I hope I didn’t buy a $1000 calculator with WiFi
In an old episode of MASH, the doctors are talking about missing television, in particular missing watching Milton Berle at night with their wives. Charles, arch conservative who likes old wine and even older music, says television is a passing phase.
Winchester wasn’t the only one who poo-poohed the arrival of a new medium of entertainment, nor was he the last.
Well, its de ja vu all over again. There’s a new gadget on the market, the doubters and sceptics are doing their thing and technological evangelists are doing theirs.
The only problem is the doubters and sceptics are in the publishing and media industries.
Since the Kindle was released in the States last year, I’ve read three separate articles from News Limited employees saying that newsprint will live on. People won’t give up the newspaper.
They are half right. Some people won’t give up the newspaper, and for that I am grateful. I am not my father’s home computer help desk. But no one will take up newspapers if they can find a more convenient medium to find news.
Enter the IPad.
The IPad is a great machine. Music, videos, books, newspapers and more apps than you can tap a screen at. I can’t decide if my current favourite is the giant calculator or the one where I tap a contact and up pop the directions to their address and a satellite map to guide me there.
I’m not sure it will save the Australian newspaper industry completely, but it will go a long way to keeping more people in jobs for longer, because it is the only way to get genuine paid content to one reader at a time.
Despite Rupert Murdoch telling his Australian employees to find a way to get paid content, only one Australian newspaper has created an application ready for 28 May. Disappointingly, they didn’t include the crosswords.
My local metro newspaper hasn’t developed an app, nor have the magazines I like to buy. I hear they’re coming. But some religions will tell you that about Christ.
No cooking sites are ready to go as applications – so we’re stuck with American cooking sites, which are fine if you understand imperial and want to eat deep fried marshmellows, but not so good if you’re looking for something from Delicious or The Australian Woman’s Weekly.
There isn’t even an app for White Pages or Yellow Pages. Surprising because Yellow Pages could make money both from advertising and subscription.
Books are equally as disappointing.
Borders, very cleverly, was ready. But stupidly mixed all their erotica into the category of general fiction. It’s the equivalent of putting the X-rated movies right next to Disney.
The books I’d like to read via the Kindle aren’t available here in Australia due to licensing or release dates or something. I don’t really care why, I just know that the only books I’ve been able to buy and read are the incredibly confusing books by Steig Larsson or the classics – Pride and Prejudice must be the tablet reader equivalent of Culture Club on ‘80s compilation albums.
I would love to buy all the books I lent to people but never got back. I’d never lose them again if they were on my IPad.
I’d love to have a magazine like The Bulletin (now defunct, thanks to PBL) as ‘a waiting room’ filler.
I’d love to have my local newspaper delivered to my Ipad, complete with local entertainment information and a crossword.
I’m still the only person I know with an IPad. I feel a bit pretentious bringing it out in public when I make an appointment or look something up. So asking the Australian publishing industry to please invest in apps so I have something to read is a bit selfish.
I promise: if you build it, they will come.
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