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Friday, September 22, 2023

Life + Arts

GET TECHNICAL: Tablet to change print media world

One of the most-watched gadgets of 2010 is going to be Apple’s big hit for the year.

Sony may have its Reader, Amazon has its Kindle, but Apple is looking past just books and magazines; it is aiming to redefine print altogether with its new tablet.

The tablet prototype was developed in 2003. Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs was presented with a modified version of Mac OS X running on a multi-touch tablet, but when executives couldn’t figure how people would use the device, they put it on the shelf; fast forward to 2009.

As of late, Apple has been contracted to obtain print content from several major publishing houses from several different types of media.

In July, there was word that McGraw Hill and Oberlin Press were working with Apple to move textbooks to iTunes. Since that time, there have not been any further details, but it might be a sign that the wining presentation from an Apple idea competition held in 2008 was primarily focused on textbook distribution through iTunes.

Though one can imagine that this tablet would cost a fortune, getting books for it would be cheaper since it’s electronic. It would also save students a lot of back pain.

Textbooks may actually make it onto the tablet because it would be an attractive business venture for publishers.

Companies would earn more money because they could sell electronic textbooks cheaper, but they wouldn’t be re-sold like paper books, hence there would be more of the paper books bought. In addition, companies would have less overhead from not running book stores or printing books.

Apple had a meeting with executives from a large magazine group and asked them to present their ideas on the future of publishing. Mockups of e-magazines were presented in interactive form.

Although’ there has been no public talk since the introductory meeting, it is assumed there have been more discussions behind closed doors. There may be another magazine company considering Adobe Air as a competing option for digital magazines, but without a system similar to iTunes, it’s unlikely that they would get far.

As for newspapers, Apple has been in touch with The New York Times to have it incorporated on the new device. Apple’s research and development labs have been working on versions of the paper that can be navigated without a keyboard or mouse.

The New York Times also publishes via an Apple iPhone application. After working with The New York times, it’s not surprising that Jobs has said the paper is the ‘best newspaper in the world.’

Apple’s overall vision for the tablet is to eventually have publishers create hybrid content for it that would encompass audio, video and interactive graphics. By doing so, Apple is looking to revolutionize the way people look at print.

As of now, Microsoft’s Courier tablet is far away from production, and with Kindle stuck with its plain e-text, it appears that Apple looks to be a front-runner in the electronic text business. The tablet is definitely something to watch for in 2010.

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