Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPad, the company's wireless tablet, Jan. 27. The device resembles a MacBook-iPhone hybrid. The company hopes to change the way media is consumed.
The hype surrounding the Apple iPad may be ebbing, and that's healthy. After all, unless it also floated on air while raising our children and growing our vegetables, it could never had lived up to the pre-release hype.
A day into the overhyped iPad era, we can -- in a more sober way -- look at why this new device may be part of a game-changing way of life: the age of digital delivery.
The morning after the world saw the iPad for the first time, the stock market tanked. We're still nervous about the economy, jobs, and where we go from here. Yet, on that same morning, Netflix stock jumped by the most in its history.
The reason? Digital delivery. A million more people signed up for Netflix in just the last three months. With deals to stream movies over your computer, TV, DVD player, and game console, Netflix is getting really good at giving you what you want, when you want it. And they're being rewarded for it.
Also up in early trading? Shares of Amazon.com. Wasn't this company supposed to just curl up and go away when Apple unleashed its tablet? Turns out, the iPad reaffirms the Amazon model. We want content (like books and newspapers), and we want them sent to us, instantly. Amazon does that very well. Competitor Borders? Also making news this morning, but by cutting 1,000 members of its staff. Borders doesn't give us what Amazon does. It's stock price is currently trading below a dollar a share.
The market has voted, and it has voted for content, brought to us quickly and easily. The recession may keep us from buying that new car, or even that extra tall latte, but it's not keeping us from downloading books, or streaming movies. If the iPad is to succeed where other tablets have failed, it will prove itself to be the best way for us to find and get that content.
Apple is launching its own bookstore, it's already a phenomenally successful way to download music, and, with iTunes, is making some headway into how we rent and download movies and TV shows as well.
But the iPad doesn't do Flash, some are already saying it's too slow, and frankly, it looks like a cool product looking for a market. Tellingly, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says his company isn't worrying about delivering videos to the iPad.
My take? That market should be digital delivery. Show us that it's a better way to get our hands on virtual content, and we'll buy it. Books? Check. Music? Check. Movies? Check. But there has to be more. Can it make magazines and newspapers sexy again? Now, that would be worthy of some hype.