[FRIAM] O'Reilly Radar

Russ Abbott russ.abbott at gmail.com
Sat Jan 30 19:32:41 EST 2010

Since I've never even been tempted to buy an iPod, I'm probably not the
right person  to ask. But here's my reaction to the iPad. Why would I want

I own an iPhone, which disappoints me as a computer or even for accessing
the Internet. But it certainly works a phone. Even assuming the iPad will
have standard phone functionality, it doesn't fit in my pocket. So it won't
replace the cell phone.

On the other hand, if I want a computer I need a computer. An iPad won't do.
If I'm going to bother carrying something around, it might as well be a real

So why would I bother with an iPod?

-- Russ A

On Sat, Jan 30, 2010 at 2:44 PM, Bill Eldridge <dcbill at volny.cz> wrote:

> I've been waiting for this event, as it fits in with some uncomfortable
> truths
> people forget - Steve Jobs & Apple do know how to fail in a big way, even
> though they've also had some spectacular successes. I'm reluctant to say
> Apple's "jumped the shark", but I think they really needed a successful
> game changer,
> and I think the PR from this announcement has damaged them - more below.
> At the moment, Apple is under pressure from 4 sides - Nokia/Maemo, Android,
> Kindle/eReaders & Tablets.
> Let's start with Nokia - yesterday it was announced Nokia had regained it's
> 40% share of the market, having
> dropped down to 35% - that's a helluva bounce:
> http://www.trustedreviews.com/mobile-phones/news/2010/01/29/Nokia-Regains-40--Mobile-Phone-Market-Share/p1
> People have been writing off Nokia, even though one of the reasons they
> don't abandon Symbian so quickly is that
> its performance is rock solid, fits the corporate markets, and well, 35% is
> still quite good market share by itself.
> But while Apple is crowing about 8.7 million handsets, Nokia did 126.9
> million. Not only is Nokia giving away
> OviMaps to drive up sales, the introduction of the Maemo-based N900 gives
> them an alternate platform for smartphone
> development - one that's arguably a lot better than Android, and forget
> iPhone. So for those who counted Nokia out,
> think again. If they get that Ovi store right....
> While Android sales haven't been as good as hyped, Motorola still sold 12
> million handsets - wanna guess what
> percentage was the well received Droid? Android apps are estimated at
> 25,000 now, and even O'Reilly Radar
> last month was hugely surprised by how quick their Android sales were
> growing vs. iPhone sales. There's some
> serious momentum there, especially with Google's new phone showing they're
> serious about this platform.
> Kindle/eReaders (Barnes & Noble's seems to be pretty good, but they tipped
> their hand a bit early to Amazon,
> giving away some advantage). The iPad announcement basically got everyone
> looking at tech and user details,
> to compare the Kindle & iPad - surprise, surprise - people now understand
> that ePaper/eInk is much much
> nicer for reading, and that the Kindle can go a week without charging.
> Apple can talk about other uses, but
> it's hard to counter that message - either you need color and you stick
> with a laptop/netbook or you're happy
> with the Kindle, and besides, that color's coming out on eReaders anyway.
> A small side-comment is that iPod/iPhone/iPad inability to multitask just
> gets harder and harder to take,
> and it runs counter to one of the iPad's professed advantages over Kindle,
> that it's for more than just
> reading books (just not at the same time...).
> Tablets - CES was full of them, perhaps 20 new ones. How many are Android
> based so can use Android apps,
> how many are Windows based so can use Windows apps, don't know
> specifically. Some NVidia Tegra 2-based
> models. In any event, we're back in commodity computing territory again -
> while Apple is happy selling 3.36 million
> Macs globally in a quarter: 2.1 million laptops, 1.2 million desktops.
> Apple is just tracking the percentage growth
> in the PC market, with HP now selling 18 million a quarter (including their
> very popular touchscreen Windows 7
> laptops) and Acer 12 million. Where Apple has an advantage is in their
> margins - they're seen as an elite brand
> garnering above-industry pricing for similar specs. And this is where I
> think Apple just shot itself in the foot.
> Kindle users and Mac users are likely similar market niches in terms of
> users & demographics - trendy coffee house
> types, artists, media execs, fill in blank. It's one thing to have Apple
> compete against the dull corporate Microsoft,
> or the dull uninspired handsets of Nokia. It's another to come out directly
> against a popular, alternative device like
> the Kindle - and lose. When you compare a Mac with a PC, you can always
> dismiss the cost premium on specs
> with, "Macs have better quality, they're easier to use, yadda, yadda" -
> whether it's true or not, an elitist doesn't
> have to come down from his/her perch to find out - personal preference and
> aesthetics.
> But now we're comparing a device with a week's worth of charge and one with
> <10 hours, a device with cool
> ePaper for easy reading vs. a backlit LCD, and even the supposed new iPad
> CPU is turning out to be just another
> ARM-based System-On-Chip (Cortex-A9 with Mali 50, something similar to
> Tegra 2 and others.). From the cool user
> POV, the device seems a "huh?", not terribly compelling even for iPhone
> owners. For the Apple geek fans who follow
> the specs, it's light in a number of areas. And the whole presentation
> unveiling invited people to look close at the
> details - not good when you're not competing. "Apple doesn't understand
> what we want in our device" seems
> the best way to sum it up, and again, that's from many who would be
> sympathetic towards the "Mac Tax" for
> perceived extra quality and ease of use. And how quickly can an Android
> Tegra 2-based competitor release
> a 2nd version providing anything compelling on an iPad and more? Apple
> doesn't know how to do fast upgrades.
> We'll see what happens with the content licensing, an area Apple did very
> well with for iTunes/music sales.
> My guess is with Amazon already working this side of the street
> successfully, Barnes & Noble launching their own version,
> and others piling in, it will be much harder for Apple to consolidate like
> it did music. And it's not like people
> haven't figured out that Apple isn't the most generous to its partners -
> their only big advantage is the industry
> worries about Amazon's fee structure. But at this point consumers may start
> worrying about Apple's fee structure,
> especially with Apple's 43% margin on the iPad:
> http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9150045/Apple_makes_208_on_each_499_iPad?source=toc
> I guess I also neglected the side threat from Windows 7 as well - Apple has
> made good on years of bashing Vista,
> for good reason - but that built in marketing bonanza has just drifted
> away.Windows 7 was about 5.7% of
> OS market share by end of December (over MacOS's 4.9%), probably 7% now,
> but the most important issue is
> that Windows 7 isn't perceived as the dog that Vista was (even though it's
> basically a Vista upgrade), so another threat to
> the perceived superiority of MacOS X. (And in the hot gaming world, Windows
> 7 will be everything, but that's another
> story)
> Owen Densmore wrote:
> Tom, thanks.  Steve and I (and a few others of us) got pinged a while back
> for stressing the Ecology of all our digital devices and their data .. not
> just "web" but TV and phones and the whole shebang.  Even including books
> (we really like the kindle).
>  This guy, not only writes well, but understands this ecology.
>       -- Owen
>  On Jan 29, 2010, at 5:01 PM, Tom Johnson wrote:
> this is for you, pal.
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: O'Reilly Radar - Insight, analysis, and research about emerging
> technologies. <radar+feedburner at oreilly.com<radar%2Bfeedburner at oreilly.com>
> >
> Date: Fri, Jan 29, 2010 at 6:37 AM
> Subject: O'Reilly Radar
> To: jtjohnson555 at gmail.com
>     O'Reilly Radar <http://radar.oreilly.com/>
>  <http://fusion.google.com/add?source=atgs&feedurl=http://feeds.feedburner.com/oreilly/radar/atom>
>   ------------------------------
> Check Mate: Apple's iPad and Google's Next Move<http://feedproxy.google.com/%7Er/oreilly/radar/atom/%7E3/kKN2wwKCnRo/the-chess-grandmaster-apples-i.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email>
> Posted: 28 Jan 2010 07:29 AM PST
> [image: 75M-iPodt-iPhone.png]<http://radar.oreilly.com/assets_c/2010/01/75M-iPodt-iPhone.html>
> *"I think this will appeal to the Apple acolytes, but this is essentially
> just a really big iPod Touch," said Charles Golvin, an analyst at Forrester
> Research, adding that he expected the iPad to mostly cannibalize the sales
> of other Apple products. -* The New York Times<http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/28/technology/companies/28apple.html>
> There is an axiom that the biggest game-changers often result from ideas
> that, at first blush, seem easy to dismiss. So it goes with yesterday's
> launch of the iPad, Apple's entry into what they call the 'third category'
> of device -- the middle ground that exists between smartphone and laptop.
> Why is the iPad (seemingly) so easy to dismiss? Well, for one, it is an *
> evolutionary* device when conventional wisdom suggests that it needs to be
> a *revolutionary* device to find a wedge into a new market.
> After all, the iPod and iPhone that came before it were truly revolutionary
> devices, offering wholly new functionality, delivering new value chains, and
> fundamentally changing the relationship that consumers had with, first their
> media (in the case of iPod) and then their communications (in the case of
> iPhone).
> By contrast, the iPad truly does look like a really big iPod Touch, and
> given its evolutionary nature, it begs the question of who buys this thing
> and why, especially if you already have a smartphone and a laptop?
> *Confusing the Tail with the Dog*
> Thus, a reasoned analysis is that the iPad is to the iPhone & iPod Touch as
> the MacBook Air is to the MacBook. In other words, a cool product with a
> devoted base of happy customers, but in relative terms, a niche product in
> Apple's arsenal of rainmakers.
> In fact, the opinion of the above-referred Forrester analyst is hardly
> unique. Quite the contrary. Check out the discussion boards across
> Engadget <http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/27/the-apple-ipad/>,
> AppleInsider<http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/10/01/27/apple_reveals_long_awaited_multi_touch_ipad_tablet_device.html>,
> and Silicon Alley<http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-ipad-launch-day-everything-you-need-to-know-2010-1>,
> to name a few, and do a twitter search on iPad, and the sentiment is 5 to 1
> to the negative, with recurring phrases like 'fail,' 'yawn,' 'over-hyped'
> and 'apple blew it.' Heck, even two-thirds of the audience invited to
> Apple's own event look bored, offering only feint applause when prompted by
> Apple CEO, Steve Jobs.
> So is Apple hosed? Did they blow it? Not even close.
> But before I get into the 'Why,' let me present, to set some contrast, a
> favorite saying within Google. Google, after all, is Apple's open 'ish'<http://thenetworkgarden.blogs.com/weblog/2009/12/openish-the-meaning-of-open-according-to-google.html>frienemy, and the company who so many cite as being 'destined' to beat Apple
> in the mobile wars (if interested in that fork, check out 'Android's
> Inevitability and the Missing Leg <http://bit.ly/87URNI>'). If what's good
> for Google is not so good for Apple, then perhaps the opposite might be
> true, right?
> In any event, within Google they like to say that what is good for the Web
> is good for Google, the premise being that the more the Web evolves as the
> core fabric from which applications, communications, entertainment, social
> engagement and information exchange proliferate around, the better it is for
> Google as the company that organizes it, makes it searchable, and then
> monetizes it via advertising.
> So if what is good for the Web is what is good for Google, then what is
> good for Apple?
> *It's the Platform, Stupid!
> [image: 125M accounts.png]<http://radar.oreilly.com/assets_c/2010/01/125M+accounts.html>
> *
> As I am listening to and watching Steve Jobs deliver what very well could
> be his last launch of an entirely new product for the same company that he
> birthed (with Steve Wozniak) 34 years ago (in 1976), I am struggling with
> two conflicting sensibilities.
> One is that some of the heart-stopping, holy-sh-t, gaming-changing aspects
> of Apple's tablet creation still lie below the surface, like an iceberg that
> only reveals a fraction of its actual mass above the waterline. (More on
> that in a bit.)
> In other words, add me to the list of expectant Kool Aid drinkers
> struggling (then) with a cupful of 'that's it?' punch.
> But, far more resonant is a second sense that a rapidly rising tide called
> iPhone Platform is lifting all boats derived from it; namely iPhone, iPod
> Touch and now iPad (and I still very much believe that Apple TV is due for a
> near-term reboot to plug into the same ecosystem).
> And here's the thing, if this was a presidential debate between Apple and
> Google for the hearts and minds of consumers, developers, media creators,
> publishers and businesses of all sizes, then the launch of the iPad is
> Apple's closing argument for why they should be #1 (watch the full video<http://www.apple.com/quicktime/qtv/specialevent0110/>,
> and let me know if you agree//disagree).
> Consider this: A $50 billion company that is so profitable that in the last
> quarter alone they dropped *another* $5.8 billion of cash into their
> coffers (now they have $40 billion in cash). *Assertion one*: not only do
> we build great products, but we run our business the right way (read about
> Apple's Q1, 2010 Earnings Call HERE <http://bit.ly/6kJKyu>).
> No less, this same company has been the game-changing innovator at not only
> the inception of personal computing and not only in transforming the music
> business, but also the mobile phone. *Assertion two*: we are the only
> game-changing innovator who has both stood the test of time and *
> repeatedly* matched past successes with new successes.
> But, here's the kicker; in iPad, Apple is presenting multiple levels of
> leverage that virtually assure that they will be successful with this new
> entrant. Why? Because even if iPad (somewhat) cannibalizes sales of another
> Apple device, as the afore-mentioned Forrester analyst proffers, it's money
> going out of one Apple pocket and into another.
> In fact, far from shying away from this truth, Apple wholeheartedly
> embraces it, with Steve Jobs specifically noting in yesterday's presentation
> that "because we've shipped over 75M iPhones and iPod Touches, there are
> already 75M people who know how to use the iPad."
> A note aside, this premise that existing iPhone and iPod Touch users simply
> pick up the iPad and know what to do with it is a concept that not only has
> been affirmed by virtually everyone I know who has played with the device,
> but is an idea that should be wholly unsurprising to anyone that currently
> owns either an iPod Touch or iPhone.
> [image: 250M-iPod.png]<http://radar.oreilly.com/assets_c/2010/01/250M-iPod.html>Now,
> perhaps you might argue that that's fool's gold, tapping into a mine that is
> destined to run dry, but that belies the fact that Apple just recently sold
> their 250 millionth iPod, so I would argue that 'there's a lot more gold in
> them thar hills.'
> And that is the key thing that you should take from the iPad launch event;
> namely, that being evolutionary and doing the same thing over again - by
> creating a derivative product from the original mastering effort (just as
> the iPod and iTunes gave rise to iPhone, iPod Touch and App Store) - is good
> strategy when the strategy not only is working in the market, but also
> rewards the investment your customers and partners have already made in your
> ecosystem.
> [image: apple-tablet-keynote_088.jpg]<http://radar.oreilly.com/assets_c/2010/01/apple-tablet-keynote_088.html>Along
> those lines, virtually the entire library of 140,000 iPhone Apps will run
> unmodified in iPad (with pixel for pixel accuracy in a black box, or
> pixel-double running in full-screen), a decision that takes care of both
> current iPhone Developers and iPhone/iPod Touch Owners. As you might expect,
> the same is true with iTunes libraries.
> I can tell you that when I bought a second iPod Touch for my kids over the
> holidays, the premise that my entire library of apps and media (not to
> mention, photos) from my first iPod Touch could seamlessly be re-used in the
> new device was a bit of an 'AHA' moment. Leverage, after all, is a good
> thing.
> Mind you, this is independent of the iPad-specific optimizations that
> developers can take advantage of within the updated SDK (a note aside, now
> with two flagship devices that are not phones, calling the platform 'iPhone
> Platform' seems decidedly out of date, and I noticed that in referring to
> the updated SDK, Jobs & Company referred to it as the SDK, versus iPhone
> SDK. Expect a developer event, likely tied to the release of iPhone OS 4.0,
> that brings some order to the naming confusion, in addition to formally
> conveying clearer constructs for harmonizing development across the two
> different form-factors).
> Okay, one last chess move laid out by Apple yesterday, and seemingly, a
> more focused shot across the bow of Google, and their loosely-coupled
> approach, was the assertion that "we're the only company that can deliver
> this type of solution with this price and performance."
> This point, which is also amplified on the Apple web site (check out the iPad
> intro video <http://www.apple.com/ipad/>, which feels in its presentation
> style akin to getting the co-creators of iPad to sign their name on the
> product), is bolstered by the fact that the iPad is the first device using
> Apple's own proprietary silicon - the A4 chip, the first offspring of the
> P.A. Semi acquisition - yet another piece in Apple's proprietary integration
> chain, including battery technology (iPad touts ten-hour battery life),
> hardware design, software, developer tools and online services.
> Google, your move.
> *The Good, Bad and (not so) Ugly of iPad*
> [image: apple-tablet-keynote_050.jpg]<http://radar.oreilly.com/assets_c/2010/01/apple-tablet-keynote_050.html>Let's
> start with the good. The consistent refrain from users that have actually
> played with the device is that it is fast, surprisingly fast. As John Gruber
> of Daring Fireball notes<http://daringfireball.net/2010/01/ipad_big_picture>,
> "everyone I spoke to in the press room was raving first and foremost about
> the speed. None of us could shut up about it. It feels impossibly fast." In
> other words, unlike netbooks, there is nothing underpowered about this
> device.
> Secondly, is the fact that with over 1,000 sensors in the touch-based
> user-interface, Apple is effectively doubling down on the core belief that
> they have found the future of personal computing, and it doesn't involve a
> mouse and a physical keyboard.
> [image: apple-creation-0337-rm-eng.jpg]<http://radar.oreilly.com/assets_c/2010/01/apple-creation-0337-rm-eng.html>In
> fact, noteworthy is that not only did Apple deign to completely re-design
> it's iWork productivity suite for the iPad (it looks very functional,), but
> a number of the demos spotlighted how having a larger touch-based user
> interface facilitates all sorts of interesting innovation around virtual
> controller schemas, since you simply have more real estate to play with, and
> the level of sensor density translates to a high degree of responsiveness.
> For example, EA's re-work of their 'Need for Speed SHIFT' racing game
> showcases the ability to quickly toggle between the inside and outside of a
> race car, and the ability to change gears from the inside of the car,
> something unimaginable in the much smaller iPhone.
> [image: MLB-overlay.png]<http://radar.oreilly.com/assets_c/2010/01/MLB-overlay.html>Similarly,
> MLB (Major League Baseball) showcased their MLB app, which overlays
> graphics, information feeds, video clips and live game programming in a way
> that is simultaneously immersive, interactive and highly entertaining. It is
> both suggestive of a media-centric killer app for the IPad and a bellwether
> for the future of TV Anywhere, yet another reason that I believe Apple's
> ambitions with respect to Apple TV remain very much alive.
> Anecdotal, to be sure, but also pointing in the Apple TV direction, is the
> fact that iPad applications will be able to display content specifically
> targeted to an external display connected to the iPad (via the Dock
> connector), a capability that was never allowed with the iPhone SDK.
> But the final bit of noteworthy, and compelling, good about iPad is that
> this just feels like the device that real people (read: non-techies) are
> going to flock to. For one, the intimidation factor of a tiny device,
> something that held back Baby Boomers, like my parents, suddenly becomes a
> non-issue, and, of course, there is the matter of the price.
> At a $499 entry point, mass consumer is an achievable goal in due time
> (plus, no pricing overhang for competitors to swoop in).
> So what's not to like? Well, for starters, Apple was slim on the details
> behind their vision for tablet-optimized applications, although it's worth
> noting that the iPhone SDK didn't actually launch into beta until a full
> eight months after the *release* of the first iPhone. In other words, the
> developer side of the iPad story has a second act that is forthcoming, no
> doubt gated by the extreme secrecy leading up to the device's launch.
> [image: hero7_20100127.png]<http://radar.oreilly.com/assets_c/2010/01/hero7_20100127.html>Similarly,
> while iPad lays clear Apple's ambition to pursue the e-book market
> aggressively (they demonstrated a nice iBooks player and added an iBook
> Store to complement the iTunes and App Store marketplaces), they
> demonstrated virtually nothing that harnesses the touch, tilt, rich media
> and programmatic elements that they can bring to the re-invention of print
> media.
> This could be gated on the aforementioned developer's event or on
> difficulties with the print media industry, but it's worth level setting
> that what they launched is, more or less, iterative to the Kindle's value
> proposition (Jobs even gave props to Amazon in the presentation) than a
> complete disruptor.
> Other random quibbles are the lack of a camera in iPad (for video
> conferencing, augmented reality apps and plain old photo taking); a
> lackluster carrier value proposition on the 3G version of the iPad; and for
> some, the continued (and I assume permanent) lack of support for Adobe
> Flash. But these are quibbles, not what I consider showstoppers that stand
> in the way of iPad's eventual success.
> *Netting it out*: The best way to think about iPad is as the device that
> inspired Steve Jobs to create the iPhone and the iPod Touch. It's the
> vaunted 3.0 vision of a 1.0 deliverable that began its public life when the
> first generation of iPhone launched only two-and-a-half years ago, and as I
> wrote about previously HERE <http://bit.ly/zOoEu>, it is a product that is
> deeply personal to Steve Jobs, and I believe the final signature product on
> an amazing career. I would view yesterday's launch in that light.
> *Related Posts*:
>    1. Rebooting the Book <http://bit.ly/zOoEu>: One iPad at a Time
>    2. iPad: The 'Boomer' Tablet <http://bit.ly/46CtH>
>    3. It's in the Bag! The Apple Tablet Computing Device<http://bit.ly/3dmxRZ>
>    4. The Chess Master <http://bit.ly/6L7xM9>s: Apple versus Google
>    5. Holy Sh-t! Apple's Halo Effect<http://thenetworkgarden.blogs.com/weblog/2008/04/holy-shit-apple.html>
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> ==========================================
> J. T. Johnson
> Institute for Analytic Journalism -- Santa Fe, NM USA
> www.analyticjournalism.com
> 505.577.6482(c)                                    505.473.9646(h)
> http://www.jtjohnson.com                 tom at jtjohnson.com
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