With iPad shipments already en route and plans for Sunday's rollout of the product in high gear, publishers are publicizing their iPad applications at an exponential rate.
Surprisingly, some publications that require subscriptions for their online content will be offering their iPad apps for free during a short trial period. The Financial Times, known for its lucrative online paywall, is hoping that a three-month free trial period will hook users to its iPad version.
Others have already released plans for subscription-only versions and some, like the iPad edition of the Wall Street Journal, will cost more than their print companion. The WSJ is charging 67 percent more for the iPad alone than a joint subscription to the online and print version
But what will these magazines offer that's worth so much more money than their print or web counterparts? Prototypes created by many big name publications, like the New York Times and Esquire, have been spreading across the web over the past month. But News Corp's chief digital officer, Jonathan Miller, believes the iPad platform itself may be a selling point.
"It is not a communications device, it is a media consumption device," he said of the iPad. "We have not seen that before, so it is a seminal moment in the evolution of internet-based media consumption."
Advertisers are betting on the iPad too, with some spending $200,000 on a single ad placementin each of Time magazine's first issues. Wired plans to offer different levels of advertisement, including interactivity and video, for different prices.
The iPad does have its drawbacks. Consumers have been complaining about the lack of a camera and the inability for the iPad to use Adobe Flash, as well as its inability to run multiple programs at once. And new slate devices coming out next year based on more adaptable systems--like Google's Android running system--may give the iPad a run for its money.
Apple is optimistic that its iPad can take the market, though, forecasting up to 10 million shipments over 2010 with 2.5 million sold in the first three months. If it can do that, and newspapers don't make the blunder of offering content for free from the start, perhaps the iPad will be a way to help keep the future of journalism afloat.