IPad

Information Addicts Anonymous

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Our CEO is…well…special. He always sends us articles that he’s reading at all hours of the day and night, whether it’s about the latest digital marketing trends, Facebook’s recent update (again), a cool iPad app he found that’s going to make our lives easier and more productive, a podcast about typography (seriously), or even a cool new design site. We don’t know how he consumes so much information – or even if he sleeps! – but we’re happy he does. He’s like our own personal feedly with only the saved content, and we’re happy to make him yours too.

Kfir Screens

We’re going to send out a bi-weekly email with what we think are some of the most useful, informative, and interesting links we’ve found, so that you can sleep at night while Kfir isn’t. We hope you’ll sign up by filling out the form below. And if you have any links you’d like to share with us, feel free to tweet us at @PravdaMG.

Playbook – #Fail

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I was really looking forward to see a major company releasing a proper contender to the iPad. RIM looked like the best one to do just that. But Walt has some bad news:

“….But that isn’t the biggest distinction between the PlayBook and the other tablets. This first edition of the PlayBook has no built-in cellular data connection and lacks such basic built-in apps as an email program, a contacts program, a calendar, a memo pad and even RIM’s popular BlackBerry Messenger chat system.
To get these features with your $500 PlayBook, you must use it with a nearby BlackBerry phone connected to it wirelessly over a short-range Bluetooth connection. Once this link is made, these critical applications pop up on the PlayBook’s screen, via a system called Bridge.
But these are essentially ghosts of the same apps on the phone. In my tests, I could use them from the tablet, where they looked nicer, and they did synchronize with the phone. But when I broke the connection, the apps became grayed-out and the data they held disappeared. It is all stored on the phone….”

You can’t beat a great product with crap.

Atavist and the New Content Ecosystem

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Couple of days ago I ran across Atavist, a simple and well designed iPad app. This application is simple. You download it for free, but every story you’d like to read costs ~$3. What you get for your hard earned cash is an  in depth article, 12,000 words length, with additional multimedia content. All storied are non fiction, and based on long and in depth research. The writers are well known journalists, writing for Wired and The New Yorker.
As an avid fan of crime films, I bought the story of a famous bank heist in Sweden. The long and detailed story included videos from the heist itself, photographs of the suspects, maps of the event, timeline and more.

I am intrigued by the business model of this publication. Selling individual articles was a model that was discussed in the past. I didn’t believe in it, but the fact that I bought the story, read it from beginning to end, and would gladly pay again for interesting articles, makes me wonder if this model is more viable than I’ve expected. Is this another glimpse on the future of publishing? I am not certain yet. But in the mean time, go, download the app and judge it yourself.

iPad and the (Bleak) Future of Publishing

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eMediaVitals, website geared toward publishers going digital, and FIPP digital content partner,  invited me to write a column about digital media, platforms and business models.
The first article describes  why Jobs is not the knight in a shining armor for publishers, and why technology is not the answer to the challenges the industry is facing.
Would love to hear your thoughts.

You can find it here.

iPad Chronicles (2): App Store – Home of Overpriced, Buggy Apps

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iPad blurs the line between traditional devices
Image by myuibe via Flickr

After spending tens of dollars on iPad apps, I can tell you one thing – developers are still in the dark re the UI of this device. However it doesn’t stop them from charging more than $10 for an ever crashing app.
While iWork apps prove to be stable and usable, others are just riding the hype. I couldn’t finish a 2 minutes session of Elements, without a crash. It didn’t stop the developers from charging $14 for it. And yes, I am talking about a periodic table, with fancy pictures. Compare it to an amazingly useful GoodReader, that costs $0.99, and you start to see how misguided the iPad apps pricing is. SocialReader is another great idea done wrong, that cost $1.99.
And while Things is overpriced but useful ($19.99), the guys from Omni Group are asking for $49.99 for OmniGraffle, a diagram application.

I have to admit that some of the best applications are the free ones. NYT is awesome. The same for Bloomberg and BBC. Gaurdian’s Eyewitness app is great too.

Now, I am all for pricing applications based on their value. But many of the apps on my iPad are simply unstable to the point of unusable.

I have a short list of apps that I really like to use. But I will wait until sanity regained in the pricing of iPad apps.

The iPad Chronicles (1): iPad, Crippled Innovation?

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I got my iPad a week ago, and in this series of posts I’ll cover this device from point of views of a power user, publisher, marketer and media consumer.

iPhone was and still is a revolutionary device. it changed the whole concept of mobile interaction, the way we perceive mobility, and our expectations from mobile devices.
But just like any other device it has its flaws. Two of the most important ones are:

1. Lack of mulitasking – the inability to run several applications in parallel was one of the main points against the iPhone by Linux/Android/Symbian lovers around the world.
2. Lack of Adobe Flash support – well, unless you don’t have internet connection you probably know that Jobs hates all thing Flash with passion. iPhone and iPad do not support Flash. At all.

These two points were really not that important on the iPhone. I found that I have no issue what so ever with multitasking. Whenever I need a background app, Push notification gave me all that I needed. The whole “listen to Pandora while browsing” Scenario seemed a bit stupid to me – or at least relevant to less than 10% of my time. Other issues raised by iPhone users seemed esoteric to say the least.
The lack of flash wasn’t a biggie either. The iPhone screen is too small to watch embedded videos, as you need to watch them in full screen anyway. And besides one case, I never watched long format videos in the iPhone – and this one too was from the iTunes store.

But while these issues are minor when talking about the iPhone, iPad is a totally different story.
The iPad is using the same OS as the iPhone, with both limitations. But while I use my iPhone for limited time in each iteration, the iPad is an actual laptop replacement. I am writing this post on the iPad with a bluetooth keyboard – an activity that takes time. Suddenly, not being able to have my IM client running in the background becomes an issue. I am using IM+, that supports push notifications, but it isn’t enough. Luckily this lacking feature will be implemented in the next iPhone OS, that will reach the iPad in the coming Fall.
But lack of Flash support is a different story. And there is no light at the end of the tunnel here. We know that Apple is in a head to head battle against Adobe, and judging from history, it doesn’t seems like Apple is going to back down. Not having Flash on my iPad means that not only I can’t watch video streaming from most sites out there today (including many of the local official TV sites, that stream full episodes for free). It also means that I can’t access Google Analytics, Livestream Statistics and many other websites that I use every day. Cracking open my laptop just to look at stats seems stupid to say the least.

It might be just a matter of time before HTML 5 will gain more ground and additional sites will support it. And I am still very happy with my iPad, and amazing device that is truly a game changer.
But till then, I feel that my iPad is a bit crippled, and a bit less useful.

The Future Of Publishing (2): One iPad to rule them all?

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Apple_iPad_keynote
Image by cattias.photos via Flickr

As magazine publishers are looking for ways to survive the digital revolution, there is one knight in shining armor – the iPad. At VDZ’s Digital innovator summit, the “magical” device was mentioned every second panel. Booths at the exhibition area showed protoypes of iPad applications, and CMS vendors stated that they are planning iPad support sooner then later.

However, amazingly enough, most of the people I’ve talked with never saw the iPad or held it in their own hands. Most of their knowledge about the device derived from Apple’s announcement and blogs – not first hand impression.

Though seems strange at first, that a whole industry would be betting its future on a device that almost no one  used or seen, when looking t the deatails, the iPad is a publisher’s wet dream:

1.  A sexy device

2. That provide a rich media experience, way better than the black and white Kindle

3. With embedded DRM, billing, and distribution mechanism

Based on iPhone and iPod success, iPad has the potential to become the magazine industry’s savior. However, magazines could not rely on single device or concept to be the answer of  all their woes.

Want to know what P&G told publishers about their future? check out this post.