Apple's iPad invasion: First stop, Hollywood

The geeks are taking over Tinseltown, and Steve Jobs' appearance at this year's Academy Awards heralds their arrival

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But I think it was deeper and more symbolic than that.

Not coincidentally -- because there are no coincidences in Jobs World -- the Oscar broadcast also saw the debut of the first iPad commercials [video], which brought forth its own Category 5 tweet storm.

As those ads amply demonstrate, the iPad is a content-delivery device -- possibly the first gadget to deliver every kind of content possible, from newspapers and books to movies and video games, to any location anywhere within reach of an Internet connection. It won't be the last, by any means, but everything else is already in catch-up mode.

So Steve's message to the gowned and tuxedoed assemblage boils down to this: You make the content (or at least some of it), I'll deliver it. And I'll create another $10 billion-a-year market in the process.

There's always been tension between Hollywood and the consumer electronics industry. One side wants to control everything and dictate how people can consume its content; the other side wants universal standards and wide-open innovation. So far, the only geek macher who's been able to bend Hollywood's aging mandarins to his will has been the Man in the Black Turtleneck. No longer an outsider, he's now a player -- bigger and badder than ever, and with a brand-new bionic liver.

Who was the richest person in attendance? Who has the most influence and commands the biggest audience? Who's the least bound to Hollywood's old ways of doing business? The answer to those questions is the same.

It is truly revenge of the nerds. That's something any geek can be proud of.

What do you think -- can an army of geeks change the entertainment industry? What should they do first? Post your thoughts below or email me: cringe@infoworld.com.

This article, "Apple's iPad invasion: First stop, Hollywood," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog and follow the latest developments with Apple and the iPad on InfoWorld.com.

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