iPad: A User Interface Revolution

Excellent perspective by Jesus Diaz, citing the work of Jef Raskin:

The iPhone is the information appliance that Raskin imagined at the end of his life: A morphing machine that could do any task using any specialized interface. Every time you launch an app, the machine transforms into a new device, showing a graphical representation of its interface. There are specialized buttons for taking pictures, and gestures to navigate through them. Want to change a song? Just click the “next” button. There are keys to press phone numbers, and software keyboards to type short messages, chat, email or tweet. The iPhone could take all these personalities, and be successful in all of them.

When it came out, people instantly got this concept. Clicking icons transformed their new gadget into a dozen different gadgets. Then, when the app store appeared, their device was able to morph into an unlimited number of devices, each serving one task.

In this new computing world there were no files or folders, either. Everything was database-driven. The information was there, in the device, or out there, floating in the cloud. You could access it all through all these virtual gadgets, at all times, because the iPhone is always connected.

Apple’s announcement is scheduled for 27 January 2010, and the world will be watching. Oh, and it does exist, via Cult of Mac:

According to mobile analytics company Flurry, the Apple Tablet isn’t just a very real product, but they’ve detected up to fifty of them floating through Cupertino, running a new version of the iPhone OS numbered 3.2.

The data comes from Flurry’s tracking code, present in some App Store apps. Around 200 of these apps — mostly games — were downloaded onto this mystery device with the “characteristics” of a Tablet, starting in October and picking up in January.

If Flurry’s assessment if correct, it means that the Tablet — or at least Tablet prototype devices — do indeed run iPhone apps natively, without any necessary modifications. The problem is that Flurry doesn’t actually specify what the “characteristics” of a Tablet are, so it’s hard to know for sure that what they are seeing is the Tablet. If their whole theory rests upon seeing a higher resolution device, say, Flurry might just be looking at a prototype iPhone HD… a device that is pretty much a given when Apple refreshes the iPhone line in June, considering the recent strides made in display resolutions by the likes of the HTC Nexus One.

Tablet or no, Apple’s clearly testing out a new version of the iPhone operating system, so that’s something, but only Wednesday will tell exactly which device it’s running on.

Nice buzz from Apple, which actually makes something instead of talking about it.

So it’s simple really. If you make a product that turns the culture upside down, drives stock price and reconfigures other industries, you step to the stage amid a herald of trumpets and perform magic.

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Don’t Cry For Me, Cupertino

David Pogue: brilliant, as always:

Good Creative

If you were born before 1970, you probably remember the American Tourister TV commercial. Yes, the one with the gorilla.

Not only was it a good idea, but the copywriting was superb…

“Dear clumsy bellboys, brutal cab drivers, careless doormen, ruthless porters, savage baggage masters and all butter-fingered luggage handlers all over the world, have we got a suitcase for you.”

Roy Grace was the art director, who also gets credit for this VW spot…

No, they don’t make them like they used to. However, that doesn’t mean the advertising landscape is barren of good ideas and execution. Take, for instance, the “Mac vs. PC” ads. I love them…

Crunch


Interesting. CNET is reporting people will never buy computers without keyboards (iPhone, XBox, PS3, Kindle). And Silicon Alley Insider is judging the Crunchpad will fail:

The device has no local storage, and does not appear to have a slot for add-on storage like a SD card. That means you must have Internet access to do anything with it. That’s impractical in places like New York, where people spend a lot of time underground; on a plane; overseas; etc. An Apple tablet (or even a Kindle) has some functionality when it’s not connected to the Internet. The CrunchPad seems it will have none.

The device has no local apps, and only runs Web sites and Web apps. This, again, tethers you to an Internet connection for even the simplest function, like skimming an old email, reading an e-book, or looking at a to-do list. This also means that app performance will also depend on your Internet speed. While similarly priced netbooks are selling like hotcakes, they also include local storage and support for Windows apps, and we think netbook owners also spend at least some time using non-Web apps.

Apple’s marketing machine is stronger than CrunchPad’s. Most normal people are only going to buy one touchscreen tablet in the next year or two — if any. We assume Apple will find a way to make its offering seem sexier to a mass audience. For instance, syncing with iTunes so you have movies you can watch on a plane. Or reading an e-book in the subway. Plus, Apple will spend millions on its ad campaign. CrunchPad probably won’t have that option.

To be sure, there are definitely some cases where the CrunchPad would be adequate, such as goofing off on the Web from your living room couch, living on a wi-fi-blanketed college campus, etc. And if it’s really priced at $400, it’ll probably sell a bunch of units to curious Silicon Valley-types, coders and hackers, rich people, the geeks who also bought the XO educational laptop, etc.

An Apple “iPad” would be cool. With the iPhone, the concept of a touch keyboard has proven to be acceptable by many, and, I would argue, even sucked people in by its simplicity.

Saved by Mobile Me

You know that new “Find My iPhone” feature? It works. You’ll enjoy reading this entertaining story from Kevin.

Here’s how it starts…

Myself and two compadres, Ryan and Mark, are in Chicago (each of us for the first time) to attend Brickworld, the world’s largest Lego convention. Yes we’re a bunch of dorks. Yes you totally wish you were here too.

Last night, after seeing Second City improv, we ate at a pleasantly sketchy dive bar in uptown Chicago, where the food was mediocre and the characters were questionable. I definitely had my iPhone while at our table, and I definitely did NOT have it (whoops!) when we were 100 feet down the street.

I raced back into the bar, not even particularly concerned, but it was gone like baby. In less than five minutes, with very few people in the small place, my beloved JesusPhone had managed to vanish into a black hole. Our waitress was sympathetic, and I left a number, but I was immediately glum about my prospects of seeing it again.

So I felt like about zero cents, but then we giddily realized that I had *just* activated the brand-new Find My iPhone service. Even better, Mark had a Sprint (yes, Sprint) USB dongle giving him Internet access over 3G on his MacBook Pro. Excited to try it out, we hopped onto me.com and clicked the Find My iPhone link.

After reading the story, you might agree the Mobile Me feature is worth it, too.

A Million iPhones

Apple said they sold over a million over the weekend:

Apple® today announced that it has sold over one million iPhone™ 3GS models through Sunday, June 21, the third day after its launch. In addition, six million customers have downloaded the new iPhone 3.0 software in the first five days since its release.

“Customers are voting and the iPhone is winning,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “With over 50,000 applications available from Apple’s revolutionary App Store, iPhone momentum is stronger than ever.”

Good for them. I got one, too — and I love it. Had a BlackBerry for years and the browsers are simply not comparable, and the apps, well, I’m just getting started. According to Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, 12% of those who bought the new iPhone 3GS were switching from BlackBerry, and 28% were switching carriers.

I’d have to agree with Steve Wildstrom, the iPhone is unstoppable:

Competitors have at least as much to fear from the new software, which is free for the original iPhone and iPhone 3G and a $10 upgrade for the iPod Touch (a Wi-Fi equipped iPod you can think of as a phoneless iPhone). Apple moved to match and, in many cases, leapfrog the competition.

Now, I’m not surprised. After using it for a couple of days, I know first-hand what a superior product it really is.

Touch-Screen Monster

I remember reading about Microsoft’s touch -screen table a while back and thought it was very cool.

Seeing it featured on Engadget was entertaining:

Yep, you read that right — Microsoft’s $17,000 big-ass touchscreen table requires a keyboard and mouse to set up, something which isn’t noted in any of the marketing or manuals. Ouch. Hopefully that’ll get fixed before this thing ships to consumers in 2011…

I don’t get it.

iPhone on Verizon

Open up the floodgates: Apple is working on a deal with Verizon Wireless:

  1. Apple has been scouting out EVDO and CDMA Engineers for months in their online iPhone job postings (here, here, here and here).  Yes, some of these skills overlap with UTMS and CDMA can also refer to the broad swath of 3G Technologies…but come on…don’t put “EVDO” on the job description if it ain’t true.. (BTW, WiMax is also littered throughout Apple’s Job postings…interesting/digress)
  2. No matter how big AT&T is and how much range they cover, leaving out Verizon and to a lesser extent Sprint, will be eliminating a broad swath of the US wireless market.  If Apple is serious about competing with Blackberry, Symbian and Android, they will have to broaden their carrier footprint.  One carrier does not a platform make.  Apple will need a way to grow its market after AT&T is saturated.
  3. LTE technology won’t be mature until well into 2010.  Apple can’t afford to wait that long to broaden its carrier footprint
  4. Who is happy with Rogers in Canada (*crickets*)?  EVDO opens up to new carriers there as well.
  5. Verizon wireless is a partnership between Verizon communications and Vodafone.  Vodafone, you’ll recall, has contracts with Apple for iPhones in around 15 markets around the world.  Apple has a working relationship with Vodafone (and Tmobile obviously).
  6. Apple has just started going “Open” in a few markets, including Hong Kong. This will likely increase the number of unlocked 3G iPhones on the world market (South Africa is also open).  While this won’t benefit Verizon directly, it certainly shows that Apple is considering being more “carrier agnostic.”
  7. Tim Cook, famously said that Apple wasn’t married to the one carrier/country model.  As Apple expands, it is going more and more open.
  8. Verizon’s iPhone Cheat sheet was weak and their arguments about Stevo getting old were silly.  They’d rather play ball with Apple than try to defend itself against it.
  9. Apple originally wanted to go with Verizon for the iPhone.  Some of the original disagreements included “not carrying the iPhone at Best Buy and hardware reliability” – see quote below.  AT&T was a second choice.  When Verizon balked, Apple went to AT&T…Think Verizon is happy about that decision (no) or willing to reconsider Apple’s overtures (yes)?

The word from my Verizon Wireless operations engineer is “it ain’t gonna happen” and that the AT&T deal is on for another four years. At least that’s what he’s been told.

In This Hand, The Palm Pre

Here’s another touch-screen alternative to Apple’s iPhone: the Palm Pre. Introduced at CES 2009 in Las Vegas. Engadget’s got it, as they always do at CES.

Many are hoping this is Palm’s comeback product in the market they once dominated, according to the Wall Street Journal:

The Palm Pre is built upon a new operating system, which is called the Palm webOS, that the company says will make it easier for developers to create applications for Palm devices.

“We think it is the first device that will automatically navigate the Web,” said Jon Rubinstein, Palm’s executive chairman, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Thursday.

The device is Palm’s latest attempt to make headway in the smart-phone market. Palm, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., was once a trendsetter in hand-held computers, and helped pioneer the smart-phone category earlier this decade with the Treo device, but it has since been squeezed by competition from Research in Motion Ltd.’s Blackberry and Apple Inc.’s iPhone. In mid-2007, private equity group Elevation Partners took a 25% stake in Palm and brought on board Mr. Rubinstein, formerly a top Apple executive, to try to bring back innovation at the company.

Amazing how quickly products rise and fall. In spite of Pogue’s panning of the Blackberry Storm, fans remain in favor. Days for its introduction, Verizon was predicting strong sales, although Engadget was reporting software failure.

You know, the more I think about it, the more I need to get an iPhone.