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Apple iPad: Life at the Speed of Touch

Before its release, many were wondering what it would take to save publications. Now unveiled, iPad’s taken criticism for not being the publishing breakthrough that some expected. I’d like to challenge that by saying that the habits, tastes and expectations of audiences are changing much more quickly than the current publishing industry’s ability to adapt. The Apple iPad fills that gap.

My staff and I live in a world where we communicate using the latest creative tools available. As designers trained in print, we always talk about the touch, feel and smell of ink and paper. Touch and feel (and more) has now arrived with the soon-to-be-released iPad, and it’s a wonderful addition to the communication technology space.  As a publishing tool and a publication aggregator, it’s functionality and visual engagement promises to be unparalleled.

Touch: the Missing Dimension

Having had no firsthand exposure to the iPad, I’m only able to compare it to my mobile phone experience. Once I made the switch to Apple, the difference between using my old mobile phone and my iPhone was significant. The interface is so elegant that it became all about the touch and feel. Now that I’m using my iPhone exclusively, there’s an instinctive creative process going on, making it second nature to use. It’s changing my wants and expectations. I’m developing an emotional preference for the experience of touch and go vs click-n-drag. I anticipate the same transformation for users of the iPad, making it the ultimate interactive experience.

Many argue that they are unwilling to let go of the sensation of holding a printed book or magazine in their hands and turning the pages.  The innovative touch and feel navigation of the iPad answers that need.   It’s the dimension that has been missing in e-publishing.

The Emotional Response

How does this connect with your prospects desires? Users will love the color, convenience, customization, portability, storage/archive features for articles, topics and professional development learning. The American Bar Association embarked on a year-long project to improve their multimedia skills for their magazine, “Legal Rebels”.  I can’t suggest a better tool that the iPad to further enhance their readers’ online experience. What do you think?

The next generation of users will expect a high touch experience and versatility. I believe that the iPad has the potential to become the single platform of choice. The result will be information available anytime, anywhere, any way.

We shouldn’t discount the potential of the iPad and what it’s going to do for publishing and communications. The only thing missing is the smell of the ink and paper!

UPDATES: Related articles found since post date–
Chris Anderson, Editor-in-Chief of WIRED: http://bit.ly/bxi7kZ
LA Times: http://bit.ly/cW3clK
And others: http://bit.ly/bwlmRT

Comments 8

  1. Stimulating insight, Dick!
    As one of those fond of holding the printed page, I’m ready to learn more and experience what this newfangled offering can do for me. Look forward to more interesting comments on your new blog.
    Carol

  2. Dick! I agree — tactile feel, sensation of flipping pages, holding a printed document in one’s hand — nothing can ever replace that. Or we’re Luddites. Or 140 characters will end before I complete this tweet. Or Twitter is broken. I can tweet without boundaries! Faulkner lives!

    Oh, wait a sec, professor. This is a weblog, not Twitter. Once popular in the mid 2000s, blogs slowly gave way to MySpace, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Now they reside in the “I remember PageMaker” file with Ask Jeeves, listservs, Website frames, and the site formerly known as aol.com, now in a tailspin of dot-bomb proportions as Bing!

    So here’s the thing. Blogs are retro already, or Dick Rabil wouldn’t be blogging. Because he’s on the leading edge of technology. And irony. As in, I am writing a blog rhapsodizing about print without nary an ironic hint.

    I get it. You go!

    Tweet tweet!

    NEXT: Facing Facebook Once You’ve Friended Former High-School Classmates. Will Facebook Save Face? Or Find It’s Got Egg On One Part, Kindle On The Other, And Google No Longer Courting It?

    WHAT IS A PHENOMENON LIKE THIS CALLED?

    A Fad?

    Over to you, Dick!

  3. Hey Dad,
    Good article. I like how you point out that the iPhone changes your preferences. Technology has a way of doing that. Personally, I’m looking forward to more touch-screen interfaces, which seem like a more “natural” way of interacting with content, as opposed to a keyboard and mouse.

    Have you heard of Perceptive Pixel? It’s a company that specializes in developing multi-touch interfaces. Check out their website: http://www.perceptivepixel.com. I think it’s relevant to your topic.

    Does the touch experience of the iPad present new marketing opportunities? If people expect more touch experience, how will that change the way you do marketing?

    From a more education perspective, I wonder if higher institutions will encourage students to use iPads more.

    1. Richard,

      Thanks for the information about Perceptive Pixel. We do believe that the touch experience presents new marketing opportunities, on multiple platforms, where information and ideas are being shared and communicated. If the explosion of iPhone and iPod sales are any indication, people are looking for that high touch experience. And you are seeing it subtly alluded to on TV shows like NCIS.

      Other applications that are suggested on the link from Perceptive Pixel demonstrate multi-touch sensing being used for digital content creation, story boarding and ideation. “Perceptive Pixel develops interfaces that seek to become invisible, bringing people closer to their content and removing their barriers to collaboration.”

  4. Hey, Eron~

    I’m not sure that I agree with you that blogging is retro. From the new marketing perspective, blogging is a great way to create conversation, build community and facilitate feedback from clients. Although that carries a certain risk, it also promotes transparency.
    In addition, it allows us to share knowledge and learn from others.
    Finally, from a Search Engine Marketing perspective, it strengthens your website’s Search Engine Optimization.

    We felt these were three strong reasons to start engaging the internet audience.

  5. Thanks, Rich
    Perceptive Pixel is very cool. Their web site references an article in the Economist which talk about the past history of touch technology and the future impact on consumers. It’s also interesting to note that mobile ads seen on an iphone have higher click through rate than web banner ads.

    Excerpt From The Economist http://tinyurl.com/ykg5tpd
    But breaking into the consumer market was a different matter entirely. Some personal digital assistants, or PDAs, such as the Palm Pilot, had touch screens. But they had little appeal beyond a dedicated band of early adopters, and the PDA market has since been overshadowed by the rise of advanced mobile phones that offer similar functions, combined with communications. Furthermore, early PDAs did not make elegant use of the touch-screen interface, says Dr Bill Buxton. “When there was a touch interaction, it wasn’t beautiful,” he says.

    That is why the iPhone matters: its use of the touch screen is seamless, intuitive and visually appealing…. “Apple did an outstanding job with the iPhone in every aspect,” says Dr Buxton. “People are starting to demand the same quality of design: they don’t just want function.”

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