Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What the Apple Tablet may have to be.

I know, it is only going to get worse in the next 24 hours, with rumors and wishes, some more ill conceived than others, about the Apple event Wednesday Jan 27, tomorrow, some merely blatantly trolling for hits. But I, blatantly trolling for hits, do not see the thoughts that I have about the rumored device, bandied about so much, and mentioning my conjectures to Twitter in 140 character bites only goes so far. If you have felt the same, thinking of some hidden issue about this tablet rumor, whatever the Apple event might be, feel free to comment here.

Ferinstance, one thing is, who wants another device to lug around, that might break, that might have another monthly subscription fee attached, when there are already devices in those spaces, like a smart phone, netbook, or notebook? It will have to present itself as something different and singular to keep from competing with those items, while actually being more flexible than any of them to appeal to those who think it is redundant.

I think the tablet will be an oversized iphone with an OS somewhere in the middle of iPhone and Mac OS X. It will run iPhone apps out of the box, those will be easily scalable with a new SDK. It may hand some wireless connectivity in a seamless fashion that few of us ever realize although technically feasible already.

So, its a ten inch tablet. What if it were two screens, like Microsofts prototype device, like a Nintendo DS that closed to protect the screen? I don't think that will happen. But boy, would people be surprised if that happened!

I think it should have two cameras, one as a webcam for iChat, teleconferencing, one to use as a camera on the back. So, it will be a digital camera with the worlds largest LCD screen. Or OLED, whatever. I think it would be nice if the camera was not as wide angle so that it would look like the screen was a normal perspective window. But I think you can count on the level of iphone camera capability.

If it has a built in kick stand to set on a desk, it will be a lot like the battery door cover tab on Mac Books. It is the electronic picture frame, that actually has a decent user interface. Hey, MisterRogers could just talk to Picture Picture.

Of course it will do movies and music, but may not have that much built in memory. It will be real smart about streaming, and recognizing other macs you have though. That is part of the secret sauce.

As far as the eBook, eNewspaper, eMagazine stuff, here is how I think that may pan out.

It will tap into existing ebook stores like Barnes and Noble and Amazon, and will have new content available through the itunes store. The periodical publishers that want subscription fees have an easy way to pay, through itunes. They may have to bite the bullet and make subscriptions closer to mail subscription costs, rather than just a dollar off newstand per issue costs. Will magazines and papers try to sell themselves as an iPhone type application?

And Gaming on the device is going to change as well.

The secret sauce that makes such a device more than just an oversized iPod is the way it interacts with your existing mac devices, should you have them, and with what it could offer education and business. You see artists pay more than a notebook computer price already for Wacom Cintiq touchscreen monitor tablets. This Tablet will automatically offer a 'second monitor' mode when brought near (within wifi range) of an existing Macintosh. It can be a control surface for audio recording, it can be an artists palette, or a tool box for those Photoshop style applications. It can be the screen you watch your downloaded iTunes movies WHILE you keep surfing with your laptop or computer. A second screen has a lot to offer, and that is the main trick. Next to a second camera for chat, this automatic network pairing with existing macs etcetera is my main hope for the device. Perhaps a pen that works with capacitance touch screens for those that would rather draw with a stylus than their fingers. I generally think that the device will accept more touch gestures and even voice command than we have been accustomed to using. Even a return to handwriting recognition is possible, its baked into OS X.

Would this be attractive to education? Ideally I could see existing netbooks taking the education market, although many would opt for a real notebook that allowed some content creation as well. But there are probably some educators that would like fewer keyboards in the classroom at times, may want to teach penmanship, may want to provide interactive quizzes, update textbooks on the fly, share lecture notes and demo videos. I could see this making some inroads into education on price point.

I think with a version of iWorks for the tablet built in, you will even see them adopted more frequently for business and medicine.. I'd like to see a laser scanner as an option. Those scanners in retail use are not cheap, most of the cost goes into making them rugged rather than smart though, but the amount of info they can give someone walking the floor is limited. You may want to keep in mind that you are reading someone who thought that The Newton was going to change the way restaurant tables were served (getting the order to the kitchen more quickly is a plus). But there is a lot to be said for checklists and sorting and adding columns.

But what about cellular connectivity. Do you need it? Want it? What if that bandwidth was paid for by the content providers? Do you want another monthly bill, or a small optional addition to the bill you already have? Or would you rather just buy content and use the device with wifi?

If it was offered subsidized by cell carriers, ATT Verizon whoever, would you pony up another contract? Want to add a few bucks to your existing contract? Or rather just slip in your sim, and use what you have, if you need that connectivity. The thing is, LTE is around the corner. All your wet dreams of getting an iPhone on Verizon are short lived at this juncture. It may happen, and eventually Apples cellular network devices will be LTE. A Verizon announcement might happen with the tablet, but would they spend that time on another iPhone announcement, if this Tablet everyone thinks the announcement has to be about is to take the spotlight?

I think it will be presented in a simplified manner, rather than showing how flexible a tablet could be, to keep from confusing the marketing conundrum of Is it a Phone? A Netbook? A Notebook? A digital Picture Frame? I already have those.

There have been repeated issues with a device that may want to fulfill a certain niche, while the customers want a swiss army knife does it all. That has been an issue with Apple TV, people thought it should be a Mac Mini with DVR that web surfs.. But it is just an iPod with Wifi. The idea here is, it is not THE gadget, it is an EXTRA gadget, A way to see content on that second TV in the house. The times that Sony lost its mojo have been many, but one idea was that they tried to market mini Discs, as a replacement for CDs, when they should have marketed them as a replacement for cassettes, and gotten those players in cars. Thats an example of not seeing where the market is. A Kindle or a Nook is not meant to be a web browser, it is meant to be a separate device for reading. You could get a netbook and install Kindle or BN eReader software on it for nearly the same price as buying a Nook or Kindle. In fact, I have gotten more reading done on them BECAUSE I could NOT go off surfing in a web browser. But they may have to be more. I think Nook and Kindle should both be courting INTERACTIVE quiz content such as ACT and SAT prep book publishers-- those devices can handle that, as well as Crosswords and Sudoku, even with a slow to update E-Ink screen.

But if you think of such a device only in comparison to what it is already like, you are going to miss its potential. Likewise, you can have a device that does everything, and does none of them particularly well. There are some great cameras in those high end Nokia phones. It -is- getting easier for a device to actually do more of those things well, rather than compromising one feature to include the other. Apple has usually been very good about keeping this balance to the point to where it all works, killing a feature if it is not up to snuff.

Will a tablet be more attractive than a laptop for travelers? Have people stopped carrying laptops because their phone is good enough for traveling? Will a tablet be mostly another window for media in the home? Due to its size, it is not likely to be popped in a pocket as much as a briefcase, if it leaves the building at all.

A device like this really sort of the holy grail for periodical publishers because it provides a way to pay with a merchant that people are already familiar with. An Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or iTunes account. It allows advertising to be added in without that advertising slowing down the experience as it does with real time web surfing, in both a more passive, and more active manner more controllable and friendlier to the consumer. Will magazines and newspapers be sold like an iPhone app?

I think a lot of people expect ebooks and media content. Yawn... a Kindle killer and a portable DVD player killer. And a Wacom Cintiq killer. It will still have to have its own identity, but I think it is safe to say that a lot of what is going on about this is in a more passive secondary manner, only more active and interactive in certain situations. That is where it differs. It is not purely passive, nor is it distractingly interactive. You already have devices that do that. It is something that lends itself to either equally well, so you interact with it either way in a way you might not with a phone or a net book.

A big surprise would be whether this device had phone capabilities AT ALL. You going to sidetalk this monster like a Nokia Ngage? Keep that earbud umbilical constantly attached? Or Stereo bluetooth? Hey, and you need a bluetooth mouse and keyboard to connect to a tablet? Apple has those, you may have some with an iMac already. The thing is less portable, but hey, you have a phone for everywhere you can't lug anything more, right?

Have you stopped watching TV? Would you start watching again if it were small enough to tote through the house, but would not interfere with your cooking or web surfing?

Will the thing run Flash, like a Notebook can? Or will it keep it locked out? Will the Beatles Catalog show up on iTunes?

You probably have had some thoughts as well, on the potential of such a device, and what may work for it or against it. Feel free to share them in the comments. Good luck on your Bingo Card, I think Pogue has set one up.

And what if the Apple event did not reveal a tablet at all?

The reactive interactive

Yay, my first comment!

Well, I wonder how many blogger blogs stay stagnant BECAUSE they do not get comments at all. Or because microblogging like twitter or facebook takes all the time one might have to get an idea out into the ether.

It seems it has easily been over a year since I have posted. Maybe One reason I have not blogged terribly often is, every time I want to post it is tech related, and the other blogs I comment on, often have very little to do with technology at all. But probably a few of my posts have been about nothing but my trying to post to this blog in some sort of mobile way. Google has probably made it easier to post that way than when I first started a blogger blog; if you have tips, I'd like to hear them in the comments. Ferinstance, is there an app for that now? To post from iPhone?

Consider this a warning; my next post will be on technology.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Beam Me Up Scotty; Fine and Dandy Andy

I'm am sort of being bribed.

Not that that is a bad thing. But I would not necessarily be posting, and linking, about this subject, if not being mildly stimulated to do so for the chance of a Freebie, the chance to win a very nice, and easy to use data solution from the fine folks at Data Robotics, as being lovingly shilled and promoted by one Scott Bourne. Scott wants Google Juice for his new web endeavors, including the renaming of a website a blog called PhotoFocus for a podcast he is often directly associated with, This Week in Photography, and a new site and Podcast on managing ones digital life, named oddly enough, MYDL for Manage Your Daily Life, starring the efforts of beloved technology pundit Andy Ihnatko. And Scott is giving away another Drobo for the miniscule publicity payback he might get from his loyal followers.

You should see these blogs linked to the side. If you have an interest in digital photography, or managing your media, you should check these sites, and the podcasts they support, out, if you have not heard of them already.

Truth be known however, I am likely to get a lot more Google Juice from him than he is from me. You see how many people interact with MY blog posts, which often are not even on the subject I intend.

And I was following the works of Scott and Andy already; I do not need to be bribed to sing their praises. I feel I am amongst my own to some degree with both of them.

I have been reading Andy Ihnatko's columns probably from very early in his career, and I feel a kindred spirit, not just as a MacUser but for some shared loves and life experiences. Diners, Comics, Photography. The not quite revealed as it was happening, but between the lines realization of dealing with the health of a parent.

I have a smattering of Radio experience (college) and Pro Photography (processing and camera) sales in my background, so discovering Scott Bournes efforts would have melded with a natural affinity already about me.

And they got me to post to my blog for the first time in months. I never have yet used this blog as intended, to simply post marginal drawings from my k-12 years; I am generally to busy with Twitter and Facebook. With a recent Mac crash (yes, Macs can go down just like PCs), I feel a greater need to seek out discussion of storage and Backup. If only I had backed up my notebook in the past 6 months.

What I really would like to know is how to marry my iPhone to my new Mac, since it still thinks it belongs to the Mac no Migration Assistant can bring back from the dead, and my phone is still aware of some of my email accounts I remember nothing about. Maybe they will touch upon such in MYDL sometime soon.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Don't answer that phone!

If you bought a box of cereal at one time, you could send in the box tops for a toy they couldn't fit in the box. How many people do you think did that with Bug Spray?

This was in the age of Sports Illustrated football phones, or Tennis Shoe phones, when Raid "Kills Bugs Dead" bug spray got into the act. There may have been an attempted revival of the classic Bug Spray spots at this time. I loved those commercials enough to enforce Brand loyalty years later. I did whatever it took to get the phone and it has been sitting around unused ever since, because I don't reckon many took advantage of the offer. It was a natural concept though, most of the commercials gags centered around a bug getting a 'call' from Raid, and just like many actual phone calls today, it was totally unwanted, with negative consequences. The Raid phone epitomized the true nature of the typical phone call better than any football, Tennis shoe, BatPhone or whatever you might have.

Steve at ASIFA - Hollywood Animation Archive just posted an interview or two on video with Bob GIvens who designed these ads, among with much more during his long career.

Givens interview on the Animation Archive

Thanks to John K for the heads up. It goes without saying, if you care about animation, and you are not reading John Kricfalusi's Blog, you should. And I doubt you are reading this if you are not reading John.


Monday, September 1, 2008

Rip Van Winkle awakes.

Its been over a year since I posted, and I doubt anyone has found this blog. Even in that week of posting setting it up, I never got close in the slightest to my original concept, which was to post all the "doodles in the margins" that I created mostly during the k-12 years, perhaps some from college. For one thing, I would have to find where I have those physically archived, perhaps lost to the elements, then I would have to scan them in.

I'm on my laptop mostly, and never near a scanner anymore.

And my blog got hijacked by the iPhone. I was busy trying to figure out how to blog directly from the iPhone (not so easy without MMS).

Since then, I thought maybe I should split those tech shenannigans to another blog. Or blog period. I tweet more now, microblogging has perhaps killed my urge or need to blog. Google has made some changes in Blogger since then, and perhaps, I will set up Flock, and post more. We will see. What intially seemed to be the easiest blogging system out there still stymied me with the amount of windows I needed to keep open to post to the account, on top of my dial up account slowness at the time.

Plus, it seems Googles spiders never stopped here, with no links in or out to attract it. Blogger has been attractive, as it seemed to have attracted a lot of animation artists, in the way that MySpace attracted musicians. Its not about the technology, as much as it is about the community.

Meanwhile, Facebook, Twitter, et al, steal the social thunder while Google works on multiple other projects.

So this is that toe in the water for now.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

They usually make better proofreaders, too!

I think I can post from my iPhone now.

This was not posted from an iPhone, mostly because my "mail to blogger" was set in drafts modes, rather than publish.

It would be nice if the iPhone had MMS, then one could post WITH IMAGES from the iPhone, from the iPhone.

I suppose it is possible to attach a photo in email, but most email gateways will not be helpful in getting the image to your blogger account automatically. Also, I do not think it helps that the default for the iphone emails is HTML, which will be rejected by blogger.

Have you had better luck, posting from your iPhone? Does your mail gateway make a difference? Can you post an image, directly from your iPhone?