Really good insight into what lies beneath Apple sleek, minmalist iPad, straight from the horse’s mouth – Colin McCaffery, product director at 2ergo (emphasis theirs).
“I believe the iPad will be about sitting in front of the TV whilst watching TV, browsing a ‘magazine’,” McCaffery – whose 2ergo made the apps for The Guardian, Fox News, Arsenal FC andothers – told me in an interview. “It will switch on in a second, you’ll be straight in to your content – it will be almost exactly like a magazine that you pick up from the coffee table.”
The jury is still out on whether people will naturally see the iPad as a coffee table companion, but it’s clear that important people in the media, already see the iPad as a way of realising the dream of digitized, subscription based content.
iPhone developers are currently getting to grips with the new software developers kit that includes iPad features, and 2ergo is already working on firm iPad app projects for four clients.
So the desire by the content creators is there, it seems now the ball is firmly in our court, that’s you and me, the content consumers – are we willing to pay for content anymore?
Last year I bought the excellent zombie-killer game on the iPhone, “Call Of Duty – Zombies”
This game is totally ‘up my street’, and last week they released a new map, which could be purchased through the app. The app cost £5.99, and the new map cost £2.99.
I purchased it straight after viewing the demo, but what worried me, and what should worry all content creators, are the comments on the app store from users who balked at the price.
Many thought that they has paid quite enough and expected all future maps to be either free, or under a pound.
Is this the current attitude of your average computer user?
It seemed that a lot of these comments came from kids, who obviously have very little money to spend, and they won’t necessarily be the same market that the clients of 2ergo are after, but no-one can doubt that these are their future customers.
And it’s this that seems to be at the heart of the iPad’s approach – it’s not a computer.
It’s not a device that ‘does it all’ and therefore doesn’t have all the shortcomings (from a content creator’s point of view), of that device – in this case, run illegal software and media.
It’s a perfect device to redefine what consuming media means as a concept, it’s the perfect device for content creators to take back their industry from the computer users, who have, let’s face it, damaged their careers, by arrogantly assuming that they can have everything for free.
A future where content is tied to a device and must be paid for might sound a nightmare to some people, but that’s also a future where content-creators can finally make a living online, allowing them to create even better content going forward, and in the long run, that’s good for everyone.
Good, valid points made from Gruber’s observations, but it’s the Nintendo comparison that got me thinking:
The App Store. There are two schools of criticism about the iPhone App Store: The most vocal critics say that it is totally going in the wrong direction and should be doing what Google (GOOG) does with the Android Marketplace — offer users the option of downloading apps that aren’t vetted and approved. The other school says that Apple is going in the right direction, but is hurtling at great speed a few degrees off course. Gruber fears that the shouting from the first school is so loud that Apple may be ignoring the second as well. There are game consoles — like Nintendo’s — whose apps are as tightly controlled as Apple’s. And there are computer systems with app libraries nearly as large as the iPhone’s. But there’s never before been a tightly controlled system with 150,000 apps. “If it proves unsustainable,” asks Gruber, “what are they going to do?”
My kids own a couple of Nintendo DS’s and it interesting that Gruber brings Nintendo into the conversation.
Nintendo have a similar approach to Apple, in that all apps released on the DS must go through an approval process.
I can say that there are a lot of DS games that are certainly cash-in products with poor graphics and have a ‘Adobe Flash’ game feel.
There are also a lot of high quality games also, but it shows that even when you have a stringent approval process, crap can still get through, hence the multitude of fart apps, softcore porn, and repackaged Gutenburg books on Apple’s AppStore.
What is Apple to do? Well they must do something. At the moment it’s difficult to find good quality apps on the AppStore, and you have to wade through a lot of hay, to get to the needle you’re looking for.
I think the small screen of the iPhone doesn’t help. Apple keeps the UI of the AppStore on the iPhone very simple, but it’s this simplicity that stops you from doing more advanced searches.
The only real way I find decent apps, is to fall back on other forms of advertising, such as when apps are mentioned on podcasts and on blogs.
I’m fully supportive of Apple’s approval process, I understand why it’s needed, but finding apps amongst the ever growing number available is a problem that’s only going to get worse.
A good a comprehensive review from Andy Inakhto, covering the pros and cons of Tyrell Corps’ new phone.
One of the problems that Andy sees it the fragmentation of the Android OS. The platform is not set in stone, some things work on your Android phone, but may not work on your friends’. This is because Google has given too much control to the carrier, however Andy comments that this may be a moot point because of a similarity on the iPhone:
Alas, even the comparative utopia of Apple’s iPhone’s “One OS to rule them all” system can’t last forever; early reports are that iPhone OS 4.0 will bring enough new core features that only the iPhone 3G and 3GS will run it.
I would strongly argue that that the fragmentation of Android is worse than the ‘fragmentation’ of the iPhone, because it doesn’t matter how many times Apple fragments the iPhone – they control & manage every fragmentation. Google does not.
It’s that control that sets the iPhone above everything else, Apple can split and dice up the OS’s relationship with the hardware as many times as they like, as long as they manage the user’s experience.
Google’s user frustrations in this area will not come from the fact that they can’t run ‘X’ piece of software on their phone, it’s that nobody (Google or the carrier) will give then a straight answer, or even care that this is important to the user.
Google’s carriers hang like a weight around its neck, the user will constantly be frustrated with that and will demand better.
They way you get ‘better’ is to handle it all yourself – Apple’s route. Apple’s relationship with AT&T is rightly criticized, but at least Apple has AT&T under control.
Lastly, Andy’s title for this piece is, “Google’s Nexus One is no iPhone – and that’s OK”. Is that because Andy, you have been saying on The Twit Network that it’s much better than the iPhone, however after using you realise that that’s not the case?
Expect Leo Laporte to quietly stop using his Nexus One (which he has gone on record as saying that he has abandoned his iPhone for the Google phone) and move back to the iPhone within the next few days…
The ever-excellent Macalope highlights that Google’s support for the Nexus One is even more convoluted than I thought.
Taking a leaf out of the Microsoft/OEM handbook of support, where if you have an error they both simply blame each other, Google goes even further with a triumvirate of support options:
Quoting the post:
A T-Mobile spokeswoman said that T-Mobile is providing support for phone service, including billing, while Google supports device sales and software, and HTC supports the hardware, including device troubleshooting, warranty, repairs and returns.
So if you are unfortunate to have some problem with your totally open and wonderful Nexus One, you first have to ascertain what the problem is (surely that’s the reason why you’re calling support in the first place?).
If you have a problem with dropped calls, is that ‘the phone service’ (T-Mobile), ‘software’ (Google) or is that ‘device troubleshooting’ (HTC)?
Could anyone on earth come up with a more obfuscated process that seems intent on making sure you don’t actually get your problem solved?
I’m certain that these are very valid points which should be taken into account if you were let’s say, vaunting the ‘open & wonderful’ Nexus One as a worthy competitor to that horribly restricted iPhone, such as certain pundits do on regular occasions on the Twit Network.
I’m also certain however that we won’t hear a word of these problems, and the Nexus One, Two, Three etc will be lauded upon high as the ‘iPhone killer’.
Via Mac Daily News (‘cos I aint linking to Enderle).
It seems that The Tyrell Corporation, sorry, Google went to great lengths to create an iPhone competitor, and worked very hard on their GUI, partnering with HTC for the hardware and even went to generous lengths by screwing over Philip K. Dick’s Estate, but forgot the after sales service.
It seems that they really thought that they could use the same strategy that they used for almost all of their other technological efforts, like GMail for instance; just release it, and when something goes wrong, say it’s a beta.
They completely ignored the lesson learnt many, many times by Apple, that if you want to convince someone to part with cash for a new technology, you’d better have a damn good infrastructure in place if that person wants some support.
And they do – the Apple Stores are the crown jewel in their business plan, and is one of the reasons people switch to the Mac – the safety net of a real, trained, intelligent genius to talk to.
What do users of the Nexus One have? Email support with a promise of an answer within 2 days. Come on Google.
If Google thinks that the Nexus One is giving them trouble, imagine the support calls they’ll get on revision six, when the phone jumps a shuttle off-world, killing the crew and passengers, and then seeks out it’s creator and murders him, all the while being hunted down by Google’s next prototype phone.
(Anyone who doesn’t get the Bladerunner comparisons in this post, please read the book, or see the film).
Oh yeah, and Google, just give Phil’s estate some licensing fees and stop ripping off his legacy.
I remember a comment I read once concerning a question put to Steve Jobs along the lines of, “If you could release the Mac today, would you do anything differently?”
His answer was along the lines of, “I wouldn’t let anyone write software for it.”
I think his reasoning behind this statement, is the perennial problem that plagues computers: the fact that they are computers.
Anybody with minimal training can come along a write any software they like and release it into the wild. Users can then install it onto their computer and off they go.
This central premise lies at the heart of what a computer is – it runs software, both good and bad.
Coming back to Steve’s comment, even he couldn’t create a time machine and actually do this, but he could (and I think he’s trying and succeeding) to certainly do the next best thing.
Namely, anyone who wants to write software, must have that software approved – by Apple.
This is the current model of the iPhone and iPod Touch. Whether you agree that it’s a good thing or a bad thing, any software that runs on these devices is controlled by Apple. They could even delete it remotely if they wanted to.
Now think of the upcoming tablet.
The current consensus is 7″-10″, that probably runs a variant of the TouchOS, and iWork is installed by default – this means that this is a serious content creation device, not a passive device that you listen to music and watch movies on.
But that means it also runs the AppStore. Which means that the software distribution model is the same – any software is controlled by Apple.
Now speculate – 5 years from now, we will have bigger tablets that run some seriously meaty software (I’m thinking Adobe apps here), and we will still have the same software distribution model.
A device that will, sooner or later replace the mouse-driven desktop, with all application development controlled by Apple.
Software that’s even more reliable than what we have now, with no viruses, spyware or malware, and even if they could be written, there would be no way for those things to even get onto your tablet.
What Steve Jobs is attempting to do with the iPhone, iPod Touch and by extension the range of tablets that they will sooner or later have, is redefine an industry.
Computers and everything that they have ever meant, will be consigned to the history books – and good riddance to them.
I’ve posted previously about the viewpoint of certain Mac-gurus (Inak-cough!-hto), that Apple’s over zealous closed system for the iPhone is something they should abandon and allow the users to decide whether or not they can run ‘x’ software on ‘their’ phone.
Apple have stated previously that a phone is not like a computer and you shouldn’t be allowed to just run anything on it – I agree.
Along comes Google with their ‘open-and-not-like-the-horrible-closed-iPhone’ GooglePhone, and this is the result, and as if to add insult to injury you have to do this:
If you did download the Droid09 app, please remove it from your phone and take it to your mobile provider to ensure it’s completely removed.
Not only do you have to delete it, you have to take it to your mobile provider to ensure it’s totally gone.
Take note of my emphasis – not only can you not be sure it’s gone by deleting in the UI, but you have to take it into the place you bought it to sort this problem out.
If something went wrong with an iPhone, you’d take it to an Apple Store, who’d be briefed on the problem and be able to sort it out there and then. Can you imagine taking your phone back into a high street phone provider and asking the untrained, minimum-wage spotty teenager to help you?
Ah, but at least you have an open phone… can’t use it reliably because it’s full of malware, but at least you haven’t got one of those ‘closed’ iPhones…
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I’m quite a prolific user of the iTunes store and use it to buy just about everything it has to offer – music, apps, podcasts and even it’s limited selection of films.
Over Christmas I decided to purchase a film I’ve great admiration for – ‘District 9’ – the tale of a fictional visitation of refugee aliens to planet earth.
It’s a great film, and I’d highly recommend it to any science-fiction fan, or even people who like political drama’s. In fact on one level it’s even a love-story, so something for everyone I think (although it’s a bit gory in places).
However this isn’t a review – it’s a comment on something I got in purchasing this film I wasn’t expecting – iTunes Extras.
The iTunes Extra content sits a little oddly outside and separate from the actual film, in fact at first I didn’t notice it until I’d watched the film. When double clicking on it, it opens in the iTunes window as if you were looking at the iTunes store.
The content is what you’d expect from DVD extras, documentaries and links to other content, however it looks to me that iTunes Extra is aimed at larger screen Macs and Apple TV.
It doesn’t sync to the iPhone, which I thought was a missed opportunity.
My poor little iBook only has a 12″ screen and the iTunes Extra content didn’t fit the screen, I had to scroll down and right to see it all – not the best experience really, I’d really expect it to scale to the screen.
So it looks like that iTunes Extra is aimed at future technology, technology I can’t afford just yet.
So the iPhone’s security situation worsens. This time it’s a really bad one. You can have your data stolen from your iPhone without even realising it.
You could walk past a coffee shop and someone with the right software could scan your phone and get at all your data. You wouldn’t even know it. Wow.
Of course this doesn’t affect me. Or just about anybody else who owns an iPhone.
Just those morons who took the advice from certain Mac-gurus and jailbroke their iPhones to ‘free them from the tyranny of Apple’s closed system’.
I think it’s time to admit that maybe Apple ‘knows best’.
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The ever-excellent Roughly Drafted goes into great detail here, about how iTunes Extra & LP work.
So that’s my question answered, however Roughly Drafted also goes on to postulate that the real benefactor for this approach is Apple TV, or whatever it’s successor is to be called.
The real kicker though is the fact that all this is done using open standards – no proprietary Flash or Silverlight required.
It would be really nice if certain people, who have lambasted Apple in the past for their horrible, closed proprietary systems, to maybe just admit, just for once, that Apple just might have the user’s interests at heart.
And of course, as RD points out, their own hardware sales. Once Apple’s users have enough iTunes LP & Extra content on their Mac/PC, Apple will release Apple TV 3.0 and all that content now plays on that device, effectively replacing DVD players in one fell swoop.
As always, there’s far more info in Roughly Drafted’s article, it’s highly recommended, but sometimes I wish RD would keep these plans to himself – we don’t want the enemy knowing all our plans do we?
I love my iPod. Well actually I love my iPods, because I have 4 of them, but there’s one thing that’s been troubling me.
The hardware changes, the design changes, but the underlying software features don’t seem to change.
Things have moved on from version 1, and I know that Apple like to keep things simple, but there’s one thing I wish they would add, or I could add myself.
More often than not, I’m listening to my music on shuffle, and I come across a song by an artist I really like, and by extension I like other songs by this artist.
Why can I not simply skip to a list that says:
1) Shuffle to other songs by this artist
2) Shuffle to other songs in this genre
3) Shuffle to other songs in this year
Maybe this could be a special section that you could programme from iTunes, so you would have an Applescript that does this, but it executes also on the iPod.
I know that the ‘KISS’ principle (Keep It Simple Stupid), is behind a lot of reasoning at Apple, but time and time again I come across a situation like this in the car.
The only way around it is to navigate back to the top level, select ‘Artist’ and shuffle from their entry – it’s not very easy and probably quite dangerous and distracting if you’re driving.
Maybe now that the AppStore is open we’ll see this, but what with Apple restricting certain apps when they duplicate in-built features, it’s not likely.
AND I CANT PUT THE THING DOWN!
Seriously, it’s glued to my hand and I can not stop surfing the net, looking at photos, reading ebooks (using the excellent application, Stanza, checking my email and last, but not least, posting on WordPress.
Most, if not all, Apple products are a joy to use, but this device is incredible.
I cannot understand what problem people have with the keyboard, as I’ve picked it up fine. I’m typing pretty quicky and making few mistakes, certainly no more than I would on a normal keyboard.
It’s not often that using a piece of technology actually makes you smile, and indeed, I actually laughed a couple of times because the GUI is so smooth, so refined, so perfect that you cannot believe that technology could be this good, this cool, this wonderful to use.
Surfing the net is a revelation. The clicking, zooming in, the speed is great. I’ve found myself not even using my main Mac for surfing or email, it’s just so simple to just pluck it out your pocket and quickly surf and go.
And I haven’t even played any games yet.
It has really surprised me what a game changer the touch platform is, and it is a platform, make no mistake.
The touch has become my platform of choice for surfing, email, viewing photos and reading, with my 30gb iPod being primarily for music and podcasts and my little shuffle for the gym.
I cannot wait to see what Apple do next with this, an iPod tablet device, an iPod camera with iPhoto touch, the possibilities are endless.
Are there any negatives? Not really, even copy and paste doesn’t seem necessary, but Steve’s onto a winner here.