We asked our industry experts on Wednesday - before Big Steve took the stage - exactly what they thought it was we'd all be seeing and how it might affect their various businesses. So, now that the iPad has finally arrived, and we all know a little more about it, exactly what do our experts make of it today? Here's what they said:
The newspaper man
Will it impact on conventional newspapers? My instinct says it is just the first step in a news delivery revolution. The speed of the revolution will depend on the content suppliers willingness to invest (and change the nature of their content), the manufacturer's willingness to make it economic to own it and for advertisers to be convinced that it is a platform that gets their message over. No simple answer. So in the meantime readers will continue to fold up the print product and carry it in their bags or pockets. The more cynical part of me remembers that bubble cars ticked all the right boxes for a transport revolution...David Wadmore - editorial consultant with News International
The music man
This will be a revolutionary device, not for any single reason but just for the shift in paradigm to a true "pad" experience that this will provide. My view is that it will have three life cycles 1) I want one 2) What is it really 3) Couldn't live without it.
Tablets have failed to date because they were extensions to a PC, the iPhone showed what a true touch environment could be and that is the basis for outstanding change. Sales will be initially massive because of the "I want one" impact. This will then dip as people try to assimilate "what the ipad really is" - is it just a nice toy or is it a shift change in computing, then the growth will become constant as this becomes the chosen device that bridges work/home environments. Steve Purdham - CEO We7
The movie guy
Looks like it’s pretty much everything that I expected with the addition of some serious gaming capability making a true trans-media contender. I also think that the low entry price and the unlocked version capability will have it moving off the shelves quickly. Looking forward to getting my hands on a working version and seeing how it performs. Karol Martesko-Fenster - SVP and general manager of Babelgum's Film Division
The music journalist
As expected, none of the innovations that came with the iPad at launch will have any major affect on music. I suppose the iTunes LP makes slightly more sense now. Personally, I was hoping for something that would replace my home computer, but it’s not going to do that. Partly because it doesn’t have nearly enough disk space.
However, given that playing music and watching film are supposed to be a big part of what the iPad will be used for (particularly the latter), the disk size may be a hint that Apple sees this as something that streams data in from elsewhere, either from other devices or the internet, rather than a storage device. Although their rumoured online music ‘locker’ service wasn’t announced yesterday, this could still be a big part Apple’s music offering in the future.
With all the hype, the iPad was always going to be a bit of a let down, but to write it off as simply "a big iPhone" would be foolish at this early stage. Pretty much every product Apple has ever released has initially been called pointless by many, including the iPod and the iPhone. Andy Malt - editor of CMU Daily
The magazine maker
Speaking on my own behalf – rather than for any of the magazines I contribute to – I’d say it’s going to be fascinating to see the effect the iPad has on the publishing market. I’m sure publishers will look to follow the lead of The New York Times – who have a head start – in tailoring their publication for this product. The thing it appears to provide is an electronic format where the beauty, visual wit and elegance of the best magazines can be replicated – as opposed to the more functional approach of traditional websites.
Hopefully a hybrid media will emerge – with the strongest aspects of traditional publishing combined with web capabilities (video, audio clips etc). How much of a boost this provides for ‘print’ media will depend on how quickly publishers adapt and, obviously, what the public take-up is for the iPad. It’s not cheap and it’s not essential; it could be that people will just think it’s a very cool laptop... Mind you, look what being a ‘cool’ MP3 player did for the iPod. Nev Pierce – Esquire and Radio Two contributor and editor-at-large for Empire, the world’s biggest movie magazine.
The man in film PR
Well it seems to me that the response has been highly mixed. Some champion a new piece of hardware that sits in between a phone and a laptop. Others believe it to be an anti-climax headlined by its lack of key features (camera, flash support, wireless syncing etc).
I see both sides and my opinion hasn't really changed. As a unique piece of hardware it will take time to reach any level of critical mass. I always feel you need to bet on the right people. There were plenty of people betting against Avatar but they were wrong to bet against James Cameron. Likewise Apple's track record is second to none (well maybe Pixar who they own) and I wouldn't bet against this platform.
Which brings me to film. As I said previously, right now this is just another platform to view film, TV and listen to music. In the same way the iPhone hasn't affected the industry the iPad won't either. It just provides another forum to watch quality product. Technology can affect the process of creating art (3D) but the platforms we view it on demand the same principle time and again. Storytelling. Adam Rubins - international director, Way to Blue
For the final word on the matter, we turn to you good people, the PL readers. Some of you have been none to shy in coming forward with how you feel about the iPad on a personal level, but what do you think about it with reference to your industry? How might it affect your line of work, if at all? And is it something your business might do very well or very badly because of? Let us know.