iPad the future for newspapers, everyone else

Two media heavyweights commenting overseas landed on the iPad as the future of newspapers. And folks are buying it.

Lionel Barber, editor of Financial Times, at a meeting organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry in Mumbai on Tuesday said flexibility and adaptability are key to newspapers’ survival.

“Today, newspapers cannot stay confined to the print medium, Barber said, according to Sify News. “Journalists will have to be willing to create more value, and newspaper managements will have to be flexible in terms of the content platform. After the Web, it was the iPad [that] FT tapped into. And in the last three and a half months, we have had half a million downloads of the application.”

Meanwhile, Keith Weed, Unilever’s chief marketing and communications officer, told Media Week at the Media Guardian Changing Advertising Summit on Tuesday,  “iPads will save newspapers, they really will.”

Marketing magazine says Weed added: “The sort of guys I hang out with, the iPad idiots, we’re all on them… I used to have a pile of newspapers in the morning but now I flick through my iPad.”

“In addition to the newspaper apps for sites such as the Financial Times, globetrotter Weed cited the restaurant guide and booking service Zagat to Go, and the airline apps, as among his favorites and most used.”

And, indeed, sales of the iPad have pushed Apple’s stock to record highs, according to the Associated Press.

“Apple’s iPad is setting the standards for this generation of tablet computers as competitors scramble to match the design and functions,” the AP says. “So far, no credible challengers have hit the market.

“In the first quarter it was available, Apple sold 3.3 million iPads. That’s about three times the number of iPhones sold in the first full quarter the smart phones were on sale in 2007. … Analysts’ estimates for iPad unit sales in 2011 are in flux, with those on the conservative end putting the number around 20 million while more bullish forecasters say it could be 50 million.”

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