The power and potential of the original iPad as a new media device is now proven with the very recent announcement of the upcoming iPad 2 release. Tablet computers have existed for at least a decade, but why is the iPad pioneering as a device to transform the already newly changing media-sphere and how society interacts with media? More specifically, how is the iPad changing publishing?
‘Publishing’ simply means to make information for public. A lot of our online activity is publishing, or somewhat related to publishing. Facebook, Twitter, online news, posting your best game score to a leaderboard? All publishing. But what about the more traditional sense of publishing, like books and magazines? The iPad bridges this very gap between new and older ways of publishing. Now people can store hundreds and thousands of e-books in a device, read them on the go, and even remove them from the device with a few touches to the screen; books going from physical to virtual space. Yet, the most crucial part of the iPad revolutionising the way books are read is allowing interactive embedded multimedia in e-books; thus, these ‘books’ are expanded beyond text and still images or illustrations, functioning very similarly to how different online media forms relate and link with one another.
Book-lovers argue that e-books will not be up to par with the realness of a physical copy of a book; you associate different life stories with them by lending your books to different people, reading bedtime stories to your children, or the visual impact of seeing your physical collection of books. Now with the overwhelming popularity of social networking sites (forms of publishing), there are innovations to make e-reading communal – leaving public notes in e-books, sharing your digital bookshelves with your social networks, etc. While people may be sharing a lot more to a wider audience now, I believe there is still a symbolic distinction amongst reading books, reading e-books, and surfing the Internet; so communal e-reading may take some time to actually be widespread.
With recent technological developments and the changing media landscape, people are having shorter attention spans on reading and are used to filtering media they are not interested in. Will e-books last long as a form of media? Or will they be congregated into a multitude of websites and other online media forms? The future of publishing is unpredictable.
Winnie Ho (3292568)
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