It is coming. And nothing will be the same. At least for bloggers, who will not be able to speculate endlessly about Apple’s expected announcement of an iTablet-like device on Wednesday. The device — a larger, even more readable version of the existing iPhone technology — is expected to have huge ramifications for the print industry — Apple has supposedly already had talks with major publishers and periodicals, including HarperCollins:
A book is like a garden carried in the pocket… or perhaps on a tablet. It appears HarperCollins isn’t the only publishing company being associated with Apple’s upcoming tablet. A BusinessWeek report says that McGraw-Hill and Hachette Book Group are in talks with Apple to bring an assortment of textbooks and trade publications to the tablet in digital format. The availability of educational material could make the tablet a shoo-in for the education market.
John Wiley & Sons titles may also make an appearance as well. “We have had ongoing conversations with Apple about their interest in including educational content,” Peter Balis, director of digital content at Wiley, told BusinessWeek. “We will continue to support their efforts in whatever iteration it takes next week.”
Gizmodo has been following major media canoodling with the Tapplet for a while:
According to the Times (the LA one), the Times (the NY one) has been working on a tablet app in recent weeks. Also: Condé Nast basically admitted to the same in a press release. Familiar? Sure. But intriguing!
In September, we reported through two sources at the paper that the NYT had been approached by Apple to develop content of some sort for the tablet. As the paper of record, they’re the obvious choice for an inaugural app demo—remember the the wave of iPhone commercials, where the floating hands navigate to the NYT homepage?—and they already have tablet-appropriate software available for download. In that sense, the LAT report is just more corroboration; of the NYT’s involvement with Apple; of the tablet’s penchant for the written word; and obviously, of the tablet’s mere existence.
While the tablet could spell salvation for books and print, it may be problematic for some of the existing iPhone distributors, as one tech site points out:
# # Scrollmotion, the biggest current book contributor to the App Store, isn’t part of this deal and Apple is dealing directly with the publishers who are already signed up with Scrollmotion. The deals would cut Scrollmotion out of the loop or as one exec put it: “The smaller outfits are going to get screwed”. We’ve reached out to Scrollmotion for comment and will report back anything we hear. # Apple was looking for content to bring to the event — perhaps one example — but doesn’t expect to have large libraries of material in their book store until “mid 2010 at the very earliest”
How will this affect LongBox, Graphic.ly, comiXology, and other existing digital distributors? Big question. Also, the rumored price is $900, more than a Kindle and a Nook and an iPod touch put together — at that kind of price point, you aren’t going to see everyone on the subway fiddling with theirs any time soon.
It’s nearly certain that comics are going to be part of the initial launch promotion — with the Mayhem iTunes team-up, and Steve Ballmer’s graphic.ly shout out, comics content already has a high profile with the new devices. Will it be an agreement with one of the players we mentioned above? Or finally after all the years of speculation, is iTunes going to be the iTunes of comics????
Jim Shelley has a round-up of industry speculation at Bleeding Cool. Some more to think about as we wait for the Day That Media Was Saved.