It may seem unthinkable now, but there will probably come a day when the word "iPad" will not make you simultaneously think of both the new Apple computer and a feminine napkin.
In the Darwinian evolutionary chart of electronic devices, the iPad falls somewhere in between a smartphone and a laptop. Like with any IT gadget, it's the celebrities who get them first. Stephen Colbert waved his around at the Grammys; Pee Wee Herman used his as a drink tray.
But what makes the iPad revolutionary (at least according to Steve Jobs and co.) is how it may save print media. Jobs and Apple have made it a point to mention (and feature on Apple.com) how The New York Times will look on the new tablet computer.
The daily paper has become less relevant, because people can get the same information immediately on the Internet and their phones. Take sports scores: You do not need to check the paper the next day to see who won, since most phones now have some way to get you this information as it happens.
Several Tucson Weekly staffers attended a Web conference this past weekend for alternative newsweeklies, and one of the comments overheard was, "A good app will make your product easier to read." A few weeks ago, I downloaded the Times' free Blackberry app. You can get practically anything that's on the Web site (until the Times starts charging for content), and it looks better than it does at the "normal" nytimes.com. The bottom line: As a result of the new app, I am spending more time reading the Times, perusing a half-dozen articles or more each time I check out the app.
The future of print isn't necessarily in building a better newspaper; it's getting that newspaper content into the hands of the readers, wherever they are. In the future, the dead-tree version may be that free bonus you get when you renew your Web subscription. Until then, this column will still be in the paper each week, in glorious black and white.
BEST OF WWW
This space has been used to plug videos and other Web stuff we had previously done. Well, we've already featured all of our older videos—so from now on, if you want an update on what we've recently rolled out, this will be where to look. New this week is an Explainer video on the plan to demolish the historic Rillito Racetrack to convert it into a mega-soccer facility.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
"Well, I slogged through your dual lists of bests and worsts. Yikes, what a misshapen article. Anyway, the one thing I got out of this effort was that the movies of 2009 were mostly "blah."
But I was intrigued by Bob Grimm's comments regarding Avatar. Grimm says the movie depressed him, and that 200 people wrote in, to whom he comments, "Get a life."
Wow. First of all, why the f#ck-you to your readers, Grimm? Second, what's with your hatred for Avatar? I read your full review, and it's like you dislike the movie more for what it isn't than for what it is—a semi-predictable, semi-imaginative movie with a surfeit of visual imagination.
But you fail, Grimm, to justify the weight of your loathing. Avatar doesn't have enough flaws to merit a "worst" entry, and it's almost like you put it in that category simply because you were annoyed at the pressure to like the movie.
THE WEEK ON THE RANGE
The Range was packed with political tidbits last week, including the news that the Cook Political Report moved the District 8 race from the "Likely Democratic" column to "Leans Democratic" after state Sen. Jonathan Paton announced he'd challenge Democratic incumbent Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. We also covered state Rep. Frank Antenori's ongoing efforts to get appointed to Paton's soon-to-be-vacant state Senate seat; ongoing antics at the Arizona Legislature; new poll numbers in Arizona's 2010 gubernatorial race; Republican Buz Mills' first gubernatorial campaign commercial; and the grim news about state's ongoing financial freefall. (You can find more details in The Skinny.)
Dave Devine warned us that Tucson Water rates could be going up if the Tucson City Council goes forward with plans to create a new in-lieu property tax.
We also delivered a bulletin about a month-long closing at Access Tucson; a first look at the recently opened Puerto Rican restaurant El Coqui; a look at new tin artwork from Weekly cartoonist Rand Carlson; and, of course, more photos from Mars, as well as details about how you can steer the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.