An Apple A Day.. or more..
I was up at 5:30 this morning to be online for a two-hour live panel discussion onÂ The Guardian’s website.
The topic was “The Journalist of Tomorrow”, and the question was ‘what kind of tools and what kind of skills’ will the journalist of tomorrow need?
The ‘skills’ question is debatable, but the ‘tools’ question, increasingly, is not.
Last quarter, Apple sold an astonishing 645,000 devices a day.
And their numbers simply keep climbing.
But even at those rates, that’s 245 million devices a year, or pretty much one for everyone in the US (save the few PC users still around).
That is astonishing.
Even more astonishing when you consider that you could have bought Apple stock in 2003 for $7 a share. A $10,000 investment in 2003 would today be worth about $1 million today.
Pretty mind boggling (pretty dumb huh? But not as dumb as SONY, who could have bought the whole company but turned it down).
But back to the journalists.
Once, all a journalist needed to report was a pencil and a piece of paper. Those days are over, but in the transition to ‘digital’, journalists have begun to feed several beasts simultaneously: text, blogs, photos, video, twitter… the list just keeps getting longer and longer.
But the discussion on The Guardian today, at least when it came to gear, was over pretty fast.
iPhones (or maybe iPads if you are adventurous), give you everything you need.. and more.
They are word processors, digital stills cameras, texting machines, tweeting machines, video cameras, editing suites, screening rooms, upload points, live streaming stations and more. Â All in your pocket.
This is pretty cool when you think about it Â (unless you happen to be Canon, Kodak, Nikon, SONY, or any one of a dozen other companies whose stock you should probably consider selling). Â When was the last time you thought about buying one of those little digital cameras that everyone used to have?
What does all of this mean?
Well, among other things, (besides less gear for the average journo to schelp in the field), it means that Apple is effectively putting 645,000 video production companies into potential business every day.
It means that every day, 645,000 more people become potential contributors to the every growing maw of content creation that is filling the world.
It means that every day, traditional journalists and videographers become 1/10,852nd less important. Â (I have come to this number by dividing the population of the planet by Apples current rate of expansion, so that in 10,852 days, based on current rates, everyone on the planet will have an iPhone or iPad, thus creating a truly level playing field. Â As Apple’s growth is exponential this number is far too low. It will happen, in fact, much faster.
It means that the perceived ‘value’ of some high priced reporter and crew flying off to Egypt or India or China will be looked at as nothing short of insane in the not too distant future.
It means we are going to have a world in which everyone becomes a content contributor as well as a content consumer. Â (We are, in some ways, starting to get ther already. Â Anyone ‘watching’ Facebook?
It means that the players for a far more sophisticated Instagram (the definitive beginnings of a participatory platform, as opposed to a ‘watched’ one) are being put into place.
It means, I think, that the very question that The Guardian posed this morning ‘The Journalist of Tomorrow’ probably will not mean much ‘tomorrow’ when everyone is a ‘journalist’ – if even that will mean anything.
Â© 2012 Michael Rosenblum