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Back in December 2001, Dean Kamen finally unveiled an apparatus that had provoked wild speculation over the previous year. Rumored to be a personal hovercraft or a Stirling engine, it was a product that Steve Jobs said could be as important as personal computers and venture capitalist John Doerr said "could be bigger than the Internet." Kamen’s creation turned out to be the Segway scooter. It’s a very nice scooter, but it didn’t come close to living up to the hype.
So after a decade of guesswork and anticipation, it was almost a given that the magical unicorn we now know as the iPad could never be as good as the wild visions conjured up by our minds and the media/rumor sites.
And the iPad certainly didn’t dazzle everyone. Twitter was flooded with dismissive comments mocking the iPad’s name, its inflated iPhone appearance, its burly bezel, lack of multitasking functionality and Flash, and its ability to provoke headaches due to its glossy, glowing screen.
That said, some people are seeing real potential in the iPad. They’re eager to turn the device into an entirely new platform for presenting content and creating new ways of doing business. Others are more cautious. The bottom-line seems to be that the future of the iPad is in content creators’ hands. Here’s what some of them had to say:
Tyrrell Mahoney, Vice President, Sales, Marketing & Business Development, Chronicle Books
“In terms of potential for Chronicle, I think we can readily say that today was a turning point for illustrated book publishers. No one can produce images and illustration quality better than Apple. What does it mean specifically for our business and industry -- we are waiting to see.
But right off the bat, Chronicle has a lot to offer existing and new Apple customers who already have an appreciation for our cookbooks and our craft books not to mention our children’s and entertainment titles. It will be interesting to see how we are able to fully optimize and integrate what is already produced for our books with add-on features such as video -- as an example, we could embed video showing recipes being executed by the authors of our books -- and other types of digital applications extending beyond the book. The e-book is just a jumping off point - we are going to see so many innovations around books and book-content once this is on the market for a few months.
From what I saw of the demo, it was pretty much what I expected. Lots of wow on the visuals and they did a great job of hitting on all the segments of entertainment that I expected from iPad. I thought the iBook application seemed to do a nice job emulating the book experience - bookshelves, turning pages, etc. I do think that it does elevate and improve upon the e-book reading experience over the closest model, the Kindle. I have not had the opportunity to read from a Nook.
We knew this was coming and it only helps solidify the commitment we have to allocating more investment and resources toward our digital strategy and future e-publishing. The iPad is going to make a huge difference when it comes to the general population's expectation of downloading just about anything in the pursuit of entertainment and information. So...we will be thoughtful about our development and spending - it still will take time to reap the financial rewards - but the demand will grow rapidly for e-books and other forms of digital publishing and extensions.
As a result we are speeding up and re-prioritizing our plans now that this has been announced. Chronicle books, which is known for its exceptional creativity and distinctiveness in book and format publishing, will be poised to bring the unexpected to the users of the iPad and all the other digital tools to come! What doesn't change is that we will continue to make and publish printed books as well.”
Yuri Selukoff, president of Good.iWare
“I think it's going to be a huge hit and mega-success. It's very cool that all existing apps will run on iPad unmodified, but that will not be a very pleasant experience for the users. We developers are all going to have a huge amount of work to redesign all our apps for iPad -- but it's all going to pay off in extra sales. I'm really excited about this device, and I see huge possibilities for this market in general, and for Good.iWare in particular. Fighting for this market will be Good.iWare's top priority in the nearest future.”
Arthur Ceria, chief creative officer of CreativeFeed
"As soon as the iPad details were announced yesterday I started thinking about ways that the device could change the current advertising model, how ads in magazines and newspapers can become an experience that's exclusive to the iPad platform.
We know that publications need advertising to turn a profit, and ads obviously aren't going to go away when this content moves to the iPad. But old models of advertising won't be effective, and annoying people with animated ads as has been done online isn't going to work either. There's a real opportunity here for content providers and advertisers to learn from what did and didn’t work before, what does and doesn’t work now, and produce immersive and interesting experiences that will be useful to readers.
I also hope that content providers will take this opportunity to rethink what's possible when you move books, magazines and newspapers onto a digital platform. You have to do more than just port the material over, we should be thinking along the lines of finding new ways to present content, make it more social and part of the online conversation. Make it more interactive, break down the boundaries between content, conversation and different parts of the marketplace -- who says a magazine can’t also be a game, a movie, a fashion show, a live performance, a constantly updating resource? The job now is to take real advantage of the possibilities of digital, and make it an experience that is exclusive to the iPad. The content creators that do this will profit."
Iain Barclay, chief products officer of (www.electricpocket.com) Electric Pocket
“This looks like another game-changing device from Apple, and is sure to bring fresh challenges and opportunities for developers. The apps they demoed look amazing, and set the bar really high. We'll be sitting down and studying the details in the next few days, and seeing what we can dream up to take advantage of the huge potential of the iPad.
David Steinberger, CEO of comiXology
“At $499, and with the capabilities it has, yes, the iPad is a game changer. That price makes it a mass-market device, and it could have a very large market penetration. The larger screen is ideal for comic books, and we've already been hard at work developing a larger-screen version of our app, so we're ready to take advantage of it. What's great is that all the people that have downloaded our app on the iPhone can use it right away on the iPad, but we'll be working hard to be there to take advantage of the capabilities as soon as we can.”
Stan Miasnikov, president of PhatWare
“We mostly ship our products to businesses and I do not think that business will be much interested in this device, at least not in the beginning. When the first iPhone devices were released, we immediately started getting requests from our existing users (who moved from Windows Mobile phones to iPhone) to support iPhone. So far, we have not had a single inquiry about iPad support (it is too early though, as the device is not being sold yet). But I do not think that this new device will affect people as much as iPhone.
We ship several products designed for Windows Tablet (PenOffice, PhatPad, PenCommander) and I don’t think our (business) customers will be ditching Windows Tablets they currently use in favor of Apple’s new tablet. In my opinion, there will be no immediate effect on businesses. Perhaps in 1-2 years, some business sectors (health care comes to mind first) will start to adopt the iPad, but I still think it is mostly a consumer device.
Usually consumer purchases a new device to replace something they already have. What would the iPad replace? It does not replace iPod or iPhone because of the form factor. It does not replace desktop/laptop because of the limitations of the OS (Tablet OS is based on iPhone OS not Mac OS). It can replace e-book reader devices as long as prices are comparable. Also, I expected that the device will be equipped with a 1080p projector (to watch videos on the wall) and it does not look like the first device will have it. Perhaps future devices will.”
Jeanniey Mullen, Global CMO of Zinio
“Having seen and heard today’s highly anticipated announcement, our reaction to the iPad is similar to what we were expecting: it’s a fantastic device that supports Zinio’s 'UNITY' platform perfectly. Much like the iPhone and iPod touch, it offers significant opportunities for magazine publishers to optimize an on-the-go reading experience and expand their use occasions. As we already have a strong presence in the Apps Store as our 1,900 titles are being launched in an ‘iPhone-ready,’ format, our "buy-it-once-read-it-anywhere" strategy is enhanced. The iPad announcement drives enthusiasm and excitement for continued collaboration with magazine and book publishers.
Elsewhere others had the following to say about Apple's iPad:
"It will be notable," said Jim Gaines, a former corporate editor at Time Inc. who is now editor-in-chief of FLYPmedia, told an AFP reporter. "I don't think this device is the messiah for print, but it is very possible that its descendants will be."
Senior Editor of Playboy’s Technology and Lifestyle sections, Scott Alexander, to www.digitaltrends.com “Everyone should be a little wary of Apple. Steve Jobs is a shark and an incredible businessman--what he did with the music industry is genius, but in a way that should make people a little uncomfortable.”
Adobe group manager Adrian Ludwig on the Adobe Flash blog: "It looks like Apple is continuing to impose restrictions on their devices that limit both content publishers and consumers …without Flash support, iPad users will not be able to access the full range of Web content, including over 70 percent of games and 75 percent of video on the Web."
Samuel Axon on Mashable: This isn’t the middle device folks have been waiting for because -- and I’m using Steve Jobs’s own criteria here -- it’s not better at anything than any other device on the market. It’s a step in that direction, but the day hasn’t come yet.”
David Pogue: “Until I saw the demo, I wondered why you’d want an iPad instead of a laptop. After all, the price is about the same. And once you add a carrying case to the iPad -- wouldn’t you worry about that glass screen bouncing around in your briefcase or backpack naked? — it’s about the same bulk and weight as a laptop.
Now, though, it looks like Apple really has created something new. Criticisms of “Like a laptop” and “a big iPod touch” don’t really do justice to the possibilities… Like the iPhone, the iPad is really a vessel, a tool, a 1.5-pound sack of potential. It may become many things. It may change an industry or two, or it may not. It may introduce a new category -- something between phone and laptop -- or it may not. And anyone who claims to know what will happen will wind up looking like a fool.”