I’m excited about the iPad. Not enough to have pre-ordered one or anything, but I think it’s going to be a cool device, and I find it easy to imagine myself reading stuff on one during a flight or using it to post to Twitter while I’m watching TV. It’d be nice to have a device for surfing the Web with a decent-sized screen that doesn’t get hot enough to fry an egg.
Gadget afficionados are licking their chops, but what shocks me is the degree to which media businesses are head over heels over the iPad, thinking that somehow a new form factor is going to reinvigorate their business. News Corp is going to charge more for an iPad subscription to the Wall Street Journal than they charge for a Web-only subscription, more than they charge to deliver the paper to your house, and even more than a subscription that includes both.
Scott Rosenberg compares the media’s reaction to the iPad to its obsession with CD-ROMS back in 1994. Media businesses want a ticket back to the good old days, and the iPad, purely through the virtue of being something untried, looks like that ticket. These guys are drunk on the possibilities of the iPad today, but the hangover is going to be a miserable thing to see. If I were more clever, I’d have already learned to program for that platform, and now I would be out charging insane hourly rates to build doomed apps for desperate publishers. Maybe next time.