By now, if you pay attention to the internet whatsoever you’ve likely heard about the announcement of Apple’s iPad this morning (unfortunate name for those of you from Boston, as someone pointed out on Twitter). Steve Jobs unleashed this hotly anticipated device on the world in a presentation this morning that is fueling speculation about how it will affect the world of comics.
See all of the juicy details after the jump.
Update: Vaneta Rogers from Newsarama has a discussion with ComiXology and a demo of what it could look like on the iPad on their site. Check it out.
Second Update: Vaneta Rogers from Newsarama speaks to Marvel about the iPad – note the conclusion of the article, as it states DC declined to comment. Shocking. Note the sarcasm indicated by italics.
Third Update: Vaneta Rogers owns this topic. She has an article up about how the rest of the industry is responding to the iPad up as well.
Before we get into my take on what this means for the world of comics, let’s look at the tale of the tape and see what it has going for it:
- 9.7 inch IPS screen
- Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Available in 16, 32, and 64 GB versions
- Essentially a large iPhone with Tablet capabilities
- All versions come with WiFi, some with 3G data
- Access to 140,000 Apps (including iBooks and ComiXology)
- Pricing begins at $499 for 16 GB version, with 64 GB version w/ WiFi/3G at $829
That’s a hell of a thing.
To me, I definitely see the possibilities from a comic fans standpoint. With the inclusion of apps like ComiXology and possibly iVerse or others (now or in the future I’m not sure), this would immediately become the preeminent comic reader. Could it be the eventual leader of the downfall of print comics? I’m not sure. It is still a cost sensitive device, but it is an option that comic fans did not have before and something that really has a wow factor that other readers did not have.
Throw in the iBooks app, in which you may be able to access graphic novels of various sorts in the future, and you have one hell of a comic reader on a beautifully rendered screen.
From a comic creator standpoint, it’s a little more uncertain. An Apple tablet has long been dreamt about by artists, as the product assuredly would have the precision and the touch that they look for in such a device. Whether or not they have the software is an entirely different question, but Apple’s Steve Sprang did quickly demonstrate the program “Brushes” (demonstrated above, image via CBR via Gizmodo), which is a paint program allowing for image manipulation and creation. As Engadget said (via CBR), it is “very slick — probably the most impressive demo yet. A very sophisticated use of the screen real estate.”
Just from the base details and the demonstration, it could be that long awaited device that creators have fawned over and dreamt about for years.
But I highly doubt it.
What this means for the comic industry is uncertain until people start getting them in their hands.
Could it be the final stake into the heart of the print comic medium? Not likely.
Could it be a big push in that direction? Certainly.
Could it be the new go-to tool for the next and current generation of comic creators? Perhaps.
We’ll see in 60 (or 90 if you want 3G) days. All I know is I want one, because that thing looks damn cool. Regardless of speculation, it likely will mark a minor tick against the print section of the industry as a whole. But who knows: when Apple is thrown into the equation, all bets are off.