iPad and Hypertext

By now we’ve all heard the hype on the iPad: it’s fast, it’s beautiful, and some believe it’s going to change publishing and literature. Others believe its primary goal is to turn us all into optimally efficient consumers . But much of the literary hypertext community is wondering where we fit.

There’s concern that iPad will not support Flash.

The interface is sexy. Many people got excited at Steve Jobs’ demonstration of iBooks, particularly at the possibility of books with color images and video. This is good news for paper simulators.

Because of its size, people are expecting the iPad to be an eBook reader that also does myriad other things. It’s not the device that has me excited but the marketing and the positive response that marketing seems to be getting. People seem ready to let video, images, sound, and—most-importantly—links into their books. The iPad hardware may not change much in the advancement of literature, but the fact that it represents a device that can store a portable library of interactive literature is a step in the right direction.