Sunday, April 4, 2010

Note to BlackWeb 2.0 re iPad: First isn’t always best

The iPad revolution is held to have officially begun on Saturday at 9 a.m., when Apple began sales of the multimedia tablets nationwide. According to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster's estimates for iPad's first day of sales, somewhere between 600,000 and 700,000 iPads were sold on that frabjous opening day.

While the jury is very much out about who those 600K to 700K customers were, Ken Gibbs Jr. of BlackWeb 2.0 weighed in on March 30 with a lament (also published Saturday, in TheGrio) over who’s apparently opted out of the first wave of media organizations and publications to embrace redesigned Web presences built around the device.

“[W]hat about the African-American market?” Gibbs asks. “Has anyone seen or heard of an iPad demo of Ebony or Jet? Or how about Black Enterprise, Essence, Uptown or Vibe? African-American brands are the ones who could benefit most from the new revenue streams offered by the iPad.”

BW2.0 has a valid point. We’ve known the generalities of what Apple was planning for some time; The New York Times published a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office drawing of an Apple prototype months ago. We’ve known the specifics of what was coming since January, when Apple chieftain Steve Jobs showed it to the world in a dog-and-gigabyte show in San Francisco.

So it is curious that Johnson Publishing Company, publishers of Ebony and Jet, apparently didn’t come up with an early promotable working prototype of their Web sites in the iPad environment, in light of Johnson’s recent (and stunningly attractive) makeovers of both print magazines — and their Web counterparts.

Same would seem to be true for Essence — and for Black Enterprise! Given BE’s high-profile place in minority business journalism, some from-the-jump tie-in with a device likely to be a new and powerful form of personal technology would seem to be a no-brainer.

◊ ◊ ◊

It’s entirely possible, though, that all those print pubs BlackWeb mentioned may have such iPad-configured prototypes in the works right now. It’s not necessarily an advantage to be the first one out of the chute on tweaking a major technological advancement.

With the way technology changes in general, and the way Apple technology can be relied on to change in particular, there’s a lot to be said for laying in the cut for a minute and surveying the terrain before you jump in. Maybe they’re all taking a page or two from Sun Tzu.

We can assume (and sure as hell hope) that when the dust settles, the Webmasters at those black pubs will have iPad-ready versions of their sites, and soon. Like all the early adopters who waited in lines outside Apple Stores for days, the top-shelf, deep-pocketed publishers got in first, which means they’re hostage to any glitches or malfunctions that might arise in the first-generation devices themselves. First-to-market isn’t always the one that people remember.

As it was with the vote, major league baseball and the presidency of the United States, African Americans may not get to something early in the game, but the impact made when we finally arrive is inescapable.

Stay tuned. Better still, stay wired.

Image credit: Steve Jobs, January 2010: Apple tablet patent illustration: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, via The New York Times. Apple Inc. Brother iPad: Via The Huffington Post.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...