Apple Tablet Won't Save Newspapers

by Braden Kelley

Apple Tablet Won't Save NewspapersI came across an article talking about some of the reasons why any Apple tablet (iSlate, iPad, iTablet, Macbook, etc.) won’t save the newspaper publishing industry.

Keep in mind that when it comes to innovation, it must move through a lifecycle that begins with an insight and ends with adoption. The bigger the innovation, the harder it is to progress through the whole lifecycle, especially the adoption phase. The more innovation introduced in an Apple tablet, the longer it will take to reach mass adoption.

The most important points of the article center around potential barriers to adoption of an Apple tablet and their cascade effect on becoming barriers to adoption of a newspaper subscription on an Apple tablet (especially regional or local papers). Here are a few to consider:

  1. The high cost of any Apple device (likely to cost $500-700 when purchased with a data plan)
  2. The high cost of an acompanying data plan (probably another $600-800 annually)
  3. This will likely be an incremental not a replacement device (people will have to decide whether they can afford to buy another computer to supplement a desktop or laptop and a mobile phone or smartphone
  4. Will people want to pay to subscribe to the Seattle Times when they could pay to subscribe to the New York Times, USA Today, Financial Times, or Wall Street Journal?
  5. People have a lot of free online news and entertainment options
  6. People must allocate their discretionary entertainment spending amongst newspapers, magazines, books, television, internet, video, music, games, and more
  7. Many of the most popular App Store downloads are free or low cost items

These barriers to adoption may slow the adoption of an Apple tablet (as imagined by the most reliable of the rumor mongers). But, if or when an Apple tablet does catch on, it is quite possible that if anything, an Apple tablet might actually accelerate the demise of local newspapers.

What do you think?

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Braden KelleyBraden Kelley is the editor of Blogging Innovation and founder of Business Strategy Innovation, a consultancy focusing on innovation and marketing strategy. Braden is also @innovate on Twitter.

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