Why I won’t be buying an iPad in the near future

1 02 2011

I own a shiny Apple Macbook pro. It’s a machine that allows me to create as well as consume content, however and whenever I wish. Apple have always been the slicker, better dressed cousin of any other platform or operating system out there, fact! The launch of the iPad has ushered in a new era where comic books finally have a portable screen-based device that makes reading digital comics a pleasure. I must admit, I’ve been tempted to ‘splash the cash’ on such a device as part of my research into the emergence of motion comics. However, news coming out of the New York Times website suggests that for the owners of devices such as iPads, a new policy by Apple threatens to undermine the growth of digital comics on their devices.

“The company has told some applications developers, including Sony, that they can no longer sell content, like e-books, within their apps, or let customers have access to purchases they have made outside the App Store. Apple rejected Sony’s iPhone application, which would have let people buy and read e-books bought from the Sony Reader Store. ” From NYTimes.com

How, you might ask, does this affect me as a comic book reader? Imagine the new Dark Horse digital comic book store is ready to go online. They want to sell their digital comics for lower prices via their unique app. One only has to check out Mark Waid’s recent interview with Newsarama to discover that the consumer and creator of digital comics are not getting a fair deal … Mark-Millar

It seems that Apple have decided that it’s not enough that they’re already getting a percentage from each app that’s sold, they want to create the equivalent of a bespoke content platform, where everything must conform to Apple’s particular standards (It’s already happened to any content that features Flash for instance). They are effectively barring consumers from accessing cheaper content available outside of the apps store. The following quote from James L. McQuivey, highlights the change in focus by Apple, and points to the apps platform as a somewhat insidious construct:

“This sudden shift perhaps tells you something about Apple’s understanding of the value of its platform,” said James L. McQuivey, a consumer electronics analyst at Forrester Research. “Apple started making money with devices. Maybe the new thing that everyone recognizes is the unit of economic value is the platform, not the device.” From NYTimes.com

I personally hope that this is a misunderstanding, and Apple will see the error in turning their popular Apps store into a large stick to beat the smaller publishers and content creators with. If not … watch the Android platform make significant progress against Apple!

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One response

4 02 2011
Starfox

That’s only to be expected, if very disappointing. As soon as money starts raising it’s ugly head, everybody wants their cut. Like you say hopefully it’s just a misunderstanding, but I doubt it! 😦

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