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There is basically a class of gadget coming into existance now, spearheaded by the iPhone, I like to call Media Consumption Devices. We've had these to a minor extent for decades. Transistor radios begat Walkmans ( Walkmen? ) which begat iPods which begat iPhones and iPod Touches.

Media is made up of three types - audio, video, and the printed word. An iPod let's you consume audio - music, podcasts, audiobooks - and carry it all in your pocket while doing so. It also lets you watch video, but the experience isn't great. You are limited not only by screen size and aspect ratio, but by availiable storage. Amazon's Kindle is a great piece of hardware. It let's you consume books and audio, and has the advantage of a wireless connection to get anything in your library, or buy new stuff, from almost anywhere.
The iPhone/Touch gives you all this. A killer audio and video experiece and, with Amazon's Kindle App, I have the full Kindle experience even if I don't have my kindle with me. It has the possibility to become the primary platform I consume media on. It's major limitation is it's screen.

Don't get me wrong. I love the iPhone screen. It's bright, saturated colors and pixel density is beautiful. Just small. It needs to be bigger. Say 10" or so. Maybe even 15".

I, of course, speak of the mythical Apple Tablet.

Unlike most people, I don't want it to run OSX. I'm perfectly happy with it running a variation of the iPhoneOS. What I then want is for people to truly leverage what you can do with the platform, something people haven't really done with our initial attempts.

First, all our media needs to live in the cloud. If I buy something from iTunes, I should be able to access it anywhere, anytime. Whether this is by Apple streaming it to us or iTunes itself acting as host ( similar to Slingbox or ). The important concept is I should be able to access everything, anywhere, anytime.
Secondly, we need to expand the offerings availiable. Movie and TV studios should just realize online distribution is the future. Go full bore into the breach. Make your shows availiable online the same time they go over the air. iTunes quality is good enough for most stuff, but if I buy a BluRay, I expect a digital copy, and honestly, these days, that digital copy needs to be HD too.

And books have been limited by the b&w Kindle. With a full color display, picture heavy books and magazines are suddenly viable for electronic distribution. Big coffee table books become manageable. Disposable magazines like US weekly or People become less of a environmental disaster. You also open an entirely new publishing class - comic books.

Comic books also are a perfect example of how you can add value to a product without much, if any, cost to offset the percieved lack of value from not having a physical item. If I buy the latest issue of X-Men, each page looks like the printed, full color version. But with the press of a button, I could see it without word balloons. Or without color. Or the original pencil artwork.

Why would publishers want to do this?

First, you lower risk. If you publish a digital item, you don't have to worry about making too many or even worse, not having enough.

Second, you increase value to advertiser. Every ad presented can have a hot link to their website. You can add audio or video advertising. Media advertisers can allow you to immediately purchase items. Perhaps most valuable, the advertiser can know EXACTLY who is viewing their ad. Clever publishers can even target the ads to a specific gender or age class.

Also if I am able to access my media wherever I am, I am able to purchase media wherever I am. I have bought more books in the past year on my Kindle than in the previous five years. I buy TV shows I can watch on cable I already pay for, like The Daily Show, because it is more convienient.

Make it convienient, easy and reasonably priced to legally purchase and consume media and people will do so. I have seen people be converted by simply playing with a Kindle or AppleTV.

We are a generation that needs to be more nimble than ever. Your next job may be across town, across country, or across the ocean. You don't want to be saddled with hundreds of pounds of books and DVDs.

Apple, give us the hardware we need. Publishers, give us the media. We will consume it, promise.

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Reader Comments (1)

How does Verison's Droid stack up? Mike

December 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Dean

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