iPad Revisited

The iPad was announced in January of 2010, and launched in April. I was scathing. I couldn’t see what it was for, there was a lot it couldn’t do and I thought the name was terrible. Six months later I bought one, and I still have it. It’s still limited, but as a portable home entertainment centre it works well.

But it’s funny to read how negative I was about it. Mind you I wasn’t alone, Gizmodo, NY Times and Jezabel also saw the same issues.

Here’s the original post.


So the iPad was finally announced after a run of rumours over the last month or two. It won’t be launched until March/April, but there’s already a fever of anticipation on twitter, with about 1000 tweets per minute.

As far as I can tell from the launch video the iPad = kindle + iTouch – iTunes wrapped up in Apple’s high design ethic.

There are already big theories about what it will do, including making higher education irrelevant. The scenario described is more or less using iPad as a tool for eLearning – but eLearning is already used in masses of university and executive education that I don’t see having a new tool as an obvious game changer. If Apple can get enough of the educational material online then perhaps it will transform educational publishing – that is not the same thing as higher education.

So what will it transform? It’s finally a competitor for Amazon’s best selling Kindle, and it’s priced to compete with Kindle, sort of. Kindle is at 259USD and the iPad starts at 499USD, there’s a quality difference and then there is the usual “apple premium”. So although Kindle has already developed a market share, and developed agreements with publishers to ensure a steady stream of new content, they might be pushed to improve the reading experience.

I suspect the transformation will hit the publishing industry and the web/design industries. Both will push the boundaries of current web design to create content – including video and apps – that will be worthy of the iPad – because it is a thing of beauty. The flow of content might follow the example I wrote about earlier this month regarding Digital Magazines.

There are issues, lots of them; some, like the lack of Flash and limited browser, can change relatively easily. But the biggest we-are-all-12-years-old-again issue is the name, calling this iPad just shows they have too many boys in their marketing department. Women immediately connect the name to menstrual pads (see list of twitter trending topics above). Ignominious start for something billed as “the best web surfing experience”.

I Want It Now!

We’re getting it, we’re not getting it.

The rumours flew around the Internet all day yesterday, that Microsoft would, within weeks, be launching a suite of office tools for iPad.

Then the denial; sort of. Microsoft have apparently stated that the images are “not of a Microsoft product”. But stopped short of denying that such a product is being developed.

Obviously they should be developing Microsoft tools for iPads, given the rise and rise of iPad sales, and their use in large companies.

Large companies are the natural habitat of Microsoft, each with thousands of staff using outlook, word, PowerPoint and often SharePoint for intranet sites and collaboration environments. Increasingly iPads are invading this habitat – often starting in the niche areas of upper management and IT geeks.

I saw statistics for mobile access to our website today; for the first time iPad is in the lead at just under 40% – not bad for a device that wasn’t on the market two years ago. Windows phones have yet to reach 1%. Our website targets investors and analysts, a group who are increasingly addicted to iPads.

As people use iPads more and more for their work they’re going to want the office suite, I can get my work email on my iPad, and view powerpoint presentations in meetings (bonus – I’m printing less paper). It’s becoming the tool I travel with, but for the iPad to become a real work tool I need the office suite. This new way of working is a reality Microsoft acknowledge, and their 365 product is a strategic step in this direction. I really hope they’re not planning to use their old business model of locking people in – assuming we’ll buy devices with the windows operating system in order to use their software. They have to know that companies are moving towards “bring your own device” policies for IT.

So whatever the rumours, I’m hoping Microsoft are close to launching the Office tools for iPad.

Image cry

April Fool

Any April Fool’s jokes where you work?

None at my office, but it doesn’t seem to be a big deal here. However I took a quick tour to see what popped up today.

Social Cast came up with a great schematic around April Fool’s Day, including some actual tricks played – my favourite is at right. Plus some very sensible advice on perpetrating tricks at work. I’m keeping it on file for 2013 (it falls on a Sunday next year)

Google had their usual fun with the launch of Gmail Motion, highly entertaining right down to the subject experts. If it were a reality we’d get rid of RSI overnight. But that might not compensate for the loss of productivity.

But the biggest gold medal goes to The Onion, who today launched their iPad app today.  Not Kidding. Finally a reason to buy an iPad.

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RIP Books?

Seth Godin’s announcement earlier this week that he will no longer write books got me thinking. He, and others have commented on the demise  of the publishing industry, how the traditional form of a book is dead. They damn it with that word “traditional”, as if it belongs in another era and has no relevance today. As a book lover who buys hundreds of books each year every time the death of books is announced it’s a little stab to my heart.

It’s not a new claim, it’s something I’ve heard for more than 10 years. Since everything is now online I can offer articles from Kevin Kelley c2006, from Jeff Jarvis c2006, and from Michael Hyatt c2007.

The justifications come down to;

  • the advance of technology; we now have devices (including the horridly named iPad) where on screen reading is becoming a pleasurable experience
  • the advance of technology part 2; we now use information in a link/search/metadata world online and when it comes to knowledge that’s how we increasingly want to receive it.
  • the one way nature; the author tells us something, we don’t get to respond
  • they “depend on blockbuster economics”; because books are expensive to produce (compared to pixels) you need to sell a lot of them.

Much is made of the market revolution caused by iTunes, and it’s true that the music industry has been transformed. A few purists still worship at the vinyl shrine but it’s a shrinking group, and most of them have an iPod for weekdays. Are paper books doomed to become the province of purists, will booklovers become some sort of weird geek cult?

I’m not sure.

I like Seth Godin, I enjoy his blog. It’s bite-sized inspiration. Something I can dip in and out of. Fantastic. But I have been spectacularly underwhelmed by his recent books and the problem is me. When I pick up a business book I’m looking for depth; I want to read the longer case studies, I want the detail, I want to digest and think about what’s been written. I want to learn and to ponder how what I’ve learnt can help me in my work/writing/life.

When I go to a blog I’m looking for a snack, preferably a piquant one.

When I go to a book I want the full meal, and don’t hold back on the sauce.

With the rise of technologies and devices that make reading digital content more pleasurable this may not be a case of reading from paper, but I do still want depth on subjects, I want to hear from experts. I can see we’re mid-revolution – or rather mid-evolution in the way we consume content, but I suspect there is room for both bite-sized commentary of blogs and the in-depth analysis of experts.

And as good as the devices become I can’t imagine curling up in bed with one.

image Fried Spring Rolls /Mithril/ CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

iPad; great innovation, bad name.

So the iPad was finally announced after a run of rumours over the last month or two. It won’t be launched until March/April, but there’s already a fever of anticipation on twitter, with about 1000 tweets per minute.

As far as I can tell from the launch video the iPad = kindle + iTouch – iTunes wrapped up in Apple’s high design ethic.

There are already big theories about what it will do, including making higher education irrelevant. The scenario described is more or less using iPad as a tool for eLearning – but eLearning is already used in masses of university and executive education that I don’t see having a new tool as an obvious game changer. If Apple can get enough of the educational material online then perhaps it will transform educational publishing – that is not the same thing as higher education.

So what will it transform? It’s finally a competitor for Amazon’s best selling Kindle, and it’s priced to compete with Kindle, sort of. Kindle is at 259USD and the iPad starts at 499USD, there’s a quality difference and then there is the usual “apple premium”. So although Kindle has already developed a market share, and developed agreements with publishers to ensure a steady stream of new content, they might be pushed to improve the reading experience.

I suspect the transformation will hit the publishing industry and the web/design industries. Both will push the boundaries of current web design to create content – including video and apps – that will be worthy of the iPad – because it is a thing of beauty. The flow of content might follow the example I wrote about earlier this month regarding Digital Magazines.

There are issues, lots of them; some, like the lack of Flash and limited browser, can change relatively easily. But the biggest we-are-all-12-years-old-again issue is the name, calling this iPad just shows they have too many boys in their marketing department. Women immediately connect the name to menstrual pads (see list of twitter trending topics above). Ignominious start for something billed as “the best web surfing experience”.