Thursday, September 30, 2010

Like an iPod, only Paddier

By the time Apple launched their tablet product, just about the only surprises were the name..... and the lack of USB ports.

Mr.Jobs closed the circuit in two respects here- firstly the pundits were betting on iSlate or iTab(let) as front runners, amongst a couple of other names: you can run the stats month by month on google advanced. However the second closed circuit I refer to was the channel and platform. What are the implications of a channel ( iStore) oriented web-book running a low-performance operating system?

Hype for an Underpowered Netbook?

Now we are getting a lot of hype about the iPad here in Norway, with its launch only a few weeks away to the local retailers. However, an astonishing 30, 000 have winged their way here already: mainly bought abroad by iPhone addicts, apple employees, app-developers and the largest group perhaps are journalists. That number is astonishing because it is nearly 1 % of the population BEFORE marketing actually have an iPad here.

Why are Journalists so Interested?

The traditional news media and publishing houses, finally see a controllable channel which will provide them with closed loop marketing and little copyright infringement: no more cut-n paste, no more hollow promises of XML, RSS feeds and syndicated news based on evapourating and thin ad' revenues. Apple hope to make a good take from the media houses and publishers through the iStore. At last, they have a socially acceptable and a corporate-brand-able channel button: the iPad "App" as a closed-circuit media delivery environment.

I hear the whining cry of superiority from the nerds in Linux, C++ and java land: it isn't as good, lacks the power, lacks the potential for developers, lacks the freedom.....well people trust those f##¤%ing litte app buttons on their iPhone to do something reliable and good for them...they will even pay a little for something that maybe could otherwise be free......if they can trust it.....that my whiny little geeko, is branding.

Wait up though: now the cat is well and truly out of the bag, with quite imodest goals! World media dominance no less?? Replacing the paper cover price with pay-to-read internet. News will no longer be free. Windows 7 / IE users will be teased over to the platform : "read the full story on your iPad". But can Apple repeat the iTunes success now with written media?

Jobs and Murdoch: Bid for World Dominance of the Written Word?

iTunes kind of crept up on us all: there were many sources for MP3 sales on the internet and the whole Napster thing: but iTunes brought branding for the music sector firmly back on the internet: a trusted source of qaulity product at a reasonable price, if you exclude the over priced iPod range itself! Perhaps the competition never got the critical mass they needed to be a serious threat to iTunes, but let's face it, when Spotify and maybe a major US player go on line in north America with on demand streaming, then were will iTunes stand?

Back from the tangent on music: the traditional print media are queing up - allegedly - to get in on this channel, direct to the shiny new pad on your lap. iStore will deliver closed loop apps But so will other channel players who will want to access millions already on mobile and windows devices. I think we will see more developed closed loop, non copyable user interfaces to pay-for published material running on a new type of browser and only exisitng in the clouds at MS and google.

Tablet, shortbread, palm oil?

But what about convergence mobile to data? Will HTC bring out something half way to a tablet: I mean their HD2 is huge, almost palm pilot size.

I mention good old Bill Gates and his almost fully functioning OS's. Perhaps android running on a linux background will threaten MS enough in the explosive tablet sector that Mr Gates will really pull out the stops and make a scaleable compact windows 7 or CE v8.0.

Missed Opportunities for Apple

Personally I think Apple should have gone for a hand held. Bigger than the iPod Touch but still pocket sized, or at least handbag or laptop side pocket sized. Remember the Apple Newton anyone? Not a bad product, ahead of its time, not at all profitable.

I guess we may see such a 2010s product from Apple but more serious contenders to the Pad GUI in palm size will be appearing at a hastened rate now: Android is going where microsoft CE failed, but I dare say Mr Gates will be pushing small and mid platform perfection for mobile telecoms and palm type machines.

2011 will be the year of the tablet, hand-and-lap-sized, and I can see why: touch screen has become normalised with you and I. Virtual keyboards are even PREFFERED by many punters

Missed Photo Opportunity

Where Apple have missed a trick is in providing a serious workhorse for Photoshop and their own image manipulation software. There are mobile versions of PS now, and an iPhone app but let us see this on a tablet! Why? well it will revolutionise how we handle pictures to becoming a far more immediate and tactile user controlled experience, leveraging Apples qualities as an image platform.

The iPad is not really powerful enough for running full PS, Corel or Gimp: it is less able than the average netbook. That is a major criticism of the product: you get a big iPod touch, only paddier.

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