Apple and Jamaican tourism have something in common. The ability to grow when your competitors are contracting, even hemorrhaging. With Apple now officially a $50 billion company, their profits up 50% and the iPhone sales near 9 million they have shown that recession or no recession people want their digital wares from Cupertino, California…..bad! It is within this carefully crafted context that Apple is about to unleash the tablet today, January 27th. A date that seemed so far off a few months ago is now here. The hype has reached it’s crescendo and I am reminded of that buzz you hear of musicians tuning their instruments and anxiety laced chatting in the crowd. This all ends when the conductor raises his baton. Mr. Jobs is about to waive his wand again and the press and the Apple fans are transfixed in another suspension of reality. We are plunged again into another techno-orgasmic escape of global proportions. Designed to drive their stock price even higher. Sigh…why didn’t I buy that Apple stock in 2003.
There have been countless predictions regarding the tablet/iSlate/iPad whatever!?!?! But the ones that intrigue me the most are the following. Apple’s partnerships with print publishers and the possibilities of the tablet as an input device. It was amazing to follow last year how the media covered numerous print houses that were crashing left right and centre as the Red Baron of the new digital reality shot them mercilessly out of the air. Remember the Napster days? Digital distribution was spear-headed by pimply-faced iconoclasts out to rule the world with gnarly code and a pirate server. Just like the music industry of yore before the iTunes store and Napster, the print industry was caught with their pants on the ground.
Last year, a very obvious tipping point for print was reached. Newspapers were folding (pardon the pun) all across the US. This accelerated Kindle lust and helped Amazon and others to sell e-readers like gangbusters. But Apple waited, biding it’s time as they negotiated and secured contract after contract to enable their new product to be head and shoulders above the rest.
The tablet will create a whole new world for us content creators and designers. I can just imagine the next generation of children’s books, sports magazines and the soon to be popular music LP that Apple introduced last year that I believe will transform our musical experience…again. As a designer, I am really looking forward to the input capabilities of the tablet. I think Wacom is going to suffer some serious losses over the next 2-3 years. It will not be pretty. They may have to shift to input wands and software for the tablet to stay in business.
One thing so many other pundits are not mentioning much of is that the tablet will not only be a platform for print media but also for Apple’s twin juggernauts.
Apps and Music.
This is what the Kindle and the other players do not have. This One-Two-Three punch will really create the most sought after, life altering device since….fire. Either way, Apple is doing it again. Ol’ Stevie is proving why he was chosen as CEO of the new millennium’s first decade. It just goes to show that even if you get kicked out of the company that you founded there is always a chance for a second coming.