At first we thought this was a Purim spoof video. It is not.
The overstated and over dramatized video promotion for the Artscroll Talmud App informs us that this is "far beyond anything" and that this new app "will change everything - again." And then it shows us (without a touch of self awareness) how the exact page of the Romm Talmud will be reproduced on the iPad and the exact page of the Artscroll elucidation will be reproduced on the iPad. This is the true irony of "look at how many new, new, new ways we can reproduce the old, old, old texts." They are at the same time absolutely faithful reproductions and "elucidations" and, gevalt, astonishingly new and revolutionary editions.
Putting all the irony aside, in fact the app video does show clever "fusion" technology for text study, a layering the original Hebrew and Aramaic text with the English translation, the notes and the sources. This is how the iPad (Kindle etc.) does brilliantly enable true hypertext reading and learning with potential interactivity. The ecosystem of the iPad is the revolution. Artscroll forgets to mention in its marketing pitch that it is actually a clever implementation of the revolutionary Apple platform. A bit overly self-centered, how much patting oneself on the back can one company engage in, now brought to yet another new pinnacle.
Everyone in the media and on the Internet wants to know how much all of this will cost.
It ought to be free. If the purpose of all of this innovation is to bring the Torah to the multitudes, let the wealth of our community (Schottenstein et. al.) bring it to us at no cost.
Unfortunately, the Artscroll-Schottenstein notion we fear is that once again the price will be higher and higher for access to Torah learning. The Artscroll shas 73 volumes on sale is $2,182.50. This high cost commercial model runs directly counter to all of the Talmudic values of our sages.
We hope that we are wrong about the pricing of the new apps and that the video claim "this will change everything - again" does not mean that "this will make Torah learning more expensive than ever - again."