Apple’s much hyped tablet computer is set to be unveiled tomorrow and everyone’s speculating on how it will change the world. The NY Times on the other hand wonders aloud how it will change the world of media.
The media industry is still struggling to find the secret sauce for driving revenue in the digital age. Apple’s new offering could either be the straw the breaks the camel’s back or a much needed boost the industry needs to regain its financial strength. If you look at Apple’s history I wouldn’t count on the latter.
The iPod revolutionized the way people consume music, but at the same time it changed the pricing structure and drained the profits of the music industry at a time when that business could ill afford it. The only difference here is that the media industry has already undergone a shift and for many organizations there is no where to go but up.
According to some experts, the tablet will be something between Amazon’s Kindle, a laptop, and an iPhone. Does that translate into new revenue for traditional publishers? Maybe. The bigger question might be will the tablet be as successful as the iPhone? If it’s not widely adopted then the impact on the media world will likely be moot.
If I were the world’s largest media companies I wouldn’t bet against Steve Jobs though. I would be ready to capitalize on this new device or be ready to write my organization’s obituary. Either way, tomorrow will be a life changing moment.