Jeff Jarvis has a forceful disquisition on “the iPod moment for newspapers”. He makes the point that the newspaper industry has for a long time assumed that its salvation lay in ‘e-paper’ — a flexible, foldable, high-res electronic display technology which would allow newspapers to continue as they were but with added e-power. Jeff’s view is that it ain’t gonna be like that, and I’m sure that he’s right. The new iPhone and iPod Touch devices are already pretty impressive as networked readers, and they will doubtless get better in the next couple of years.
I had an interesting discussion yesterday with Brian about the use of the term ‘iPod moment’. It’s slightly misleading because it implies that the appearance of a gizmo is the crucial event. Not so. The genius of the iPod was that it was paired from the outset with iTunes software — and that that software had a beautiful, intuitive interface. It was the combination of the two that made it simple for the average non-techie to manage compressed music files. There were lots of portable MP3 players before the iPod, but syncing them to a PC involved geekery to some degree and so was not for ordinary mortals.
So what really constitutes an ‘iPod moment’ is the instant when it becomes possible for the average consumer to engage in a practice that is terminally disruptive for an established industry.