My good friend Joe wrote a lovely little piece on the joys of being at the cottage and ultimately on the death of the newspaper. I think he’s a bit off on his prediction, simply because of the timing.Â He thinks that the newspaper will be gone in 10 years. I think that he is a technophile (and one of the best) but does not realize that the majority of the population are technophobes. How does one open a laptop to read a newspaper on the bus or subway (no wi-fi down there)? Reading on an iPod? Please. Squinting and moving your finger around a tiny screen is nothing compared to the feel and ease of a paper. I love reading online, but I also thoroughly enjoy the paper as well. You can “stumble on” to an article you wouldn’t normally read in a paper.
So Joe, although you may eventually be right, I think that Mark Twain had it accurate when he said “Rumours of my demise are greatly exaggerated.”
You’re both on the wrong note about the newspapers expiring or living due to tech, apparently, according to Limbaugh, it’s all Obam’s fault cause he’s bad for business: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsk4PN5AKAk …this guys a complete moron.
So, the only reason you don’t think this will happen in 10 years is that the current devices aren’t comparable to the feel of paper? Think about the devices we were using 10 years ago. No iPods. No MP3 players. The first generation Palm was black and grey and you wrote using Graffiti. There were no GPS devices in cars. $2000 would buy you a brand new Pentium, or maybe a Pentium Pro running at about 200 Mhz (or 0.2 Ghz if you prefer).
Fast forward to today, and that dinky touchscreen iPod has cleartype and one of the most readable screens I have ever seen. The new iPhone3G has an even better, “warmer” screen than the previous generation that is light, has plenty of storage, and lots of battery life. The iPhone3G looks like someone has taken a printout of the screen and stuck it on. When I first saw the 3G, I thought it was one of those demo units with a fake screen stuck on.
Oh sure, it’s not too readable in bright sunlight, but then you look at the Kindle or the Sony Reader which use E-Ink technology. These things really do look and feel like paper, and don’t need a backlight. If you could read a newspaper, then you can read these. Today, they are large and clunky, but give it two or three years and they’ll have a 4th or 5th generation product that is much better.
7 years of perfecting later, even the technophobes will be using them. If you had told me in 1998 that people of my parents or grandparents generation would be using the web and email, I would have thought it far-fetched, but there they are. 10 years from now, newspapers will go the way of vinyl records. Some of the purists may have not let go, but most people will jump on the digital print.
10 years is a long time in technology.