iPad – reinventor of the magazine?

Apple unveiled the new iPad tablet device this week (27 January, 2010) with Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, demonstrating how newspapers and magazines can be viewed on it. He also explained how e-books will be able to be downloaded onto the device through a new iBook Store.

Nicknamed an “iPhone on steroids” by several critics, the tablet device, which boasts a 9.7 inch multi-touch display, means that users can type directly onto the screen and manipulate photos.

So where do magazines fit into all of this?

Deemed “the best browsing experience you’ve ever had” and “way better than a laptop, way better than a smartphone” by Steve Jobs, developers are creating applications that can be downloaded onto the iPadThe New York Times newspaper has already created an app, with more newspapers and magazines expected to follow. According to Sarah Chubb, president of Condé Nast Digital, likely candidates to make a full app for the iPad include GQ, Wired and Vanity Fair.

Sports Illustrated have already created a mock up for how they envisage their app would be used:

But will the applications be a success? Is there a gap in the market for the iPad?

I haven’t even touched an iPad – yet – but from the images and videos it looks like the iPad is very sleek and easy-to-use. I think that it could be the future of digital journalism. By creating an app specifically for the iPad, magazines will be able to produce extra content which would not be possible to go into the print version and which would, simply put, not look as good on a laptop. Additional photos, videos and audio would create a 360° reader experience.

Digital journalism is an exciting evolution and the iPad looks like it is the next step forward. Whether it is an additional nail in the print journalism coffin I am rather doubtful about. I certainly hope it isn’t anyway. I am a big believer that one of the reasons why people enjoy reading magazines is because magazines are something to look at and take your time over. They form, and shape, part of your lifestyle.

The iPad is an exciting piece of technology and I look forward to seeing what the magazine apps will look like. It certainly has presented another platform for journalism to be displayed on, but for the time being I think that the iPad will remain futuristic and exclusive and will not reach the everyday usage of the general public. Now that the iPad has been officially released, it will be interesting to see what the competitors come up with. A very exciting time for journalists and technology fans alike.

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