January 2010
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Why the iPad Makes Murdoch Right

Where were you when it started
Do you want it for free
What was it you wanted
Are you talking to me?
- WHAT WAS IT YOU WANTED?

Right. It’s the iPad and, obvious jokes aside, I think the device is going to revolutionise more than just reading on the toilet.

Here’s the thing – the iPad is just too damn beautiful for shit content. I think this is the best thing that has happened to publishing for a long long time. People will pay for content on this baby, and on other devices that follow. Be assured, they will follow, just like they followed the iPhone. I wouldn’t disrespect my iPad (that someone is sure to send me as a gift) by reading machine-generated advertorial crap on it. I want to read good content written by people that are paid to write. And I’d be happy to pay a small fee for this – for books, newspapers, magazines, video and the hybrids of these that are going to emerge.

We recently saw a lot of people paying for the Guardian iPhone App, although I don’t understand how a one-off payment for content is sustainable. We need a way to do in-app recurring payments, which should be relatively easy. Murdoch’s threat to remove News Corp content from Google and start charging for it makes more and more sense. And all you people that scream about content being free – consider the BBC web site for a second. They produce wonderful content, which is paid for by every citizen in the UK as part of our taxes, and I don’t think many people begrudge them this.

There will also be people that scream “Damn You, @McBoof. How could you write about the joys Open Data and Open Standards then embrace a Paywall. Judas!”. To those I say, “Trust Me, Open does not always mean Free”. More on this another time.

A last thought on the iPad. The fact that it doesn’t have a camera doesn’t bother me at all. The lack of Flash is a small issue, but I don’t like Flash much. No USB port sadly – the device is still too closed for me. And it needs to multitask, and I got the impression from what I’ve seen so far that it doesn’t. That sucks a bit. Still, I want one.

Let’s close on a video from 2006 (thanks to @halvorson):

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1,359 comments to Why the iPad Makes Murdoch Right