apple's slap to social media's face

February 3, 2010 ·

image from

yes, i'm a week late in talking about the iPad. i guess i'm too contemplative to shoot off an instant treatise on the matter and i wouldn't want to be accused of linkbaiting. i shall save you my scathing remarks about the iPad as a failed execution of a promising idea (and complete naming fail) and stick to how this non game changer will affect the digital media ecosystem. and by changing it, i mean it won't, but will allow others to.

the iPad is being heralded as the savior of the slowly withering print media business. a meritous prospect and certainly a company who has shown aptitude for bailing out industries unable to acclimate themselves to new business models and changing consumer sensibilities. it is essentially the device i envisioned as the future modus operandi for journalistic distribution.

what a device like this brings to not just the industry, but the medium itself (as a disassociated form of communication) is mainly:

  • real time content
  • simple sharing
  • rich content and experiences
  • interactivity (content and ads)
  • ancillary content readily available
  • direct link to advertisers (site, purchasing, social, promotions, etc)
  • searchability
  • mobility
a compelling set of reasons to believe people will flock to it and advertisers can support it.

however, all that is at the expense of the prevailing social trend that apple loves to ignore. for starters there's the noncollaborative approach they take. they have the most rabid fan base and tech outlets fawning over their every move. not tapping into that community is a massive shame. especially when everything i read leading up to the launch was a better product than what it turned out to be. then of course there is the closed nature of the applications and approval process that is not open source to say the least.

apart from those ample shortcomings, there are a couple other points that make this anti-social to the core.
  1. the limited typing (unless you're lugging around the keyboard) make it difficult to do many things like say commenting or blogging
  2. no multi-tasking means that your socializing around content will be severely limited. so no IM'ing while you read a newspaper article and talk to your friend about it. heck, can you even listen to music while you surf the web?
  3. no networking or means that you will not be able to easily access your files for sharing. since this is a complimentary device to another computer, it's folly to think that you shouldn't have centralized files that this could access so they don't live in 2 places. and there is no SD card on the device just these snappy, sure to be overpriced accessories that apple forces you into to have any kind of memory input.
  4. of course there is the most common gripe of no Flash support. think of how much content on the web (YouTube, games and otherwise) is not only inaccessible form the device, but not sharable.
  5. no camera. this is probably just the bullshit game apple plays to get you to rebuy the device in a year's time like they did with the iPhone. but no picture or video support for people to create content for their networks is inexcusable.
sure there are the apps for social things, but it's not enough for what this device is supposed to be. it's not enough beyond it's little brother the iPhone to really consider buying. sure it might save newspapers but it's not close to giving the consumers what they want in the social domain. with that list of flaws, what will the consumer uptake really be and if it flops, does it take the hopes of the waning print world with it (probably only temporary)? is this the first flop for apple since jobs came back to the company?




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