Thursday, April 15, 2010

Is Appleworld Closing Its Borders?

The iPad is certainly living up to the market expectations and irrespective of the hype and the knocks, it will change the media market and computing as we knew it yesterday.

Today we read that Appleworld have taken further steps to tighten its control and further restricted what software tools developers can use to write programs for the iPhone and iPad. The software development kit will now be restricted to just three tools and any application submitted to Apple that does not use the mandated tools will now be rejected. Some will say that section 3.3.1 of the development licence is now aimed more at Apple's rivals than raising the quality of code.

A new Facebook group called "I'm with Adobe" has quickly gathered some 6,000 members. Ironically, Adobe have released a software package, Creative Suite 5, which can turn Flash code into iPhone code, but under the new terms and conditions using Creative Suite 5 would lead to an application being rejected.

Looking Foreword

Technology has a habit of working in cycles of favour. What is the ‘must have today’ is often usurped by another and another and so on. So were will the Apple competition and threat coming from?

The current eInk readers will only appeal to those who already have them. They look jaded and as we have said before, who wants black and white TV when colour is available? Colour eInk is 'still coming' but it requires the consumer to face a buying decision and that will not be restricted to one technology choice in the future.

Smartphones today are polarising around the three major players RIM, Apple and Android and leaders such as Nokia and Sony Ericson and innovators such as LG and Samsung are struggling to compete in what is now a different world. Players such as Palm came and are now going.The key no longer is the device but its ecosystem and compatibility with others and one's lifestyle.

Tablets are iPad today and the US demand for the latest ‘must have' has now delayed its international release by one month. 300,000 iPad units were sold on its first day and 500,000 in its first week.

Now rumours are circulating that Google are to deliver a ‘computing’ tablet and not just another ‘media’one. The tablet is to be built on its Android platform. This is an obvious threat just as Android is a strong contender against the iPhone and the Android and Apple apps stores are also locked in combat. If Google were to take a similar 'open approach' to supporting other devices that they adopted in the smartphone market, an Android tablet could come on many devices and have great appeal. Rumours are also rife that HP is working on an Android tablet.

If Google were to fully embrace Adobe there could be an even greater interesting situation. Flash remains a major challenge to the iPad and has Steve Jobs in constant denial. Adobe still own much in the file formatting, design, image and open DRM space and as we move from hard to soft DRM Adobe is also best placed to innovate and bring standards and conformity to the market. A Google, Adobe loose alliance who be formidable within the media space.

The camera is also a major issue. After all we all remember that it was the VHS video camera that killed Betamax and a media device without the full capabilities to capture all media is no more than an obvious limited prototype.

There are others such as the German offer from Neofonie which was badly branded the WePad. Do marketing people every consider the connotations of the names they choose?

Microsoft is also out there with Windows 7 and busy looking for a hardware partner, but manufacturers may still want to push netbook sales and not expose them to tablet cannibalisation.

Apple’s ‘use my tools or out’ xenophobic approach may still encounter an unexpected backlash.

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