Nope. Not at all. I will not even hazard a guess. Not even to the name of the thing which will probably be “iBook” but you didn’t hear me say that.
But I will say this. When you watch the coverage or read the recaps or whatever you do with the Apple event on Wednesday, remember this little anecdote.
A few months ago, after Jobso’s rather concise dismissal of the whole concept of a tablet, he came in to a small meeting with some of his inner circle at Apple and halfway through a sentence about something else entirely unrelated stopped and said “Why do we have television networks and broadcasters anyway?” There was about 20 seconds of silence at the table, and then Jobs got up and left.
This is not an uncommon way for conversations with the man to work. And if you were one of his inner circle you would have immediately known that his comment and subsequent silence and blow-off of the rest of the meeting actually meant this:
Broadcasters and television networks are nothing but a filter between you and content you may want to enjoy. They control the distribution, and because of that they control the advertising revenue, and because of that they get to decide what you get to watch and what you never see. Sort of the way the record companies and music retailers were before iTunes. Now you have a situation where no store manager gets to choose what you can buy. No slob of a record company executive gets to choose what you can hear. Anyone can put their work on iTunes, no middle man, no “choosers of taste”, no distributors, just the people creating the work and a storefront where the listeners can get it. And consumers have realized they like this. A lot. And if music consumers like this a lot, then consumers of all media will probably like this a lot too. And if they do like it then we better make sure we do it first, and best. Especially best.
Yes, I know, that extrapolation is not entirely obvious to you or I from the words that came out of Jobso’s mouth, but the people around him are paid staggering amounts of money to make that mental leap. Just go with it. Either way, shortly after this “conversation” he started putting his full-time attention to whatever-it-is that they are announcing this week.
Remember that on Wednesday. The idea of all media – books, music, current news, periodicals, movies, what we now call television, everything – available in a direct pipeline from the creator to the storefront. Anywhere, at any time. Open to all. And driven by pure demand instead of the money in the pockets of a few “tastemakers”. With the “entrance fees” to providers so low that it is just as viable to cater to a small market as much as a big one. It might not be the message that comes out on stage. And it might not be obvious for a while. But it could very well be the end game.