Today, the radio industry publication Music Week published Dan Thornton's thoughts on the iPad's impact on commercial radio. As Absolute Radio Digital Marketing Manager, he brought up a lot of good thought-starters on the potential. What I found most interesting was him setting the interaction environment of use.
iPad replaces all those heavy textbooks
While those like me don't see a fit for the iPad in an already computer-saturated home environment, the iPad literally takes twenty pounds off the backs of high school and college kids if their textbooks are all available through the app store. And why wouldn't publishers put their books in the App store? The audience is already there and ready to one-click all the bookstore hassle away.
iPad is for small group sharing
As I've been talking about for the past year or so, I believe the next wave in social computing is small groups. I see today's kids in the US behaving a lot like young adults in Korea, finding a lot of enjoyment and social currency in using a single computer together. This concept also extends to networked publics, and being able to create a small social conversation about a topic or item not among all 120 of your Facebook friends, but maybe 2-8 of them.
Where the iPod is really good for personal consumption, the iPad is really interesting when you put it in the setting of two or three people. The screen is large enough that a few people sitting close together in a cafeteria or dorm room can see the screen or hear the audio clearly, and small enough that it can be easily shared.
Even radio now needs group game mechanics
Bringing this back to radio, the iPad, its screen, and multi-touch now invite a few people to engage in applications: a bridge no other tablet has yet to cross. Trying something as simple as allowing two people to tap and name the song first would be a breakthrough for some lucky radio station. This environment also seems well suited for apps made for kids with laptops, like MTVs Backchannel: which ties together the discourse of kids social groups and television programming.
While the iPad may have another version or two to go, it's clearly opening a path to own the context economy for millenials and younger. What do you think? Continue the conversation in the comments or on Twitter @mleis.