Happy Birthday iPad!

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Well, everyone may be talking up iPad 2 and just what it may include in terms of features (especially screen and cameras) but today belongs to the iPad. Today it’s one year since the iPad made its appearance and what a year it has been! Not only has Apple once again changed the name of the game and single-handedly revitalised the whole Tablet sector (remember Microsoft’s failed attempt to get us all excited about tablet computers way back in 2001?) but it has brought some much-needed cheer to publishing houses around the world. As print newspapers continue to decline, Apple has brought new hope to the sector with it’s digital publishing technology and the introduction of a subscription model so that publishers are now scrambling over one another to get on board. Already you can sign up for digital versions of well-know newspapers and magazines.

However, it’s early days yet and some are predicting that it will not all be good news for publishers with plenty of churn in evidence as subscribers don’t renew after the first month or so of subscribing. Perhaps it has something to do with the level of subscriptions being asked with some accusing the publishers of being greedy. After all, as no printing, no paper and no physical distribution is involved (unlike with paper versions) it should prove to be much cheaper to produce digital versions. So, subscriptions should be much cheaper than the printer version. For example, in the UK a typical quality newspaper costs in the region of £1 a copy (more for week-end issues) but a typical subscription for the iPad version is in the order of £2 a week (Times & Sunday Times). bearing in mind that most folk don’t by a copy of the print version every single day (I don’t as you never have time to read all the pages) and taking account of the extra costs of the week-end verions, I’d say a typical user would spend about £5 a week on the printed version. When you think that there is no need for large print factories, buying in paper and inks etc, paying lots of workers to print and ship the things, the overheads of going digital must be a tiny proportion of the printed versions. So, to my mind £2 a week is still to much. I realise that until the publishers stop printing actual physical copies they still have to bear these costs but the digital side of the business should be run as a separate business and not to prop up the ailing printed side.

What do you think?

So, coming back to the iPad and it’s birthday. Despite it’s many critics, the iPad has been a roaring success. Apple recently announced that 7.33 million units were sold in the quarter ending 25 December 2010 and the iPad utterly dominates the media tablet sector, according to figures from IDC. So, that’s certainly something to celebrate, especially when you consider all the ones that have been total flops, despite coming out after the iPad!

Finally, with iPad 2 imminent (as early as April some pundits are saying) there may not be a second birthday to celebrate so I raise my glass and wish you a happy birthday!

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