Apple has always been in the innovation business, and the iPad is no exception. And the iPad, like the iPod before it, could fundamentally change the way we consume media — in this case, video. The iPad might not be the first mass market portable media […]

Apple has always been in the innovation business, and the iPad is no exception. And the iPad, like the iPod before it, could fundamentally change the way we consume media — in this case, video.

The iPad might not be the first mass market portable media device to offer the ability to watch digital video on the fly, but it will probably be the most important one. Apple has been selling online video for viewing on the iPod and the iPhone for years. But those devices had some serious limitations — notably their screen size. With just a 3.5-inch screen, the iPhone was never an ideal video device, though it was “good enough” for watching video on the go. But with a 9.7-inch screen, the iPad is basically a portable TV screen, ideal for consuming video anytime, anywhere.

This is arguably why Apple is pushing content partners to lower the cost of their movies and TV shows, according to reports. It’s betting that the launch of the new device will drive more demand for those files, and that a price decrease will only accelerate that demand, making up for any revenue losses due to halving the price by an increase in volume. By integrating iTunes into the device, Apple is betting that consumers will finally have a platform with which to embrace online video.

And why wouldn’t they? There’s already a huge number of consumers that use their laptops for “bedroom viewing,” tuning to Hulu, YouTube, and other sites before turning off the lights and going to bed. Commuters have turned to watching video on their iPods or iPhones instead of reading a book. And now, Apple has presented those users with a devices that bridges the divide between those two use cases. A device that is big enough to comfortably watch a full-length TV show or movie, but not so bulky as lugging around a laptop. Apple has, in short, created a whole new market opportunity by introducing a device that solves a problem most didn’t even think existed: how to make it easy for users to watch video on the go.

The iPad will cause ripples in multiple industries — including news, book publishing and gaming — but at the end of the day, I’m betting that what the iPad will be used for more than anything is watching video. Like the iPod, it’s only a matter of time before the iPad becomes the defining product with which to consume that type of media.

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  1. Video on the iPad: HD, But No Flash Wednesday, January 27, 2010

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  2. Matthew Stringer Wednesday, January 27, 2010

    Totally disagree with you… for now. No Flash means no porn means no widespread adoption. It’s sad that adult entertainment has that sort of power. Ultimately, Apple’s closed model won’t work without free content.

  3. No cam, no flash, no usb, no sd card, no multitasking. Love Apple but……. seriously?????

  4. …and what about a remote control for when u want to sit it down and just watch a mini-TV?

    Are you seriously going to hold this 24/7 if you are not reading a book?

  5. … and does the screen match the Kindle for reading books. Probably not based on the tech, but we need a first hand report before we can say for sure. Again, I am an Apple fan, but this one did not go out of the park as anticipated. Will it sell? Probably. It looks good and can do some of what the iphone can do, but the reality is that its a large ipod touch and definately NOT a large iphone which has more capabilities.

  6. Not impressed at all.

  7. I tend to agree with the other commenters. Apple looks like they’re going to force consumers to purchase movies/TV through iTunes or some subscription service to come later, but without Flash they are missing out on a huge opportunity. I think if they allowed Flash and put in a ATSC tuner, they could have owned mobile video for the next ten years, at least in the US.

  8. I agree that the lack of Flash is a drag, but I wonder if Apple is betting that their selling a gazillion iPads will speed up widespread adoption of HTML5 video.


    Bite Me TV

  9. Won’t change the way I watch video, since I can’t watch video on the iPad, unless I get that video from the iTunes store. Talk about a monopoly. Apple is cutting out all third party video content owners by not supporting Flash or Silverlight. Short-sided thinking on their part but typically Apple mentality which is control everything, don’t open it up and for god sakes, don’t let any third party company try to distribute anything unless they do it via Apple’s platform AND device.

    1. dan, you’re forgetting about streamed content that would work on the iPad, plus all the non iTunes store ways of encoding your own content.

      And yes, no flash certainly limits the options for streamed content, but doesnt kill the device. we already see sites accomodating the iPhone with specific links/feeds and i could easily see them doing the same for this IF it takes off.

    2. I think what everyone is missing here is the opportunity for video monetization through apps, something that is already happening through the app store. (examples: MLB, NBA, etc.) So you might not be able to watch Hulu for free. But you might be able to watch it by paying $9.99 for an app. There are already some slick cable network apps out there; this could give them the ability to create subscriptions based on the platform. It might not be Flash, and it might not be free, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be attractive on the platform. Will probably follow up on this tomorrow.

      1. No, I think we get that they are trying to create new methods of monetization. What I think most of us are trying to say is that that runs counter to Web culture. We don’t like it.

        Manipulating a fanbase with the word “magical” is no honest way to leverage a closed system.

    3. Silverlight support is coming out from Microsoft. It’s already in closed beta…

  10. Also a lot of videos on youtube have their audio levels set too low. How good are the speakers on the iPAD. It takes a good laptop before you have enough power to crank it up to an acceptable level (unless you use ear buds). So how good are the speakers. That is vital if you are watching youtube videos.

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