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Pixelating Print:
How the iPad is Saving the New York Times & the World of Reading

 

Apple quite possibly could have saved the world; the world of reading that is. It would be unjust to sit here and tell you Apple isn’t in it for the money, because they are. However, I can allocate an appropriate amount of respect for one of the world's largest companies and how they changed the world of reading for the better with the invention of the iPad. With apps like Newsstand and iBook’s this device has taken reading to a customizable level we would have never thought possible 50 years ago.  The iPad, among other tablets and eReaders, has improved the act of reading newspapers, books, and magazines for decades, if not centuries, to come with its customizable environment, pixel density, and seamless technology. For some, it makes reading fun again.

 

People can argue all day about which company makes the better eReader or tablet, but undeniably the iPad crushes them all. As the previous CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, said “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” This proved true for the iPad. Since the iPad was first released into our tech savvy world in 2010, it has sold over 100 million units around the globe. To put that in perspective, it would be as if every 1 in 3 Americans had an iPad. And with the future releases of the iPad, the iPad will be dominating the tablet world. Eventually, every child, parent, and grandparent alike will own one. This is an invention that changed the world.

 

With the newer iPad generations being released every 6-12 months, along comes new technology with it. It the most recent versions of the iPad, a technology Apple calls the “Retina Display” has been utilized in their tablets. This technology enables the users to not recognize the actual pixels in the screen. The pixel density is so high, the naked eye (or retina, hence the name “Retina Display”) can’t even tell that it is digital. With this innovation comes the debate on which is better: Ink or Pixels? Looking at the use of paper, it kills tree’s, takes up more space, can be torn, stained, and burnt, it uses ink which is a toxic substance, and furthermore it’s production is harmful to the environment. Although, the iPad probably isn’t any better for the environment than books are. The iPad has all the same down falls, except that once you buy one iPad, you (respectively, unless you are a klutz) never have to buy another, unlike paper driven books. This is because the iPad stores digital copies of books on a digital shelf instead of filling your actual shelves with books that are hundreds, if not thousands, of pages in length.

 

iBook’s was released at the same time as the first iPad. It was a fairly new idea to read your books on a screen versus going to Barnes and Noble and picking up a paper copy. Some may even say that April 3rd, 2010 (the day the first iPad was released) is the day the paperback book died. The ability to turn the page at the swipe of a finger fascinated the masses. For some, iBook’s was the persuading factor to buy an iPad. A lot of factors contributed to its success; the portability of an iPad, the digital copies of books were cheaper, the customizable reading environment (backlight, font, font size, landscape or portrait, etc.) All of these persuaded avid paper-copy readers to switch. My father is one of these people. He has read the paper copy of his favorite newspaper, The Seattle Times, for about a decade. Last year, he bought himself an iPad and has never looked back.

 

Newsstand, similar to iBook’s, is an app that allows you to read bright, beautiful digital copies of your favoritemagazines and newspapers. One such newspaper is the New York Times. Taking control of the digital revolution, the New York Times seized the moment. According to Jeff Sonderman from the Poynter Institute, “The week Newsstand launched, the NYTimes for iPad app saw 189,000 new user downloads.”[1] Since the launch of The New York Times app, subscription numbers have gone way up, “With its existing confirmed subscriber total of 390,000 [via digital copy] (probably over 400,000 at this point), the metered model is bringing in a healthy chunk of revenue that didn't exist before.”[2] Although paper newspapers are still preferred (by the company) over digital copies with the same content, this company has turned over a new leaf. With digital being more interactive than paper, the New York Times, along with their brilliant articles, are able to incorporate crystal clear images and even video to enhance the reading portfolio even further. For everything newspapers stand for today (still wanting paper to be successful), you can appreciate the work the New York Times has put in to accommodate the upcoming generation. Eventually all paper print newspaper will be out of business. Whether it’s due to lack of resources or not enough money is being made, it will happen. The newspaper business is going to have to adapt to the digital age, or suffer the consequences. The New York Times has a brilliant quote regarding the situation:

 

"Today, close to a half million people are now paying for digital content from The Times… We knew that readers placed a high value on our journalism, and we anticipated they would respond positively to our digital subscription packages. Our commitment to all of our subscribers, both print and digital, is that we will continue to invest in and evolve our journalism and our products, and we will remain a source of trustworthy news, information and high-quality opinion for many years to come.”[3]

 

The Digital Age is here and it’s here to stay. As much as companies like, the New York Times want paper to live on, the fact of the matter is it’s been gone for a while now. Yes, you can still go out and buy a paper book, but current youth and adults are gravitating towards a different page material; Glass. Apple, with the invention of the iPad has, in some ways, saved books, newspapers, and magazines.


Sources:

 

1. Sonderman, Jeff. "Why Apple’s virtual Newsstand is driving a surge in magazine, newspaper iPad app subscriptions." Poynter. Version 2. The Poynter Institute , 20 Oct. 2011. Web. 4 Mar. 2013.

<www.poynter.org/latest-news/media-lab/mobile-media/150199/why-apples-virtual-newsstand-is-driving-a-surge-in-magazine-newspaper-ipad-app-subscriptions/>.

 

2. Pompeo, Joe. "Bolstered by higher-than-predicted subscription rates, the 'Times' gets more aggressive about charging for online content | Capital New York." Capital New York | New York local news, politics, culture and media. Capital, 20 Mar. 2012. Web. 4 Mar. 2013. <http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/media/2012/03/5514590/bolstered-higher-predicted-subscription-rates-times-gets-more-aggressi>.

 

3. Pompeo, Joe. "A year into the 'Times' digital subscription program, analysts and insiders see surprising success, and more challenges to come | Capital New York." Capital New York | New York local news, politics, culture and media. Capital, 19 Mar. 2012. Web. 5 Mar. 2013. <http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/media/2012/03/5509293/year-times-digital-subscription-program-analysts-and-insiders-see-surp?page=all>.

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