Posts Tagged ‘ipad’

The end of Apple?

February 2, 2012

We are clearly in the web age an era that has turned everyone into readers and publishers of free content. In this era we have seen the rise of open source, free software and the move to software and services freely available in the cloud.

Yet in the “free age”, Apple maintain a huge client base locked into its proprietary and closed hardware, operating systems and stores. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple, even the great Bill Gates proclaimed that the world had changed, and that Apple would not survive with Steve Jobs maintaining the company’s control over platforms from end to end.

Despite this Apple is a huge success. Is it likely to last?

As a techie, I’d hope not, because we do want to be able to upgrade our hardware, we want the option to use any suppliers’ parts and we want the same to be true of our software. Do we care what the hardware looks like as long as it’s fast and powerful, not really.

However as a consumer, too much choice is not necessarily a good thing. As a consumer, we are in a world where things get replaced rather than fixed or upgraded. For the majority style is every bit if not more important than features, and customer experience does matter.

How quickly and easily I can use my device has become more important than whether it has all the latest and best features. Going back to one store is easier than have to search several for apps and music.

Apple started with some engineering innovation, and when Steve Jobs was first ousted focused heavily on engineering; this was its downfall in the late eighties. However with the return of Steve Jobs, and his partnership with Jonathon Ives, a return to a focus on customer experience and design revived the ailing technology company.

So although it pains me to see Apple thrive in such a closed environment they really do highlight that style, ease of use and the overall customer experience really does matter to consumers. Hence I would not forecast the end of Apple for some time in the near future unless it loses its way again to “engineering”.

iPad an evolution not a revolution !

June 21, 2010

What’s been the big UK story of the last couple of months? The Icelandic ash cloud has certainly garnered some significant column inches and the General Election has been a definite headline hogger.

Yet one topic – the launch of the Apple iPad – has received attention way in excess of its news value. Not that the iPad isn’t a significant technology launch; as I detail below, the portable device requires a new approach to application development.

But how significant is a technology launch? At the time of writing, ash receives 50,000 Google News results; Apple receives 55,000. Could any other company receive so much media attention, eclipsing a once-in-a-lifetime volcanic eruption that has led to huge economic and social consequences?

The answer, of course, is no. While Apple devices are beloved by the media clique, they are only – lest we forget – well designed computers. And while the excitement surrounding their products is excessive, an element of sensible analysis that understands the potential impact of the iPad is required.

Much has been made of the device’s form; what actually is an iPad? Wikipedia – again, at the time of writing – refers to the iPad as a tablet computer that is “unlike many older laptops”. As understated definitions go, that takes some beating – particularly given the level of media hype associated to the device.

So, let’s be clear. What makes the iPad different is its resting place in the middle ground between smart phones and laptops. Its multi-touch screen provides a new way to interact with information in a portable device.

Its intuitive user interface, and Apple’s strong link-up with publishers, will help drive the next generation of electronic books. The device also has a different screen aspect – instead of a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio, the iPad screen uses a traditional 4:3 TV ratio.

Analysts have suggested that Apple is trying to find a middle ground between the requirements for publishing, video and gaming. Once again, such converged thinking should be of concern to developers.

Apple is far from taking an all-encompassing approach to software and services. Rival technology giant Microsoft has talked about its three-screen strategy, an attempt to ensure that Windows can give people access to information on the PC, television and mobile phone.

For developers, the message is clear: do not make the mistake of creating an application for a single platform. In the future, successful developers will have to accommodate applications to fit more than one screen size.

 While the iPad isnt the social and economic revolution suggested by media type, it is a significant evolution in technology and developers must be prepared

Further reading