Game changers- Apple did it with the iPad- why can’t Dayton?

Apple iPad

The Apple iPad

Today Apple announced the iPad. I’m not in love with the name- sounds like a feminine hygiene product to me {update- a skit from 3 years ago makes fun of this name- not for those easily offended} , but, since Apple makes it- it will sell no matter what it’s called. I would have preferred ApplePad or even the return of the Apple Newton name (a product that was ahead of its time in many ways).

Sometimes talking with Greg is like riding a mechanical bull, so my serious ideas about how the iPad is a potential game changer got banged around pretty hard in our video. But, I’ll be posting thoughts over on the business site soon. If you don’t know what an iPad is- Apple has lots of information on its site as to the nuts and bolts. What I see is the potential for newspapers to finally abandon print- jettisoning the daily delivery of a dead tree with ink- into a real delivery of their product- news. With the ease of distribution through the Apple iBook store- and the future potential to target ads to individuals through this intuitive interface- this could be the savior of the newspaper business. If wifi were ubiquitous, the connectivity issue would work- get a free iPad with your subscription to a “sponsor” paper (sort of the way cell phones are sold)- but the cost load is delivered through targeted ad delivery and some subscription revenue to the paper.

Each newspaper would collect a “scrape” from other newspapers who are read through the sponsor’s device. The DDN would own the database and relationship and make money by managing your relationship with advertisers along with delivering the local part of the news. This wasn’t included in the presentation – but, is not much different from the way the apps store has worked for delivery of ads. Granted, no one is making billions yet from iApps- except Apple- but that could change if enough iPads landed in peoples hands and enough printing presses went the way of the dodo.

But- back to the game changer part. Apple is not the first e-reader, or tablet computer. In fact, they are late to the game- as they were with the Mac and with the iPod and the iPhone. They just came up with a better idea with a better design. So much of Apple’s aura is from the interaction between people and a computer.

That interface is where Dayton could use a total overhaul. We project ourselves as Dayton when it suits us- but most of the time, we’ve got 500 different chiefs ruling 600 Indians. We’ve never been elegant- or easy to explain. We operate in our own little reality distortion field – thinking we’ve got a product people want- when if fact, we don’t have a product at all.

If Dayton were what we think it is, we wouldn’t be seeing a steady stream of bad news- with jobs leaving, crime happening and committees being formed constantly to solve our problem. Nope, we’d have a Steve Jobs to lead us – with a clear vision- of creating something insanely great for us to announce to the world. We’d be making best practices, instead of copying them. We’d be asking “what if” more and not “how do”- there was a time when Dayton did lead the way, but no longer.

With our low cost of living, moderate climate, central location, abundant water, nice people and enough smart people hiding in the woodwork- all we need is a nice shiny vision of where we’re going and how to get there.

Before Steve Jobs came back to Apple they were on the brink of collapse. Now- where are they?

Memo to Mayor Gary Leitzell: Steve Jobs doesn’t do ANYTHING by committee.

I see a different Dayton- do you? In the meantime- take another look at the iPad- do you see the game changing potential? I do.

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