Michael Gartenberg asks the question: is Wired for iPad Wired or Tired? Mostly I’m in agreement, but this I must respond to:
While it’s a much better effort than some of the other efforts, more than anything Wired for iPad shows the weaknesses of media apps and demonstrates how the tablet remains a still-imperfect medium to deliver this type of content.
Two things are at play here: one is the iPad in particular, standing out amongst all other tablet-like devices in numerous ways, and the other is the content and applications that are created for the iPad by companies like Wired. Michael’s assertion that “the tablet remains a still-imperfect medium” is based, in my opinion, on nothing but the inability of any and all content publishers to harness its true potential and power. In other words, the sole reason he asserts this is that no one has figured out how to make a decent reading experience yet that is more than just glorified paper.
In the content publisher’s defense, they’ve only had four months worth of time to build anything at all. To their detriment, they’ve had four months with lots of resources and years of publishing experience.
The bigger truth highlighted by the Wired for iPad app, and all of its preceding content apps, is that the print industry just doesn’t know how to wrap its head around digital publishing. Period. They’ve been on the Web for upwards of fifteen years, and they still haven’t quite figured that one out. It’s no surprise that with a revolutionary, paradigm-shifting product like the iPad they’re even more so confused (and I’ll write more on that soon). But just because no content publisher of any size has figured out how to do this right, doesn’t mean the medium itself is imperfect. Already I’ve envisioned several ways wherein the iPad is the platform that, for the first time in history, offers the capabilities and strengths needed to enable the first real revolution in publishing and reading since Gutenberg’s invention of the letterpress.
More than anything that came before it, the iPad allows for enriched, more contextually satisfying and engaging experiences when consuming content. This is true for video, it is true for audio, and it’s true for that beautiful and original act of reading. People just have to figure out how to wield their new swiss-army hammers.
Lastly, Michael concludes with this:
Right now, this Wired experiment is looking tired — it’s time for someone else to step up to the plate and give it a try.
This I am in the utmost agreement with. So if you’re a designer or iOS / Cocoa programmer who is interested in this as well, we should talk.