Posts Tagged ‘iPad’
After opening up their international sales shortly after crossing the two million mark, Apple’s iPad was even quicker to cross the three million threshold – just twenty more days, another million units sold. Can you spell S-U-C-C-E-S-S?
Apple also announced it had sold 1.7 million iPhone 4 units in the first 4 days of availability, almost making a mockery of iPad’s great run and setting a company record.
Hopefully, this will signal to anyone listening that we’re offiicially in the post-PC era now. America, especially, is moving closer to the European and Asian model where the main Internet access point is mobile. Yes, it took the larger screen of the iPad to convince us, and it’s a great sign that our foreign colleagues and friends also see the new form-factor as valid.
As I talk to clients and potential clients, the world has changed. With the exception of enterprise customers – still stoically soldiering on with their secure, managed, and aging PC-based applications – the new focus is on crafting a new range of experiences adapted to the easy-to-carry, easy-to-access iPad hardware. The set of ideas pouring forth from clients – who in the past wanted, at best, “me too” mobile applications – is really quite exciting. And the iTunes AppStore model for delivering low-priced applications in high volume will assure these new treats will be accessible to a broader range of people.
I’ve enjoyed my iPad since the first day of sales in April, and I’m completely happy with my wifi-only unit. I urge potential customers to consider this option instead of the wifi/3G edition simply because the tariff for 3G connectivity is way too high (in both initial, and on-going, costs). If you need occasion access via 3G, consider purchase of a smart phone that allows tethering – e.g., all the Google Android-based devices can be modified to add tethering. See my blog post on this topic.
Kudos, Apple, for a fine product!
Haters gonna hate…
…but, nonetheless, Apple’s iPad has two million customers in less than 60 days. At that figure, iPad has already eclipsed the total sales of Amazon’s Kindle (which has been in the market for over 2 years) if we extrapolate a bit from this 3Q09 estimate. Barnes&Noble’s Nook device entered the market later than Apple’s iPad, and no sales estimates have been forthcoming from B&N. And, the Border’s Kobo…well.
In the run-up to Apple’s January 2010 announcement, the pundits misjudged the iPad as a tablet-format computer and embued the non-existent device with all sorts of wished-for laptop features. When iPad arrived – as primarily a media-consumption device rather than a new-format personal computer – these same pundits, now wronged by Apple, derided the device for lack of the features they’d projected on it. Even those that liked it commented how Apple’s control over media sales and distribution to the device would create a world Google recently labelled “one man, one company, one device”. Cory Doctorow went bonkers on the iPad.
I think we’re seeing the “one superpower” problem here. With IBM and Microsoft both vanquished, Apple is clearly king of the hill in personal digital technology these days. And digital entertainment. There’s no longer any we versus they. No over-arching ideological battle. There’s only a string of solid home runs from Apple – redefining digital music, redefining the mobile phone, and now defining a new category of must-have device, the portable high-definition media consumption device (that’s jjjuuuussstttt good enough at work-related tasks to possibly supplant the need for a laptop for a lot of people).
So the conspiracy-theory types have come out of the woodwork to turn the former David into the new Goliath. You’d think Apple had turned into Alan Moore’s vision of Norsefire, the totalitarian regime that runs Britain in the movie V for Vendetta. In fact, it’s worse than that. We’re at Redactio ad Hitlerum already (whereby it is nearly impossible to discuss Apple’s incredible success without mentioning their “unprecedented level of control”).
I have another theory, however, and it’s simply this: We lived too long under the computing dominance of Microsoft. Except for Apple – who remained the only company clearly rebelling – everyone else just fell into line. The consumer-oriented companies of the last twenty years simply waited for Microsoft to innovate, and Microsoft always innovated in a single way – the way that best suited Microsoft’s need to keep itself powerful (which, some would say, usually included appropriating the ideas of others more than inventing new ideas itself). Now the sun is shining again – we have a true consumer-oriented innovator in personal computing – and writers and bloggers everywhere (let alone competitors) can’t figure out how it all happened so quickly and without their blessing.
Customers are now showing themselves to have been waiting all these years for an alternative to the Microsoft-dominated world. They want a device that puts less between them and their media, not more. They’re ready to embrace books, magazines and newspapers in this new format whose user experience technologies seem tailor-made to encourage new-found creativity among publishers. They’re ready to think beyond the personal computer.
Frankly, I think Apple’s success does more to pave the way for genuine competition than the vast majority of pundits are willing to admit. With Google’s Andoid operating system running on mobile phones, tablets and now TVs, many companies can participate in this freedom to move beyond the stale personal-computing world defined first by IBM and later monopolized by Microsoft.
We should all be thankful for that.
The folks over at Wired News are reporting that Apple has sold one million iPad units in just 28 days. Other sources corroborate. That’s quite an achievement – and one that’s quite to the chagrin of the tech press, as Wired News points out.
I attended the iPadDevCampNYC event two weeks ago and was amazed by the creativity and vision I saw in iPad applications created just within the space of 36 hours. It’s clear to me that Apple has created a new space here, even if you see iPad only as a media-consumption device (which is a wholly-limiting view in itself). This next twelve months promise to be very exciting indeed!
I know some of you are dreaming about the upcoming 3G-enabled Apple iPad. You don’t mind spending the extra $130 in price nor the $19.99/month for connectivity. I thank you for supporting the economy in these hard times! But, some of us already paying for mobile data service wonder why that’s necessary.
James Kendrick, over at JKOnTheRun, recently talked-up the possibility of tethering one’s shiny new WiFi-only Apple iPad to achieve Internet connectivity in places where WiFi is not available. He was talking about the MiFi (Verizon) or OverDrive (Sprint) options. While these both sound like great alternatives, the charges will come on top of whatever current mobile connectivity you have – same as when you buy an iPad with AT&T’s 3G coverage. But I’m cheap and on T-Mobile. And I’ve got the T-Mobile G1 device – the first available Google Android-based device – with a full-up data plan. So I wondered if I could get my iPad to tether through the G1.
The answer is YES; the process slightly involved. The rewards, however – a cheaper iPad, no “dual fee” for wide-area data connectivity – are great. Continue reading for an abbreviated how-to.
A little love first: I’ve been with T-Mobile for many years and I’m very satisfied with their service, fees and customer care. Due to my business I change devices often, and sometimes do non-standard things with devices, and they’ve always been supportive. T-Mobile’s prices are great and my troubles have been (exceptionally) minimal.
There are a couple of application options on the Android Market for tethering but, long story short, they require root (privileged) access to your phone which, in turn, requires that you modify the phone’s software. Now, I’m not the jailbreak type, frankly, but Android is an open source operating system and I have been very curious about what the community has been doing to add value. Further, my business partner Nathan Freitas has been using a rooted Android phone as the basis for his Guardian project. So I decided to take the leap.
First I backed up my apps and data using Rerware’s MyBackup Pro, a great little app for Android. Then I hunkered down with the docs: here’s how to root your G1 phone using CyanogenMod – though note that Cyanogen supports other devices as well. Once rooted with Cyanogen, you have the privileged access you require, but an operating system very similar to the stock version. This process took me about 90 minutes.
Note there are a number of reasons to root your Android phone. Just ask LifeHacker.
Once you’ve installed, you’ll boot up a fresh device and be asked to sign back in with T-Mobile. I brought back my apps and data after that.
My tethering application of choice was the Android WiFi Tether on Google Code. You download the application to your PC or Mac, then (using USB) copy the app to your device’s SD card, and lastly use a program called AppsInstaller (also available on the Android Market) to install the tethering app on your device.
There’s a small amount of config to do: give your device an SSID, choose security (WEP, and therefore a password), select Bluetooth or Wifi. There’s also a great little access-control feature which allows you to approve devices seeking connection (permanently or temporarily). Say you’re in a coffee shop or other public space where somebody might be trolling for a connection. With access-control turned on, you’ll see (and can reject) anyone looking for a signal.
I tried the tethering application first with my Macbook as I suspected it might have more robust networking support. Sure enough, it found the phone as a device (rather than a wireless hub, because this is an ad-hoc 802.11 network you’re creating with the tether) and everything worked smoothly on both sides. That left me wondering if the iPad would recognize it.
Sure enough it did. The iPad’s WiFi configuration panel is simpler than the MacBook’s and it shows no difference between a router connection and the device. Piece of cake. Hunky-dory. This setup works like a charm. I’m thrilled to have wide area connectivity for my iPad now.
Disclaimer: No article about updating your phone’s software is complete without a disclaimer regarding the ills that could befall you should your update fail and the trapdoors possibly sprung in your mobile service contract in any case. Please be aware of these issues (by consulting your mobile service contract) before you decide to enjoy the benefits. Also be aware that, with the CyanogenMod at least, you have the option to Revert To Stock (yes, there are second chances in life).
Before you’re overcome with book lust and shell out huge coin for books on the iBookstore, here’s a quick note about how to get yourself all the classic works of literature, for free, and legally, for your new iPad.
UPDATE: I should mention that it’s even easier to get books from Project Gutenberg simply by visiting the site with iPad’s Safari browser and using Safari’s bookmarking capability to flag the entries you like. You can also add an icon for a book to your homescreen, via Safari’s “+” action. The choice here is really between using Safari to read or the iBook reader. My preference is the latter. To give it a try, follow the instructions below.
First, on your desktop, select the preferences or options view from your favorite browser and set the default download location to a fresh directory that will contain your EPUB-format books. You need set this only once – but remember to set it to another location after you’re done (you won’t want non-books in this directory, as iTunes will try to sync those files).
Project Gutenberg is your friend – a community of people who care have made thousands of out-of-copyright books available in digital form here. Visit the site, and browse the catalog there – many options for searching are provided: Author, Title, Language (a huge number are supported), Categories, Top 100, etc.
Eventually, you might find something like, say, The Kama Sutra. On each page, you are offered many file format options. In fact, you can use several of the available formats with your iPad, but I really wanted to try EPUB because it offers certain advantages when used with the iPad’s reader. Here’s the options portion of the download page for each book:
Find the option for EPUB (Experimental), and location the hyperlink for either main site or mirror – tap one and your book will start downloading immediately. You will sometimes see an option for EPUB with Images (Experimental). Choose that if you’d prefer an illustrated version (at the expense of storage space).
When you have slaked your classic books thirst – and believe me, the temptation to drink long and hard is significant – minimize your browser and dock your shiny new iPad with your PC or Mac. For most of us, this will start iTunes automagically. If not, fire iTunes up manually. You should notice your iPad’s name in the center of the left hand iTunes ednavigation column, under devices. If you tap the device name, iTunes will drop down a list of available media and, unless you have gone off to purchase books at the store already, you will not see a Books icon.
As a side note, when I first installed my iPad into iTunes, I was asked to download the iBooks application directly from the iPad. If you did not get this popup dialog, you’ll need to tap the App Store icon on your iPad, connect to the store, and download the iBooks application. When I tried this, I noticed it was the first available choice. Not sure how long this option will last – perhaps future iPads will be shipped with the app installed (ya think?!). You’ll see a reminded about downloading the iBooks application in the iTunes software, too.
OK, now we’re ready to load up our books library.
In your PC or Mac’s iTunes application, select File->Add To Library. This will bring you to a file dialog where you can select the directory from which to load books. Choose the directory you selected in your browser’s download preferences. There you will see files with names starting with “PG” (Project Gutenberg). It doesn’t matter what the file names are – since they are in EPUB format, iTunes knows how to snag the book title out of each and display that instead of the ugly filenme. You can select one-at-a-time to add to your library or (at least on my Mac) many at once.
Once you’d added all the books you want, tap on your device’s name in the desktop iTunes application and, from the selections in the tab bar, tap on Books. You’ll see two sync options: All Books, or Selected Books. Enable syncing by tapping the Sync Books checkbox and then select one of the options. Here’s what my screen looks like once I’ve asked to sync Selected Books
Now tap Apply in the lower right corner of the iTunes application to sync your books to the iPad. When the sync operation completes, tap the iBook application on your iPad, and you should see something like the following display, featuring your newly-acquired (free) books
I’ve loaded up a number and all of them work great – from resizing text to viewing illustrations, EPUB-format books look great in the iBooks reader.
That’s the only way I can describe the build-up to tomorrow’s launch of the Apple iPad.
The iPad’s caused an amazing fury. Everything from like-when-I-met-my-first-love adoration, to out-and-out demonization. David Pogue, at the NY Times, reviewed the iPad from two perspectives – a middle ground that kept him off the hate-list of many a blogger but for which he’ll probably be ridiculed by the anti-Apple intelligencia.
I’ll be getting mine tomorrow, so I’ll withhold comment until then. But in the meantime, these sentences from Michael Arrington’s TechCrunch review struck me:
I suspect I’ll rarely be away from this device. In fact it will make my phone far less important for non-calling uses.
This is the first time I’ve heard the “smartphone killer” angle. Certainly, here in the USA, where we are accustomed to having big-screen computers available all the time, we some times don’t get what’s up with those mobile hordes pecking away at ridiculously small keyboards peering into 1 1/2 inch displays. But, at a price point that rivals or beats the retail price of most honest smartphones, and with battery life to match it, Arrington could be onto something here – an iPad (for email, Twitter, browsing, apps, and lightweight work) and a cheap phone for calling might be a far more economical combination for the mobile professional than the choices we’re faced with today.
Until tomorrow’s unboxing, I am sticking with my initial view – the iPad is a device that will re-frame the way we use commercial media, along with the way commercial media is presented to us. If the iPad can accomplish that – a great leap forward for the publishing industry – that will be sufficient to call it revolutionary.
But, I suspect very quickly it will become much more. Like its little brother the iPhone did.
I’ve pre-ordered my Apple iPad today, for pickup locally on opening day, April 3. Excitement!
More importantly, for readers of this blog, let me point you to an excellent post on why the iPad is going to start a revolution in the publishing industry: Books in the Age of iPad.
I’ve been around computing hardware long enough to watch hundreds of mobile-ish, laptop-ish, tablet-ish hardware devices fail. Industry – and we’re talking hardened industry – is the only market where these devices have succeeded in the past. And it’s a tiny market.
What Apple’s got here is a device, marketplace and community that are likely to become the mainstream way people consume publications in all forms.
The hardware’s cheaper than a PC – and how many people need a PC if they are doing just email and browsing, especially with all the ugly virus protection owners of Microsoft products have to contend with? It’s smaller, lighter and easier to carry than a laptop – and, once again, how many people need to lugging around all that weight just to get at their corporate email and applications in this age of Salesforce.com? Yet, the iPad also has a large enough screen to make running applications and browsing the web a comfortable experience – unlike the vast majority of mobile devices industry pundits have told you were the next wave of the web experience. The fact is, to consume certain types of media, the mobile device – even ones as thoughtful as the iPhone – are just insufficient. And, hey Kindle!, iPad’s got a color screen. To say nothing of the multi-touch UI. To say nothing of the industrial design quality.
But the genius only starts there. We’ve seen digital bookstores before – Amazon pioneered this space nicely while B&N just barely beat iPad to the buzzer, shipping only two days ago – but we’ve never seen content purchase so seamlessly integration into the user experience. Not just books, but everything that’s in Apple’s multi-media store.
But that’s not what’s got me jazzed. What’s got me jazzed is that iPad, and the iBookstore along with it, are going to support the ePub digital publishing standard. This allows people like you and me to publish and I have a very strong intuition that Apple will do for self-publishing what they did for podcasting – legitimize the space, make it accessible, and remove the stigma (people used to say “podcasting is not broadcasting”).
And that’s the real reason Apple’s got a leg up on Amazon and B&N. Those firms are beholden to publishing houses who offer a dinosaur of a service in the age of social media and electronic publication. Amazon does not have relationships with individual authors, but Apple has created a space for those individual authors to carve out their own profitable niche. Apple is doing authors – not middlemen – a much bigger favor than Earth’s Largest Bookstore. Apple’s also got many more years of experience running a store with low-priced or even free goods. This, I think, has huge implications on profitability and on their ability to move the market to a new model of electronic – rather than paper – distribution.
And that low-cost model is the magic that will also attract magazines and newspapers who, heretofore, have had no way to charge for their content. This is the model those industries have been waiting for. If they miss the bus this time, it’s over, folks.
I’ll post on this topic again when I get my iPad, April 3.