From Jeff Jarvis.
The iPad is retrograde. It tries to turn us back into an audience again. That is why media companies and advertisers are embracing it so fervently, because they think it returns us all to their good old days when we just consumed, we didn’t create, when they controlled our media experience and business models and we came to them. The most absurd, extreme illustration is Time Magazine’s app, which is essentially a PDF of the magazine (with the odd video snippet). It’s worse than the web: we can’t comment; we can’t remix; we can’t click out; we can’t link in, and they think this is worth $4.99 a week. But the pictures are pretty.
That’s what we keep hearing about the iPad as the justification for all its purposeful limitations: it’s meant for consumption, we’re told, not creation. We also hear, as in David Pogue’s review, that this is our grandma’s computer. That cant is inherently snobbish and insulting. It assumes grandma has nothing to say. But after 15 years of the web, we know she does. I’ve long said that the remote control, cable box, and VCR gave us control of the consumption of media; the internet gave us control of its creation. Pew says that a third of us create web content. But all of us comment on content, whether through email or across a Denny’s table. At one level or another, we all spread, react, remix, or create. Just not on the iPad.
LATER: Just noticed this comment by Quentin on Jeff’s post:
I don’t know, Jeff… I never expected to do much more than consume with it. I saw it as a better iPod rather than a better laptop. After all, I never worried that the Kindle would turn people into mere consumers of books, rather than authors.
So I have been pleasantly surprised, for example, by how good the onscreen keyboard is, and I can use my bluetooth keyboard if wanted…
I’m more likely to have this with me than I am a laptop, and I’m more likely to create content on it than I am on an iPhone. So I think content creation may increase rather than decrease for me.
Your point about data being locked inside apps is a good one, though needs to be balanced perhaps with, say, the adoption of the open epub format for books, which could result in an increase in the amount of searchable data out there when compared to things like the Kindle…?
Quentin calls it “coffee-table computing” btw. Not a bad metaphor.