My daily readings 01/28/2010

  • tags: Ads, marketing

    • Our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price.
    • Geeks are getting pissed off because this isn’t a real computer/doesn’t run OS X/doesn’t have XYZ/is a glorified iPod touch. This is because geeks know nothing about advertising, which is another way of saying they don’t know how people work
    • And guys, they have a point. This thing could save the publishing industry and the newspaper/magazine industry. It could revolutionize the digital fine arts. It does essentially everything that can possibly fit on a screen that size, almost unconsciously. It is so magic that it does things you’d never imagine wanting something to do. (There’s a hands-on video of a guy handing the iPad to his friend, and by the time the friend’s picked up the other end the screen’s flipped over and reoriented itself for him.)
    • Verizon launched a Droid ad two months ago that essentially let the world know how doomed they were. The ad showed a bunch of “iDon’t”s. iDon’t have 5 megapixels. iDon’t have multitasking. Item after item of flaws in the iPhone that this new technology could solve.

      Apple, meanwhile, showed a phone that could speak foreign languages at you, identify birdcalls in the wilderness, guide you through cities. They weren’t selling technical features. They were selling you magic. Real magic. The kind of magic where, thanks to world-class designers and programmers and marketers, it actually comes true.

    • Other companies are selling computers. Apple’s selling magic. Which one would you rather have?
  • tags: no_tag

    • This post adequately sums up my concerns.

      Here we have a device that doesn’t support USB thumbdrives, doesn’t support dropbox (at least system-wide, I assume the dropbox iphone app would work), is unable to run ruby or any of my other dev scripts/tools, cannot install firefox or firefox plugins, etc.

      I do not want to see computing head this direction.

    • My dad, mom, grandma, and grandpa can watch videos, look at photos of their kids/grandkids, send e-mails to their relatives oversees, and read their favorite books on it, all without the need for a “computer-savvy guy” who has to teach them how it works, and fix it when it’s broken. In other words, it’s a logical conclusion of the personal computer revolution. I understand you need to run your Ruby scripts, but this product was designed for the 99% of the people in this country instead. You’re not the target audience.
    • This is about far more than running your own Ruby scripts. It’s about the fact that true innovation cannot exist in such an environment. And the problem is, you will not see what you’re missing; people won’t bother developing new technologies that have no platform they can legally run on.

      Would the Web exist if Microsoft had been able to ban Netscape from running on Windows? What new, groundbreaking technologies are we missing out on because it’s not worth the time and effort to create something new if the platform vendor can simply forbid you from publishing it?

    • The App store and the iPhone have fostered a colossal amount of innovation, and made a lot of normal non-techy people very, very happy. And a bunch of techies too.
    • >it being about my Mum being able to use it without having to phone me saying that it’s all gone wrong again

      You’re confusing correlation with causation. The fact that your Mum has been unable to use devices in the past is not _caused_ by the devices being open platforms. Lots of people can’t even operate a dvd player and they are certainly locked down devices. Being easy to operate and being locked down are mutually exclusive.

    • The logical conclusion of the personal computer revolution is the person doesn’t control their device?! That’s not revolutionary; that’s a return to the bad old days…
    • Yes, because most people don’t want a device. They want to be able to watch videos, read books and listen to music. The enabling device is incidental.
    • The iPad is a living room computer, a couch computer, a coffee-table computer. It won’t live on a desk, it will live in the places in a house that people live in. The goal is not to replace desktop computers, but to supplement them.
    • I heartily disagree. There’s a big difference, huge difference between “can barely” and “does it really fucking well”. The iPad shoots for the latter (we’ll see if it hits), the netbook’s mere existence is predicated on the former.

      If your definition of “can do the same” means “someone willing to bang their head hard enough and willing to live with a substandard user experience can do it”, sure. But IMHO we need to strive for a higher standard than that.

      After the iPod, the Mac, and the iPhone, I don’t think geeks still get why Apple is successful: they build devices that normal people actually want. I think there is some collective head-in-the-sand in the geek community because what people apparently want is not at all like what geeks want. The average user doesn’t want freedom, doesn’t want an open kernel, doesn’t give a shit about standards, they want to have a slick, usable, and intuitive user experience, and so far netbooks are failing hard at it.

      The average user doesn’t want the ability to hunt down zip files on obscure websites, downloading the file, and being able to run whatever app is inside. They like having a central place where all apps in the universe reside. This may or may not be good for the industry as a whole, but it is what our users desire.

      IMHO the constant spec-based wankery is why nobody has yet caught up with Apple. I’m seeing a lot of internet chatter about how netbooks do more (does more, poorly), how the cost is too high, how the CPU is too slow, blah blah blah, but conveniently ignores what is IMHO the one defining reason Apple has succeeded in the last decade: user interface.

      “My Android phone isn’t locked down!” <– Your Android phone also crashes all the time, emits strange cryptic messages that only developers understand (“a process has been forced to exit”?)

    • I wonder, how many people were sad when gearbox in their car went from stick to auto, when choke control disappeared, when you could no longer tinker with carburetor, because it was gone.

      There will always be two groups of people, one group of those wanting to hack things, and another, much much larger group of those who want just use them. For every one John who wants to chip his car engine there will be five millions Joes who just want to get from the point A to the point B with the least hassle possible. As it happens Apples iProducts are aimed at the second group—deal with it. Just like ITMS and App Store may be the fastest and most hassle-free way to get what you want on your device.

      I’ve spent some time thinking, do I want iPad. The answer is: I do. I like to read when in bed, iPad is perfect for this. I cannot take my iMac to bed, and reading with notebook is not as convenient as it can be with iPad: that damn keyboard gets in a way, event when I barely use it.

      iPad is very well suited for what it is intended for: surfing the web, reading the books, some email. Let’s not forget it has UI specifically tailored for the device and multitouch use. It should be great for tasks it was meant to do, and not so great for all others.

      It is time to stop thinking about anything with CPU inside as the computer.

    • Wrong analogy, I think. There is an important difference between desire to tinker and desire to control. I don’t tinker with my car, but I’m not going to allow the manufacturer to dictate who must repair it, where I must buy gas, which roads I can use…

      Apple reminds me of homeland security, but prettier!

    • I’m not sure you’ve killed the metaphor yet.

      Because, in fact, the sale of gas is subject to a great deal of regulation. That’s to prevent someone from selling you adulterated gas that destroys your car’s emission system. Or from selling you leaded gas that pollutes the air that our kids have to breathe.

      And the reason the manufacturer doesn’t need to enforce your use of the roads is that it’s already being enforced by a higher authority. We have cops for that. And they very much do dictate that you keep your car on public roads, and not go driving off across someone else’s lawn, or the National Mall.

      If you think these extensions to the metaphor make no sense, you’re missing the elephant in the room: Personal computers are insecure, and the average web surfer is more likely (probably, alas, by an order of magnitude) to have their computer steal their credit card numbers or grind to a halt under a flood of malware than they are to crack open the box or write a single line of code. An enormous number of people don’t want the freedom I want, any more than they want to own an acetylene torch.

    • It’s a bit like cars.

      Cars used to be ‘user servicable’, you could take them apart and put them back together again, or repair them with simple tools.

      The further you integrate something the further away you get from ‘user servicable’.

      Due to emissions controls cars were equipped with injection systems and motor management, and then car manufacturers discovered ‘lock-in’, how to make money on obfuscation in stead of openness.

      Computing is doing the exact same thing.

      Gone are the simple serial and parallel interfaces, and in their place you get undocumented docking connectors and other ‘magic’.

      The only thing that keeps things open to some extent is the fact that the internet arrived just in time to save us from complete lock in hell. The protocols are standardized enough to let devices talk to each other.

      So that’s where you’re going to find your new ‘openness’, at the protocol level.

      Serverside it will take a long time to go ‘closed’, but on the client side I would expect to see more and more devices that are closed as much as possible.

      Gaming hardware has already gone that way, mobile phones started out closed (‘to protect the networks’, as if client side security would be good enough for a carrier).

      It’s not a good development, but it will happen.

      Tech savvy people can only push back by releasing their own open devices, the open source variety of hardware.

    • That Apple is creating a closed system is of little surprise. Steve Jobs is all about control. It works in the short term, but I believe it will bite them in the ass over the long-term.

      Making use of a closed-system and trying to be the best in a category assumes that you have access to the most brilliant minds in that field, and the most brilliant marketing campaign. What makes Apple great? Well, they can control every aspect of their production because they own all their own tools and can keep out the crap. Also, they have slick industrial design. For now they also have some of the most brilliant minds in the industry, but not all of them. This is why they will never achieve world domination with their products. I suppose I could make use of their own advertising to make an example : “I’m a mac, I’m a PC”. You are either an apple person or you’re not. Their closed-system allows little flexibility. They would be doomed to what they used to be were it not for them opening their file formats to standards.

      Why is this not the best approach? Because of human innovation. People hate being held down, forced into one category, etc. This is what apple is doing, but because their products are so innovative, consumers will go for it.

      Google is much smarter; they know what to hold onto and what to open up for the masses. Even though they employ many geniuses, they are always on the search for new innovative ideas. That’s why they purchase so many startups, or so I’ve been told.

      That’s why I believe in a race between Google and Apple, Apple WILL lose eventually.

      Closed-systems should actually drive innovation because they must be circumvented. That’s why Apple products are cracked all the time. So I guess the challenge then is, that if you aren’t happy with Apple, build a better product and market it as well as they do. All things being equal, the open-system product will win every time. You can’t employ all of the brightest people yourself, all of the time. I think Apple will learn this in due time, and then things will change.

      A sidenote is that a large part of Apple’s appeal is simplicity because of their closed-system. If anyone could create an opem-system as turnkey as theirs, they’d come ahead by far. I think one of the closest systems to being fully open and turnkey I’ve seen so far is Facebook Connect, but I’m starting to become too long-winded, so I’ll leave it at that.

    • “It works in the short term, but I believe it will bite them in the ass over the long-term.”

      I disagree. Both Apple and Nintendo have shown proof that their closed ‘circle of one’ system works. Yes both of them have had a lot of big missed opportunities in the past because of this, but what matters more for these companies is profitability and not marketshare. Both Apple’s and Nintendo’s closed systems have led to large margins, and a healthy supply of cash flow and reserves.

      Yes it doesn’t really fully cater to us, but we’re not their main market.

    • If apple think their iPhone success shows that people like closed systems, they are kidding themselves. Phones have never really been open (thanks to the carriers), so the iPhone was actually one of the more open phones out there. But once they start competing with actual computers, it is going to be very different.
    • For us as hackers, computer use is more like politics. We want the openness to do what we want, to dig around, to break things and fix them again, to change things. For most people, however, computer use is more like a meal. Give them some great toys to play with and they won’t mind the limitations at all.
    • This is explicitly about locking developers down, and not allowing them to do things that Apple does not approve of. Want to write a competing web browser? Sorry, you can’t. Want to write an awesome JIT that optimizes itself for their shiny new chip? No can do.
    • Unfortunately, this is what people like my mom and my sister want: something dead simple and easy to use like iPhone.

      Both OSX and Windows still give them a lot of trouble.

      It’s hard to pair both freedom and flexibility with ease of use and simplicity.

    • I know of no other company that can charge $100 for 16GB of flash memory. Differentiating on real features like 3G is good and expected. Differentiating on commodity hardware like memory is unfair.

      With the ubiquity of SD and micro SD and need for more and more storage due to the explosion of digital media, they don’t even provide a port. Obviously, they don’t provide a port because it would destroy their product line. When you have the cheapest digital electronics providing these ports and high-end hardware like the iPod/Phone/Pad not providing it, that says a lot. It says “we don’t care about anything except our product the money in your wallet.”

      It’s ironic that MS gets so much flack from developers in the OSS purist and Apple fanbois camps about their closed products. They’ve always been the most open from the hardware perspective and they’ve always been great to developers. Apple is just the opposite.

      If we care about an open future in computing, we need to think clearly about which platforms to develop for.

    • Apple is no longer called Apple Computers because they will not sell computers anymore. They will sell closed devices with a closed software ecosystem. They will also sell the best devices money can buy.
  • tags: no_tag

    • What nobody talks about is the impact iPad could have on the data-entry / industrial market. I’m pretty certain that I’ll be buying a bunch of the 16GB $499 iPads for my job (pharma manufacturing). Make a simple web-app for collecting data and the iPad replaces paper easier than any other 4x more expensive tablet. No need to setup or install software or custom apps: Safari + default onscreen keyboard works just fine.
    • The message the desktop Linux community is refusing to learn from. At least half your points are fairly directly based on the state of Linux at the moment (e.g. Safari, ease of setup) and the other half linked to the state of the ecosystem surrounding Linux which pushes for cheaper and hackier solutions (wifi drivers, perception of coolness, implementation of software and hardware quality).
    • I am a big fan of apple product and I don’t wanna be rude to the author, mostly because I don’t know much about him. But this post reminds me of a typical obnoxious apple fanboy.

      “Its not only good, it awesome, super, duper good.”

      Lets not get carried away now. We know almost nothing about the processor. We don’t know how it will compare against a similar range intel processor. We don’t know how much the ipad OS (which obviously isn’t _exactly_ the same as iphone OS) was optimized for this processor.

      Most importantly we can only speculate about apple’s _real_ reason for going into chip making business, it might not be because they have a better product – but in the long run it might be cheaper for them to make their own.

    • Gruber, the author is the alpha dog of mac fanboys.

      He sets the tone for the rest of the tribe. He is very good in what he does.

      What you see may be the remnants of the reality distortion field he was exposed to today

    • I think the iPad will be successful but it will have more of an iPod success curve versus an iPhone out-of-the-gate smash hit curve. I believe there are some pieces that aren’t in place yet. I think eventually, to hit the magic price point, Apple needs to find a way to subsidize the iPad without a cellular carrier. I suspect that will be in the form of an iTunes subscription program. Shave $100 off the cost to build it and subsidize it by $200 via an $8/month charge built into the subscription program. All you can eat books, movies, music and TV. $199 out the door. That’s the point where everyone will want an iPad the same way the iPhone became hugely successful at the same price point. $499 is a very reasonable starting point for now. I think they’ll easily sell 3-5 million of them this year. The last thought I have is that Apple’s hype machine probably got a little ahead of themselves here. CNN had the iPad release as their Breaking News story for a couple hours today. That’s probably a sign that your hype factor was impossibly high. That puts you firmly into backlash territory. I would expect to see another round of features/enhancements/deals shortly before it’s release — probably in conjunction with iPhone OS 4.
  • tags: no_tag

    • Lastly, there’s the fact that the iPad is using a new CPU designed and made by Apple itself: the Apple A4. This is a huge deal. I got about 20 blessed minutes of time using the iPad demo units Apple had at the event today, and if I had to sum up the device with one word, that word would be “fast”.
    • But: everyone I spoke to in the press room was raving first and foremost about the speed. None of us could shut up about it. It feels impossibly fast. (And our next thought: What happens if Apple has figured out a way to make a CPU like A4 that fits in an iPhone? If they pull that off for this year’s new iPhone, look out.)

      Apple doesn’t talk much about the technical details of the iPhone. They never talk about CPU speed or the name of the chip being used. They don’t tell you how much RAM is in there. Part of their vision for moving computers from technical culture to popular culture is about getting away from defining these things by their technical specs. So the prominent talk about A4 is telling. This is something they want us to notice.

    • We believe in the simple, not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.”
    • They’re Microsoft and Intel rolled into one when it comes to mobile computing. In the pre-taped video Apple showed, Bob Mansfield said of the iPad, “No one else could do it.” Only Apple.
  • tags: learning, network

  • tags: iPad, Kindle

    • If I were running the Kindle I would answer this question today: “Are we innovating the publishing or the entertainment industry?” Is the Kindle just for my reading entertainment or is it for watching, listening, gaming, browsing, sharing photos, and communicating with friends & family too? Ultimately the answer is shaped by consumer preference, competitors and time measured in years.

      As a product guy this is a really intriguing question to try to unravel—which path should Amazon choose? Over time this is what may push the Kindle into being more than just a reader

    • Today, Kindle enjoys a price advantage over the iPad. It is nearly half the price, starting at $260 versus $500 for the iPad, although the cheapest Kindle DX with an equivalent 9.7 inch screen is $489.  That is pretty close already.  What happens when the price of iPad-like devices trend down to a point of consumer indifference?
    • Pad Product Strategy

      Offer a relatively inexpensive multimedia consumption device + Reinvent reading experience via interactive elements within the ebooks = Charge for brokering reading material (iBooks) = Own publishers as part of a 5-yr growth plan, similarly to music studios but with a HUGE profit twist: embed interactive ads in the ebooks (u cannot do that with songs) and make the money tenfold by brokering the ads yourself (recent acquisitions).

      It is clear to me that Apple wants to promote “ebook consumption”. All other features are on the side, kind of side competitive advantages to give iTab an edge over generic ereaders.

      No Camera
      1. No interest in “making videos (Apple does not make money of amateur videos – Google does).
      2. No interest in augmented reality. Too early for that, unproven business models, iPad too big to take pictures with, etc.
      3. Camera would add to the cost
      4. Risk of cannibalizing macbook sales by adding HW features
      = Leave the camera out for now, focus on “reading material”, see how the market reacts and adjust accordingly (next gen will probably include one)

      No Flash
      Apple promotes its own app store + developers. Lock Adobe outside the room, let them spend more money to open the door. When they eventually get in the room, they will see the crowd and be forced out :) goodbye Adobe and nice to meeting you! Stay isolated in the “static” web. The mobile space is ours!

      Memory
      Enough for average readers. Heavy user? Pay more, start storing online (related apple-owned app coming soon, i would certainly believe)

      Accessories
      Offer some (keyboard, case, blahblah) to lock third parties out. Let Bose produce the speakers :)

      Price
      Great. Match the most useless competitor, crash them to the ground, forever. How did they dare launch tablets knowing we are coming?

      To me, all the pieces were there. It always takes someone with charisma and talent to put them together. Apple has both. But it also has a couple of problems: Google + Google.

    • I’m both an Amazon and Apple fanboy; having a Macbook Pro, iPhone 3GS and a Kindle 2. To be honest, I can’t see myself getting an iPad based off of the eBook reading functionality (or for any reason really – just not something I need).

      For textbooks and reference guides I think the iPad will definitely be the better choice because the larger color display and overall speed is a huge advantage, but I’ve sat back with my Kindle and read hundreds of pages in a single sitting and thousands of pages over the period of a few days. And at no point through that time did I feel like I was reading off an electronic device – it felt completely natural, just like the E-Ink technology is marketed. I very much doubt the iPad could handle that.

      For the average person I’d still say the iPad is the more attractive (especially since there’s that statistic that the average person reads like 1 book after college or something) but for the Kindle’s target audience – people who read a lot of books – I doubt there’ll be much competition when the numbers are crunched.

      :-)

    • Exactly. The Kindle is an amazing reading device. It doesn’t feel electronic. The screen and the battery life are amazing.

      Sure maybe you could read books on the iPad, but to buy an iPad to read books would be absolutely stupid. This isn’t going to make a dent in Kindle, as much as Apple fanbois say otherwise.

    • Kindle needs to embrace the iPad.
      Focus on the Kindle iPhone app and add functionality so it can compete with iBooks.

      I think when people compare the iPad to the Kindle they forget (or just haven’t experienced) how nice it is to read eInk for several hours instead of looking at a backlit display.

    • When I saw the two pictures today of the iBook vs the Kindle I thought I would be drawn into the iBook. But even in the pictures the ink qualities looked entirely different and the kindle won for me. I use both the kindle app on my ipod touch and my kindle. The app is fine for short reading bursts if I’m at lunch or waiting in line somewhere but eventually begins to give me eye strain. Also – it’s HORRIBLE for reading in bed w/out a light on. The kindle wins out for reading in bed with a tiny book lame attached to it. So much better on my eyes.
    • Bezos has said that the Kindle is meant to be the best device for the activity of reading only – if they tried to make it into anything else, there would be no matching the iPad.
    • The question for me is whether Amazon want to build a business out of Kindle, or it was just to kick-start the e-books market.

      I suspect the intent was the latter, and they’ve largely been successful in that aim.

      My guess is I see my retailing capability as my biggest strength if I’m on Amazon, and I only see Kindle as a vehicle to keep some market share in order to push open standards, and to make sure doesn’t abuse its power with consumers and publishers.

      When Amazon develops its store front app for iPad, will Apple reject it… and what will the DOJ say?

    • Not many people read anymore so I know I’m a minority in that regard but while my primary function would be reading I want the ability to annotate and access the internet for research.

      The kindle is a very limited device and again while the DX is such a definitive device it lacks versatility.

      The iPad just does a lot more and similar devices cost similar prices so the iPad beats out the Kindle for me.

      If you didn’t have to annotate or take your research to the net though I can understand a Kindle would serve you fine.

    • Funny, I have both a Kindle and an iPhone and prefer reading on the iPhone. I think it’s color that makes the difference for me. Even with B&W text, color wins the day.
    • The Kindle is a bit of a one-trick pony, but it does what it does very well. I think the loser here is more likely to be the Nook which got off to a slow start and barely has the brand to survive against the Kindle let alone Apple’s marketing muscle. The tiny touch screen and glitchy software will prove to be an extreme limit on the Nook especially given its channel partner plays and competition from other eBook readers.
    • You’ve misunderstood the target: the iPad won’t kill the Kindle – it will kill the netbook.

      The problem I see for the iPad v Kindle- and it’s a big one – is the LED screen. You simply can’t read for hours without killing your eyes. But a LED screen gives you the ability to run movies, pictures, web surfing in glorious color. By contrast, the Kindle is not backlit and therefore is much more comfortable on the eyes.

    • @Phil: But the eInk device gets to sit around twiddling its thumbs for a decade losing marketshare to the almost good enough (or futilely try developing things like an app market and platform, etc…) while the iPad kills the netbook (I agree but for sake of the argument, let’s just say this is your assertion), eat into the eInk device market little by little with the larger general audience rather than the niche market of diehards, AND … when the technologies DO converge, destroys the single-purpose eInk device market overnight without any further development or investment because all of the other capabilities are already there.
    • Not so sure about that. I spend hours looking at LED, watching movies on it, writing code on it, playing games on it, etc. After several years of doing this on LED, and numerous years of doing it on competing technologies…. I’m not going blind. In fact, I stood more of a chance going blind while trying to get light to Kindle on a long plane trip and when I read in bed. People try to bag on backlit displays all the time, but then the first thing they end up buying is a light so they can read their book, or see the e-Ink display.

      I dunno… personally I’m not “seeing” the eye-killing effects of staring at screens all day. Then again, maybe I HAVE gone blind…

    • Amazon should move the Kindle in the opposite direction of the iPad, not try to catch up. While the iPad becomes a replacement for the personal computer… Kindle should become a replacement for the paperback… focus on being the most thin, durable, drop dead simple and very inexpensive reader possible.

      The Kindle model should become more like the printer model… the unit becomes almost free and the money is made on the ink/toner, or in the Kindle’s case the money is made on the content.

    • I am just hanging out for more specs. I’ve wanted a Kindle for a while, but have held out buying one to see what the tablet would be like. The Backlight and 10 hour battery life isn’t great, but really, if it turns out the tablet can support all the e-reading features of Kindle- like annotating books and PDF documents, exporting notes – then I will probably go the tablet anyway, just for the versatility.
    • Though the iPad did not come as a surprise to Amazon (I hope), I think Amazon should scale down its ambitions in this space. The way I see it, Amazon has two options:

      1) Focus on ebooks (and some tertiary functions around that)
      2) Compete with Apple on iPad

      In option 1, Amazon will be playing to its strengths. In option 2, it will compete on Apple’s strengths. It will loose in option 2. It stands to make a pretty good business in option 1.

      So what does option 1 look like? A really long battery life, easy to read, fast download of books, books published only through Amazon (exclusive), exclusive content. Real ease of use internationally. Amazon should not forget its DNA and start chasing the next hot thing out there.

      If it were to compete in option 2, it will fare much worse than Google will/is in Android. Amazon can dedicate a couple of hundred millions tops to a program like this. It will completely take them away from being a retailer. They will act more like a VC/Incuabator than the biggest, baddest online retailer.

      With option 1, they could get a WW installed base of 20-30 million users over time (hardcore book readers) and make $200 per user in revenue and $50-60 in margin. If they start chasing Apple, they will be burning R&D money.

    • As others before me have said, I don’t see the iPad as a Kindle Killer. The Kindle is an amazing book reader. I like that it doesn’t do more. I don’t want the distraction of being able to tweet or browse the web when I am reading. I have my laptop, desktop, blackberry and netbook to do that. Sure, the iPad might replace two or more of those items, but not my Kindle.

      You said “for the same price, more is better.” I couldn’t disagree more. It all depends on consumer desires. Personally, for the things that are most important for me, I want a specialized device. For the things that don’t matter as much, give me a d-it-all device.

      I believe the Kindle and the iPad can both thrive and I hope they will.

  • tags: no_tag

    • Now it works, thanks.

      Why the iPAD is a Winner and the bigger Game Changer :

      1)It’s the final convergence device
      2)Battery it’s critical for such pervasive device (10h outstanding)
      3)Price was the show stopper : 499 is amazing
      4)Camera could be an accessory
      5)Flash will be dead in 24 months (HTML5)
      6)iPad complements perfectly the iPhone, iPod, any Smartphone and any Laptop/Desktop
      7)Semi-multitasking to come with OS 4.0

    • I was disappointed with the video. It’s basically a big iPhone screen.

      I couldn’t help think while I was watching the video : yep, tablets are awkward to hold. You have one hand simply doing the task of holding all the time. On a phone that’s acceptable because it sits in the palm of one hand and is comfortable. In the video the guy didn’t look very comfortable holding as he was – I can see that being very tiring.

    • The major reason the Iphone doesn’t multitask is battery life. That won’t change because of 4.0 so don’t expect 4.0 to bring multitasking.
    • It looks great and seems to work really nicely.

      Multitasking is unnecessary on it, just like it is on the iPhone, and is one of the reasons why it is such a success – anyone can use it and be productive and quick with it. Being able to switch between apps that launch really quickly is just as effective. And it makes it more reliable, it makes the current running app faster, and it means it is less complicated for users.

      If you enabled multitasking of apps, then you need to be able to switch between them quickly, and suddenly you need a memory monitor so the user knows what is going on when it starts grinding to a halt because you are leaving a trail of open apps behind you, you then start to need to enable virtual memory which then means lots of writes to the same region of flash which over time degrades the flash (although I might be wrong on that these days).

      All in all, IMO Apple have made an excellent design decision, and it is one of the reasons I believe they have been so successful. There just isn’t any setup, any messing around, any expert knowledge required to be an effective user of an iPod Touch/iPhone/iPad. They just work.

  • tags: no_tag

    • So what exactly can the platform add beyond the text these publishers already have? CEO Matt MacInnis says that Inkling is building tools that give publishers a scalable way to add interactive and dynamic content. They’ll be able to include interactive figures and quizzes. And they’ll be able to give their texts cloud connectivity, allowing students to download new, updated content. Other benefits from connecting to the cloud include the ability to sync your work between multiple devices, and the ability to add social features to a text. Imagine if you had a question about a particular diagram in your text; you could send it to your professor, and they could leave an annotation in the book that would be visible to all other students.
    • Give me text books and the ability to write notes on certain pages of the book with out leaving it, and i’ll be sold, as long as they have a wide selection of college books.
  • tags: note

    • First, it had to have a cleaner, more Mac-like UI. Notational Velocity’s current interface is purely functional. It’s efficient and stays out of your way. Unfortunately, it’s ugly, too. It no longer fits in with the UI polish users expect in 2009. I’m not a designer by any stretch of the imagination, but I did make some common sense changes that make the interface friendlier. I replaced the current search box with a native Mac search field and removed any unnecessary padding around the UI elements. I gave the note field a legal pad treatment (inspired by The Hit List), enabled rich text editing, and replaced the “Date Created” column with a more useful “Date Modified” one. Also, since the goal of Nottingham (and NV) is to be totally keyboard navigable, I put a lot of thought into which shortcut keys I kept and which ones I altered. One of those changes was making the up and down arrow keys behave more naturally as they move through the list of notes and into / out of the search field.
  • tags: iPhone, data

    • It turns out, Where To? is not the kind of rocket-like app that flies through the roof and then crashes on the hard surface of negligible sales. Since the takeover in mid December 2008, it made a total of $325.055,07 in gross sales, that’s $227.538,55 after Apple’s cut:
    • Where To? Sales 2009
    • While in the first half of the year we had decent success with cost-per-click campaigns such as Google Adwords, in the recent past virtually all sorts of paid advertising were totally ineffective (with Admob and Facebook offering the worst value in terms of ad dollars spent per sale). The root of the problem is that at a sale price of $2.99 ($2.10 after Apple’s cut) and typical click-to-sale conversion rates of 5-10% the maximum affordable CPC is at around 10-15¢. For apps priced lower than $2.99 or promotional offers the maximum CPC is even less. At this level, however, the available inventory is nearly non-existant.
    • I feel the most effective marketing are continued improvement, word of mouth and of course positive reviews both in the App Store (yes, you’re welcome to take this as friendly reminder to review Where To? and all your favorite apps you use everyday ;-) – Thanks!) and in the press (e.g. TUAW or iPhoneFootprint). After releasing new versions, Where To? achieved rankings in the top 50 of all paid apps in the US, #2 in Germany and it climbed up to the top position in the Navigation category in the US, Germany and other countries. Clearly, this strategy wasn’t too bad.
    • Where To? Non-US Sales
    • Thanks for the write-up. Marketing an iPhone app at $2.99 a pop is definitely a challenge. I was interested to read your comment about the conversion rates of Google AdWords campaigns: “Admob and Facebook offering the worst value in terms of ad dollars spent per sale”. How were you able to work out which clicks converted into sales? The best I’ve been able to do is use the iTunes Linkshare links in ads in the US and UK with the “signature tracking codes” so I can see clicks and sales but is there something else I’ve not heard of? Would love any extra tips for tracking sales and advertising. For any none Linkshare the best I can do is throw a lot of money at it and look at daily sales for a deflection!
  • tags: no_tag

    • The first thing that you’ll notice is that Flower Garden is a strange in-between app. It’s far from being very successful or being at the top of any chart, but at the same time it probably made more money than 99% of the apps on the App Store. It was also reelased on April 10th, so this represents 10 months of data, an age after which most apps are usually on drip support. So this should be an interesting new data point.
    • The vertical axis is daily profit in US $ (after Apple’s 30% cut). Flower Garden generated a bit over $21,500 over a period of 10 months. I would hardly consider that an entry-level salary, much less in California, but it’s enough for someone without a family or mortgage to (barely) make a living.
    • There’s clearly a story behind that graph. It’s not the usual exponential drop off you expect from most (unsuccessful apps) and shows how an aging app can pick up steam on its own after many months on the store, without ever being featured by Apple.
    • I also contacted all the media sites I knew with a press release and promo codes to entice them to write a review. I was lucky that many reviews appeared over the next couple of weeks, but unfortunately they were all spread out, minimizing the PR effect. The biggest effect was when Flower Garden was simultaneously covered on TouchArcade and MacRumors. That’s what caused the big sales spike (B). From there, it was a standard exponential drop off, until, on the last day of the month, just three weeks after launch, revenue dropped below $100/day again. If that was all there was to it, Flower Garden was a big flop and I should start dusting off my resume.
    • Middle_long
    • Mother’s day is probably the small, second spike in that period, but overall, that week was a loss. Lesson learned: Don’t make a sale unless your app is in a visible position (on a top chart somewhere). Flower Garden was nowhere to be seen, so the sale had no effect other than to cut profits by 33%.
    • In early June we launched App Treasures. App Treasures is a label for indie iPhone game developers with top-quality games, and one of the main tools we’re leveraging is some cross-promotion for our games, both through the web site, and from an in-game view liking to each other’s games.
    • At the same time, every time I would show the game to someone, they usually really liked it. Not liked-it-because-I’m-there, but really, genuinely liked it. Why weren’t more people buying it then? Two problems: First, screenshots were not conveying how cool growing, animated flowers you could touch were, and second, most people didn’t even know Flower Garden existed. It had never been featured by Apple on the App Store, and the audience I was trying to reach didn’t read TouchArcade or other iPhone review sites.
    • The first thing I did was to add Facebook integration. Not only could you send bouquets through email, but you were able to send them directly to your Facebook friends. The advantage of that approach from my point of view is that all your friends also saw the flowers so for every bouquet sent on Facebook, hopefully dozens or hundreds of people were being exposed to Flower Garden. The result on sales: Not much. Maybe it made the early part of July a little higher than it would have been otherwise, but no noticeable difference.

      The second approach was to release a lite version of Flower Garden in early September. I was confident that Flower Garden was a good app, and I was hoping that once people had a chance to try the lite version, they would purchase the full version. Fortunately I was right and the effect on sales was very noticeable, pretty much doubling sales (E), but it never really took off in any significant way, and sales slowly declined over time.

    • This time it was in-app purchases (IAP). Apple had announced IAP back in June. They seemed like a very natural fit for Flower Garden, but given how few units Flower Garden had sold, I would have a very limited audience for IAP. A small percentage of a small number is a tiny number! :-( However, in late October Apple announced that IAP were finally allowed from free apps as well. That encouraged me to give Flower Garden one… last… try…
    • Afterwards revenue flattened out, but at a much higher amount than before. Before IAP, daily revenue was about $50/day. Now it’s more around $180/day. That’s totally beyond any of my expectations!
    • It looks like sales for Flower Garden (blue) continue to be more or less the same, with a slight increase after Christmas. The IAP from the full version of Flower Garden (green) account for most of the extra revenue, especially at the beginning. But it’s very interesting that the purchases coming from Flower Garden Free (orange) are steadily increasing and, as of last week, they became almost as large as the ones from the full version.
    • But, as soon as the in-app Flower Shop was released, downloads started climbing, and on Christmas day they went through the roof (relatively speaking). So it’s no surprise that IAP from Flower Garden Free picked up in these last few weeks.
    • George, in the case of Flower Garden, I’m convinced that most profits will eventually come from IAP because of Flower Garden Free (that’s the version I’m pushing most these days). I’m definitely planning on adding more items to the store, so hopefully it will continue the trend. Biggest win for me right now would be to get more folks to know about and try out Flower Garden Free though.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

One Response to “My daily readings 01/28/2010”

  1. The Best Articles Says:

    Wow! bookmarked! Ty!

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