Monday, November 01, 2010
The Apple iPad
The Apple iPad provides the convenience of print, online and a bit more. It enables you to engage with magazine content in a manner similar in dimensions to your typical magazine with full color. While it is still early to predict the final look and feel for digital magazines, so  the next couple years will be fun to watch in the magazine industry.

If you have an iPhone or iTouch you will find it a seamless transition to use this device. If you are a new user you will be wowed by the Apple product for its cool factor, ease of use, quality workmanship and the touch screen technology. You also have over 250,000 applications (and growing) to choose including the iBook store from Apple. The Apple iPad, is just a larger version of the iTouch according Ryan Winsborrow from Nerds for Hire, my geek associates who fix all my computers.

Magazine publishers are leveraging the benefits of the iPad app store to create a paid digital newsstand model for single copy and subscription sales.  The store is like the new “Walmart” and is a new entry point for online retail sales for publishers to generate sales in a new market. We will review how different publishers are reinventing themselves in future postings.

The Apple iPad Scorecard

The gadgets in this blog for e-readers will be based on a scorecard and will be evaluated on these 4 criteria to arrive at the score. See a product video at this link

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The Apple iPad has a 9.6 inch LED backlit diagonal screen that weighs 1.5 lbs and is .5 inches thick. Battery life is estimated at 10 hours which is better than the iPhone. It retails in Canada starting from $550.


Download Speeds
– The Apple iPad is synchronized with your Apple iTunes account for music, movies and apps. Download speeds were not an issue with the device as your download speed is dependent on your internet service provider (I was using the wifi model not the 3G). The big debate is whether the devices should support Flash technology for video, banners etc. Apple says no. One of Flash technology’s warts is the slower download speeds due to large file sizes. The iPad crashed when downloading files over 10meg in size when I tried to open it, so it looks like smart decision by Apple.

Readability – As expected readability with a 9.7 inch screen was not an issue and colour is always better than B&W, but unlike the e-ink technology you cannot read the Apple iPad in sunlight/outdoor conditions, so the beach is out. To read PDFs requires you to email to yourself and then it can be read on the device. You can store the PDfs in your Free  iBooks APP library. I was concerned about reading on the device for extended periods that may cause eye strain due to the backlit LED display, but it was not a problem.

Navigation – The browser being used in the Apple iPad is the same as the iPhone which is  slimmed down version of the Desktop Safari browser with fewer features. The touch technology glow is finally wearing off for me and some of my concerns with touch screens were the number of accidental touches that redirected me to unwanted pages – “the big finger syndrome”. You also cannot not have more than one application open at one time when using the iPad.

Price/Feature Value – The starting cost of $550 make the Apple iPad priced comparably to buying a laptop and this question the consumer must take into consideration when purchasing the device.  There all a whole bunch of accessories that you can purchase that includes case, keyboard, docking station and external monitor connection. The iPad supports the reading of Microsoft office files, but not Appleworks which is ironic that Apple does not support its own software. If you get the 3G model data plans are available starting from $15/mo for 250 meg and make sure you get a free SIM card for the vendor to you wish to sign-up with. There is a tug of war going on with the telcos and Apple over the control of the data plans and how they are sold to customer.

The Gadget Report Rating
: 4 out of 5

As with all device purchases timing is key. If you buy too early it will be expensive and if you wait prices will come down and the feature set will improve. The market is banking on Apple replicating the success of the iPhone (50 million have been sold) and how  iTunes has dominated the music industry. As of this writing there were 4.19 million iPads sold worldwide. There is a herd mentality in the marketplace for new e-Readers as new products from Dell, Acer, Blackberry, Samsung, HP are in the work...so there is more to come in 2011.
- Martin Seto
About Me
Martin Seto

 
Martin Seto is the principal of Reflex Media, a media consultancy practice offering media owners online publishing, ad sales and acquisition/selling brokerage services. His media services also include working with ad agencies as a media buyer/planner for tv, radio, print, outdoor and online. He has been in the advertising and media industry for 25+ years and he has been an instructor/speaker with Centennial College and at magazine conferences across Canada. He also moonlights as a pro goalie as a "rent a goalie" at mypuck.com.
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