Since getting my iPhone earlier this year I have become addicted to it. I check it last thing at night to catch up with any e-mails or texts and switch it on first thing in the morning to scan the news. The Good Lady Wife mildly complains that I am always gazing into that "ridiculous little machine", and even The Lad thinks there is something not quite right about my latest infatuation with technology. I ignore such comments and go in search of another App.
I downloaded iBooks the other day and immediately bought Andrew Marr's "The Making of Modern Britain" to test it out. I have dabbled with digital readers before and never been converted by them, but this time I have become a convert. It is partly that the iBook reader (even on a tiny thing like an iPhone) is instinctive and well designed. It is partly that Marr's book sits well on the digital screen. But I have a feeling that it could sit so much better.
On Saturday there was a fascinating article in the Guardian by the mathematician Marcus du Sautoy, in which he speculated on the future of "the book" in the new age of information technology. Now I know it is an old argument and people will immediately start incanting phrases such as "it will never have the feel of a real book" or "how can you snuggle up in bed with a machine", but I don't intend to enter into an argument about it (I am too busy listing to my MP3's and watching re-runs on YouTube). Anyway, what Sautoy was talking about was not the digital mimicking of traditional books but a whole new interpretation of information delivery which makes use of delivery mechanisms such as iPads and the like. The convenience of the page (and a page from a thin book) with the possibilities of almost limitless interactivity.
Reading in the article about what people are doing with texts such as Alice in Wonderland (or the more contemporary Wolf Hall) made me want to take Marr's fascinating history of the first 40 years of the twentieth century and to turn it into something suitable for the iPad generation. The text would be there (in all its stylish simplicity) but so would the ability to seemlessly browse contemporary newspapers, watch newsreel clips, see the art, listen to the music, gather the evidence, and rebuild the work to reflect our own individual conclusions. I want the job. If the publishers of Marr's book are reading this, please note that I will do it for nothing. I will dedicate the next year of my life to the task. If Steve Jobs is reading this, send me an iPad and together with Marr's text I will create something new which will redefine the way we consume information. All the BBC and/or Apple need to do is to leave a comment to this post and send the iPad to my home address.
You never get anywhere unless you ask, do you?