What to use the iPad for

When the iPad was announced a lot of people wondered what it was for. Why carry a giant iPod touch with you instead of a small laptop? When Apple later unveiled the updated MacBook Air a lot of people asked the same thing. But the iPad is still flying off the shelves and people love the machine.

But if you're still wondering why the iPad is good I did some snooping. Actually I've asked non-leading, weird, questions to every iPad user near me for close to two years just to understand the behavior. And I think I've solved it.

Why the iPad feels wrong for real work Some people will tell you the iPad does multitasking and that it works great. That's just not true. It does uni-tasking and great app switching.

The difference is it really forces you to focus on one thing at a time. I have no problem switching between apps to get stuff I need to send or reply to that email with facts from simplenote etc. But you can't have all that on the screen at the same time like you are used to.

This makes people believe it's hard to use for work. Simply because they have to relearn their entire workflow. The desktop experience simply doesn't translate to the tablet and it makes people feel less efficient.

using iPad for work

Why the iPad is awesomee The iPad actually makes you more effective. Not efficient. You won't be doing things at the same speed as you do on a desktop, and that might frustrate you. But it'll also force you to think about what is most important. Usually, in both my experience and my sneaky interviews, making the end result better.

The iPad really does almost everything a desktop computer does. So far I've found two things it doesn't do as well as a desktop:

  • Create graphics, the iPad simply cannot compete with Adobe Photoshop and a mouse.
  • Formatting text. Yes I'm serious. You can do it. But it takes forever.

The second thing the iPad doesn't to really do highlights the efficiency vs effectiveness problem. It doesn't format text well. But is that really what you should be doing? Yes a well formated document looks a lot more professional than a poorly formatted one. But the content is really the important thing, right? And seriously, you could've made a template for those visual documents years ago.

Don't worry though, there's probably an app for that.

 

The ending was intended as sarcasm and not rampant fanboyism. Though I probably am a rampant fanboy of Apple's take on design.

A new iOS notification design

Something I don't get about most current design is that designers adding features always add layers of complexity. Never add things unnecessarily.

This is my design for a new Notification system. The notification counter on top will ping in color and sound/vibration when new notifications drop in. The user can set which service does what in settings.

The entire notification list is under the spotlight window. If you use spotlight, it'll disappear until you remove your search.

 

UPDATE:

iOS5 has been unveiled and while I'm not shocked to find I wasn't spot on, I am a bit shocked by their adding another menu just for notifications. If you have no idea what I'm talking about check em out here.

Roman philosopher explains Twitter

In a letter to his friend Lucilius the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca reflects on how having friends means you are never truly alone. And when you are, communicating with them makes you connected to them. He writes:

I see you, my dear Lucilius, I hear you at this very moment. I feel so very much with you that I wonder whether I shouldn't start writing you notes rather than letters!

Writing a friend notes of events and thoughts and feelings instead of letter. This is how I use twitter. I share these things with my friends and anyone who wants to follow me. A quite futuristic idea for a Roman born over two thousand years ago.

Why the music industry wont stream music

More and more services are popping up that solve the music industries decade long plight of piracy; Streaming music.

Services like Spotify and Rdio are making music instantaneously available for everyone at affordable rates that seem to make everyone happy... Except the music industry wont go along in North America. "Why not?" I hear you sigh ask. Let's examine the models.

  • Traditional Music Industry model Expensive music recording and talent finding or talent creating organisations made money off hits that had main stream appeal and sold records. Thus subsidizing less popular songs recorded and making tons and tons of cash.
  • New Music Industry Model Dirt cheap music recording and no large organisation needed leaves music execs without jobs, making them scramble for larger marketing budgets trying to push out hits to people who've largely turned to youtube for their music finding needs. Streaming services pay music creators and labels for plays, not purchases, making income gradual over time instead of in chunks.

So basically, now we have the entire label org, music marketing and exec structures working against the change. At the same time pay is coming in in smaller doses over longer periods of time making hits less important. And very importantly, lowering quarterly income for the first years of change. Most probably lowering stock martet value. This is a most extreme case of the long tail economic model.

But in this new situation, the organisations that formerly cultivated talent are now cannibalizing off talent to fuel their inefficient cost structure of organisations that no longer work. How do they deal with this problem? Sue pirates. Legislate against sharing music people own. And worst case: deny new working models the right to use already popular music.

Great idea msuic industry! What do you think?

AirPlay review: flawed feature

AirPlay, the amazing feature released by Apple in iOS4.2, allows you to stream audio and video to AirPlay enabled devices. While such devices are severely limited right now (only for iDevices and not even Macs) the feature works like magic and is a revolution we've been waiting for in sharing media in the real world.

So why flawed? Coming home today I switched my podcast over to my stereo as I entered my apartment. While making dinner I was smirking at some droll statement when I received a text. The sound was played on my stereo. Not my iPhone.

If AirPlay simply tranfers all audio (or video) from the system to another system the practicality evaporates quickly. With the decrepid notification system still on iOS will we be doomed to listen to beeps and pings until iOS5?!

Steve, please, don't let this continue.

Apple launches international video service

At the launch of the Apple TV Steve Jobs claimed that video rentals would launch in 9 countries outside the US "soon". We've heard Apple state again and again that iTunes video is being released in the rest of the world and so far have yet to see it. But I doubt that this has anything to do with Apple, video rentals cross nations and even more so across regions seem to be the unholy grail of the movie industry. For some reason they just don't want to open the flood gates to international video services.

Let's hope this latest move by Apple can finally open a crack in that wall. Hulu EU? Yes please.

The future of Apple TV - sans apps

The new Apple TV The were a lot of rumors around before the launch of the new Apple TV, the most interesting ones from Engadget that claimed the Apple TV would be fully compatible with iOS apps. But Steve Jobs claimed it had no local storage, how would that work?

Apple TV presentation says: no storage

Looking at the tech specs page of the Apple TV site I can't find any information about storage though. There must be some storage to fascilitate buffering of video but it could work just fine with only RAM.

What the future of the Apple TV will be no one knows. But if it doesn't have local storage it won't ever handle apps. We'll have to wait for the next generation.

Now begins to long wait for the post launch tear down that will tell us if it has local storage or not.

iTunes 10 review

iTunes 10 icon iTunes 10 is out, the first major release for years. After playing around with it for a week this is what I've noticed:

  • Still does not use the standard front end API for OS X making it laggy and ugly.
  • The slight UI overhaul makes it less of a mess. But it still is a mess to use.
  • It has Ping, a social network exclusively about Music. Not very engaging though.

Please Mr Jobs and Mr Ive, please do a remake of iTunes soon. It really is a terrible user experience and it does not stand up to the quality of other Apple products. I love the store(s) but the app is crap.

Update: the Icon has caused quite a stir and is being widely critized. Steve Jobs has commented on it sucking saying: "we don't think so".

Apple Airplay

With the upcoming release of iOS 4.2 Apple has revealed a new feature, or an upgrade to the old Airtunes feature, called Airplay. Airplay will let us stream media content between our iOS devices.

Just think about it, coming home from a shopping spree just aching to tell your spouse about the hideous dress/jacket/guy you saw. Whipping out your iPhone and displaying the picture on your Apple TV or iPad. Sounds like the future to me!

There are only two questions that come to mind I'm really interested in:

  1. Will Airplay allow us to send content to a Mac as well as from one?
  2. We know third party devices will be able to receive media but can third party apps also send media through Airplay? Since it's a part of iOS it should be an open API... right?

Check out the CNET write up for more thoughts on Airplay.

Second week with the iPad

My first impression of the iPad, after the glowing halo of hype wore off, was really not that good. It wasn't that there was anything wrong with the iPad, there wasn't. It just didn't work the way I wanted it to. A week later I hadn't really changed my mind, until I was typing away earlier tonight and realized why I didn't feel it fitted into my life. It's a unitasking machine.

The iPad doesn't multitask, yet, but after comparing my experience using the same apps on my iPhone 4 I'm now convinced that my problem is not a result of the device lacking features, but instead that the iPad forces me to focus on my work.

Work which I've learned so well to digress and be distracted from on my other machines. I'm just not used to having to focus for more than a few minutes at a time.

This discovery has really turned my experience around, I can't wait to work like this for a few more days and see where it leads me. Unitasking is the new productivity buzz word. Let's see if this machine helps me become more productive or leaves me doing less complex work.

How to Monetize haters

Ever created anything or said something you stand for?Of course you have. Chances are that there were people grumbling at you or about what you did/said.

In person this is rude and we all grow thick skin over the years to bear the bleating of haters. But in business it can be a huge problem.

Making haters into evangelists is on of the best uses of social media to date, but I want to talk about a beautiful way Jason Calacanis recently monetized the hate aimed at him.

For those who don't know, Jason Calacanis is a serial entrepreneur with some great successes currently developing Mahalo.com and the ThisWeekIn podcast network (not to be confused with the TWiT.tv pod casting network run by Leo Laporte). Being successful and especially in a public space means you will attract haters in the hundreds or worse.

Tired of the haters Jason put on a special podcast featuring all hater guests. That's right, anyone with any complaints again Jason were invited to speak against with him about whatever it was they didn't approve of.

This is brilliant. The podcast earns its revenue from ads and lo and behold the haters were filling the podcast with compelling content, not just for loyal listeners who'd chuckle at the event but for even more haters who'd love a go at Jason.

Short and simple, Jason was making his haters earn him money by hating him and looking all the more noble and right for doing it.

Jason, I don't agree with everything you say but my god; that was one brilliant move!

Watch the episode here for a great example of how to monetize your haters.

 

Flipboard review

Flipboard is a news aggregator. Much like feed readers you've probably used in the past. The difference is that Flipboard reads your Twitter and Facebook streams, scans them for content and present it to you in a fantastic UI.

Flipboard is extremely competent and feels great to use, it's well implemented into Twitter and Facebook functionally making it easy to reweet, comment, like and share.

Flipboard is free in the Appstore right now but I'd recommend giving it a look as fast as you can as a lot of media companies are gunning for Flipboard for scraping material not presented in their RISS feeds. Well see how it pans out in the end but this is really how you'll want to use social media in the future.

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First impressions of the iPad

When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad I didn't like it. It was just to basic, I thought I'd never buy one unless they upgraded it quickly.Three months later I had just touched one and "got it". The UI made all the difference, it IS just a gimped laptop but with an interface that makes what you can do fun.

I just unpacked my own and tried out most of the functions I've been looking forward to. Unsurprisingly it feels like my iPhone only the screen makes the entire experience slightly more immersive.

As I'm typing this there is no doubt in my mind that this is the future of computing, at least the near future, but should you get one? If you work on the road or need to upgrade a net book the answer is Yes. If you have a great laptop or use a desktop machine however, don't. Not yet, let the platform mature a bit and you'll be much less grieved.

A template for life

A lot of people take time to argue to me that there is no template for life. No one way to live. This argument is strikingly similar to Wittgenstein trying to persuade us that we don't exist.

No template for life is a template for life.

A circular argument that only shows that you haven't thought about it very long. There are actually endless templates for life, thousands of manuals on how to live, all of them true. For a given value of true. And most of them conflicting.

Apple gives a shit

Reading Daring Fireball I stumble as Grubet, yet again, puts his finger right on the point. Why do Apple command such rabid fans?

Like pixels on glass rather than pixels under glass. This is the result of a new manufacturing process Apple has pioneered. No other company gives a shit about things like this.

- John Gruber on the iPhone 4 display

Because they give a shit. Every other company can learn from this. Making quality products instead of focusing on internal politics or increasing the profit margin just a little bit more will be a lot more economically sound.