A spanner in the works of publishing and content

Setting a new level of high-definition, but at a cost for publishers and content creators.

The new iPad is proving to be another challenge in the constantly evolving world of digital publishing and content marketing.


Following up on yesterday’s post, new iPad owners were critical of the pixelation of the text and the photos contained in some of the editions that have not been optimised for the higher resolution of the market-leading tablet. Vogue were the first to address this by offering an optimised version of their latest issue, bumping up the file size from 280MB to 408MB.

Now for argument’s sake, if we take an increase of 30-50% in file size as the benchmark for all other publishers, it poses a serious problem for the overall effectiveness of the new iPad as a publishing tool, or indeed as a multimedia platform for displaying high-definition content in general.

Casting our gaze over the current panoply of high-definition offerings, we see that consumers can readily access it on their Full HD televisions and computers, as well as apparatus such as Blu-ray players or cable provider DVRs. We’re talking serious hardware, built for the pressures of large file sizes by using hard disc drives and optical cables for the streaming of HD content.

The fact of the matter is that contrary to the ever-improving memory capacity of desktop computers and DVRs, the iPad has had a maximum of 64GB of memory capacity for over 2 years, with many consumers opting for the more cost-effective smaller capacities. Subsequently, users have to constantly decide what apps to delete and install when new content comes along.

Can we consider the new iPad’s ‘resolutionary’ display a consumer gimmick, created more to impress than to be of actual functionality and service to a user? Quite likely! Would a larger memory capacity or USB ports have been a more pragmatic addition to the new iPad? Quite possibly. Will the increased file size needed to display content convince people to take out a subscription or make frequent purchases of hi-res copies of the magazine app? Quite unlikely! The trade-off of sacrificing more memory for the sake of a pin-sharp photo in a magazine just isn’t there.

Like the film, technology and entertainment industry that are growing on the back of signficant improvements in high-definition offering, publishers and content marketers in general will have to wait for a similar jump in iPad hardware specification to be able to take advantage of the screen the iPad has to offer consumers.

So until Apple increases the memory capacity of the iPad in line with the more generous offerings of ultrabooks or even the Macbook Air (which mostly feature flash memories between 128 and 256GB), it will always be a hard-sell for high-definition content to command consumer’s attention (and spend) when it comes to tablet devices.

Then again, there is always the 300dpi resolution of magazines printed on paper… Now there’s an idea for high-definition content!

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