As Apple honcho Steve Jobs introduced the company's latest game-changer, the iPad, the Los Angeles Times called it “the most anticipated tablet since Moses.'” Over-hyped or not, the possibilities for this near 10-inch touch-screen computer will probably roll over us slowly — the same way the iPhone's capabilities didn't really dawn on the marketplace until well into its run.
While the publishing, magazine and newspaper industries are licking their chops over the device as a possible, Kindle-like savior that might help them replace dwindling print subscribers and advertisers, one possibility for the thing that isn't talked about too much is as a mobile television and movie-viewing device. Via wi-fi and expected 3G capability (and in conjunction with the Apple TV storage and streaming device, or not), the thing could help you watch stored TV and movies from almost anywhere, even cars.
Of course, the big question for Hollywood is, where are you going to get that content? Will it be from NBC/Fox-run Hulu.com? Or will it be pirated, BitTorrent material? The industry is scrambling to get its head around the device.
“For TV industry watchers,” writes Broadcasting & Cable, ” … the big questions concern the device's potential to disrupt both traditional TV distribution models and the recent disruptors challenging it.”
The publication reports that CBS and Disney have possibly been in talks with Apple to create a “best-of” TV streaming service for select programming. There's also speculation that Apple is working on technology that would allow users to store TV-program purchases online — in “the cloud” — which would be perfect for a low-storage, cloud-connected device like the iPad. Already, Broadcasting & Cable reports, Apple is rumored to be negotiating with studios and broadcasters to lower per-show download prices at its iTunes store from $1.99 to .99 cents, making it more competitive with network sites like Hulu.