In January, Joe Wilcox made a mistake. Before the iPad's release, the prominent tech blogger announced it dead on arrival. "The world doesn't need an Apple tablet, or any other," he said. "It is at best a niche product."
Now, Wilcox is eating crow:
Gloaters will circle my admission like vultures pecking a carcass, but that's the penalty for being wrong. Yes, I was wrong. I admit it.
What changed his mind? The iPad's immersive experience. He riffs on Nicholas Carr's musings about how the Internet is shortening our attention span and explains how Wired magazine's app makes for a richer reading experience. First Carr:
Carr writes about how using the Internet changes us -- not just our behavior but neural wetware. All those hyperlinks and other visual elements, the pecking of tweets, RSS alerts, IMs and e-mail...The iPad is a remedy for distraction while letting users reap the Internet's benefits... There is something immersive about consuming content on iPad that does change the Web experience -- and that of other media. As I asserted earlier, the iPad's immersive qualities are part shape and design (how people hold the device) and user interface (software and services).
Now for the Wired app, which Wilcox says eminently succeeds at immersing the reader:
Immersion -- and this is something every media publisher wants of its consumers -- extends well beyond iPad's Web browser, which doesn't deliver the device's best immersive content experiences. Games and publishing apps are more immersive. Among the latter category, WiredWired magazine app shows what the future of electronic media can be: There is a clear delineation between Wired ads and content. The horizontal moving through the magazine but vertical scrolling of stories is inspired. I find myself more likely to read an entire iPad Wired story than one from Economist or Rolling Stone print (I subscribe to both).