PR pros must view Apple's iPad as a true game-changer

The lines stretching out of Apple stores and onto the streets on April 3 bore testament to the enormous power of the iconic Steve Jobs-led brand and the excitement and anticipation generated by the launch of the company's new iPad product.

The lines stretching out of Apple stores and onto the streets on April 3 bore testament to the enormous power of the iconic Steve Jobs-led brand and the excitement and anticipation generated by the launch of the company's new iPad product.

Apple sold 300,000 units on that first day. Moreover, the company says demand for the iPad in the US has been "surprisingly strong," so much so it is having trouble fulfilling orders in the US and has delayed the launch of the tablet computer internationally.

The iPad combines the portability of the iPhone with the functionality of a desktop computer, incorporating user-friendly access to iBooks, newspaper and magazine-style content, video, and music. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Time were launch content partners.

There will no doubt be the typical complaints about flimsy battery power - especially when accessing graphic-heavy applications - and patchy wi-fi connection, but there's little doubt Apple has hit the jackpot again. The question is whether this latest launch is just natural evolution or, as Jobs believes, a genuine game-changer. More importantly for the readers of PRWeek, what is its impact likely to be on the worlds of PR and communications?

Of course, this is still in the very early days. Content owners from the fields of traditional and new media are still learning about the possibilities the new device has to offer and the applications they can build to better showcase their content - and, crucially, generate new and sustainable revenue streams.

But there is little doubt the iPad, and the succession of me-too products that are likely to emerge onto the market in the next 12 months, have the potential to fundamentally change the way people access media. And that means it is absolutely crucial for PR and communications professionals of all types to quickly take on board this changing content consumption dynamic and understand the implications for their clients and consumers.

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