Publishers and brands are falling all over themselves to create products for the iPad. Considering that the new device is seen as a potential savior for paid content, that makes sense. But is the iPad ready to deliver on that promise? So far iPad users are purchasing content from the iTunes store. But they're also swiping free stuff.
For brands looking to invest in developing paid products for the new device, that money might be best spent elsewhere.
The iPad is selling like hot cakes. Already, Apple has sold more than 1m of the tablet devices.
But how does the iPad stack up in terms of usability? According to a
study conducted by Jakob Nielsen and his firm, Nielsen Norman Group,
there's room for improvement.
Consumption is up, dollars are down. In traditional media channels it's the same lament time and time again: audiences are rising, but advertising continues to plummet.
Gourmet, Cookie, Modern Bride, Portfolio, I.D., Vibe, Blender, Domino, Metropolitan Home - the magazine body count is mounting. Over 400 magazines folded last year, despite the fact that a survey of 1,000 consumers just publised by the CMO Council in conjunction with InfoPrint Solutions finds 92 percent of consumers still read magazines in print, and 90 percent say they want to keep it that way, e-readers be damned.
Yet at the same time, 78 percent of these consumers say more relevant and personalized content, promotions and ads would "increase their advocacy and loyalty."
So it would seem all print publishers have to do to resuscitate a foundering business model is figure out how to personalize their (dwindling) print ad pages to the wants and needs of individual readers.
Easier said than done.
The carnage in the print world continues. The latest big-name publication to go up for sale: 77 year-old Newsweek.
The magazine, which covers U.S. and global news on a weekly basis, has,
like many print publications, seen its subscriber base erode over the
years. That has made it hard to run as a sustainable business. Newsweek
lost nearly $30m last year, and just over $16m in 2008.
These days, it seems like exciting new iPad apps are spilling out from everywhere. But one thing still hasn't been resolved in the race to get new features into the App Store, and that's how much people are willing to pay for all this stuff. At Tabula Rasa NYC, WeMedia's iPad conference this week, there were plenty of new apps and interesting specs on display. But pricing is still a thorn in the side of many developers — especially publishers.
And that's because these shiny new apps are expensive — often more than the price of the same publication on the newsstand. And when Apple finally debuts a feature that will allow subscription content on the iPad, it looks like many publishers are going to make serious efforts to maintain high price points.
For those who admire Apple, it's always interesting to watch the loyalty Apple commands from its most loyal customers and how that loyalty manifests itself. It has been said that Apple CEO Steve Jobs accomplishes his magic through the use of a 'Reality Distortion Field.'
The Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field isn't, however, simply limited to consumers (or the media). Apparently it is making its way to Madison Avenue.
When Gawker media purchased a lost — or stolen — iPhone last month, the company set in motion a fascinating story that has much less to do with the specs of Apple's latest product than the state of journalism online and the procurement of information in a digital world. The notoriously secretive Steve Jobs was none too pleased that his latest prototype made it into the wild early. But the company's legal strategy is yet more proof that companies that win in court do not always win over potential customers.
The future is mobile. At least that's what many suggest. Yet multi-channel retailers are largely ignoring mobile right now.
That's according to a report from Multichannel Merchant. It found that, as of February 2010, four out of five multi-channel retailers surveyed were not doing anything in the realm of mobile commerce.
Publications large and small are looking to the iPad as a way to revolutionize digital content consumption. But one potential flaw in their iPad strategy is the issue of price. Many publishers are charging for their newly revamped mobile products, sometimes prohibitively.
However, many lessons from iPad design apply to products outside the mobile market. The iPad is proof that the presentation and navigation of digital content can be much better. And as Gawker is hoping to prove in the near future, improving the digital experience doesn't have to be a cost passed on to the consumer.
The iPhone OS 4 SDK was released last week, but it's not all good news
for iPhone (and iPad) developers. That's because Section 3.3.1 of the iPhone Developer
Program License Agreement comes with a new catch:
Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by
Apple and must not use or call any private APIs.