So here’s our iPad post. Let’s begin with a quote that’s in our BrandFlux presentation which sums up how humans become familiar with and process new ideas:
“When confronted with something new; people often only reference what they already know.”
Naturally, there’s a lot of discussion going on about what the iPad isn’t, how it possibly disables creation and lacks some basic laptop functionalities —all observations based on comparisons to the familiar. So it’s not hard to understand why some of the early content created for it, mimics familiar content formats as well. (Take a look at “Time Magazine’s app, for example.)
Thinking past what it isn’t and envisioning what it could be (and most likely will become) seems more exciting to us. At its heart, it is simply a wonderful content delivery platform. Video, text, photos all served up in a portable sexy package that just works. So while griping about USB ports, cameras and other missing—but realistically forthcoming features—we believe that it’s more important to think about how it’s time for content to evolve. Dramatically.
Love it hate it, the iPad is going to push content to become:
- More Snackable: Compelling concise bites of sticky content are the future—whether they are free, or behind a paywall, created by brands, publishers or crowds. Users attention spans are not getting longer, but the need for information continues to grow exponentially. The Executive Summary is the rule of thumb here.
- More Interactive and Less Linear: Sure a blog post or a tweet with a link or two are more compelling than those without. But what happens to content when what has been primarily a two dimensional experience can become multidimensional? The GQ iPad app has some great features, but it still feels very linear and was dominated by ads, which also felt linear. We wanted to see more video, things like interviews with writers, behind the scenes peeks, and a navigation that was more browsable and less formal. However, kudos to GQ and Gilt for jaw-dropping, super sharp photography. Any commercial photographer should see the iPad as a potential boon to that challenged industry, finally a screen that rewards photo-professionalism.
- Connected and Manipulated in Different Ways: What lies beyond cutting, pasting and linking? What lies beyond keyboards and mice? We look to the iPad’s larger touch screen as an impetus to move beyond the limits of the conventional. With this in mind, the device becomes a compelling platform as a Sales Force Automation Platform or Mobile Presentation Tool. It’s a different kind of place to connect users with content and ultimately allow users to connect content in different ways.
As usual, we’ll end with questions about whether your brand or publication is taking these ideas into consideration when thinking about how it is developing content. It’s clear the immediate future will demand more from that content than what is expected of it right now.