught in school. And try as they may, very few marketers can match their magic formula for generating excitement around product launches. But is this really a negative? Nah, it gives us marketers an achievement goal.
  • Comics: It’s hard to say how this will affect the comic book business. Comics are already being pirated and distributed through torrents. Up until now, people had to buy printed comics to get a decent experience. Sure, you could read a pirated comic on your computer monitor, but the mechanics were wrong. Monitors are horizontal, while comics are vertical. Marvel’s Digital Comics actually give a pretty good experience, but it still required you to be sitting in front of your computer. I work in front of a computer all day, so sitting at my desk to read is a bit unappealing. Printed comics are still my favorite way to read full-color comic books. But for how long?
    Positive: The iPad could make reading comics really exciting. I would love to read my monthly titles on a nice, clear tablet. I could store them on the device (as opposed to reading them in the cloud), that would free up a lot of space in my house. Set the right price, and I will pay for a digital subscription to my favorite comics. I’m ready, let’s go.
    Negative: The pirates are already killing comics the way they nearly killed music and movies. If piracy doesn’t stop, it won’t make economic sense to create comics. Easy file sharing and torrents could kill mainstream comics as we know them today. The iPad just gives the pirates a better platform for sharing files.

So that’s it. The ‘Net and the pundits are already buzzing about the iPad. I’m going to immerse myself in the excitement and optimism.

Merry Christmas, Apple fans.

9 thoughts on “iPad – Content, Marketing & Comics

  1. I am very excited for the ipad, and what it can mean for comics. As a creator and publisher it’s great to have another platform for my books. I like the idea of getting my books right to the fans as fast as possible. I also worry about piracy and I hope like music and movies, once comic are easily accessible on these paid sites, fans would be more incline to buy them.

  2. I make and read several webcomics, and think that this would be a great way to keep up with all of the webcomics that I subscribe to. Also, I don’t have a comic shop anywhere remotely close to where I live and would love to be able to subscribe to comics over a device like this, then have them automatically download just like a podcast. I recently downloaded the Digital Comics app from Playstation network, which is cool, but this has so much more potential when it comes to creating a huge digital comic library that you can read on the go. Reading comics on PSP isn’t bad, and it doesn’t take long to download, but the selection is kind of limited. A device like this could bring a huge variety of comics to the digital format, and have them available for download right with the print release. I want one.

  3. Steven – Yes, agree. The iPad will be a great way to read web comics. There are quite a few that I would follow if I could read them on that tablet. I wonder which version of the iPad people will buy. There’s one version starting at $499, but the top of the line lands at over $800.


  4. I’m excited to see how the market adopts the iPad. Personally, I think it needs to come down in price for a wide adoption. Sitting between the laptop and netbook market can be damaging right after launch, but the Apple Fans will bridge the buying base until the Christmas price-break.

    What I am very excited about is the change in development that Apple is creating. A move (and early) adoption of HTML5 to contain many elements and their already entrenched iPhone development framework. Apple provides a tremendously rich platform for developers to work with and a standards based support structure beneath that.

    The iPad is more evolutionary than revolutionary, but a device that will create a follow-me industry of imitations regardless.

  5. There is the usual hype which overwhelms us every time Apple releases a new product. The Iphone has dismal battery life, requires one to use a separate computer to transfer firmware upgrades to it and is it the product that we really never needed. Of course there’s that never ending quest for the all-in-one function device that keeps us coming back for more of the same sucker pills. Apple has these Ten Commandments when it comes to promoting and manufacturing its products you should see.

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