Showing posts with label ipad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ipad. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tablet, Phablet or Smartphone?


So how much would you pay for a tablet, or would you rather have a Phablet, or just a good smartphone? Does size matter? Do you have to be been seen with a 10”, 8”, 7” or a 5.5” device?
We find ourselves constantly asking what we want and what is the best fit for us? What is clear is that the only word that matters is ‘convergence’ and tablets may be just a stepping stone and far from the answer.
We have seen the emergence of eink readers and also their decline. Yes they may still sell and yes they may be good reading devices, but you don’t find many calculators around today as the functionality is absorbed into other more functional devices. The eInk readers are long past their sell by date and although the technogy still has legs the ereaders don’t.
We have seen many try to establish a tablet position on the back of the iPad. The reality is that many have failed and for a host of reasons. What is interesting is that the likes of the Kindle Fire and Nook which were aligned to retail brands and services have fared relatively well and driven down the price for many. Samsung and the Google offers have put in a respectable delivery but many more technology driven companies have failed.
Microsoft were determined to recapture the market with the Surface but it so far has lacked that something that it should have clearly had – the same OS and functionality as the laptop. The company is now writing off $1bn after missing sales targets, but isn't giving up and is unveiling two new Surface tablets.
Enter that supermarket Tesco with its Hudl tablet. Will it like the Amazon Fire appeal to Tesco’s customer base and offer a cheap but high quality alternative, or will it die a thousand cuts and have little style or designer appeal in a designer label world? It not just about delivering the cheapest, it’s also about creating something to be seen with. You don’t go to a black tie event clutching an Aldi bag. You may not want to be seen huddling up with a Hudl in public.
Having just upgraded to a Samsung Phablet, the Note 2, we don’t want to be carrying a luggable tablet around that has the same functionality, but is merely bigger. We don’t want to trying to manipulate spreadsheets and word documents on a smartphone that demands thin and nimble fingers and thumbs. The Samsung pen is a clear bonus and is truly amazing, but it’s the fact that Microsoft have given us a free Office app with our Office 365 licence so making all documents truly accessible and editable on the move. All our contacts, social networks, outlook email, gmail accounts, Skype and many more applications are now with us at all times. We can even watch our home security CCTV cameras and be alerted to disturbance and much more.
So it’s not just about, price, size, functionality and design but about lifestyle and that’s what make it easy to see today’s winners and hard to guess tommorrw’s.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Beating the Tin Drum


As far as the consumer is concerned is it the device, or the functionality it enables, or is it the content it can render that is ultimately the decider? Is it in fact cyclical and does the technology always come first, closely followed by the features and functions and the actual content come last, or are we now at a point of change?
Who today would buy, or even want the pre iPhone mobile? Was it purely down to the iconic design and presentation of the iPhone, or the apps it unleashed and app store? Would the device have been enough without the digital content?
We then have the drivers behind the major offers.
Apple’s iPod enabled iTunes to go mobile and was a phenomenal success like the Sony Walkman before it. But the iPod was nothing more than a mobile jukebox and when smartphones started to compete they needed to do more and the iconic iPhone was introduced. This masterpiece of design was king and spawned the lucrative world of apps and multimedia mobile. But again as Android replicated Apple’s offer they had to once again find something different - enter the iPad. The iPad was another winner and the true multi media player of choice but it wasn’t a phone and it wasn’t small enough to put in your pocket. Apart from the telephony the only real difference between the iPhone and iPad was size and in a mobile world the smaller size does matter too many. So when others started to introduce smaller tablets and larger smartphones the world started to change again.
Interestingly, the only real difference between many of today’s offers is the content and how well it renders of the device.
Some suggest that books are different and needed eInk dedicated readers. The reality is there are not and don’t. Amazon, Nook, Kobo have all adopted an increasingly agnostic device and operating system approach. This ‘platform’ approach is not dissimilar to all the major content services across all digital media. Today you can now play music, watch films and TV, play games, deal with emails, perform full office functions, access all media, community services and the internet on a device agnostic basis.
So devices are basically today’s fashion and quickly becoming tomorrow’s scrap. The apps are being developed for all operating platforms of significance, browsers are fully agnostic and content is available from all with everyone trying to mirror each other’s offer across all platforms. We now have the emergence of the super toys in the form of mobile watches, external snap on lenses and glasses, but is there no reason to believe that these will decide who wins and who losses? Some would suggest that they are a mere distraction and that, like so many before them, they do not offer sustainable advantage.
Maybe we are now entering the world where even the availability of media is not enough and it is the commercial package that will decide the winners. Perhaps the winners will not be the tin manufacturers, who as we have seen, now play on an increasingly level playing field, but the content packagers and community hubs who are becoming the ‘must haves’. Perhaps it’s those who have multi-faceted information on their community. This is where Amazon is scoring day in day out and where those who can design a place in their side lines can also survive. Amazon announced when it launched Amazon Matchbox that it had data on every book purchased since 1995 and I bet every search, basket and much more.
The latest rumour is that Amazon is about to launch a smartphone and give it away free within their service community. It isn’t such a farfetched idea and would certainly fire a shot across of the bows of the mobile technology companies who rely on selling units, be it to network providers, or direct. The shift would be from a device centric world where people watch the sales of smartphones to a service centric world where the consumer is attracted to who offers them the most convenience at the best price on whatever device.

As John Lennon once said, ‘ I may be a dreamer but iam not the only one.’

Monday, August 12, 2013

On-demand Media and Sensory Devices will Change Culture



Our dependency on electronic devices has grown over the last decade. We now appear to be entering yet another cycle of the technology escalation and it resulting cultural change. It will like those before it change how we consume media and how we communicate with others.

The ‘I’ era was one of the Pod, Phone and Pad. It enabled mobility and communication but also created the ‘I’ society who often resembled zombies, switch on, tuned out and transfixed through those white earpieces. What it finally gave us was the platform environment which enabled media to be enjoyed across multiple devices. This platform broke the single device was previously tied to single media. No more Walkmen, MP3 only, eink readers, the smartphone and tablet became the do it all devices for all.

Having created the platform we now appear primed to create sensory devices that themselves will enable a more intuitive interface and also delegate the platform to the cloud. Everything will be available online on-demand and will negate the need to have a local copy or download. This change will be significant as it truly starts to change culture from one of ownership to one of rental and subscription.

So we will have the likes of Google’s Glasses, Apple’s watch and many more sensory aligned devices. Speech recognition will become the norm and retina tracking will negate the need to pitch and squeeze and scroll. Mass robotics are still to fully happen and a device is whatever you wish it to be.

What will come first the sensory device, or the cloud on demand media? Some will suggest the technology is here today and they would be right, but they have yet to be mass adopted and in doing so change the culture.

The media industries now need to gear up for a significant change in business models which itself will create new opportunities for new and well as old media. It’s hard to find a music store on the high street today but when you do look at what they are now selling and recognise their business in now online. Add to that the new services that took up the mantle of Spiral Frog and are delivering on-demand media by subscription and we have a culture change that isn’t going back in the box.


In ten years sensory devices may have gone even further than we think possible today and the speed of bandwidth and universal connectivity will make the cloud reality. 

Monday, June 03, 2013

iRadio to iTunes



Apple broke the album mold and introduced us to not back to singles but tracks. It priced these at a point that was attractive and tied it t their iPod, iPhone, iMac, iPad and the rest is history. Now they plan to introduce iRadio to the family and hope to cash in on the move to music on demand.
So how will they fair against the established communities such as Pandora, Google’ ‘All Access’ and Spotify. Will they be able to lure customers away from subscription based services to what is reported to be an advertising paid model? Will consumers accept free with ads even if it links seamlessly to iTunes to buy?

The challenges Apple face in trying to close down on this low margin high volume business is not just consumers and attracting advertisers but also convincing the music producers and publishers that another low margin licence service will work for them. They already have disparity between existing revenue models and Apple are unlikely to want to pay the going rate for their licences. It is rumoured that Apple has signed a deal with the Warner and Universal for their music rights but has still to complete on the latter’s publishing rights. It has still to close a deal with Sony with a few days to go to their launch of the service. All deals are based on Apple paying a fee for the music rights and a separate fee for the publishing rights on music streamed. The interesting aspect is the ratio of the number of times an individual will play the same tune versus the cost to purchase. The user doesn’t care and may play a track 50 times but the meter is running and everyone else will be watching. In Apple’s case they have to either pull in the necessary advertising revenues or sales through iTunes to cover the royalties. But why would a user buy a track when they have unfettered access to play it for free?

The challenge for the music business is grappling with the clear migration from purchase to subscription or ad based licence deals. The music business has a track record of poor transition to new models and technology and only recently has started to see the new shoots of a digital recovery, but this has been on the purchase model which may not prevail as more become switch on to on-demand streamed services.


The challenge to Apple is that they are not leading this market and are coming relatively late to the party. They believe that the tie to iTunes will work in their favour but other will argue that it will further heighten the difference between owning all one’s library of music and merely playing it when you want to at a lower operational cost. 

Thursday, November 01, 2012

So what will be in this year’s Christmas stocking?



We now have all the technology contenders lined up the Christmas shelves, sometimes side by side and sometime under an exclusive umbrella. The Kindle Fire has landed in the UK alongside the Nook, Apple have released, what they said they would never do – a smaller iPad, Microsoft bumble along as ever trying to play catch-up and Samsung continue to get the sales. Now even the children have their own LeapPad 2, a child-friendly tablet computer, or the alternative robust looking Kurio tablet.

Watch any group of people, on trains, buses, in concerts, or just walking the streets and you will see the apparent techno zombies with ear jacks, their dexterous thumbs and fingers tapping out messages and mail and others reading not books and magazines, but their latest Facebook updates.

There will always be the traditional gifts, toys, books, games and even that unwanted pair of socks, or present you save to pass on to someone else next year. But technology is fast becoming the safe buy.
So what technology would be top of your letter to Santa and how will you use it and how will it impact you and those around you? Alternatively what technology would you like to give as a gift and why?

Many will be driven to buy a tablet for their children, or even their loved ones. It may be more than the price of the traditional impulse, or last chance buy, but as it becomes that safe bet buy for those with often little imagination, and also often oblivious to the potential implications.

It is an interesting thought that many families will be split up this Christmas, not by physical distance, but will be in the same house, but separated by technology and the desire to watch, listen, read or play by themselves. As a child we always wanted to watch, or play something else – we now can.  A somewhat striking study by Pearson, claims that pupils aged 11 and under now spent three times as long “on screen” as they do buried in a book. Some one in six parents admit that they never read to their children before bedtime and a third share a book no more than once a week.  

So the impact of the new technology may be connecting people over social networks, but at the same time potentially alienating them in their immediate social environment. That present you think is going to make someone very happy, may make this Christmas very different for the family and close friends.

Friday, September 07, 2012

It was a Good Week For Amazon and a Bad Week For The Rest





Well it was a good week for Amazon and a disappointing one for the rest. That may sound a bit harsh but what is becoming clear is that even the strong players and pretenders often lack Amazon’s vision, customer focus, market understanding and delivery and in some cases many of these.

So what was so good for Amazon?

First they raised the device bar and ‘Fired’ everyone up for Christmas. New fire tablets, better Kindle ereader and Fire devices coming to UK. The announcements weren’t earth shattering, but well communicated and sufficient to nullify the opposition. It was if they were being innovative, as the reality was that they were just doing the same as their main competitors in the ereader device market and raising their tablet bar in order to compete better with their real competitors in the tablet arena; Apple, Samsung and Google. They also claimed that the original fire had captured 22% of the US tablet market which should be a significant wake up call for all given its basic features.  

The interesting twist was their media focus. They own: Audible, the leading audiobook player, Lovefilm, a leading European on demand film service, ABE the largest rare and second hand book marketplace, Book Depository a significant global book retailer, are a growing publishing force both for established and new authors and of course are the largest global ebook and physical bookseller buy any measure. They now are clearly starting to intertwine these offers, using ‘Prime’ to generate loyalty and with yesterday’s announcements starting to build a differentiator that will be hard for others to follow let alone compete with. Their new announcements on X Ray and their new serial programme are clear indicators of them pushing the boundaries.

Then we have Judge Cote approving the DOJ settlement with three publishers which some would suggest leaves Apple, who can afford to play hardball and the other two publishers who perhaps can’t afford too, looking exposed.

They also announce that they will be taking on 600 more staff in a new depot at Hemel Hempstead, 3,000 temporary staff over Christmas and creating 2,000 new jobs in the UK. All of which was not lost on David Cameron who welcomed the announcement. How to influence people in high places!

To top it all the share rose 2%.

Nokia never seem to learn. Just when some said that their new Lumia 920 smartphone running the new Windows platform may be one to watch they scored a stupid own goal. It appears that the video which was claimed to have been shot using the new phone was fake and created using a higher quality camera. The result, their share dropped a further 6%.

Having announced three new devices you would think Kobo would have had a good week. However, when you step back, the week will belong to Amazon who clearly upstaged the a poorly timed announcement from Kobo. The one thing you don’t do is beat your chest and declare you are a winner when the opposition is about to wipe the smile off your face. Kobo’s offer is now an also ran and like their service they are seen as having a poor competitive offer. Rakuten need to step up their investment and focus on building a real differentiator if they have any hope of competing in the major markets. It is clear that Kobo now have a narrow media offer and devices are not going to make any difference whatever they price them at. They are competing on the wrong thing, but perhaps like other forgotten pretenders such as Sony, that’s all they have got.

Barnes and Noble now know that they left it too late to venture outside of their comfort blanket – the US. They now have got strong established and committed opposition in the UK and that’s before they even spend a dollar trying to build their profile.

Apple are oblivious to bad weeks but even they must be wondering if agency was wise and why they continue to fight the inevitable. They have their own announcements coming up and the iPad nano (remember they said they would never shrink the screen) and a new iPhone are bound to play to the fans delight, but unless they start to get real on pricing there will soon be a serious price gap with the rest. This was easy to defend when they stood out but as the others improve, like with smartphones, people will start to look seriously at others.

However Apple appears to have bitten the hand that feeds it in their zealous patent actions against Samsung. It is claimed that Samsung is withholding memory chips for the initial shipments of the new iPhone because of a disagreement about pricing. Apple obviously doesn’t like to be dependent on Samsung , but there is only so much volume Apple can get from elsewhere. The Korea Economic Daily reported Apple’s exclusion of some Samsung components earlier today.

It’s a sign that we only have 19 weeks to Christmas. The cards are starting to appear in the shops and despite the potential Indian summer we are starting to think about presents.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Thoughts on a Smartphone Versus a Tablet


When we wrote last week about the new Samsung GS3we expressed our view that the smartphone platform is core to the future and although the tablet is ‘sexy’ looks great it is somewhat a half way house still looking for a home. We expected a kickback and received many in various forums.


Pew have now released research which claims that the smartphones are changing how people interact , search and engage with real time information on the move. There claims are about discovering places, arranging meetings, resolving debates, finding up to the minute sports scores, getting traffic updates and accessing live transport information. In other words smart phones are about connecting to the information world in real time and on demand. Smartphones have the added advantage of SMS and making calls. So are tablets transient like the iPod, or ‘must have’ media and games players and where will the divide fall and convergence happen. Do we really expect everyone to carry a smartphone and a tablet everywhere when there is a huge overlap in functionality and basically its coming down to size? Does Size really matter or is it an urban myth? How many tablets are 3G connected and fully switched on and how many are just WiFI connected?


We can all applaud the penetration Apple has made with their iPad and the lack of any real contender today, but is this more down to the Apple ‘gloss’ and spin than the real need. Others manufacturers have tried and failed to gain a foothold in the tablet marketplace and yet the same basic offers dominate the smartphone market and currently outstrip Apple’s iPhone. Does this make sense or has the Emperor merely got new clothes.


The Pew report doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know, but its still surprising how iPad users defend their device needs whilst phone users have little call to defend theirs.


Since Posting this piece i have been made aware of this interesting piece which is worth reading Technology Review,'Are Smart Phones Spreading Faster than Any Technology in Human History'

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Apple: Shares, Trademarks, Ethics and China


In 1997 Apple share were worth as little as $3.19 and the company even faced the possibility of bankruptcy. Yesterday, the shares passed $500 (£317) a share for the first time and rumours and enthusiasm continued to mount about the new iPad. It is a truly remarkable turnaround and values Apple today at some $460bn.

There are reports claiming that Apple has ordered some 65 million 264PPI 'Retina Displays' from Samsung and LG for its iPad 3 assembly line. The numbers if correct would indicate that they expect a significant uplift in sales over that of the iPad2, which was released only a year ago. With the anticipation that an iPad 3, will be announced on March 7th, it appears clear that Apple is confident its 3rd generation iPad will break all previous sales records.

Enter the dragon in the form of China and two stories which although unrelated have the potential to impact the party.

Who Owns The trademark iPad in China?

Apple is a brand leader and has created a family of iconic brands and patented technology which it has protected and managed with vigour. Today it faces a trademark battle with Chinese company Proview Technology over the 'iPad' trademark.

Apple had paid some $55,000 to buy the European rights to the "iPad" trademark from Proview's parent company. Proview had registered the mark in several countries back in 2000, with China being added in 2001. Proview now claims that it holds the right to the name "iPad" in China and that this was not sold to Apple.

So is this a false claim by Proview, or will Apple have to dig deep to now buy the mark that they have globally established? The challenge for Apple is that it is in China which can’t be ignored and is now a super economic powerhouse and also one of their major markets.

A court in Shenzhen in December dismissed Apple’s claim that it owned the iPad name in China and following the ruling, Proview requested the authorities in over 20 Chinese cities to investigative whether iPads were being sold. Now Chinese site Hebei Youth Daily reportsd that on Monday China's Trade and Industry department was actively confiscating Apple's iPads from store shelves in Shijiazhuang, because the tablets are, ‘being sold in violation of Chinese trademark law.’ Authorities are also reported to be acting in a second Chinese city, Xuzhou.

Lawyers representing Proview Technology are also reported to be seeking a ban on exports of iPads from China. As China is a key manufacturing base for Apple, this move could have an impact on iPad global sales.

However, an out-of-court settlement is expected, with the next court hearing due on February 22 in Shanghai. Some analysts expect a settlement could be around 10 billion Yuan ($1.6 billion US). A high price to pay but one that shows the value of the global iPad brand. It will not be the first brand ‘mistake’ by Apple who famously had a long standing dipute with the Beatles Apple organisation and even tried to claim iTV without a thought for the UK company ITV.

Some would suggest that the fact that China recognise trademark law is a huge step forward and that they are using it against a western company is somewhat ironic.

The Ethical Workplace

In a second Chinese issue Apple find themselves under the scrutiny of employment ethics on the issue of using underage workers and also the earnings of the workers in its supply chain.

Speaking at a Goldman Sachs technology conference Apple CEO Tim Cook tackled the topic of conditions in Apple's supply chain in China and other countries, ‘Apple takes working conditions very seriously, and we have for a very long time. Whether workers are in Europe or Asia or the United States, we care about every worker. Apple's suppliers must live up to this to do business with Apple.

However, CNN recently interviewed an 18-year-old employee at Apple’s Foxconn, a key supplier, where a worker claimed that she was forced to work overtime and did not receive benefits and sick days.

Last month The New York Times claimed that Apple found ‘consistent violations’ of its code of conduct after inspecting 396 of its facilities. They cited that; ‘The workers assembling iPhones and iPads…work excessive overtime’ and that, 'Some say they stand so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk.’ Worse still, there have been a number of attempted suicides at the Foxconn facilities and it is claimed that last month, 150 Foxconn employees threatened to leap from a three-story building after claiming of poor pay and pressurised working conditions.

Apple has subsequently asked the Fair Labour Association (FLA) to audit Foxconn facilities in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China. It is then planned that the audit will then move on to other Apple production partners. Apple says that by the time the FLA is done, facilities that produce more than 90 percent of its products will have been inspected.

Cook stated that in January, Apple collected data every week on more than half a million workers in its supply chain and achieved 84% compliance.

However today, The Korea Daily, raised the issue of worker pay and claims that factory workers in China who are producing iPads collectively earn about $8 per unit or about 1.6% of the cheapest iPad's price. This contrasts starkly with with Korean factory workers, who earn about $34 per unit or 6.8 % of the sales price.

Apple is probably better than many on the issue of ethics, but they are also now more visable than probably all the others. As their share value and sales continue to rocket this raises many obvious questions. So the ethics issues have to be faced head on by the company if it is to retain its valuation glow.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Apple Education Plus iPad?


Before his death Steve Jobs had already targeted textbooks as the next opportunity His idea was to hire the best textbook writers to new create digital versions that were complimentary and exploited the iPad. Importantly he wanted to make them free so they would obviate the US state adoption and certification process, which he thought was “corrupt.” In chapter 38 of his biography he says “ if we can make the textbooks free, and they come with the iPad, then they don’t have to be certified. The crappy economy at the state level will last for a decade, and we can give them an opportunity to circumvent that whole process and save money.”

Apple have now announced a special event at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City on Jan. 19. It is widely reported that Apple will announce partnerships with textbook publishers aimed at positioning Apple at the heart of the multi billion dollar market. Apple will launch their new digital textbook business. We don’t know the plan, but expect that in a market dominated by a few large publishers such as Pearson Education, Cengage Learning, McGraw-Hill Education, John Wiley & Sons and Macmillan that some will be looking for that Apple magic to rub off on just on their sales but their share values.

A report, "Simba Information's 2011 National Textbook Adoption Scorecard and 2012 Outlook," claims that almost all adoption states now are either promoting or permitting the inclusion of digital textbooks and other digital resources and importantly this includes hardware. It states that "Texas jettisoned the term textbook and replaced it with instructional materials, expanding the adoption process…Recent changes have also allowed districts to acquire hardware using the adoption funds." With respect to Florida it reports that the state’s Board of Education has overhauled its instructional materials adoption process and placed a greater emphasis on the approval and spending for digital materials, By the 2015-2016 school year…districts are required to spend at least 50% of their funding on digital materials."

If Apple were to secure a significant foothold in the market and deliver a seed change in how textbooks get adopted and bought they could well see significant revenues both in devices and in collecting 30% commission on each textbook sale.

So apart from the industry stalwarts such as Follett who are some of the leading digital textbook players today and can they adapt top any disruptive change?

CourseSmart.
The company was founded by a consortium of higher education textbook publishers to both offer digital inspection copies and full titles. It currently has iOS app for reading textbooks and with the backing of the major publishers is a force in the market. It is questionable whether this is used as the content repository and vehicle and so bolster its position further, or is sacrificed by its publishers and will now find itself competing with Apple.

Kno.
Kno has moved from being a device company to a platform and software one and is reported to have some 150,000 textbooks from 45 publishers. Kno textbooks are already viewable on Apple devices and the company was the top-downloaded educational app in Apple’s App Store at the end of last year .

Inkling.
Inkling has an iPad textbook app), which combines reading school texts with social and interactive ways to study with others with links to external and authoritative sources. McGraw-Hill and Pearson have both invested in Inkling.

Vitalsource.
Is part of Ingram Content Group also has its own app, with 60,000 digital textbook titles available for download to any iOS device. Vitalsource now has two million students using its platform worldwide and providing feedback to tell a publisher, “Nobody is reading Chapter 8,” as well as enabling enhanced multimedia applications.

Then there is the wonderfully branded site http://www.appletextbooks.com/ . A few challenges here we think.

The iBookstore hasn’t lived up to the expectations that many had and the Apple agency model is subject to a number of fair trading reviews. Will textbooks fair differently and make the difference and how will impact others already trading digital content?
We then have the Appleworld rule against running apps on iOS devices that direct the user away from Apple's ecosystem to buy competing products without using Apple e-commerce engines to handle the transaction. Apple has imposed a 30% tool both and made it harder to buy from the likes of Amazon, Barnes and Noble and others. However as demonstrated by Amazon’s latest ipad optimized website its relatively easy to provide a clean and touch-friendly for iPad-based browsing experience for readers without a 30% toll booth. With increasingly powerful Web-based solutions using technologies like HTML5, Apple won't be able to keep its ecosystem as closed as it might like.

Amazon’s touch-optimized Kindle Store for iPad allows readers to purchase or read Kindle e-book selections via Safari. The HTML5-based reading app is available via amazon.com/cloudreader and provides access to e-books through the browser, offline and online, with no downloading or installation required. Cloud Reader automatically syncs with other Kindle apps.

The AAP (American Association of Publishers) estimates that the college textbooks industry was worth $4.58 billion last year. Student Monitor, a private New Jersey student market research company claims that autumn etextbook acquisitions where up over 100% on spring and accounted for some 5% of sales. Simba Information, estimates that etextbooks will rise by 44.3% and generate $267.3 million US sales this year and they also estimate that, sales generated from state textbook adoption programs in Texas totaled $660 million in 2011.

However, we have to be also mindful of Job’s intent was not just to shake up the ‘corrupt’ textbook supply chain but to make them affordable if not free! Whatever the outcome Apple appears determined to shake the tree and collect the fruit.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Samsung’s Galaxy Note: a Smartphone, or a Tablet


Korean giant, Samsung has many supporters of its leading edge technology and its smartphones today are second only to Apple in terms of sales. Samsung's net profit last year was over five times the combined earnings of Japanese rivals Panasonic, Sharp, Toshiba, Hitachi and Sony. Its total sales in 2010 of $136.6bn (£83.5bn) made it the world's biggest technology company by sales, but its market capitalisation is but a third of Apple.

Samsung are still one to watch and therefore their new Galaxy Note is worth some attention.

On 17 November Samsung’s Galaxy Note hybrid will hit the UK’s streets but the question is whether it’s a smartphone or a mini tablet or just something to be admired? It has a 5.3in HD Super AMOLED display with 800x1280 resolution, which makes it the smallest tablet and the largest smartphone. It has a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread and also has an 8MP camera, a 2MP front facing webcam and even a 'Smart Pen' stylus for control and on-screen scribbling. The basic 16GB of storage can be expanded via the microSD card slot and it weighs in at 178g and is 9.65mm thick.

For Android lovers this may be the new leader of the pack.

Meanwhile Samsung’s still lacks that Apple 'X Factor' image and Apple continue to claim in the courts that they have copied its iPhone and iPad designs. Samsung has even offered to remove some features from its Galaxy Tab 10.1 in an attempt to overturn a court-imposed sales ban in Australia brought by Apple. It is rumoured that
Samsung has also made an offer to settle the dispute between the two firms which has reduced from the original 13 separate patents to only three.

Samsung and Apple currently face each other in courts in the US, Germany and the Netherlands.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Kindle Is More Than A Tablet


What are you doing on Wednesday this week? There are strong indications that Amazon are to announce its long awaited tablet offer in Manhatten. Will it change what you do from that moment on, or will it merely be more technology news and leave you waiting for the sports results?

Amazon will certainly announce its entry into the tablet market very soon with the aim of capturing that Christmas surge. Some will ask themselves why they should buy one and not the iPad and will be appreciated as a present or merely viewed as second best? Will Amazon’s entry be any different to that of Motorola, HP, Blackberry, Acer and all who have failed to register their tablet offers against Apple?

First we must forget looks that will remain with Apple. We must also forget user interface that will remain with Apple. Finally, we must forget desirability that like a sports car or any design icon will remain with Apple.

So what has Amazon got going for it? How on earth can it make its mark against such an iconic slab of technology and a brand that is so clean that everyone respects it even though they may not own one?

The answers are many but are simple and to understand them you have to first understand Amazon’s history and the basics of their consumer proposition.

Amazon doesn’t sell books, films, music and games to shift technology, but sells cheap and usable technology to shift, music, books, film, games. This is a fundamental difference which changes how the device and its interface works. Amazon didn’t have to invent agency pricing to establish a margin, it was already media retailer and understood the market, pricing and how to control it and make money.

Amazon importantly has created a global offer that is known everywhere and unlike its main book competitors Barnes and Noble and Kobo has recognised that a world really does exists outside of North America. Amazon is a media retailer and no longer a book, music or film retailer. It has integrated itself into the very fabric of the markets it serves and with a tablet will exploit this further. It supports authors, publishers, libraries, affliates. Kindle is a true cross platform offer.

Importantly, it has realised that network connectivity is important and what we saw as a Whispernet limitation in the early days is now a positive plus. Just go to any one of the 150 plus countries in which its Kindle service is supported and enjoy free connectivity, downloads and no bills. You can even download your local library book from anywhere in the world with no tethering, network charges and no hassle. This may not be important for the vast majority of US citizens that never leave the US but is very important in the rest of the world.

We hated eink and the ‘lookie likey’ readers it spawned and with the exception of the Kindle still do. The Kindle however clunky is practical and satisfies text reading, provides a somewhat crude internet browser service and can satisfy email. The keyboard may be built for tiny fingers but it works. Now think of a Kindle colour tablet with touch screen offering the same plus Amazon apps under Android and all at a price probably half of that Apple and with no extra hidden costs. The range of media will be unbeatable, the price of media will be a keen as any, you can also buy physical goods and all this will be tightly integrated into the tablet is a way that could make ‘one click’ a real bonus and create a Kindle experience.

Apple tablets will continue to evolve but we still use tablets for the basic stuff o cover the bases people want email, web access, entertainment and an extension to their mobile phone world.

The Kindle will not beat the iPad but will be part of a kindle offer that will be clearly more attractive to many seeking value for money. Apple will not be the dominant book retailer and library service provider. They will not attract authors, affiliates and never sell both digital alongside physical. Despite the success of iTunes they remain a high ticket technology company looking for consumers and technology churn and what technology they deliver today they want you to upgrade tomorrow. Amazon merely wants you to buy, rent or loan another book, film, game and track.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Apple, Apps and eBooks


In the current series of the reality TV show, ‘The Apprentice’, Lord Sugar, set his would be entrepreneurs the task of developing an app and marketing it. The winner was not decided by the best app, the best launch pitch, or the work that went into the app. The winner was be the team that got the most hits in 24hrs and the factor that decided the result was down to one pitch to the leading app endorser, as they promoted the best new app each day to millions of consumers. The teams didn’t know that this was the ‘kingmaker’ ,but it did decide the winner. The moral being was that it is simply down to getting the backing of the man that matters, who influenced in biggest market and hey presto, you can have a hit even with a dog of an app.

Apps however aren’t for every ebook. Some publishers appear to want to use technology for technology sake, whilst others are happy to simply pour the print content unaltered into a digital jacket. However, digital often offers much more than these two extremes, but all too often it is the extremes that appear to be concerning many in the market today. We believe that digital is not constricted to the size of work and that 300 print pages may not be appropriate and that digital also offers new serialisation opportunities that may be far more appropriate to a digital work. Some would suggest that digital is not just about stuffing the unsuspecting book with games, interaction, video and technology in order to make it just ‘fatter’. After all, in many cases it’s the same book, same blurb and same stuff.

A major trade publisher we talked to recently has adopted a similar approach to developing apps as Lord Sugar. Perhaps they are followers of ‘The Apprentice’. This time the kingmaker is Apple and the do what Apple say they want to see in an app and to work with and exploit their technology. They the work with Apple to get their endorsement and hey presto, a frog can becomes a prince. So if you want success; forget what the market wants, forget what the author wants, forget the publishing input, forget the reader and do what Apple wants in order to show off on their iPad platform. This may be a simplified take on what was being advocated, but it is close enough to revive many ‘CD Rom nightmares’. It also begs the question, whether the dog is wagging the tail, or the other way around?

We found ourselves asking how many publishers had used focus groups on their digital developments, or were the simply listen to what the likes of Apple said they wanted and looking for their endorsement to push sales. Perhaps Sir Alan is right and the actual content and marketing doesn’t count nearly as much as being kissed by the likes of Apple.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

iPad2 and the Tablet Contenders


Apple has launched its second generation iPad tablet computer. The new model has a faster processor, front and rear cameras, improved graphics and it is a full one-third thinner than the current iPad and some 15% lighter at 1.3 pounds vs. 1.5 pounds.

In 2010 Apple was the only tablet show in town. According to research firm Strategy Analytics up until September Apple had some 95% of tablet computer sales selling some 15 million units in the year. However by the end of the year the figure had fallen to 75%. The Android tablets made that slide and now are joined by other platforms such as Microsoft's Windows 7 and HP's WebOS. Some 82 new tablets were launched at the CES show in January. However despite the new platform entrants it is hard to see anything but a two horse race between Apple and Google.

iPad 2 will go on sale in the US on 11th March, followed on the 25th by 26 other countries, including the UK and pricing will remain as with the current iPad.
But what about these new contenders?

Motorola Xoom

The Motorola Xoom tablet is probably the prime contender today to compete with the iPad and is planned to be released in the UK at the beginning of April and will ship with Google's Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system, Nvidia's Tegra 2, dual core processor, 1GB DDR2 RAM and 32GB of storage. Other features include a 10.12 HD widescreen display, 5-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, support for 1080p HD video and video calling over Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G, a 1,280 x 800 display weighs in at 730g.

There are many good points but it will be very interesting to see if the UK Xoom will ship with Flash support, as this will give it many supporters day one.
It will priced alongside the iPad at £499

Samsung Galaxy Tab

Samsung plan to introduce "more surprises" at their 22nd March event. It is strongly rumoured that they will introduce an 8.9” model its Galaxy Tab range which includes its 7” model and a 10.1” model they announced at Mobile World Congress last month.

They may have been the first contender against Apple but they somehow still lack some sizzle and the 7” doesn’t excite even before you use it.

The LG Optimus

Unveiled at Mobile World Congress last month the tablet features a 8.9” display and LG are good at making the design work but will we still be looking at a prototype or a contender?

Dell Streak

Dell are building a family from 5” phone to 10” screen with the 7” halfway house. Dell has a good solid reputation and ability to deliver cool looking devices built on a solid brand. Probably, a good ‘safe’ contender.

HP TouchPad

This is certainly the great unknown having chosen to run on the yet to be released dual-core Snapdragon APQ8060 1.2GHz CPU and also their Palm webOS 3.0. The touchpad appears to be one of the most powerful tablets but will its independent approach to CPU and OS work in its favour or as we suspect against it. Probably appeal to the safe corporate buyer but who is going to write those apps to feed the demand?

HTC Flyer

The 7”Flyer should benefit from the strong performance of HTC on the Android smartphone platform. However it chose Gingerbread instead of Honeycomb and is built on single core processor which may appear dated very quickly and more apps search for power.

BlackBerry Playbook

Another 7” expected out in the second quarter. It will certainly appeal to all crackberries but will it appeal to those who have survived without the Blackberry? The other challenge the RIM has is whether it will cannibalise existing Blackberry business as it will do more than the corporate brother and could certainly appeal to those businesses who have a crackberry habit. However it other big challenge is the lack of apps and that could well become its Achilles Heel.

Tablets are devices to be seen with and therefore must first past the ‘cool’ test. They then need to be full of fun and that means media and apps and only Apple and Android tick those boxes today. They must also be different to the PC and smartphone and offer the appropriate experience that others can’t and today that is the big challenge as we need more content and designed content. Finally, they must make economic sense to all and Apple’s Tax Booth has certainly set some thinking back a few months and opened the devices to being super browser and cloud players.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What Will Apple Subscriptions Harvest?


Below is the press release from Apple re their new subscription service which is in line with what was generally expected. The muddy area is with respect to subscriptions outside the app and how this is to be handled as Apple clearly don’t get paid but also want to have the same offer inside the app and to process this through their own system.However, publishers are not allowed to provide in-app links to let customers sign up outside their apps, and Apple stipulates that in-app subscription prices remain either the same or less than their counterpart offers.

If I am an existing customer who signed up outside of Apple what happens on renewal? Do I opt for the convenience of doing it inside the app or go outside the app to renew? The renewal will be the same, the price should be the same, but if done inside the app, does Apple now claim 30%? Also worth noting is that Apple state that automatic subscription renewals would stop if a publisher raised its price, which raises the question again how renewals are done and who owns who.

If I build an app to service what may be a B2B subscription do Apple expect to be able to offer this inside the app?

When a subscription is bought inside the App Store, customers will have the option to give the publisher access to their name, e-mail address, and zip code. Publishers can ask customers for more information as long as a clear choice is provided to opt-out. The obvious question then is who owns who?

Basically Apple are saying that publishers must accept Apple's subscriptions, or they can't be on the App Store and the subscriptions offered inside must be the same price or less as any other offerings. Finally, and the apps can no longer link to an outside store where users can purchase content.

The demand that all app commerce must reward Apple is as bad as last year’s edict that only Apple tools can be used to build apps. It is a stand that works when everyone is an Apple follower, but only alienates others and promotes them to compete. The rise in Android and greater adoption of the Kindle platform are obviously things that Cupertino can’t see but as we move into an ‘on-demand world’ do they expect 30% of everything and if they do we envisage a backlash.

CUPERTINO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Apple® today announced a new subscription service available to all publishers of content-based apps on the App Store℠, including magazines, newspapers, video, music, etc. This is the same innovative digital subscription billing service that Apple recently launched with News Corp.’s “The Daily” app.

“Our philosophy is simple — when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30 percent share; when the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100 percent and Apple earns nothing”

Subscriptions purchased from within the App Store will be sold using the same App Store billing system that has been used to buy billions of apps and In-App Purchases. Publishers set the price and length of subscription (weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, bi-yearly or yearly). Then with one-click, customers pick the length of subscription and are automatically charged based on their chosen length of commitment (weekly, monthly, etc.). Customers can review and manage all of their subscriptions from their personal account page, including canceling the automatic renewal of a subscription. Apple processes all payments, keeping the same 30 percent share that it does today for other In-App Purchases.

“Our philosophy is simple — when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30 percent share; when the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100 percent and Apple earns nothing,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “All we require is that, if a publisher is making a subscription offer outside of the app, the same (or better) offer be made inside the app, so that customers can easily subscribe with one-click right in the app. We believe that this innovative subscription service will provide publishers with a brand new opportunity to expand digital access to their content onto the iPad, iPod touch and iPhone, delighting both new and existing subscribers.”

Publishers who use Apple’s subscription service in their app can also leverage other methods for acquiring digital subscribers outside of the app. For example, publishers can sell digital subscriptions on their web sites, or can choose to provide free access to existing subscribers. Since Apple is not involved in these transactions, there is no revenue sharing or exchange of customer information with Apple.

Publishers must provide their own authentication process inside the app for subscribers that have signed up outside of the app. However, Apple does require that if a publisher chooses to sell a digital subscription separately outside of the app, that same subscription offer must be made available, at the same price or less, to customers who wish to subscribe from within the app. In addition, publishers may no longer provide links in their apps (to a web site, for example) which allow the customer to purchase content or subscriptions outside of the app.

Protecting customer privacy is a key feature of all App Store transactions. Customers purchasing a subscription through the App Store will be given the option of providing the publisher with their name, email address and zip code when they subscribe. The use of such information will be governed by the publisher’s privacy policy rather than Apple’s. Publishers may seek additional information from App Store customers provided those customers are given a clear choice, and are informed that any additional information will be handled under the publisher’s privacy policy rather than Apple’s.

The revolutionary App Store offers more than 350,000 apps to consumers in 90 countries, with more than 60,000 native iPad™ apps. Customers of the more than 160 million iOS devices around the world can choose from an incredible range of apps in 20 categories, including games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork, and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple is reinventing the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Interesting Mobile stories that caught our eye.

Where are You?

Ex England Rugby captain Will Carling left his iPad on the train but was determined to get it back. He used the built in GPS to follow the device as it went literally around the houses and updated his progress to his 46,000 twitter followers.

Logging on through his PC he could track its movements via MobileMe app and even sent a message to it telling the people who had it that it was being tracked. The device was eventually handed into the railway station’s lost property office and reunited with its owner.

Above the law?

Users who watch BBC TV via their Anroid and iPad /Phone devices with no TV licence are unlikely to be caught. The new free app enables users to watch and listen to the BBC on the move and appears to be genuinely ‘free’. Mobile devices be they tablets or phones can’t be tracked and so can avoid the £145.50 licence fee. The detection is still very much based on addresses with 97% of households holding a licences and although the BBC plans to force a registration to catch offenders this would appear an easy one to avoid.

Mobile Facebook

We have all enjoyed Facebook apps on mobiles an dthey are some of the popular apps but now Facebook have gone one step further new HTC and INQ, Android smartphones that offer greater Facebook integration. A dedicated button will take the user straight to Facebook and will place Facebook features prominently on the home screen.

The Facebook phones will feature video and photo alerts as well as text and home screen that instantly updates as friends post messages and pictures on the Facebook.

This is not only a win for Facebook users but also Google’s Android platform. It offers retailers opportunities to seel and promote more on Facebook Places, which shares the user’s location with friends and provides special offers from retailers.

The INQ Cloud based phones, which will also integrate the Spotify music on demand service.

Two Lost Souls Join Hands

Earlier this week we wrote about the dire straights Nokia now find themselves i9n today as everyone seems to be passing them on their journey down the charts.
As if to compound the issue they have now announced that they are to partner with Microsoft and that it will now use Microsoft's Windows Phone as its main smartphone platform, cutting research and development in its own platform which is dying on its feet. However some woulkd suggest that putting to lame dogs together doesn’t make a good one it merely puts two dead dogs together and could hasten the decline of both.

The once dominant Finnish phone market looks as if it is going to experience terminal decline and the appointment last year of Stephen Elop, a former Microsoft executive, as CEO looks like it set the agenda and there are even rumours that he may relocate to Silicon Valley.

Combining Nokia with Windows Phone platform looks ill conceived and is highly unlikely to draw users away from the rampant Android and iPhone platforms.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Android's Honeycomb Is Unveiled



Google has unveiled it's tablet Android OS ‘Honeycomb’ which has been specifically optimised for tablets. To day over 145 devices running on Android, including a handful of tablets and as we reported earlier this week it is now the number one operating system on smartphones.

In light of the ambiguous noise coming out of Apple this week, Honeycomb includes the ability to buy applications from a tablet, buy features inside the app, video chat and improved graphics. The in-app purchasing feature will enable developers make money by selling virtual goods and upgrades in their apps to users. Some of the new Honeycomb features are expected to find their way onto Android smartphones very soon.

As we previously reported Motorola will be the first to bring Honeycomb to market with its Xoom device. but LG and T-Mobile are expected to follow with their G-Slate tablet.

Google's has also changed Android Market and announced a web-based version that will enable users to browse and buy apps directly from the web. With Google’s cloud, users can send apps directly to any Android device in a few clicks. This is a vast improvement for both users and developers and it is the later that Google are clearly appealing to. Today Android may have over 100,000 apps in its store, Apple ahs over 300,000 in its store.

Will Honeycomb compete with Apple’s iPad? Some suggest that if it is widely taken up by the manufactures, like with smartphones, it’s like spread betting as one or a number of tablet are likely to shine under it and Apple only have one iPad.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Apple To Take Back AppleWorld ?


Yesterday Apple, as it often does, threw what some though was a ticking bomb into the ebook world. The company has told applications developers, including Sony, that they can no longer sell content, like e-books, within their apps, or let customers have access to purchases they have made outside the App Store.

The problem with Apple is that it controls its app world with an iron fist and as already documented is capable of changing the rules as it sees fit and with no recall and then changing them back just as quickly as it did last years on its stance on developer tools.

But before we look at some of the responses we are always reminded of that now infamous Steve Jobs quote he made in 2008, on commenting on the Kindle where he said, "It doesn't matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don't read anymore... The whole concept is flawed at the top because people don't read anymore.”

We are all realising that the power is in the access and interoperability, not in closed worlds. Kindle is making its device successful despite the iPad, because consumers recognise that Amazon is a platform and that its device is independent and the Kindle device is a bonus but not a nessessity. Couple this with a ‘cloud’ approach and we start to see a significant game change where the likes of Amazon, Google and Kobo benefit and the likes of Sony and Apple don’t. The money is in the eyeballs and content not in the tin.

Ars Technica in their report quotes Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller,'We are now requiring that if an app offers customers the ability to purchase books outside of the app, that the same option is also available to customers from within the app with in-app purchase.'

They continue to point out that ‘If an app lets users access content that they purchased via Amazon's website, for example, then that same app must also let users buy the same book via Apple's own in-app purchase system. If the app developer doesn't want to use Apple's in-app purchases to sell content, then the app can't access content purchased elsewhere either.’

‘This is notable because it will require Amazon and Barnes & Noble (as well as Sony, whose iOS app is not yet available) to change how their offerings work. Apple wants its 30 percent share of content sales whenever possible.’


How would the move effect Amazon.com? They offer free mobile apps specifically to give customers the ability to read their e-book purchases on all devices allowing an iPad owner to still to buy and read Kindle books bought from Amazon on their iPad. How would effect any exclusive Kindle Editions or where a publisher doesn’t have a contract with Apple for a title?

In his blog Terry Jones (no not friendly Python) wrote how Apple's actions reminded him of Microsoft with the browser and the OS. He posses the thought, ‘Imagine Apple claiming that such a separation is technically impossible and that the App Store is fundamental to the iPhone experience.'

To us we see Apple as having a habit of firing shots and thinking later and tend to do this most in the App Store and with developers. Apple is never going to be the ebookstore leader but they can’t afford just to be demoted to tin provider

So the big line up:
Google growing multi platform with Android and opportunity to bury stuff in firmware (information content hungry and advertising driven)
Amazon the ‘online WalMart’ who have a books vertical, brand and loyalty that is proven by current Kindle sales (despite the iPad) but must counter their Amazon only world by offering all platforms
Apple has great tin, innovation and music business, but no book understanding.
Abobe still trying to control the content and design of content with CS6 and ACS4
Sony – lost souls who stumble along
And the pretenders who are very reliant on the big boys to allow them to play or simply follow

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Kobo Goes Social

Kobo Introduces Reading Life from Kobo on Vimeo.



Social reading is about creating an engaging experience that we as readers what to share and engage with. It is not just about social it has to be linked to buying and provide added value that people want. Many have tried to brand themselves as a social site and then sell books or devices bit that isn’t the way it works and is why those have struggled.

Amazon were one of the first to engage with readers and let them add their reviews and they were one of the first to understand selling books was about selling books; old, new, used whatever. They built a community based first on service and have continuously pushed that envelope.

Now Kobo, one of the real contenders in the market, have upped the stakes with their "Reading Life" app, which extends ‘social’. It includes sharing, a personal "book cover," statistics, social network check-ins and much more. Users can monitor reading habits and track the number of books and pages read, even down to pages per minute and the frequently of the reading. There is quirky achievements such as the "Once Upon a Time" achievement for opening the first book, 'The Twain' for daily reading and 'The Witching Hour' for night readers. Importantly they use services such as Facebook and don’t compete but compliment the community and share highlighted text via Facebook or Twitter.

Can it be copied –yes, but they have hammered a stake in the marketplace which will change it going forward. This may appear a bold statement, but just like when Amazon pushed the jacket and changed bibliographic, or when they stared their Search Inside programme and changed sampling books, or started to sell used books, or started reviews and changed internet buying, Kobo have made a significant social move.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Daily: Exclusive iPad News


Imagine a digital newspaper created specifically for the tablet world and published by News Corp and Apple. No print version, no online just a newspaper delivered direct to your tablet for that Apple preferred price point of 99 cents a week.

Rupert Murdoch, is determined to find the digital solution to newsprint that pays. Murdoch's Times recently claimed 100,000 paying customers for its web edition and the Wall Street Journal claims over 2 million readers, but will he now create a new competitor that will effectively compete with these? The US media claims that ‘The Daily’ will be launched at the end of this month and has been under development in the New York News Corp’s office on their 26th floor and has some 100 journalists onboard today.

The difference is that the Daily is solely focused to be a tablet paper and specifically today an iPad one. Murdoch is aligning with Steve Jobs and is gambling that people will be prepared to pay for what is openly free elsewhere online and that a tablet paper beats a newspaper app designed for the iPad and his own alternative newspapers. With no print and no online the paper is targeted at that Apple price point of 99 cents a week and the will obviously include Apple’s share and any taxes! Finally, the biggest gamble is that they can create a new brand.

The move is brave but with Apple backing could generate the adoption by many iPad fans seeking to be different and read the ‘Apple Daily.’

Meanwhile taking a more traditional route The Economist has launched its iPhone and iPad apps. It will be available every Thursday with all articles being cached for offline reading and also includes an audio edition.Existing print subscribers will get the new rendition free with the digital only edition being charged at $110 a year in the US. Dome content will be free and single issues can be purchased within the new app.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tablet Divisions


A lot of the debate between the Galaxy Android tablet is to do with whether you are a Apple fan, or sceptic looking for options and alternative deals. Steve Jobs has a knack of creating iconic devices, but at the same time an equally annoying knack of alienating many with his moral high ground approach. Some sits on the other side of the fence to Apple and suggest that Jobs lacks the ability to compromise, but then others love him for the same reason.

The Galaxy Tab is smaller and lighter than the iPad, has two cameras, runs Flash, offers multitasking and is cheaper. Apple are likely to address the camera issue in their next model and what new benefits the Galaxy has today may be short lived. Apple are expected to enable multitasking under iOS 4.2 and are dismissive, in the way they only can, of the smaller screen form and of course of Flash.However, there's a lot of Flash content out there today and anyone who thinks differently, should browse the Web with an iPad and see just how much there is!

Some believe that apps are the clear difference between Apple and the Android offers. However all the major apps are available in multiple platforms and one has to question just how many of the more niche ones actually matter. It is also interesting that iPad buyers don't appear to buy many apps as opposed to the number they buy on the iPhone. There is new rumour that Apple now are about to change their app policy again and restrict applications that are mere content ‘wrappers’. This could be an issue for publishers who have started to create single title apps. The issue maybe that there may be a danger of there being just too many apps! The question if this were to happen is how apps for 'enriched' titles will be treated. Those who believe that it would not impact them should note Apple's latest stand on moving music unilaterally to 90 second samples on iTunes, irrespective of what anyone said.

So as we await the next new tablet the world looks to be polarising and reminds us of those early PC versus Mac, OS2 versus Windows days when you either liked the Beatles or the Rolling Stones.