Apple's launch of the new iPad yesterday looks like the refit of a luxury liner for a cruise on a tablet-calm waters. Beneath the surface it is more like a new sheet armour for this year's Battle of the Tech Titans.
Microsoft is betting the shop on Windows 8 - and it must be expected to take a beefy chunk out of the business use of iPads.
Google bought Motorola with the hope of building a shop in which to sell content, instead of just giving at away in classic Google fashion.
Amazon already owns the shop. After launching the Kindle Fire, as Drake launched fire ships at the Spanish Armada, it is expected to come in with a Dreadnought around the middle of 2012. If the technology works, this could be a colour tablet with a dual screen: eInk for reading and LCD for shopping.
The Rest of the World hopes to catch-up by selling top-class hardware at bargain basement prices - but without the extra revenue from content sales or software sales.
So who is likely to win? Amazon, because revenue from owning the shop will let them sell hardware cheaper than anyone else. But Amazon do not have a shop in China and the next-but-one battle of tech titans could be Amazon vs The Dragon.
And why does it matter for Web Designers and Content Managers? Because less-and-less top quality content will be given away for free when there are easy ways of charging money for it. So there will be an increasing demand for people who understand, HTML, CSS and graphics to produce marketable content for sale in online shops. An eBook, for example, is a zip file with the extension .iba or .epub or .azw or .mobi. If you change these extensions to .zip then you can unzip the file and see what's inside. Your eBook will turn into a zip folder and inside the folder you will find a template.css file, an .html file and some image files.
Tablet sales will soon exceed laptop sales. The future of the online world is tablet-shaped. Sales of adult fiction, printed on paper, fell by 24% last year. The present generation of publishers are lined-up and waiting to be epubed, which is similar fate to being MP3-ed, but faster and more painful. Google is enjoying its high-noon but seems destined to become a Yahoo. So it must be a good time to put on one of my favourite Bob Dylan songs: 'The times they are a-changing' - and it is also a great time to be working in the epublishing industry. 'Illustrated ebooks' and 'Enhanced ebooks' are the next frontier.