Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Trifecta

Well, we're about a week away from the much ballyhooed introduction of "Apple's latest creation", and I for one am looking forward to viewing the keynote. (Why don’t presentations at my workplace look like Steve’s?) There's no shortage of rumor mills out there, so my $0.02 probably isn’t even worth that, but I can't help but ask myself the obvious:

1. Given that Apple has re-invented the personal music player by dethroning Sony from its once lofty WalkMan perch, and installing its iPod in its stead;

2. Given that Apple has re-invented the telephone, and banished Nokia to its rightful place as a reliable-yet-uninspiring relic;

3. Given that Apple has begun revamping the media distribution business a la iTunes;

Doesn't it stand to reason that the next big game changer is the distribution of the published word, vis-à-vis the iTablet aka iPad?

I wonder.

On the one hand, Apple already has its media clearinghouse in place. Apple has become the world's largest retailer of music. And within it vast warehouses of silica are also movies and TV shows. So it’s pretty obvious what Apple needs to round out its media megastore is the printed word. Music + Video + Print is after all the elusive Trifecta.

But just how does Steve think that a bottomless well of books and magazines is going replace Amazon.com? True, the Kindle is not an inspiring gadget, but it does sell a lot print. And it has one distinguishing characteristic that isn’t getting a lot of press: e-ink.

Let’s face it; there aren’t many of us who enjoy the LED-induced eyestrain associated with reading words off a computer monitor. And for those lucky enough to be working for a living as information workers, after 12 hours of quality time with the workplace machine, who is really itching to spend his leisure hours looking at a hand-held one?

Would l love to see Apple re-invent the printed word? Absolutely! Can it do so without merely porting an oversize iPhone to handle printed content? If it cannot, that’s ok. But unlike my first experience with the iPhone, I have no intention of lining up for one.