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Archive for the ‘Hardware’ Category

The kindle 3 is great for what it’s meant to be, a simple device for reading long form works.

The upgrade from kindle 1 to kindle 2 wasn’t nearly as dramatic as 2 to 3.

The kindle 3 is thin and light. The page refresh is fast and the battery life appears to be ridiculously good.

The new kindle cases have a light built in for those dark reading sessions.

I’ve got ipads and every other device. The kindle is bar far the best reading device. I do plenty of staring at screens and the kindle 3 does an even better job than the 2 of being less screen like than all other reading devices.

I cannot stress enough about the greatness of having a single purpose device for reading. Ipads, iPhones, and what not are full of distractions that unless you completely lock down and disconnect your device overwhelm the reading experience.

Did I mention this thing slips into cargo short pockets perfectly?

I’ve said this in previous posts and ill reiterate it here: no other digital bookstore compares to amazon. They simply have thousands more titles that I want to read. Oh, and they actually categorize books and provide more useful filters than iBooks or the nook estore. I can barely navigate the other stores. And certainly can’t wander the digital stacks at all like I do in the physical world.

Yeah, I’m a kindle fan.

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The iPad, like the iPod, iPhone, and iMac isn’t a revolution in computer science, design interface, consumer packaging nor ui. It’s a revolution of the economics of those things. Now that there’s a device on the market now at 500 bucks and an unlimited data plan for 30 bucks a month it’s almost assured that the iPad type of computing and media platform will be popularized and maybe not even by apple. The hype of the technology will surely drown out the economic story for some time but in the long run the implications of the price of this technology will be the big story.

Sure we have sub 500 dollar computers and media devices. they have never been this functional or this easy. Apple has just shown what is possible so now the other competitors will have to follow suit. It really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme if it’s apple or htc or google or microsoft or Sony who wins the bragging wars each quarter – the cat is out of the bag – cost effective, easy to use, and fun computing for everyone is possible in a mass producible construction.

There are some interesting side effects coming out of this. If a business can’t make huge profits from the hardware or the connection or the applications where will the profit come from? (I’m not saying companies won’t mark good profits I just don’t think it will be sustainable – especially for companies used to big margins.)

Obviously the sales of content matters. Books, movies, games, music and so on. This computing interface makes it far more easy to buy content and get a sense that it was worth buying. If the primary access channel is through a browser I think people aren’t inclined to pay – we all are too used to just freely browsing. On a tablet the browser isn’t the primary content access channel.

The challenge for content providers is that quality of the content has to be great. This new interface requires great interactivity and hifi experiences. Cutting corners will be very obvious to users. There’s also not really some easy search engine to trick into sending users to a sub par experience. That only works when the primary channel is the browser.

If advertising is going to work well on this platform boy does there have to be a content and interaction shift in the industry. Banners and search ads will just kill an experience on this device. Perhaps more old school magazine style ads will work because once your in an app you can’t really do some end around or get distracted. Users might be willing to consume beautiful hifi ads. Perhaps the bigger problem is that sending people to a browser to take action on an ad will be quite weird.

Clicks can’t be the billable action anymore. Clicks aren’t the same on a tablet! (in fact, most Internet ads won’t work on the iPad. Literally. Flash and click based ads won’t function)

Perhaps the apps approach to making money will work. To date the numbers don’t add up. Unless users are willing to pay more for apps than they do on the iPhone only a handful of shops will be able to handle the economics of low margin, mass software. So for the iPad apps seem to be higher priced. More users coming in may change that though.

In a somewhat different vein…. Social computers will be a good source of cold and flu transmission. If we’re really all going to be leaving these lying about and passing them between each other, the germs will spread. Doesn’t bother me, but some people might consider that.

Will users still need to learn a mouse in the future?

Should we create new programming interfaces that are easier to manipulate with a touch screen. Labview products come to mind?

What of bedroom manners? The iPhone and blackberries are at least small…

And, of course, the porn industry. The iPhone wasn’t really viable as a platform. This touch based experience with big screens… Use your imagination and I’m sure you can think up some use cases…

I do think this way of interacting with computers is here to stay. It’s probably a good idea to think through how it changes approaches to making money and how we interact with each other. I’d rather shape our interactions than be pushed around unknowingly….

Happy Monday!

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I’m now the owner of a fancy macbook.  Here are some notes on my apple buying and using experience.

Mac and Apple stores definitely have a distinct smell to them.  It’s been reported by many on the internet and as far as my last 5 or 6 apple products go, there’s something they do with the packaging and/or the hardware itself.  It’s vanilla smelling.

Apple stores using Windows Mobile to process credit cards.  yup, that’s what their hand helds run.  If that doesn’t underscore the real battle in tech companies, I don’t know what does.  Apple has all the media and fun things, Microsoft still owns transactions, even at the Apple store.  Another proof of this… iWork’s Numbers spreadsheet app doesn’t do pivot tables or conditional formating (staples in financial work) and Excel crushes at that. Yes, they like to market that in a tongue in cheek way but really that keeps people stuck to Windows more than anyone can imagine.  Pivot tables and credit cards – kinda important.

The MacBooks are cold to the touch which is very comforting considering the last 3 Sony/HP computers I have all run hot and make you very afraid of exploding hardware.  It’s a really off-putting user experience to have a hot computer.  Not sure why that’s not a bigger concern/been solved.

Shareware is better on a Mac.  The cult of mac seems to even force software hacks to take a little more care to polish their apps.  The software works better and always looks better.  Take the shareware IM clients.  The most popular ones on Windows are funky looking and tend to be very bulky in use.  The popular ones on mac are lightweight and generally try to integrate well with the Mac OS.

AppleCare is a rip off.  Except we all get it because Apple markets very well and the Mac products aren’t ones you “feel” you can just rip off the top and fix it up.  It’s very clever.

Making appointments to see a Mac genius to have them fix your stuff?  Yikes, another marketing effort.  You don’t need an appointment, by the way.  Just go to the counter and ask to fill out a fix request form.  Fill it out, leave your gear, and they will fix it up fast and CALL YOU when it’s done.  Now that’s service.  Why don’t they just market that INSTEAD of the best buy like experience where I wait for 30 minutes to talk to someone who fills out the form anyway?

Kids love Apple stores.  Kids do not like Best Buy.  Really.  Apple, yet again, got that right.  Make a place that kids ASK to go to AND behave when they are there… guess what? parents go.  Best Buy – get a babysitter or don’t go.

Java on Mac is great.  Man, had Java worked this well for me on Windows I might have become a java fanboy.  Really.  It’s weirdly smooth to update, use applets, build stuff and the IDEs work really well.  That’s not so much an Apple Experience thing, however, it stuck out for me.

Oh, now I’m also cooler.  I measured that.  Definitely cooler in an absolute kinda way too.  Like everyone notices.

Not.

Nonetheless, Apple is different, for sure.  Sometimes good, sometimes not.

~R

 

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