The Mario Blog
Behold the iPad: it’s still part of the media quintet

Apple reported today that iPad tablet sales passed 11.4 million during its fiscal third quarter, up 15 percent from the same period a year ago. For newsrooms globally, time to take note of this development and not give up on the tablet yet.

This is the weekend edition of TheMarioBlog and will be updated as needed. The next blog post is Monday, Aug. 14.



Interesting, and not surprising, to read that Apple’s iPad has just had its first growth quarter in more than three years.

Interesting because, depending on which newsroom and market I visit for my consulting work, I hear different versions of the role that tablets in general, and  the iPad specifically, play as part of the media quintet.

Nor surprising, because in all of these markets, iPads seem to have a role, especially with older readers.

That is why I am delighted to hear that iPad sales were up 15% year over year, with sales passing 11.4 million during its fiscal third quarter, up 15 percent from the same period a year ago.

The last time Apple posted year-over-year iPad growth was more than three years ago — the holiday quarter of 2013, when Apple sold a record 26 million iPads.

I notice that the 55+ and older readers do like their tablets, use them to read newspapers and books and find them as perfect companions for a variety of other tasks beyond consuming news.  The new iPad Pro, which I own, is also very popular and, for me, it is not just my newspaper/magazine reading platform (when I am not on the phone), but also my portable TV, which I take to bed, to my airline seat and even under the beach umbrella. Can’t beat that for convenience.

I do admit, however, that I am using my iPhone more and even found myself reading a chapter of the novel I am currently enjoying (The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine, by Alex Brunkhorst) while riding the subway. I definitely prefer to read on my tablet, but the iPhone is what was handy at the time.

Why is the tablet still viable?

Well, for one thing, it is a way for older readers to make type bigger as they read.  It is also quite popular with audiences who like to read e-papers, or to check out pdf versions of the printed newspaper on a platform that is portable and allows for easier reading.

When the iPad first appeared in 2010 I admit that its success with newspapers and magazine readers would be greater. Real big, smashing success did not take place, although it did hit the spot with perhaps 20% of the audiences, who still hold it dear and prefer it.

The first newspaper created for the tablet, The Daily, with the backing of the Rupert Murdoch’s group, discontinued publication after less than a year.


In some cases, as in Montreal’s La Presse+, the tablet determined the future direction of a media company. The La Presse team discontinued its print edition daily (only prints weekends) and has a successful daily tablet edition.

Overall, however, in my own consulting experience, the tablet, even in 2017, is not the key platform that executives wish to concentrate their efforts on—those efforts are directed to the tablet’s main competitor, the phone, which, with larger screens, is the mini tablet of preference.

Yet, there are markets where tablets thrive, especially for e-papers (think Scandinavia, Germany, the UK, for example), and others where it has not become as popular (think Latin America).



The future of tablets

I do see a future for the tablets and hope that those executives that I work with will agree and will include the tablet among its platforms for the creation of new products.

How so?

–I wish more newsrooms would adopt an earlier closing time for the printed newspaper (let’s say 8 pm as opposed to midnight), thus allowing for the pdfs of pages of the printed daily to go into a tablet edition that readers can read before they go to bed.

–I see the tablet as the most immediate replacement of print editions, especially for Monday-Friday, when printing an edition is no longer financially feasible. Simply prepare the newspaper for printing, and stop short of doing that, but put those pages into your evening tablet edition.  Many newspapers already experiment with this approach several times a year, during holidays, for example, when they do not print the paper.  We see a sample of an enhanced e-paper edition here.


–Create the dynamics of a strong lean forward edition (phones) with a robust lean back edition (tablets).

When print is no longer the way to go Monday thru Friday, the phone/tablet combination can provide newsrooms with 24-hour cycles of information that adapt to the needs and lifestyle of the audience.


Read about La Presse+


Previously in the La Presse+ series

La Presse+: A Tablet Edition Success Story in Montreal.


La Presse+: A Success story, part 2—the concept and the technology

For related content

La Presse+ tablet edition gets a 30% rise in readership since axing weekday print edition


TheMarioBlog post # 2676

Blog Post09.26.2017—1am
Three things that caught our eye
Blog Post09.25.2017—1am
Paywalls & newspapers: from leaky to hard ones, and in between
Blog Post09.22.2017—4am
Mexican earthquake: front pages tell the story
Blog Post09.21.2017—1am
Saying adios to The Village Voice in print
Blog Post09.20.2017—1am
Vogue in print: “point of view, attitude”
Blog Post09.19.2017—1am
The Boston Scene
Blog Post09.18.2017—1am
Thoughts on print: still here, still full of surprises, worthy of attention
Blog Post09.15.2017—1am
New report: For publishers, Facebook is no revenue panacea
Blog Post09.14.2017—1am
Smartphones and web traffic: where the action is
Blog Post09.13.2017—1am
Paris Match: a good visit and big plans
Blog Post09.12.2017—1am
Irma: the morning after
Blog Post09.11.2017—3am
Irma: the bad girl on every front page
Blog Post09.08.2017—1am
Type Magazine: the new Roger Black project
Blog Post09.06.2017—1am
Linear storytelling for mobile: a good example
Blog Post09.05.2017—1am
For Le Journal de Montreal: article page acts like home page, sort of
Blog Post09.01.2017—1am
Facebook the new front page?
Blog Post08.31.2017—1am
When it comes to news, “designer labels” can make the difference
Blog Post08.30.2017—1am
Those fabulous print glossy ads
Blog Post08.29.2017—1am
From here and there: what the email basket brings
Blog Post08.28.2017—1am
Why I would show this Times Mag cover to my class
Blog Post08.24.2017—1am
A caricature for the ages
Blog Post08.23.2017—1am
It was the day Americans looked up!
Blog Post08.22.2017—1am
It was all about the solar eclipse of the century
Blog Post08.21.2017—1am
A day without local news? In Minnesota, readers experience it
Blog Post08.18.2017—1am
The good news about print (in the USA)
Blog Post08.17.2017—1am
What’s your lead story right this minute?
Blog Post08.16.2017—1am
Panama’s La Prensa: workshop digital media, day 2
Blog Post08.15.2017—1am
Panama’s La Prensa: digital workshop
Blog Post08.14.2017—1am
Millennials still like their Facebook
Blog Post08.11.2017—1am
All about the Eclipse: the Times nailed it.
Blog Post08.10.2017—1am
It’s the Monocle printed newspaper again
Blog Post08.09.2017—1am
Who pays for news, and who believes the news? Report tells us
Blog Post08.08.2017—1am
Workshops: linear visual storytelling
Blog Post08.07.2017—1am
For newspaper print editions: the power of the headline
Blog Post08.04.2017—1am
Behold the iPad: it’s still part of the media quintet
Blog Post08.03.2017—1am
At the NYTimes: push for customized content moves forward
Blog Post08.02.2017—1am
The Mooch’s quick departure on the front pages
Blog Post08.01.2017—1am
At The New York Times: aggressively pushing digital subscriptions
Blog Post07.31.2017—1am
Thoughts while on vacation
Blog Post07.14.2017—1am
Local newspapers, new digital strategies that work
Contact us with speaking requests, questions or to discuss a project.