Category Archives: technology

Is Apple growing out of touch??

I doubt very much that I am suggesting anything new here. But there are two areas that I fee Apple is a bit out of touch with the market:

iPhone Keyboard is a required offering.

I Believe the iPhone is one feature away from dominating the Enterprise AND the consumer space for smartphones/micro PCs. Steve needs to back down on his touch only mantra and design a real keyboard that slides out underneath the entire phone (a la Sony Xperia or these concepts). Apple has created a new market and ecosystem for these usable small computers that people can  lean on for most of their personal personal computing. Whats missing is a real keyboard.

Witness the thousands of teens glued to their QWERTY text messaging hardware or Blackberries. Teens are  the sweet spot for Apple’s consumer strategy. In the enterprise, to satisfy the needs of the QWERTY addicted  and really impress the large enterprises about the fact the iPhone is a true portable productivity tool, they need to build something that actually works the without any education. Ironically, I think the iPhone keypad is one of the only things Apple has  designed in a few years that requires a lot of knowledge to use properly.  Now I love my iphone, but I definitely catch myself doing less mobile mail on it due to the cludgyness of the keyboard for my hands. I prefer SMS because it allows me to be less formal and I dont have to type as much. I belive this is a lost opportunity for Apple and they need to listen to users on this one.

We need an Apple NetBook (NetMac?) yesterday…

The Hackintosh meme has left the station and its only going to get more momentum. I  and many others will likely buy a sub $400 netbook and install OSX in the coming 6 months. Personally,  I need a commuting machine and the Air is overpriced for what I need. I want somethign small to throw into a bag that I can pound out mail on the train. I also would likely use this machine for travel and weekends, rather than bringing my larger desktop laptop. Since the MobileMe sync services are working so well, it really doesn’t matter what machine I am on…everything on every machine should theoretically sync. Its working for me today on the multiple machines I use. Apple is a design company, and they design great hardware. The netbook is an opportunity to do something that is uniquely Apple and a lower cost. I believe, like the iPhone/iPod, the Apple experience on a netbook will create a great channel to recruit new converts. That and I don’t want to write a check to Dell…

What do you think…are they getting these things ready or are they going to ignore the market and push everything into the new multi-touch technology (including a netbook)??

Well Produced “Future Piece” from Microsoft

This is a really nicely produced piece MSFT did about what they believe the future will look like, conveniently including the use of  future software and haptic technologies.

What’s funny about this video is that all the UIs in the video imply that in the future, Microsoft will have had some pretty serious changes of thought about the emphasis on great design. I would venture a guess that most of the concept UIs in this piece were created by designers not engineers.

I look forward a future when good design has a more strategic role in burying complexity to make our lives mote productive.

What the Macro-economic contraction means for young online media firms

The best piece advice I have received from a friend working in media private equity was this:

“If you have the model and the means to get through an economic contraction with growth, don’t sell now…  keep your head down, execute and grow. On the other side of the contraction, your business will be worth MUCH more”

Also, Jason Calacanis, a serial successful entrepreneur opined recently (paraphrased) on TWIT that the best time to make a move in this market is during a contraction because you have less competition. If you are executing, you’ll grab more market share, you will be a more valuable property, and attract better talent. Jason speaks from experience…he has started businesses in downturns.

The trends look good for online media: there is a flight to more measurable and agile online media because online media consumption time is increasing its share of the (finite) user media consumption pie. Also, the dollars that leave radio, TV and Print will move into the online space to gain on the 20% user consumption time of online media.

Smart marketers are slowly levering up the ~7% of thier budgets in online media to get closer to matching the 20% number. They also know that the trackabilty and ROI equation works in their favor, as they can deliver faster, more direct and meaningful results with online media (especially as performance-based pricing becomes more popular).

In the end the “wheat will be seperated from the chafe”, but the firms with focus and resources to capitalize on the opportunity a contraction presents will come through a downturn stronger and more resilient.

How to piss off Google…

Is it me or does this product android shot from Uncle Walt’s blog look suspiciously like a Microsoft IE browser? It looks like someone, (not Google) hacked something up and used a windows browser.

If T-Mobile did this screen shot, they are off to a rocky start with the Goog!

Lessig is right. The US needs a CTO.

Scoble posted a very interesting piece regarding Larry Lessig’s belief for the need the nation has for a CTO-like position. I agree that this is a necessary position as we continue to evolve into a nation of knowledge workers that rely on and create new technology that makes us and the rest of the world more productive.

Unifying (or attempting to) public policy regarding the understanding and shaping of issues like traffic shaping, data portability, data privacy, and net neutrality are all very important to maintaining our position as an innovative nation where access and distribution of information and knowledge is an assumed characteristic of being a citizen of this great nation.

Perhaps selfishly, I think the person for this position should have the ability to market theses issues to the public in simple to understand concepts that do not obfuscate the truth of the issue so that the people, not the companies can shape policy.

Your thoughts on the issue?

Wifi in the air… Good or Bad?

aawifi

aawifi

My first thought about this article about American Airllines wifi-enabled planes was: “Cool”

But now I have second thoughts.

I usually go cross country once or twice a quarter and I get A LOT done in a cramped, quiet environment. What I believe makes me productive on these trips is the lack of distractions and the resulting ability to focus on pressing matters without IM, emails or phones interrupting my thought processes.

While wifi will be very convenient, it will add the same quick fix to the “connectivity addiction” that I have here on earth. “Just saying no” is an option, but like anything other human proclivity, if its there, you buy it because you can.

I will say from the perspective of the airlines this is the first real product that they can charge for without looking like greedy bastards. But the funny thing this wifi thing has other adjacent revenue streams… once  wifi is enabled, there will be high demand for the power outlets which I am sure they will start charging for as well.

Time will tell how much it ends up costing us in dollars and productivity.

What do you all think? Is this a good or bad thing?

Why the iPhone won’t dominate in business email…yet

short answer: The keyboard and lack of push email.

long answer: While on the road recently, I was forced to use the email functions in the iphone more than I had in the past. The vertical mail keyboard is too narrow for my big hands and often the predictive software slows down the process of writing a quick email. The lack of feedback from the screen hurts here. I also get really annoyed by the constant delays in response do to client server communications. The “typewriter” effect seems to jam up like the very machines they are emulating!
solution: as a temporary fix, they need to let the keyboard go horizontal in the mail app. This will lessen mistakes and speed up the use of the keyboard and lower reliance on the predictive software.

The long term fix is to use a slider with a real keyboard like the latest sony device or some of the LG units.

Sonyslider

Knowing how Ive and Jobs solve problems, my thought is that the next gen of the hardware may have some sort of integrated (well designed!) keyboard that makes interacting with text more intuitive. When the speeds promised in the 3G handsets reaches ubiquity a solid input interface will be critical to the iPhones market penetration. Apple will have to eat humble pie (or come up with a phenomenal voice entry solution!)

Most of you that have had the device for a while now and are heavy users have probably found these same issues. Let us know what you think.