Archive for March, 2011

2020 is gonna be wild

Posted: March 22, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Tear-inducing: Following the Mar 11 earthquake in Japan, this terrified giant panda grabs the legs of a policeman.
:’-(

This past Wednesday Apple had a keynote event announcing the iPad 2. Steve Jobs demonstrated the refined new iPad in a highly polished presentation while simultaneously slipping in a few jabs at Apple’s competitors. Overall it was a pretty standard affair for an Apple event.


As I listened to Steve speak, one phrase kept gnawing at me. Steve said that the iPad was “a post-pc device”. As an iOS developer who makes his living building apps for iPads and iPhones, I disagree. You see iOS has this ball and chain attached to it called “iTunes” that runs on a typical PC. The first time you turn your iPad on you’re greeted with this screen on the right prompting you to plug your iPad into a computer so it can be setup. You can’t even turn your iPad on the first time without being tethered to iTunes.

Do you want to get media on your device (other than from the iTunes store)? Better have a computer handy so you can sync with iTunes. If you’re traveling and must preform a hard reset (where you lose all of your data) what do you do? You won’t have any way to get your data back until you get home and can sync your latest backup from iTunes. As someone who no longer travels with a laptop (just an iPad), this thought terrifies me.

For a device that is “a post-pc device”, it sure feels like a peripheral product to a typical computer.

I love my iPad and my iPhone but to call them post-pc devices is pure ideology at this stage in the game, and not grounded in reality. With Apple’s massive data center rumored to go live anytime, they could alleviate a lot of these problems by letting some of your data reside in the cloud. Until then as an iOS developer, I believe calling the iPad a “post-pc” device is disingenuous.

Well said! Honestly, until that day comes when Tablets allow seamless editing of spreadsheets and presentations, the Tablet will simply be an additional device and not a replacement for the PC/Laptop.

The (presumably) French mash-up artist Mighty Mike recently layered John Lennon‘s instrumental version of “Imagine” with Van Halen‘s acoustic recording of “Jump,” and the result is a glorious fusion of musical polar opposites, fittingly titled “Imagine a Jump.”

Lennon’s quiet, thoughtful ivories slide from the speakers, quickly followed by Roth’s drawn-out crow call. Roth’s party-inspirational vocals shockingly serve as a perfect counterpart to Lennon’s famous piano lines.

I was very apprehensive when I first saw the title of this blog post, but surprisingly enough, this mashup works! Give it a listen!

185 voices from 12 countries come together in Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir. Watch and video and find out why it got a standing ovation at TED 2011. Love the ambition and scale of this project. Respect!

In October 2009 John Walkenbach noticed that the price of the Kindle was falling at a consistent rate, lowering almost on a schedule. By June 2010, the rate was so unwavering that he could easily forecast the date at which the Kindle would be free: November 2011.

kindlepriceforecast2-1.png

Since then I’ve mentioned this forecast to all kinds of folks. In August, 2010 I had the chance to point it out to Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. He merely smiled and said, “Oh, you noticed that!” And then smiled again.

When I brought it to the attention of publishing veterans they would often laugh nervously. How outrageous! they would say. It must cost something to make? The trick was figuring out how Amazon could bundle the free Kindle and still make money. My thought was the cell phone model: a free Kindle if you buy X number of e-books.

But last week Michael Arrington at TechCruch reported on a rumor which hints at a more clever plan: a free Kindle for every Prime customer of Amazon. Prime customers pay $79 per year for free 2-day shipping, and as of last week, free unlimited streaming movies (a la Netflix). Arrington writes:

In January Amazon offered select customers a free Kindle of sorts – they had to pay for it, but if they didn’t like it they could get a full refund and keep the device. It turns out that was just a test run for a much more ambitious program. A reliable source tells us Amazon wants to give a free Kindle to every Amazon Prime subscriber.

I don’t know if this is Amazon’s plan, but it should be. It brilliantly feeds into Bezo’s long-term strategy of nurturing extreme customer satisfaction. What could be more satisfying that a free Kindle, free movies, and free 2-day shipping for $80 a year? If the past is any indication of future events, expect an as-if-free Kindle this fall in time for the holidays. Brilliant indeed!

UPDATE: I misread the TechCrunch dateline. Arrington’s speculation was from February 2010, a year ago, not last week. Still valid, though.

Also, in the comments Phil Gyford quotes an article from the London Review of Books which makes another interesting free kindle speculation:

“Taking the lower figure, that means that New York Times, if it stopped printing a physical edition of the paper, could afford to give every subscriber a free Kindle. Not the bog-standard Kindle, but the one with free global data access. And not just one Kindle, but four Kindles. And not just once, but every year. And that’s using the low estimate for the costs of printing.”

via kk.org

The chart above sure tells a story. Handing out a free Kindle would be a really bold and brilliant move by Amazon. It would ensure Amazon’s stronghold on the ebooks market and also ease its entry into the movie streaming market, which is currently dominated by Netflix.