The Future of Media in the iPad Age

Could the iPad Reinvigorate Print?

I will preface this post saying that I am not an expert on any of the new technologies I am about to discuss, nor the various pay models involved in making journalism financially viable. But, this is my blog, so here I go.

The iPad was introduced yesterday and many sources, more informed than me have commented on its potential effect on the media, specifically magazines and newspapers. The new revenue would come from subscriptions to an app that the company would provide.

Now, I will list off some thoughts on what the effect that truly mobile, live, easily accessible news and information will have on people, the media and society. Some of these are already happening and some are just hypotheticals that I am thinking off, as I sit here.

  • Geographic News – get content related to exactly where your device is.
  • Augmented Reality – similar to many apps available. Get historical news on locations seen via screen.
  • Facial Recognition – a person of importance will be seen and news/info relevant to them are displayed. A facebook profile could be the source of information for average people.
  • New Reporting Methods – using devices to not only record voice and video but analyze on the spot for deception.
  • Dynamic Text – not just linking text, but mouse-over video, audio, charts, in the article.
  • Splicing – could multiple news stories be compared and analyzed a la Minority Report?
  • Projection – could news be displayed in 3 dimensions, like the projection phone from last year?

Now, the iPad seems to missing some things that would make the aforementioned reality possible, namely a camera, but as we have seen in the past, Apple often times introduced something that spawns countless other imitators and imitations

Most importantly, it occurred to me that the new apps and programs that could be created with future platforms might reinstate the old world media dominance. In the past, newspaper and magazines relied on printing presses to get the leg up on the average citizen. In the future, developers and complicated coding be an equivalent of huge infrastructure and give large companies a head up on “citizen journalists”.

A single journalist could not do all the things that are possible with these devices. The new technologies include accelerometers, GPS, live video streaming and multitouch functionality. Will utilizing these new technologies require massive capital, or could an average, educated person use them? And will the difference between the new technology spur people to pay a fee to use them? That will determine whether large, structured organizations will once again have a leg up.

Is mobile, fully multimedia based news and information the Holy Grail to the struggling print industry? No. But it will bring about a new way to inform people and create revenue, far more complete than the past.

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