Tag Archives: Apple

Adobe’s EPUB Standard (and some other comments)

Here is an article about how Barnes and Noble is backing Adobe’s EPUB standard.

Link

I’m happy to see content  providers getting behind this so there is device independent standard for e-books.

As for the jabs at Apple’s iTunes, well, iTunes isn’t completely locked down.  There are plenty of software programs available that remove Apple’s “wrapper” so users can play the music they purchased  on any device as an mp3.  I had to do this when my laptop crashed and the only copy of my music collection was on my iPod (it seems to me Apple can remedy this by making it easy to transfer songs from an iPod back onto a computer, rather than locking iPods with one device).  Depending upon Kindle’s success, I imagine some “Robin Hood” spirited programmer will “crack” that device as well (it may already have been done).  This really is beside the point, but I am a little tired of reporters feigning ignorance about the various ways to circumvent proprietary file formats and touting proprietary file formats as the key to having a successful digital distribution business model.  iTunes doesn’t have a lock on the market because their file format is proprietary.  They have a lock because their device is easy to use, it’s drop dead simple to buy music for iPod and iPhone devices, and the pricing structure for the music available is within reason.   Can you say Apple has had the same success with video entertainment via Apple TV? No … (in my estimation, it looks like Netflix is poised to dominate in this area due to the numerous deals they are making with TV and gaming console manufacturers.  It is very simple to watch Netflix movies on demand via my XBox360 with my existing Netflix account).   So far there is no clear winner on e-books or e-reading right now other than the personal computer and there are many PC manufacturers.   As for e-readers, I think it’s pointless to have a separate device outside of a laptop for e-reading.  Ultimately, I think this is a software play and not a device play.  I think Amazon recognizes this too, which is why they are making the Kindle software available for PCs the same as Apple did for iTunes.  This leaves box makers to struggle for margins as they try to one-up each other by driving device prices down.  My advice to the box makers is to multi-task existing laptops, minis,  and mobiles rather than wasting time and money on developing a separate e-reader device — unless, of course, that e-reader can be submerged underwater for tub-time reading.  Of course, tub-time computing would also be quite revolutionary …

Apple’s Magic Mouse — Multi-Touch Mouse

Here’s an image from Apple

Nice!  I think I’ll make a trip to my local Apple store to check out the new items.  I’m not a “Mac person” but I am very curious about the Magic Mouse and I want to see it and the new iMacs in action.  Now to wait for the PC version.  If it is truly multi-touch, then I think this is an excellent evolution of the mouse.  I would like to see something that goes even further for gaming.

Magazine Publishers Prepare Themselves for Tablet Readers

Here’s an interesting article from Ad Age about how magazine publishers are trying to get a leg up on iTunes before the anticipated release of the Apple tablet.

Link

Not to disparage Apple (because iTunes is very easy to use and the pricing is right for the content), but I would love to have a device independent version of “iTunes” to purchase content.  I think Amazon is very well suited for that.   The magazine industry, however, wants their own storefront so they can control distribution (pricing) of their content.  Hahaha! Well, I hope publishers don’t get greedy and make their content so expensive that people turn to piracy or don’t get the information at all.

It will be interesting to see what the next generation of tablets are like.  As of now readability is a issue with LCD screen and some of the e-reader devices have resolution and color limitations.  Again, I can’t wait to see how laptops and e-readers will converge, both in terms of screen technology and usability.

I have seen some interesting Flash based e-magazines that could serve as prototypes for future e-readers.  I especially like those e-magazines that allow for zooming in and links to other content.  With schools looking harder at e-text books, I think we may be approaching a tipping point where e-reading begins to become the norm.  I am eager to see what will happen with all of this in the next 5-yrs.  How will this change “brick-and-mortar” bookstores (especially used book resellers)?  Will this be end the “periodical” as we know it? Will be see micro-targeted  advertisements in everything we e-read? And what will happen with books, newspapers, and magazines when reading becomes a shared experience through social networking?    It’s a lot to noodle on and I’ll more to say about it after I digest things for a bit.

Flash to Move to TV

Adobe plans to expand Flash to TVs and set-top boxes.  No information on timing was giving in the article.  This seems quite natural to me in terms of interface, but I have to agree with MS on the matter of Flash’s limit video delivery capabilities.  People expect to watch HD content on their HD TVs.  Non-HD content on an HD TV looks like crap.  I imagine none of this is lost on Adobe, so it should be interesting to see what they come up with.  As for MS Silverlight, I did watch the extended Olympic coverage using the Silverlight and yay … but it wasn’t HD either, so I had to watch the video in a small window on my TV to see things clearly.  That kinda defeats the point of have a ~50-inch screen.  The other interesting part of this discussion is that Apple has yet to adopt Flash.  It makes me wonder whether they have something up their sleeve or whether they are being the same old obnoxious Apple that has some philosophical objection to Flash.  Either way it seems that Apple’s complaint that Flash is too processor intensive is a call to action since I imagine that concern would cross over into TV’s and set-top boxes too.

Here’s a link to an article/commentary about it.

Apple Unveils Updated Laptops

Here’s a nice video from the AP:  Link

I’ve always liked the look and ruggedness of aluminum, so I’m eager to see what Apple has done.  Otherwise, I don’t see anything radical about these laptops in terms of styling.  I do like, though, how Apple has continued to push on weight and thiness instead of overall size.  For my previous thoughts on mini-notes, here’s a link.

On a side note about the video, Steve Jobs does look alarmingly thin.  I hope he’s ok for the sake of his family and his employees.

How Apple is Handling the Mature iPod Market

Wow!  Look at how quickly the iPod jumped to Quadrant 3 in Moore’s model!  Apple is now facing market saturation with iPod and, despite very little growth from iPod and a slowing US economy, is managing to do quite well.

iPod with iTunes is a lot like how we sell ink into our printers.  A big difference, though, is that the iPod is priced considerably higher than it costs to make so Apple actually makes money on the device.  Apple also allows users to put content from sources other than iTunes on the iPod without repercussions.  Yet, Apple doesn’t seem to be screaming about people not using iTunes and, in fact, iTunes has recently become the #1 retailer of music.  Why is this?  Well, despite my hatred, iTunes is drop-dead easy to use and at $.99/song or cheaper if you buy the entire album, Apple isn’t charging outrageously for music.   Topping all of this, iPod is a great product that customers love and it seems that Apple has parlayed this love into getting people to buy Macs.

An interesting thing this article talks about is how the different iPod products are highly differentiated.  Let’s look at them:

They look very different, except for the mini and the classic, however, if you compare the size, you will see that the mini is tiny compared to the classic model.  Each product has very different capabilities and memory capacity.

Shuffle — 1 or 2-GB, no screen, all music is shuffled, clips onto clothing
Nano — 4 or 8-GB, screen, small form factor
Classic — 80 or 160-GB
Touch — 16 or 32-GB, touch screen, wireless internet, accelerometers

For instance, the Nano is great for the gym, the mini is cheaper alternative to the classic for those that don’t have a large music collection yet.  The touch is basically a little mini-internet-browser-computer wrapped in a cool music player.  These products clearly speak to different customer wants (nobody “needs” and iPod) and iPod owners have been known to have more than one iPod to meet a lifestyle want.  Unfortunately for us, as houses integrate computers onto a home networks, households only need one networked printer rather that one printer for each computer.  This is great for the consumer, but a change for us because this inherently means, going forward, there will be fewer and fewer install bases for our supplies. (I suppose it’s good that we are de-emphasizing sales in terms of the number of boxes.)

I think the important thing to observe about Apple is how they have taken customer’s interest in a hot product like the iPod to draw people to their stores and to lead customers to explore other Apple products in general.  The iPod experience is quite pleasant and that tends to paint Apple in a good light.  I imagine since people like iPod, then they think, well maybe Apple makes a good computer too and then give Apple a chance.  Apple is small company compared to to other MS based computer manufactures, but they are a threat as shown by their sales growth in Macs.  There is a point at which Mac use becomes compelling enough for folks to look beyond the “morality” of the Mac vs. PC question and onto price and features.  Like what has been said before, a great company will emerge from an economic slump stronger than before the downturn.  Apple’s got cash and growth despite the downturn.  In the absence PC innovation through this rough patch, Apple could really surprise everyone in a year or two.


Here’s a link to the article.