The techies and gadget enthusiasts the world over waited with bated breath for Steve Job’s State of the Union address to shareholders last week. Not because he offered any solutions for the growing deficit, the wars in the Middle East, or health care reform. But unlike President Obama’s competing speech, Jobs delivered a Holy Grail of sorts in the form of the iPad.
Technically speaking, the iPad is an iTouch that has been drawn and stretched 7Xs larger. Resembling more a tablet than a hand-held device, the iPad retains the same web-surfing capabilities and the space to store songs, podcasts, and videos of its ancestors. The expansion of the screen however adds the option of reading texts and e-books loaded onto the device, the very feature that casts Amazon’s Kindle as hell bound, since they’ll soon begin open competition for the same consumers.
So if it is the day of reckoning, who’s headed where?
The introduction of the iPad begs the question of who exactly will Jobs be saving? Long in need of a savior in the Internet age, newspapers and magazines have been quick to predict massive overhaul of their operating procedures and u-turns in their revenue graphs. News corporations dream of potential readers – and in light of several major papers beginning to charge for their service, subscribers – landing on their website after seeing a tweet or post on Twitter or Facebook.
But this gets to the heart of the matter – as the iPad stands in between its smart phone and netbook cousins, it undoubtedly will be only positive for social networking sites. Apple’s newest product couples a larger screen than the iPhone with more portability than laptops. This will make it easier to read on-screen material ranging from e-books to news feeds or tweeted links on Facebook and Twitter. The fact that the iPad is less cumbersome will encourage owners to check-in on these networks more frequently than on their netbooks. The result: people will be spending more time, more often on social networking sites. Beyond pop-up ads and mandatory videos, social media networks promise to be a major player in the future of effective marketing, especially with the advent of the iPad.