Will they both appear on stage, Steve Jobs in a suit, Rupert Murdoch in Levi's and a black turtleneck?
This magical image might, um, flash before your eyes when you hear that Apple is reportedly helping Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. launch a new--is there another word for newspaper these days?--news entity exclusively for the iPad.
Women's Wear Daily offers a report that this iPad-o-newsthingy, which has been in covert development for several months, will be called "The Daily." It will, apparently, have as its pulsating spirit "a tabloid sensibility with a broadsheet intelligence."
Oh, and there is a price for this melange of the tabloid heart with a broadsheet mind. A ticklingly enticing 99 cents a week.
The Daily will, apparently not enjoy such dated concepts as a print edition or even a Web edition. Instead it will be beamed straight to the iPad (or Galaxy, if you can afford one) from News Corp.'s high pod somewhere in Manhanttan.
Apple's role in this interesting enterprise seems to rest in offering engineering expertise, and, of course, the existence of many millions of iPads waiting to host the new iPad-o-newsthingy.
There will be some, I know, who will already be scoffing at the prospect of an iPad-o-newsthingy, even if, as the Daily will allegedly enjoy, it has not only excellent, but even original content.
Might I suggest, as Chrissie Hynde once almost muttered, they should stop their scoffing? Steve Jobs and Rupert Murdoch have one very important thing in common: they think quite deeply about what people really want to buy. They actually consider very, very carefully what delights people, as opposed to what they merely consume.
Yes, I hear you scoff, I can see that about Jobs, but Murdoch? Surely he debases everything that goes before him. Look at all those dreadful tabloids he has perpetrated.
Well, it depends on where you find your debasement. Those would be the dreadful tabloids to which many members of intelligentsia rush to (and delight in) well before they read the paper they know they're supposed to be seen reading.
Though his experiments with charging for some of his British online entities, such as the often marvelous News of the World and the sometimes interesting Sunday Times, have proved to be a painful experience, Murdoch is reportedly captivated by the notion that people are far more captivated when clutching an iPad than when they are in possession of any other medium.
There is a love thing going on with the iPad. And you know how lovers like to spend a lot of time with each other.
The question remains, though, as to how this iPad-o-newsthingy will be presented to the world. Will there be some concerted advertising campaign, perhaps prepared in conjunction with Apple? Will there be star writers hired whose mere name will force a significant number of the population to toss their 99 cents into the fray? (The former editor of the New York Post Page 6, Richard Johnson is, for example, already said to be on the team.)
Or will its alleged use of the amazingly investigative Parrot AR.Drone "quadricopter," offering a unique visual perspective on police car chases, be enough to excite the iPad readers?
I am fascinated to see just how much of Apple's engineering intelligence will show in this iPad-o-newsthingy. If Apple's engineers inject enough thinking different into the idea of news consumption on the iPad, 99 cents a week might be quite tempting to a significant portion of users (which doesn't, at first, have to be a large number).
Come on, it's only 99 cents. You know, like a track on iTunes. And, just once in a while, you used to download those for free, didn't you?