The inevitable pre-release post about the Apple Tablet, or iSlate or iPad or whatever they end up calling it. I’ve mostly been holding fire until I see what the damn thing actually is, but a couple of thoughts:
* The CALL OF DUTY iPhone game app — which is free — is a 22MB download. 3G speeds are good here, I had it in no time. Literally, I called it in over the air, noticed it starting to download, and then, bang, it was loaded. A .cbz Comic Book Reader file is usually around 15MB. I could yank that down at, say, Whispernet-type delivery time.
* Here’s a thing: the Kindle has a per-page filesize cap. 64K. Comics on the Kindle are a fascinating challenge. In broad terms, the Kindle can’t do comics unless they’re black and white and the linework can survive being smashed down to 64K per Kindle-page. (Which doesn’t have to be the same as comics-page, you can still break the whole thing down into a string of individual panels, but:)
* I’ve seen several iPhone-adapted comics, and didn’t like them too much. Unless a comic is written in a very specific way, calling comics out panel-by-panel clips out important informational strata like page design and page breaks. I mean, a baby’s still a baby after it goes through a process like that, but I think you’d still like it better if it came with the arms and legs it originally possessed. Obviously, a tablet is going to fix that, and you’re going to get pages in something similar to their intended scale.
* It’s going to be all about the price, and to a slightly lesser extent about the data plan. Over here in the benighted UK, the best iPhone data plan available to me came with a cap of 1GB/month. That breaks down to, what, 30 meg a day? I imagine I’d get a concerned phonecall from my telecom provider if I was ripping 30 meg out of the air on a daily basis.
* Years ago, I said that I thought an iTunes for comics would be an interesting idea. And then there was Longbox, a still largely-unveiled ’iTunes for comics’ solution. There are strong rumours that Longbox may arrive preloaded on the Apple Moses Tablet. I have my doubts about that, but: the intent has always been that Longbox would be able to read .cbz files.
* Two .cbz files a day would tap out my data plan.
* If Longbox or something similar is preloaded? And the device isn’t too costly, and the local bandwidth is good and the data plan is all-you-can-eat? I wouldn’t want to be a comics store in San Francisco, know what I mean?
* In Britain, a six-hundred-dollar item is inevitably, criminally, a six-hundred-pound item. When it comes to tech, with the related import taxes and other bullshit, you’re always looking at a dollar-pound parity. It’d be funny if Britain was the last bastion of the print comics market because no-one in this recessionary hole could afford the new magic from over the water.
(as ever, this is Notebook: not fully baked, not even close)