“I’ve heard Apple has just put in an order for millions of screens this big,” someone said, sketching out a square about 15cm x 15cm (slightly larger than a quarto page, in the old money).

Interesting, if true, as they say. At the moment we have three different screens – the full monitor/laptop size, the 25 cm netbook screen, and the iPhone screen.

None seem to be right for the work those in the media/knowledge etc world do on the fly. The portable laptop is ridiculously big, the iPhone too small, and unfolding a netbook to take emails etc already feels archaic.

My assumption has been that what would eventually come along is a double iPhone screen – foldable so that it fits in your pocket, with a minimal physical join. Thus creating a screen big enough to read multiple sites on simultaneously, ‘newspapers’ etc etc.

The new Apple one, if it’s true, sounds too big – not pocketable – but part of the process whereby online media will take another leap, and push paper media yet further into the distance.

Eventually we’ll hit on a fixed screen form, just as newspapers settled into the broadsheet/tabloid duo, books the 250 page quarto standard, and so on. At that point it will last until post-screen technologies develop sufficiently for widespread use – ie virtual screens projected by laser onto a space of air.

Even then, as with qwerty, the final screen size may become the standard frame through which we write and read for some time to come.

Once we get to this ‘ideal screen’, there will be a corresponding shift in online media – and the last vestigial traces of newspaper design will die. Everything from story length, to the old headline-standfirst-body, the pull quote, will be reconstructed.

People are increasingly noticing what media pros – especially media summary writers, this correspondent’s one time profession – already know, that newspapers are stuffed turkeys, overwritten to the eyeballs.

Now, the full portability of text has occurred, it should be obvious that news organisations will decompose – just as department stores no longer have their warehouses out the back, and chemists no longer have someone in the back making up gunk.


One Response to “Who actually needs Newspapers?”

  1. lumbar cushion on December 6th, 2010 10:29 am

    How is it that just anybody can write a blog and get as popular as this? Its not like youve said something incredibly impressive –more like youve painted a quite picture over an issue that you know nothing about! I dont want to sound mean, here. But do you seriously think that you can get away with adding some fairly pictures and not really say anything?

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