Black Box iPad

You can’t talk about transmedia without talking about the iPad.  The iPad is in every way the fabled black box – a device that every media stream will run through thereby eliminating the need for any other device.   Now Henry Jenkins, the MIT prof who coined the term transmedia in his 2006 book Convergence Culture called the black box a fallacy – looking at all the AV equipment in his living room, he didn’t believe one box would take the place of all the others.   Instead, Jenkins’s believed that the different platforms would learn to live together in some kind of harmony.  Essentially he thinks that content will converge – not technology.  Respectfully, I think Steve Jobs is on the road to proving him wrong.  The iPad looks like a substantial step towards making both content and technology seamlessly convergent – in fact, all it would take would be the mass adoption of iPad like devices for all this talk of transmedia to stop meaning anything at all.  If I can read a book on my iPad, touch the screen and be playing a game based on the book, and then touch it again and be watching the video content – what was an arduous journey across platforms and devices becomes a unified experience.  The notion of platform jumping ceases to be the defining feature of transmedia because the device has bridged platforms so well that it’s all just media again… only better.  And that’s what makes transmedia so exciting – the fact that the very things we are discussing here as revolutionary will soon be derigeur.  We have Mr. Jobs and his iPad to thank for that — they’re both game changers.

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