iPad: Just a Big iPod Touch or Game-Changer

What? Yesterday was the State of the Union Address? Don’t you mean the Apple iPad announcement? Oh, it was after the iPad event? Totally missed that–too busy drooling.

The above scene likely took place all over America yesterday. Or did it. Reactions to the iPad are mixed. It looks and works a lot like a huge, fast iPod Touch. But, then again, it looks and works pretty cool. The big question for publishing is does it change things? Is iBooks what we’ve been waiting for? Or is it Apple’s version of the locked-down Kindle Store?

It was unclear from yesterday’s event whether the iBooks app will accept books bought elsewhere than iBooks. Sounds like it won’t, meaning we’re looking at a situation much like the Kindle store, where getting books for the iPad locks you into Apple. Does anyone have a different impression? Most likely, all eBook iPhone apps–Stanza, even Kindle–will work on the iPad. So there’s that option. iBooks will accept ePub, which is great, but will Apple’s DRM prevent non-Apple books from working? We’ll have ot wait a bit to find out.

Certainly the iPad knocks Kindle DX right out–why pay almost the same money for a sluggish grayscale device? Eyestrain? As if we don’t spend all day looking at screens. If you ask this blogger, E-Ink screens aren’t long for this world.

But is this the game-changer that publishers–both book and magazines–have been hoping for? Not so sure. What do you think?