Friday, March 05, 2010

Yes, most of us are still media consumers, and that's iPad's appeal

John Battelle and my many friends who can’t wait to disparage the iPad as “passive,” “old-school” or proprietary need to take deep breath and calm down.
None of them had such harsh criticisms about the Kindle, a far more restrictive and decidedly more passive device. Most of them carry netbooks that are underpowered, cramped little boxes with almost no aesthetic appeal. Why are they so bothered about the fact that the iPad will (reportedly) be a gorgeous canvas on which all kinds of media — yes, including interactive media — can be enjoyed?
Yeah, you won’t use the iPad to create the rich media. So what? 
Many of them criticize me every time I mention “consumers.” Yet the fact remains that most people — overwhelmingly so — consume most of their media diet; they are not co-creating much of it at all. The stuff they do create — social media, mainly — will work fine on iPad. 
These critics might consider that a third of the country doesn’t have broadband access. They should look at the statistics that show content creation vs consumption is more lopsided than the standard 80/20 rule of thumb.
Until the next-best device comes along, most of us will enjoy having a well-designed, easy to use, highly portable device for reading the new enhanced Penguin books or Condé Nast magazines or whetever other wonderful new media will populate the new ecology.