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What the Apple iPad Could Mean to Magazines

The Future of Truckin'?

What the Apple iPad Could Mean to Magazines
Posted January 27 2010 05:33 PM by Edward A. Sanchez 
Filed under: Opinions, Observations

Apple iPad

I know most of you are geeked out by big block V8s, chopped & channeled chassis, trick custom airbag setups, and 28-inch wheels. So am I (except maybe for the 28-inch hoops. But I digress...). But I'm equally geeked out by new technology, and follow the tech blogs on an almost daily basis. What else would you expect from a Web Producer, right?

Well, today was a potentially momentous occasion for the publishing industry. It could transform how you read and interact with a variety of media. But I'm here to talk about magazines in particular. What I'm talking about is the Apple iPad. The iPad is a multimedia device that runs a version of the iPhone OS, including the full app store. However, its larger size, realtive to the iPod touch and iPhone, makes it much better suited for tasks such as reading, web browsing, and video. Compared to the current-generation large-format Kindle DX, there's no comparison in terms of being better at serving dynamic content.

Is it the world-changing, segment-busting wunder-gadget that a lot of people anticipated it would be? Perhaps not. Many were disappointed at the lack of a camera, 3G service (still) available only through AT&T, and the inability to run apps simultaneously. But the tech world, much like the automotive world, seldom releases all their goodies at the same time, and on the first version. Is this some evil corporate conspiracy of planned obsolescence to make us buy the next version? Well, if you're the conspiratorially-minded type, perhaps. But more likely, it was a combination of supply issues, technological maturity and cost, and unresolved negotiations with third-parties. So is it possible we could see a Verizon 4G iPad with a Camera and multi-app capability in the next few years? I wouldn't bet against it.

Anyway...Back to the reason for originally writing this post. One of the principal reasons I'm so "geeked" about the iPad is the potential for serving content. Prior to the device's introduction, there was a pretty clear-cut distinction between print and online content. There was the magazine, and there was the website. Okay, so you could get a digital subscription which served a digitally-rendered flip-book version of the magazine, but still didn't offer embedded videos and other multimedia extras. Such capabilities are in the pipeline at the development stage. Whether Truckin' will implement them remains to be seen, but certainly, the capability and possibility exists.

Now, at $499 for the stripped-down, 16GB WiFi-only model, not everybody and his brother is going to rush out and buy one of these newfangled gizmos. But at the same time, it's not so ridiculously expensive, that it's out of reach of the average consumer. I'm not even telling you to go rush out and buy one. But I can tell you I put my name on the email list for notification of when I can place my order. And when I finally get my grubby fingers on one, I plan on doing a complete video demo on it right here on

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