Not surprisingly, there’s been a lot of ink spilt on the iPad, from the numerous name-related jokes, to serious considerations, both positive and negative. I’ve been letting the iPAD news kick about for a while, before adding my two cents.
On the thoughtful side of iPAD-related commentary, as good an example as, any comes from Samir Kakar, CTO, Aptara Corporation, a fellow that knows a thing or two, or million, about ebooks, digital publishing processes, and content formats.
Samir points to some interesting strengths of the iPAD, including its use of the ePub format, even while rightly arguing that “the ePub standard will likely need to be updated to allow publishers to create more detailed layouts and attach various types of multimedia supported by the iPad.” Other important characteristics include the color screen, Apple’s DRM, and distribution and ecommerce platform initiatives like Apple’s iBookstore.
A lot of people are enthusiastic, and especially among the ebook crowd, since Apple comes in as a major play, and, hey, as usual, another of Steve Jobs’ good-looking babies.
But of course, the immediate impact the iPAD will have for book publishers will be modest, at least in comparison to these same publishers’ need to get their publishing processes in order. From the perspective of making money from digital content, publishers need to keep their focus on enriching content with meta-data and striving for one-source/many format publishing. This alone should cause book publishers to take a deep breath or two.
As to iPAD, while I may be wrong in my complaint, at least I’m consistent: As I’ve earlier argued about Kindle being a needlessly restricted device , I’m more annoyed when it comes to iPAD. Why there’s no voice telephone option—despite the presence of the 3G cell phone signal I/O—simply flummoxes me. Why the iPAD isn’t multi-tasking—such as a MP3/iTunes player, while, say, perusing the Web or epublication—leaves me scratching my head.
But then again, I haven’t seen a compelling enough argument for dedicated ereaders that erase my reservations about too-high prices for artificially constrained communication devices. Yes, people say that the Kindle is too big to be used conveniently as a telephone, and, obviously, the size/portability questions grow more as the size does, as with the iPAD.
But then, just what am I going to do with all those iPAD shoulder holsters I’ve been making in my basement over the long winter?
I guess I better concentrate on more useful projects, like the upcoming report from the Gilbane Publishing Practice, A Blueprint for Book Publishing Transformation: Seven Essential Systems to Re-Invent Publishing. For more information about this, contact me or Ralph Marto.