My daily readings 04/10/2010

  • tags: Apple, Adobe

    • Jobs is once again pitting Apple’s complete product design mastery against the rest of the industry, except this time he thinks he will prevail. Whether it is his repeated moves to keep Adobe’s Flash off the iPhone or his growing rift with Google over Android, Jobs is making the iPhone and iPad a relatively closed system that Apple can control. All apps need to be approved by Apple, the ads shown on the apps will also start to go through Apple, and no matter how hard Adobe tries to open up the iPhone to its Flash developers Apple will keep blocking all its efforts.

      Developers and pundits can cry foul all they want about Apple’s lack of openness. But remember, companies are only open when it is convenient for them. The fight with Adobe has always been about making developers play by Apple’s rules. And right now they can make those rules because they have all the customers.

    • Why doesn’t adobe start using html5, an open standard? It reminds me of Aol not willing to change when broadband access started creeping in, everyone at Aol was stuck saying dialup is the only way users will access the internet, not willing to change when all signs pointed to innovation. Adobe needs to stop fearing the future and embrace it. You build great authoring tools, I’m sure you can build great html5 ide instead of continuing to fight with open standards.
  • tags: iPad, kindle

    • I also find it much easier to read on this device than the iPhone. The bigger screen size makes a huge difference, at least on my middle aged eyes. I downloaded the Kindle app and love the fact that the Gotham Gal and I can now read the same book at the same time on multiple devices. That’s been possible with Kindle and iPhone for a while now but reading books on the iPhone never interested me.
    • Reading (and watching some video) is how I will use the iPad. It is just not that good for much else. I sat in the family room and watched the Duke Butler game with the Gotham Gal and my son last night. Even though I downloaded a beautiful version of Tweetdeck onto the iPad, I was not the least bit tempted to use the iPad to be my Twitter dashboard during the game. My MacBook is still vastly superior as a computing device and it’s not much bigger or bulkier.
    • I think the iPad is stuck in a difficult place between the smartphone and the laptop and it’s not nearly as convenient as a phone or as powerful as a laptop. That’s based on all of four hours playing with it. The device will get more powerful and lighter and less expensive. Over time it may turn into a mainstream computing platform but I don’t think it is there yet and I don’t think Apple has the kind of hit on its hands that it had with the iPhone.
    • The thing, the real thing, about the iPad is the stable it comes from. I think of iPhones in the same way the world saw plastics in the ’50s. Plastics were great, they were to revolutionise the way we manufactured stuff and interacted with our nascent technological world. But then we learnt that plastics were way harmful and so we now try to steer clear of them.
    • The “plastics” analogy is good but (as described here), the developer-Apple relationship reminds me more of the musician-record label relationship circa 1995.

      In this analogy, both Apple and the record label own a fat distribution pipe to many customers. They are dependent on third parties to create the content to fill that pipe, so they have to cut them in on the deal. Only a few of those 3rd parties get rich, but it’s enough to keep many many more motivated. Meanwhile, the people that own the pipes get *filthy* rich.

    • Forgot to mention that the one thing I really wish they’d add is the ability to have user accounts. I think for many households this will be a shared device and thus would benefit from that.
    • Completely agree. We use our existing iPod Touch as a shared device and have exactly this issue today.

      It flows through to the apps as well, e.g. the Facebook app doesn’t show who is logged in on most of its screens, and it doesn’t make it easy to switch between user accounts.

      Shared devices need shared services. Putting personal services (like a single-user Facebook app, or a single email inbox, etc.) on a shared device is broken.

    • Right on, plus some apps you can’t even share. E.g. Mail. I set up Mail for my wife. I can’t use it then myself or for older children. Likewise Photos, I have hers there but not mine. And so on. For me and I suspect many others this will be a shared device like a laptop / desktop. So I think the lack of user accounts is the biggest miss for 1.0. While I’m not holding my breath for it (as Erik mentions) it’s such a big miss that I think they’d sell more by having it available. I suppose one might argue that perhaps it needs multitasking for this capability to be put in place, so perhaps we’ll see it down the road when/if multi-tasking gets added.
  • tags: no_tag

    • – All use of User Data collected or obtained through an Application must be limited to the same purpose as necessary to provide services or functionality for such Application. For example, the use of User Data collected on and used in a social networking Application could be used for the same purpose on the website version of that Application; however, the use of location-based User Data for enabling targeted advertising in an Application is prohibited unless targeted advertising is the purpose of such Application (e.g., a geo-location coupon application).
    • This is interesting, because the promise of applications like FourSquare, Gowalla, and Loopt is that through a social network of seeing where your friends are, businesses will be able to add value to the experience by targeting users most likely to make a real-world purchase – if I check in to a store at the mall, what better opportunity for a business five stores down to promote their sale.
  • tags: twitter, Business

    • iPad’s
      fate depends on entrepreneurs inventing new kinds of killer apps. (remember how
      desktop publishing saved Mac?)
    • I got out of college in the early 80s when the desktop revolution was upon us. A bunch of my friends from MIT were piling into startups in Cambridge building products on top of this new desktop computing platform. One of them was a company called General Computer that made external hard drives for the original Macintosh, which you might recall came with only a floppy drive. General Computer did fantastic for a while but its business eventually faded away as Apple filled in the holes in the Macintosh product.
    • Much of the early work on the Twitter Platform has been filling holes in the Twitter product. It is the kind of work General Computer was doing in Cambridge in the early 80s. Some of the most popular third party services on Twitter are like that. Mobile clients come to mind. Photo sharing services come to mind. URL shorteners come to mind. Search comes to mind. Twitter really should have had all of that when it launched or it should have built those services right into the Twitter experience.

      When you talk to a new user, they want to know how to post a photo to Twitter, they want to know “what is this bit.ly thing?”, they want to know how to get Twitter on their iPhone. Names like Summize, Twitpic, Tweetie make no sense to them. Of course, without Summize, Twitpic, and Tweetie we would not have the Twitter we have today. They and many other third party products and services filled out the holes in the Twitter product and made it work better.

    • What are the products and services that create something entirely new on top of Twitter? I’ll come back to that question, but one more history lesson, this one recent history.
    • As Facebook closed up those holes and enhanced their own feature set, those apps fell to the wayside. But there was one entirely new business that got created on top of the Facebook platform and that is social gaming, which industry analysts project will be a $1.6bn market this year and I think that number is low.

      Facebook (and Twitter) have also spawned the social media agency business, helping businesses and brands market themselves in social nets, which may be even bigger than social gaming when you add up all the companies in it. That business opportunity is directly analogous to the search agency business that got built on the back of Google as it scaled into the business it is today.

    • * Social Gaming – There have been a number of attempts to build social game experiences on Twitter. But I’m not aware of any successes of scale like we’ve had on the Facebook platform. I think we will see it emerge soon.
    • * Analytics – While Twitter will obviously be delivering better analytics to its users, particularly its marketing and business users, I believe that there is always a market for third party analytics. Google Analytics is available for free and yet none of the large analytics providers have seen their businesses suffer. There is simply a voracious appetite for information on the Internet. So companies like bit.ly, Radian6, HubSpot, Scout Labs, and others have a bright future.
    • And that’s what I’d like to challenge entrepreneurs and developers out there to focus on. I think the time for filling the holes in the Twitter service has come and gone. It was a great period for Twitter and its third party developers.
  • tags: twitter, facebook, apple, Business

    • This isn’t to say that building for someone else’s platform can’t be very profitable. Over the past few years we’ve seen some very successful iPhone apps, Twitter apps, and Facebook apps. And that success is what has driven more and more developers to continue building new apps for these platforms.

      But you’d better have an exit strategy that involves becoming independent from your parent platform. Be aware that at any time, the rug can be pulled out from under you. We’ve seen it repeatedly in the past, and several times just this past week. Have a contingency plan in place, other platforms to target, other ways to distribute your product. Don’t want until Apple/Twitter/Facebook decides that they want to take over your core business: by then it will be too late.

    • Should you be annoyed that your URL shortener or photo upload service might become irrelevant once Twitter integrates those core features? Sure.
    • Another example just announced: Twitter acquires the Tweetie iPhone client, effectively turning it into the official Twitter iPhone app. Good for them, too bad for the other iPhone Twitter clients that weren’t chosen. The Twitter <-> developer ecosystem is shifting.

      Seesmic founder Loic Le Muer says it has become “extremely dangerous to be a Twitter-only application”.

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

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