Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of design, describes the new iPad as “magical,” while Yves Behar predicts it “will be the ultimate media controller and media consumption device.” As you’re no doubt aware, the new tablet computer is a sleek 1.5-pound slab fronted by an iPod-style screen powered by a novel A4 chip and impressively enduring battery technology. “The face of the product is pretty much defined by a piece of multitouch glass, and that’s it,” says Ive. “There’s no pointing device. There isn’t even a single orientation. There’s no right or wrong way of holding it.”
iPad users will find the familiar iTunes and App stores along with the iBookstore, a new e-bookseller that taps into Apple’s freshly inked deals with publishers including HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Penguin. Thanks to a high-profile partnership with The New York Times, the iPad includes a Times application, allowing users to browse, zoom, and resize the virtual version of the paper and take advantage of multimedia offerings. The outlook for magazines and newspapers other than the Times is less clear. “Steve Jobs would have been smart to have a magazine company on stage,” Hearst Magazines president Cathie Black told The Wall Street Journal of the media partners that graced the stage at yesterday’s launch.
As for the fate of non-Times newspapers, veteran designers Mario Garcia and Joe Zeff are on the case. Garcia, whose Garcia Media has redesigned publications including The Wall Street Journal and Die Zeit, and Zeff, former graphics director of Time and presentation editor of the Times, are teaming up to help newspapers tabletize their content. “We hope to provide newspapers worldwide with the tools and talent to approach this new and decisive time for what we call journalism,” notes Garcia on his blog. A meeting to discuss the future of the newspaper industry in the age of the iPad is planned for February 20-21 in New York City.