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Posts Tagged ‘iphone’

Gooooaaaalll!!!!! The AP's World Cup App Scores for the News Business

In Entertainment, Technology, Uncategorized, World on June 10, 2010 at 10:55 am
2010 FIFA World Cup logo

Image via Wikipedia

Okay… maybe there was an O or A too many in the headline but the Associated Press seems to be on to something with their just released app that’s focused on World Cup coverage.

With the international soccer/football (depending on where you’re reading this) about to get underway, the news collective — or as they put it: “the world’s leading source for news and information” — has put together a pretty impressive though fairly straight forward app allowing fans to follow along.

Available for Apple’s devices as well those from Nokia, Blackberry and, of course, those on the Android platform (notable: the Android version supports Flash; no word on the Superman or The Green Lantern. Sorry.) the App allows you to get your information in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.

Of course, the AP’s not the only organization with a World Cup App. There’s ESPN, Univision, The Telegraph and more.

And the World Cup App isn’t AP’s only app.

They have a general news one for the iPad (which, strangely, I don’t find to be quite as good as their one for the iPhone) and they have even made their venerable stylebook available as an app. Though at $28.99, it’s $3.99 more expensive than a subscription to the online version of the stylebook and I’m not sure what that’s about.

Anyway, the point is that the AP is definitely on to something with developing targeted apps that may not reach the top of the charts but will (hopefully) attract audiences.

And the AP’s not alone.

The New York Times has done it with apps for crosswords and real estate and has just released an iPad-specific guide to New York called The Scoop.

Entertainment Weekly turned their Must List into an app. Men’s Health developed one for working out. Lucky Magazine has a concierge app.

Even Highlights for Children has turned their Hidden Puzzles feature into an app.

It seems to be part of a growing trend of online consumption.

As I (and many, many others) have pointed out, when the iPad was released there was a lot of talk about whether or not it would save the magazine industry, the publishing industry, the Mets from self-destructing, world peace and so on.

And when there wasn’t immediate signs that all was once again right with the world (like it had ever really been that way), there was a bit of doom and gloom in the press.

“iPad still not proven as magazine industry’s savior as Apple announces two-millionth sale” was the headline on a Yahoo story on June 1.

That’s right. June 1. A whole two months after the device debuts and it has not yet saved the magazine, risen the dead or cured cancer.

It’s kind of like the old joke about the politician who walked on water and, afterward, people complained about how he couldn’t swim.

Think of it this way. Miracles — even small technological changes — don’t always happen overnight. I mean, television was a black and white medium for some 20 years before color programming came around.

A report earlier this week indicated that, in some cases, people are spending more time with the online versions of magazines than they had with the print versions.

Another report said that Wired Magazine may sell more digital copies this month than printed copies.

Change is coming. A bit here, a bit there, a whole lot over there. People are still finding their way, figuring out what works and what doesn’t; whether they can roll with the punches.

And we need to, somehow, be patient, understanding. Look for things that are good and encourage them, point out things that maybe don’t work so well and see if there’s room for improvement.

The AP had a good idea by making World Cup coverage an app.

Let’s see what’s next.

The CliffsNotes on Apple's iBooks News

In Entertainment, Technology, Uncategorized on June 7, 2010 at 7:37 pm
Apple introduces iBooks for iPad

Image by myuibe via Flickr

Monday was Apple’s big Worldwide Developer Conference and the unveiling of the new iPhone and the new iOS operating system (so named because it runs on the iPad as well as the iPhone).

And while it has lots of new featuresFaceTime, HD video editing, multitasking —  this blog’s really about books and publishing, so let’s let others focus on the big picture.

So, let’s take a look at what the changes mean for iBooks and the iBookstore.

You’ll now be able to download and read PDFs and, in what I — as a user of more than one device — find exciting, you’ll be able to start a book on, say, you’re iPhone and finish it on your iPad. You’ll be able to highlight and annotate text. And, it will work with VoiceOver so you’ll be able to have the contents of a page read to you.

Though, on this last point, there doesn’t seem to be an indication yet of how they’ll avoid the audio rights problem that plagued Amazon with the Kindle.

What’s it all mean?

Well, it looks like the already popular program’s going to become more so.

As Apple Insider pointed out, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that in the 65 days since iPad was launched, more than five million books have been downloaded. Jobs claims that gives Apple 22 percent of the ebook market.

Now, over at The New York Times, they’ve posted an item under the headline “Why Apple’s iBook Numbers Are Meaningless.”

Let’s just assume that whomever wrote the headline didn’t actually read the story because while the articles does talk about how the 22 percent number might be a bit of a red herring — though the reporter’s logic is a little fuzzy; he claims you can’t take the 22 percent number seriously because Apple doesn’t sell books from all publishers but it seems that that actually would make the number more remarkable — it does talk about the fact that Apple’s sales are a “troubling trend for Amazon.”

The fact is that Apple’s selling a lot of books and it looks like the changes are going to help them sell a lot more.

Last week, the president of the digital reading business division at Sony, Steve Haber, predicted that “within five years there will be more digital content sold than physical content.”

Admittedly, these are the people who brought us the Betamax.

At the same time, there are really a lot of reasons to think things are moving in that direction.

I think what’s going to be interesting is when Apple finally releases iBooks for Windows or for Android.

As I’ve pointed out, you can’t really compare Kindle and iPhone/iPad sales figures because right now Kindle is a software platform that works on several devices while the iPhone and iPad are, well, the iPhone and iPad.

It was when Apple released iTunes for Windows that it really took off.

I’m thinking that if I’m Amazon, I might be getting a little nervous.

Krossroads for Kindle or Running the Table(ts) Before Apple's Unveiling

In Uncategorized on June 5, 2010 at 8:49 am
Image representing Amazon Kindle as depicted i...

Image via CrunchBase

So, it’s not exactly a secret that Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference gets underway next week in San Francisco and the newest iteration of the iPhone is expected to be released.

There’s also all sorts of rumors about other things that may or may not be unveiled.

A new version of MobileMe?

An updated Mac mini?

And while it’s beginning to seem increasingly unlikely that a Verizon iPhone will be a part of the mix at this point, Apple CEO Steve Jobs promises people “won’t be disappointed.”

It also seems that there won’t be any major announcements related to the iPad, which may or may not be the leading tablet device out there but certainly has the perception of setting the bar.

One thing that is for sure is that the new iPhone will give users access to Apple’s iBookstore. It was something that was announced as part of the preview of the phone’s new operating system and that has been driven home in recent press reports.

What makes that tidbit especially relevant is that a report came out last week basically saying that advances with the iPad, the iPhone and other tablet devices that allow users to read books among other things are going to severely limit the growth of the dedicated e-reader such as the Kindle.

“This is a real wake-up call for e-reader vendors and will force them to improve their products and their communications about the benefits of owning a dedicated e-reader,” said the report from Informa telecoms and media. “We believe this ill cause the market to segment into two different groups – low price, low feature and high price, advanced feature models.”

Informa believes that dedicated e-reader sales will peak in 2013 and then start to fall.

First, let’s just dismiss the second part of their assertion about the market segmenting because saying that there’s going to be high end and low end devices… well, geez. Really? Would have never figured that.

In fact, I would suspect that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos would agree with the high-end and low-end reading devices concept except he would say that his Kindle is the high-end reading device and things like the iPad that do other things are the low end in his book.

Bezos says that unlike the iPad, “the Kindle is all about reading” and that serious readers are happy to have a device geared toward them pointing out that high-end cameras are still relevant despite the prevalence of camera phones (the Kindle is the high-end camera in that equation).

This sort of thinking seems to also be reflected in the latest announcements about the new version of the KIndle coming out this summer.

Bloomberg reported last week that Amazon will introduce a new, thinner Kindle in August with a more responsive screen and sharper picture. It will also be about half as thick as the iPad.

One thing that it won’t have is color and that’s okay with Bezos who says it’s “still some ways out.”

Meanwhile, Android-based tablets are proliferating.

There’s the  Dell Streak and the Samsung Galaxy .

And, as IDG News wrote, at the Computex Tapei 2010 Show, there are more than a dozen Android and Windows rivals to the iPad coming out.

The problem with all of these new tablets (except, obviously, the Kindle) is that, for now anyway, they are lacking as e-readers.

Obviously, they can’t read stuff from the Apple store and, Amazon has yet to release Kindle software for Android devices, though that’s expected to finally change this summer.

The bottom line is that I think that Amazon’s going to be okay especially since Kindle isn’t just a device, it’s a software platform that will soon be on many more devices.

Last November, a report from Gartner predicted that this is going “to be the year when e-book readers really beomce popular consumer electronic devices” and I suspect they’re right.

Froyo and Google TV and Apple(s) and Oranges

In Uncategorized on May 24, 2010 at 1:12 pm
Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

On one hand, I think, for now, anyway, we need to stop talking about Kindle Killers, iPad Killers, and understand that not every device and advancement should be compared to every other device and advancement. I think the world is probably big enough for Apple People and Google people.

(Side note: It’s funny, isn’t it — how we no longer talk as much about Mac or PC?)

This week, Google made big news, unveiling Google TV and Froyo, its newest version of the Android operating system and the reaction was to report the news in the context of how does it compare to Apple products.

“Android Froyo Running Laps Around the iPad — Literally,” is the headline on the TechCrunch summing up of the event.

“Google is Leapfrogging Apple,” Gizmodo reports.

“(Google VP of Engineering” Vic Gundrota’s speech was filled with potshots at Apple’s iPhone and iPad, the most direct competitors for the 60 and counting Android-powered devices on the market today,” according to cnet.

There are certainly comparisons to be made, especially when discussing what seems to be Android’s upcoming ability allowing you to find and download music over the web — as TechCrunch points out — a seeming direct competitor to iTunes. And the fact that you’ll be able to stream music from your desktop to your device strikes me as a fairly cool idea.

And, of course, Android fans were very happy to hear that the system would be running Flash — something Apple chief Steve Jobs has made clear won’t be happening with Apply products any time soon (and given some recent reports, that may not be such a bad idea).

But there’s a couple of things to keep in mind, including — as I’ve mentioned — Android’s an operating system working on many platforms while iPads and iPhones are specific devices.

Now, while there are rumors that Google is working on developing a tablet, and Froyo — and certainly Google TV —could be seen as another step down that road, for now it’s little more than rumors.

So, I think for now we need to be more careful.

Compare the iPhone to the Droid — as Daniel Lyons did, coming out in favor of the Droid — but don’t go crazy comparing the sales of all phone with the Android OS to iPhone sales or Android phones to iPads.

For now, Androids are phones and iPads are about a new mobile computing experience.

I think we have to accept the fact that there are Google people and Apple people and, of course, there are still Microsoft people. We’re in the middle of a technology revolution and things are changing very quickly.

Instead of wondering whether each new device will kill its competition, judge it based on its features, whether it’s really an improvement over the previous version, what it might mean for the future of the device.

And even feel free to do head to head comparisons, asking whether an iPhone or a Droid might be better for readers based on what they are looking for.

But how about no more stories saying how this great new phone means the end of the competition. It’s just silly and it doesn’t do anyone any good.

Google this… Let me know when there's news

In Entertainment, Technology, Uncategorized on May 12, 2010 at 6:18 pm
Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

iPad being targeted by hype

So, the Wall Street Journal today has a story about Google and Verizon working together to develop a table computer… or as the headline puts it an — “IPad Rival.”

And, as expected, the story’s getting picked up.

Over at The Baltimore Sun, writer Dave Rosenthal, posts about how this news comes “”just as I was getting ready to plunge into the world of e-books by buying an Apple iPad.”

Business Insider breathlessly reports that “Google and Verizon launching iPad Killer.”

And the Globe and Mail asks: “Can a Google-Verizon tablet computer rival the iPad?”

While pretty much everything Google touches makes a splash — just look at the success of their Android phones and Microsoft’s announcement that the new version of Windows will follow Google and have an online element  — let’s take a step back for a second and look at what the Journal is actually reporting.

Something about the story just doesn’t ring right.

Verizon Wireless is working with Google Inc. on a tablet computer, the carrier’s chief executive, Lowell McAdams, said Tuesday, as the company endeavors to catch up with iPad host AT&T Inc, in devices that connect to wirless networks,” the article begins.

Right there are a couple of telling signs.

One, the source of the article is Verizon not Google.

Two, it’s not about Google striving to catch up with Apple. It’s about Verizon trying to catch up with AT&T.

Then the Journal Quotes McAdams saying: “We’re working on tablets together, for example. We’re looking at all the things Google has in its archives that we could put on a tablet to make it a great experience.”

“Looking at all the things Google has in its archives?”

What does that mean exactly? They’re rummaging around the attic, seeing if maybe someone actually invented some spectacular tablet computer and then forgot about it? Whatever it means, it makes it clear that whatever they are doing it’s not about to happen.

So, any questions about whether it’s an iPad killer seem, shall we say, premature.

Now, yes. Verizon and Google have a great thing going with Android phones and it would make sense for them to work on future projects.

At the same time, it’s worth mentioning that it’s been long rumored that there will eventually be a deal bringing the iPhone and iPad to Verizon. So, maybe all this is a bargaining ploy?

Regardless. I think it’s one thing to excitedly report on lost or stolen prototypes. It’s something to else to take speculation about something that might or might not happen and elevate it to a ridiculous level.

In the meantime, I suggest we all be a little more patient and get excited when there’s real news to report.

Android outsells IPhone but Does it Matter?

In Entertainment, Technology on May 10, 2010 at 4:28 pm
The default Home screen of the iPhone shows mo...

Image via Wikipedia

So, a lot’s being made of the fact that a new report has phones with Google’s Android operating system outselling those with Apple during the first quarter of this year.

“Android demolishing IPhone in sales” is the headline on Fortune’s article.

“WHOA: Google Android Outsells Apple IPhone In The US” is Business Insider’s take on the situation”

and

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s The Tech Chronicles reports that “Android zooms past IPhone.”

The thing is, though… so what?

As Peter Kafka at All Things Digital points out, “this isn’t necessarily terrible news for Apple.”

Let’s turn the news around… instead of expressing surprise that Android overtook IPhone, why not wonder what took Android so long?

First I think we have to consider the possibility that comparing Android and IPhone isn’t entirely fair as Android is an operating system and the IPhone is really a platform.

Android is an operating system that works on phones made for Verizon, Sprint, Motorola and others. Apple makes their operating system for their phones. No one else sells phones with the operating system.

So, you have all these carriers selling phones that use Android against the one company that provides service for the IPhone…

And that company is AT&T, not a company known for providing great service to its IPhone customers (see Jon Stewart on this point).

Again, my feeling is the question is what took all those companies so long.

I’m not worried about Apple here.

We’ve already — much to Apple’s chagrin — gotten a glimpse of what the next generation phone, the 4G, will be and who knows what else they’ll be unveiling at next month’s developer conference?

And while Google Editions is on its way, the fact is when people talk about a cell phone that doubles as an e-reader, the talk drifts to Apple…. there’s not a lot of talk about people downloading books on to their droids (sorry, R2…).

So, let Android enjoy their moment in the sun… don’t bother them with the question of what took them so long… and let’s wait and see what Apple has coming up next? Could the Verizon IPhone be on its way so I can finally have one (absolute disclosure: I am a Verizon Wireless customer… for where I live and travel, it really is the best choice) device that allows me to talk on the phone, write and read?

Will Google try to evolve Android into a system that makes it easier to be a phone and e-reader?

I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Problems for Apple? Probably Not but…

In Entertainment, Technology on April 30, 2010 at 10:22 am
Apple Inc.

Image via Wikipedia

So, yesterday, I talked a bit about how there were some issues related to the availability of books on e-readers such as the IPad and the Kindle.

But, there was something that I overlooked.

Cory Doctorow, over at Publisher’s Weekly, has a different take on the situation, writing a column explaining why he won’t allow his books to be sold through Apple and why he thinks other authors should follow in his footsteps.

Doctorow, who is already on record stating he won’t buy an IPad in large part because of Apple’s restrictive policies about whether or not you can share your purchases with others (more often than not — you can’t), returns to that theme.

After pointing out that most pieces about the IPad “have been long on emotional raves about its beauty and ease of use, but have glossed over its competitive characteristics—or rather, its lack thereof” he suggests that writers tell Apple they can’t license their copyrights until they agree to allow people to share what they’ve bought.

“You shouldn’t take it from Apple, either, and that goes for Amazon and the Kindle, too,” he adds.

And he has a point. One of the great joys in reading a book is being able to say to someone, “Hey. You should read this” and then actually lend them the book.

I sort of can’t help but wonder if the e-reader conflict is going to turn into World Format War III (after VHS vs. Betamax and Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD).

While I wish Doctorow well, I suspect, sadly, there’s not going to be a lot of withholding going on. Just look at John Grisham who spoke passionately about the threat to bookstores posed by e-readers and refused to allow e-editions of his work but then caved after just a couple of months.

Meanwhile, Apple has an even bigger problem.

Jon Stewart.

It goes like this.

An Apple employee leaves his prototype of the new super-secret IPhone in a bar (sounds like the beginning of a very bad joke, which I guess it was for Apple), someone finds it, tries returning it to Apple, is rebuffed, so they offer it to techblog Gizmodo, which buys it, takes it apart, posts details about it and then, after Apple asks for it back, they give it back.

While it may not have been the most sound journalistic practice on Gizmodo’s part, it didn’t warrant what happened next, which was the cops busting down the door of the home of the Gizmodo editor who wrote the piece and seizing his computers.

On The Daily Show on Wednesday night, Stewart — a self=proclaimed long-time Apple user (as am I; I only wish the IPhone were available to Verizon so I can trade up my ITouch) — took them to task for becoming what they used to mock.

In the end, I suspect all the criticism in the world won’t really make all that much of a difference to Apple but it would be nice to think — especially today as Apple ships the latest iteration of the IPad (with WiFi and 3G) that Jobs is listening to all this and recognizes that as great as his devices are, there’s always room for improvement.

And the same goes for Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Sony and the others.

Maybe if there was a little less IPad vs. Kindle and a little more focus on the consumer, all would be good.

Apple Advances Helping Amazon?

In Entertainment, Technology, Uncategorized on April 10, 2010 at 9:08 am

So, yesterday Apple announced the newest version of their IPhone operating system, which contains several advances including bringing Apple’s IBooks to the IPhone and ITouch.

In theory, that should be good news to the company’s bookstore, which I’m thinking is off to not quite as great a start as they were hoping.

Here’s the thing. In his announcement yesterday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said they had so far sold 450,000 IPads and that 600,000 books had been downloaded from IBooks. Let’s assume that none of those 600,000 are Winnie the Pooh, which comes free with the device.

That’s roughly 1.3 books per device, which I think should probably be higher. And given that IPads can download free books from Project Gutenberg, you sort of have to wonder how really significant that 600,000 number is — or at least wonder if it’s significant in the way Apple wants you to think it is.

Which brings me to the point of the headline — while adding IBooks to the IPhone and ITouch will certainly help Apple, every advance that makes their devices a better reader also helps Amazon with their Kindle.

See the thing that makes all those Kindle vs. IPad arguments invalid is the IPad is a device while the Kindle is a machine on its own as well as an app that runs on many machines including the IPad.

Apple’s software, meanwhile, runs on Apple devices — and while there are certainly a lot of them and while people are developing “enhanced” versions of books to run on those devices — the question remains whether it will be enough to steal a significant chunk of Amazon’s market or, actually, help Amazon grow.

On another note, I would like to remind the world that today is Books for NYC Schools Day. If you’re in New York, go. If you’re not, donate online.