Apple's Focus on Content and Possible eBook Pricing

Last night Derek Powazek of Fray published an opinion piece called "What I Hope Apple Unleashes Tomorrow". As both a print and online publisher, Powazek provides some excellent insight into the promise of a mainstream Apple tablet with regard to content providers. He concludes:

It's the same hole they filled with the iPod. When it came out, there were CDs on one side (physical media for sale) and file-sharing on the other (free but dodgy). The iPod filled the media experience gap, and the iTunes store filled the payment side. Many pundits said it wouldn't work. It worked.

The same could happen here. Apple could release a device that makes consuming media fun, is able to show any PDF beautifully (just like the iPod would play any MP3), and offers new media for sale in the iTunes store. If they did it right, publishers like me might finally be able to sell something digital that people would actually buy.

The entire piece is worth a read as it may offer the best explanation of why people might need or want a Tablet.

As it turns out, Powzek's dream may be in line with some of Apple's plans. Wired posts a last minute story that claims Apple's focus on Wednesday's event will be on "reinventing content, not tablets".

Apple's goal is to offer a new platform for content creators to reinvent books, magazines and online content -- in addition to offering a new avenue for content producers to make money. That platform will likely be far broader than just a tablet device, and will extend to every device or computer that iTunes touches.

The "creation" reference in the invitation reportedly has to do with content providers who will publish their wares through iTunes using HTML5, Javascript and multimedia. Wired imagines that while the tablet will be the focus, this content could also be played back on laptops, iPhones, iPod Touches or even the Apple TV.

Apple has been aggressively trying to sign on book publishers, and a report from the Wall Street Journal indicates that Apple taking Amazon head on in its negotiations with book publishers. Apple is reportedly looking to set hardcover best sellers at $12.99 and $14.99, above Amazon's current $9.99 pricing. Apple is looking to allow publishers to set their own prices for books, shifting some of the power back to the publishers.

Apple's media event kicks off at 1pm Eastern, 10am Pacific today, Wednesday January 27th. Possible photos of the device were leaked early this morning.

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