Content convergence and the Apple tablet

July 27, 2009 § 3 Comments


Yesterday’s Financial Times featured an article about Apple’s long-rumored tablet computer.  There’s certainly no shortage of speculation about what an Apple tablet might look like and how it might function.  But what I found particularly interesting was FT’s reference to Project Cocktail, Apple’s enhanced content negotiations with record companies:

The entertainment industry is hoping that Apple, which revolutionised the markets for music players and for phones, can do it again. “It’s a portable entertainment device,” said one entertainment executive. “It’s going to be fabulous for watching movies.” Recording industry executives said Apple planned to use the larger screen to offer new services such as interactive booklets and liner notes that come along with purchases of entire music CDs.

It seems Apple’s forthcoming tablet (along with the next evolution of iTunes) could foster a revolution of unprecedented content convergence. The embattled music industry seems poised to jump on this opportunity, and publishers could also have much to gain for jumping on board.  With a proposed 10-inch full-color screen, gesture recognition, and full Internet connectivity, the tablet will undoubtedly be a Kindle on steroids.  But that’s only part of the story.

Whereas the iPhone revolutionized what a phone can do, Apple’s tablet could revolutionize what content can do.

If Apple gets this service ecosystem right, partnerships between developers and content providers could usher in a new tide of tablet apps that blur the lines between eBooks, music, film, games, and social media.  This may be too little, too late for the vast majority of newspapers, but it is encouraging to consider Apple’s forthcoming tablet as a generative platform for new business models for musicians and writers.  Especially when you watch Chris Anderson struggle to offer Charlie Rose anything beyond advertising-supported and basic freemium schemes as solutions to the woes of newspapers and publishers:

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