The unveiling of the Apple iPad has inspired much commentary among my Razorfish colleagues. I’ve read tongue-in-cheek reactions from Amnesia Razorfish. Domenic Venuto, head of the Razorfish media/entertainment practice in New York, has discussed the iPad’s implications for the publishing industry in a MediaPost article. And emerging media director Jeremy Lockhorn in Seattle has assessed its potential consumer interactivity with Forbes. At the risk of overgeneralizing, I’ve summarized here some prevailing impressions from the Razorfish media/entertainment practice:
- The iPad will not just be another platform for distribution content but a means to unleash creativity. That’s because the iPad promises to bring iPhone functionality to a larger device, which makes it possible to deploy richer experiences and immersive content interfaces on a reading device. The iPad will not be just a larger screen for reading words.
- The iPad will encourage more distribution of interactive video especially as video becomes easier to distribute across multiple platforms.
- The iPad is especially appealing to Razorfish because we create experience that build businesses. We can expect multi-touch capability to provide no end to the applications that can be created for businesses looking to connect to consumers or improve employee productivity. What’s also going to change the way brand experiences get created is the likely capability that the device will support interaction by more than one person.
- One of our clients is already looking to roll out iPad versions of titles, which shows how seriously media companies want to embrace the technology. However, Razorfish counsels our clients to view platform developments like the iPad in context of one’s broader marketing and publishing strategies. We advise clients against embracing the iPad just for the sake of saying they are deploying a content distribution strategy that utilizes the iPad.
- Apple is not alone in upping the stakes for device readers. Amazon’s recent announcement that the Kindle will support third-party application development in 2010 opens up the Kindle for experimentation and innovation.
I find these comments by Jeremy Lockhorn and Domenic Venuto to be instructive:
- Jeremy as cited in Forbes: “[The iPad’s consumer interactivity] has big implications for advertising as an educational tool and as a sales channel . . . It means that when consumers watch TV shows and movies, they could potentially be able to do more than just play, pause and stop. When viewing an episode of TV’s Mad Men, for example, consumers could tap on objects, such as Don Draper’s hat, to get more information about the items and where to buy them.”
- Domenic as cited in MediaPost: “We’re incredibly excited about the increased surface size we get to play with for a multi-touch device. Whether it’s an advertising or publishing client we’re building new experiences for, this breathes life into the category.”
I don’t think you can overstate a simple truth: the bigger screen is better for consumers who like the interactivity that comes with devices like iPhones but are tired of squinting as they read hand-held devices. Let’s face it: the older you get, the more likely you’re welcoming a bigger screen. I wonder if Apple has found the right product at the right time for Baby Boomers? If so, we’re talking about people with bigger disposable incomes.
Special thanks to Domenic Venuto, Jeremy Lockhorn, and Katie Lamkin for their ideas leading up to this post.