I don’t know enough—or as much as the tech pundits do—to dissect, slice, dice, julienne, and fry all the possible implications. I am for sure worried about the common concerns, like not being able to read all the Kindle books I’ve bought, or not being able to stream Netflix on my iPad or iPhone.
Until that happens, I’ve taken the sideline to see how things unfold as the tech world scrambles over itself.
I do have one curiosity, though, about how this affects “the average user”. As much as I’ve tried to put myself in the shoes of an average user, I have a hunch I’m not one, or at least in Apple’s eye. One night, I captured a picture of my parents sitting on the couch, my mom playing on her iPhone, and my dad browsing for news on an iPad, and it dawned on me that they might be considered more “average” than me.
After all, they’re not going to jailbreak and root anything. They’re not going to try to run Android as a dual boot. They just need to be able to turn their devices on and off, and send a picture, a message, or read the news. While I am trying to squeeze all the features out of my devices, demanding and constantly asking “What more can you do for me?”, I don’t think it’s the same for my parents. They don’t think of their devices as something to hack and do surgery on.
What do these devices mean for an average user? Specifically, how do they read news and magazines? Curious about this, I went to the App Store and looked up what I consider the quintessential average user—busy moms and busy women who still want to stay current with all the trends, tips and tricks for that much promised Best Life—Oprah fans.
Here are some comments about the Oprah Magazine app for February 2011:
“I have subscribed to O Magazine since the beginning 10 years ago. I love this new app! I have the January and February issue on my IPad. I have one suggestion. Make the app a subscription price instead of $3.99 per issue. I now trying to decide to cancel my magazine subscription or download monthly to my iPad.”
“Give us an annual subscription price and I’d gladly sign up and go green. A reluctant 4 stars for a 5 star app.”
“It could be 5 stars if new issues was [sic] and “in-app” purchase rather than purchase one app every month. “
“Please please please make make this a subscription and load it into one app.”
What I see here is a clear desire to have content from a trusted source in the easiest way possible: one app, one subscription. As I mentioned, I have no idea how this will pan out, and for the sakes of all my Kindle books, I hope Gruber’s right: “You’ll seldom go wrong betting on Apple doing something that’s good for Apple and good for its users — no matter what the ramifications for everyone else.”