This Week: Radio and the iPad

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The Easter weekend has now come and gone, and regardless of their religion, Apple fans around the world celebrated the coming of the long-awaited iPad. To some, it is a bold new step in the integration of computing with our day-to-day lives; to others it’s a flash in the pan that fills no definite niche. To the buying public, it’s the hip new thing.  This week, we are going to look at what it might be for radio.

Right out of the gate, media and entertainment companies are jumping in with both feet. The phenomenal success of the iPhone and its impact on media consumption make it a great bet. I’m an iPhone user and can say with certainty that it has had a huge effect on my own media consumption. (Right now I’m writing this in Cincinnati while streaming a New Orleans-based radio station on my iPhone and playing the output from my stereo system.)

Since this is the new gadget from Steve Jobs and company, the first thing on everybody’s mind is apps. Just take a look at what Corey Dietz is writing about on About.com:

CBS Radio is offering a customized audio application for the new iPad, released today. This new Radio.com app offers programming from CBS Radio and streaming partners like Yahoo! Music in addition to Last.fm’s scrobbling* technology and more.

For those of you not familiar with CBS Radio, that means over 550 professionally programmed music stations, plus dozens of other news, talk and sports stations from across the USA. They’ve been one of the pioneers of commercial radio as far as extending onto the web and mobile-based markets goes.

Of course there is also the public media side of the equation, and NPR is keeping to the fore as usual. Not only have they put out an app for the iPad, but they have also optimized their website for it as well.  Via Scott MacNulty at PC World:

But what if you don’t want to download the free iPad app? NPR has something for you: an iPad-optimized version of their Website that features an iPad-friendly audio player (which also has the neat “keep playing while I check out other sections” feature). The URL for the iPad-optimized version of NPR.org is iPad.npr.org (though NPR notes if you want to see this on your desktop you’ll have to use Chrome).

This all ties in well with the impression one gets of the iPad as a “lifestyle machine.” I see a lot of media and social media on it, but I must confess I’m still unsure about the gadget itself. It all comes down to the question, “Does it catch on, or is it a 21st Century Betamax?” We will all have a much firmer idea by the time we see its second or third iteration.

In the meantime, it’s exciting to see it finally on the market. As soon as I’m up to braving the lines, I need to go down to the Apple store and play with one. In the meantime, I’ll be spending this week focusing on its radio-oriented uses and applications.

Image: groovenite / CC BY-SA 2.0

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One Response to “This Week: Radio and the iPad”

  1. Brent Noorda Says:

    From using the iPad briefly, my initial impression is that it’s great for a lot of media, but NOT for radio (or any other type of audio). For one thing, I’m listening to audio at precisely those times when I don’t want to be starting at a screen (brilliant though that screen may be). The sound is bad compared to just about any other radio audio system unless you’re wearing headphones, but who wants to be walking around carrying the worlds biggest ipod? Maybe when radio is allowed to multitask in the background it won’t be awful to listen to radio while browsing web pages. Maybe.

    In other words, if I were to design the worst form-factor for a radio, it would look like the iPad (but, admittedly, I’m a terrible designed and the folks at apple are not).

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