How newspapers blew their technological lead
This is is pretty amazing post
about how Knight Ridder's media lab envisioned use of portable "tablets" way back in 1994. The similarity to iPads is, needless to say, striking. The video is must see. ... Of course the average price of a "tablet" back in 1994 would have made them cost prohibitive. But the newspaper industry, or at least Knight Ridder, had the future in their hands. It eventually took Amazon.com and Apple to exploit the concept. And the rest is history.Update
-- From Reader No. 1: "Thanks for the Knight-Ridder tablet post, great stuff. See this even earlier Apple design
from the 1980s."
To be fair, the newspaper industry obviously couldn't jump on the tablet bandwagon in 1994, for reasons far beyond mere costs. The Internet hadn't even exploded yet in 1994. Hell, Microsoft and Netscape were still battling over primitive Web browsers. Monster.com was an unknown punk. AOL was the Internet darling via its dial-up service. Smart phones didn't exist. The necessary technological infrastructure simply wasn't there. But someone accurately envisioned the future back then, coming up with an amazingly detailed prototype of future digital newspapers on tablets. Amazon.com, which used to be a non-hardware tech company, saw the future and developed its own Kindle hardware product to protect its distribution turf. Newspapers didn't. They were fat and happy in the mid-1990s. They were just plain stupid by the mid- to late 2000s.