The mutually orgasmic chortle of the cognoscenti missed the point about the announcement of the Apple iPad by a citified mile because a preponderance of yappers were obsessed with where said tablet fell in the pluperfect Apple pantheon of digital inamorata.
Was it cellphone or laptop? Would it set the Kindle aflame? Would it render all that had come before pale paleocentric imitations of what was meant to be?
Or is it just a beloved billing mechanism that newspapers, magazines, and movie-makers have been looking for since Indiana Jones found the Holy Grail?
In the rush to slobber over one's self, the real point of the iPad was either missed or dismissed in a whiff of epic proportions. To whit I submit this humble rejoinder to the hordes. At the end of the day, at the end of this decade, the iPad will be seen as the first device that collected all the media together in one truly portable place. The real power of the iPad model will thus come not from the monetization of any one thing but in the creation of a whole new form -- a form of forms, if you will.
I know this is a confusing concept -- a whole new ballgame -- because I've been trying to figure it out since Joe Torre won his first pennant with the Yankees. I call it the "supernovel." The novelist Milan Kundera talks about "a form he is seeking" and how the novel can encompass all forms. Think of how Frank Gehry dissembled the very idea of form in architecture to create a "village of forms."
That's what the iPad does for the supernovelist: the tablet is literally a tabula rasa for the commingling of audio, video, text, and graphics -- of movies, books, pamphlets, plays, diaries, novels, novellas, non-fiction, newsreels...and the list never ends. To succeed, artists of any all kinds will have to become Stevie Wonder in the studio, a wunderkind able to perform on every instrument and to sing in every voice.
Confused? Don't be: the key will still be story, story, story, no matter how poor the artist or how rich content becomes. One big difference: the user will play a new and different role, interacting and even influencing the story at all points. That's a revolution unto itself.
In two or three more generations the iPad will become a true multimedia monster that changes the means of production forever. In the meantime the time has surely come to exploit the blank sheet every artist has been waiting for without even knowing it.
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