The question on the collective mind of the media this morning: Can Steve Jobs do it again?
For his first trick, Apple’s genius revolutionized the computer by inventing the Mac. Next, he revolutionized the mobile music universe with the iPod. Next up, he transformed the mobile phone universe with the iPhone.
This morning, he’s poised to unveil Apple’s entry in the tablet derby with the iTablet or the iSlate, which will be approximately the same size as those e-reader devices already on the market, such as the Kindle or the Sony e-reader.
And so, naturally, people are asking: Can he do it again?
I hope so. And here’s why.
We’ve been waiting a long time for the Device That Can Do Everything. If Jobs gets it right, the iThing will be that device.
For years, computers have been getting smaller and more mobile until now, where there’s a sweet spot between the best smartphone and the lightest, most lavish laptop.
You can do just about anything on a laptop, but it’s just a little too clumsy to fit into your modern 21st-century lifestyle. And you can do just about anything on your iPhone. But you have to squint to do it.
The tablet device has all the potential in the world to deliver all the world: Movies, music, games, TV, and the office, as well as The Office. At the same time, it can be an ideal platform for books, magazines, and this newspaper, among others.
In fact, Jobs could save the media. So far, he has defied gravity and convinced millions of people to continue to actually buy music via iTunes, and publishers hope beyond hope he can do the same thing for all content. Because, if you build something that people really want, they’ll pay for it.
And if Jobs has a secret, he builds things that people want. I was a BlackBerry early adopter and a diehard loyalist — until I discovered the iPhone and all the things it could do. Now? BlackBerry, SchmackBerry.
If newspapers, magazines and books are as easy to buy, navigate, and enjoy on the iThing (“enjoy” being the key word), then maybe we’re on the threshold of a media miracle.
There is every indication Jobs knows what’s at stake this morning. He has reportedly said this is the most important thing he has ever done. And there are thousands of authors, editors, publishers, producers and presidents who are praying he is right. Again.