Will Apple's long-rumored tablet device be another nail in the coffin of print?
It appears that the latest rumors swirling around Apple's yet-to-be-announced hardware is that the device will be primarily positioned to move people away from traditional printed media and towards next-generation media. Instead of a device to watch a movie or play a game, it will be more of an e-reader. Essentially a Kindle on steroids with a beautiful touch screen and links to dynamic media in the form of videos, audio and websites that support the content of the publication.
In a recent post on AppleInsider, Gizmodo reported that Apple has been reaching out to publishers of newspapers, books and magazines in order to get their content on iTunes (If that's true, I suspect Apple will have to rename iTunes at some point. Maybe they already should with podcasts, iPhone apps, movies, etc. all currently available). If the Apple tablet takes off like most products from Apple do, it can only serve to confirm an eventual end to certain forms of printed media. As I pointed out in a blog post from last June called, Pulp Fiction: Is print dead? the day of a digital device delivering dynamic media to your palms is coming soon. Certainly one could argue that it is already here with devices like the iPhone. But many people find the display too small to do any serious reading, That is where the tablet will come in.
With that said, I'm thinking about my previous post on Print 09. Attendance was down. In order to boost attendance and breathe some new life into a graying trade show, The Graphic Arts Show Company (the group that produces the show every four years along with Graph Expo), needs to rebrand the Print show. Certainly many of the exhibitors have already embraced new media with technology like Web to Print and other emerging sectors such as thin film printed electronics and RFID. It can still maintain a print focus, but needs to expand into other areas of electronic publishing in order to remain relevant in the years to come. Or at least as long as trade shows in general are still relevant.
Back to Apple... They reportedly plan a January 2010 announcement of their tablet device with an availability sometime in June or July. Indeed they recently hired back Michael Tchao, one of the developers of their initial touchscreen tablet - the Newton. He figures to help develop the marketing strategy for the new device.
In the mean time, I will continue to bask in the smell of the CMYK inks on the paper pages of my Wired magazine.