The form factor and interactivity of the iPad makes me excited for the future of digital print media, but I wonder how standardization will occur across different hardware platforms running different OS’s.
The idea of stale PDF-style documents is dead, and yet HTML is not currently sufficient to provide application-style interactivity. Flash filled a gap, but Apple killed that. When Windows-based or Linux-based svelte tablets arrive, how do present media in a standard that is perfect in all platforms?
For these new generation of portable, casual computers, web pages need to be completely reinvented. I also think, related to that particular venue in which the interface is essentially invisible, that content will no longer be free – because a digital, interactive magazine will never be able to support itself simply with ad revenue. I subscribe to a cable provider to have a huge variety of content available all of the time; I subscribe to Netflix to consume movie after movie at a flat rate; I subscribe to a few magazines so that I can always have fresh words to read; in the end, everything that is worth attention will fall behind subscription paywalls.
It might be sad to think that, but I also think that now is a very exciting time.