Good piece by Tim Bray. Not surprisingly, he favors the mobile ad model (Google’s strength) to the app sale model (Apple’s strength). But he’s most bullish on the “upgrades and in-app sales” — which I totally agree with.
One thing he says:
I know for a fact from talking to developers that ads are starting to work pretty well for some of them.
More and more, developers have been saying this to me as well. But I still don’t really get it. Why on Earth would you want to click on most ads in most apps unless it was by accident?
Certainly there are exceptions. And I think the ads cross-promoting other apps make sense. But most apps aren’t search-based apps. It’s not like you’re searching for something and the ad served to you may be relevant. Most of the ads I see in apps are crammed into the bottom and suck. I would never click on one on purpose.
Location has always had the most potential here — but again, most of them still suck. I can’t recall ever seeing one that tempted me to click on it.
Point is, I really do wonder: how many ad clicks on mobile are just mis-clicks (well, technically, mis-touches)? Or are the masses that apparently love to click on ads on the web itself for reasons beyond my comprehension just beginning to come over to smartphones?
So I’ve read over almost all of the reviews of the Xoom now (on my iPad, naturally). The consensus is very clear: promising but extremely buggy.
You have to wonder why Motorola and Google would allow a product with so many bugs/quirks to not only go out to reviewers, but to go out to the public starting tomorrow. Actually, no you don’t have to wonder at all. You only have to think of one word that starts with a lowercase “i”.
If Google/Motorola didn’t beat the iPad 2 to the market, they knew they would be screwed. The Xoom is already more expensive than the iPad, a device which has now absolutely dominated the market for a full year. The iPad 2 will be priced the same, but with big bumps on the spec/feature side of things.
And not one of the reviewers has suggested that the Xoom is an “iPad killer” in any way. It has some specs which are better on paper, but in reality, the bugs stop those from actually being better. The bottom line seems to be that the Xoom is merely the first tablet that is even remotely worthy of being compared to the iPad — at all. And when you think about it, that’s really kind of pathetic. Again, it has been a year.
I’ve only played with the Xoom myself for about 10 minutes. It seemed very nice. I love the idea of true tabbed browsing on a tablet and a true tablet-optimized native Gmail experience. But the reviews from those with a lot more time actually using the thing out in the field simply aren’t very good.
And you can tell that a few of them are really pulling for this thing to bring some sort of competition to the market, but the Xoom falls short of the iPad. And that’s the iPad 1. And the iPad 2 is seven days away.
So, aside from the camera and it being slimmer (which are a nice additions, but not a game-changing), it sounds like the iPad 2 will be to the iPad 1 what the iPhone 3GS was to the iPhone 3G. That is, a faster, more polished offering.
But Apple has a history of not resting on their laurels. That’s perhaps the key reason why they’ve been so successful in recent years. And that’s exactly why they strike with the iPad 3 in the fall.
And the iPad 2 with Light Peak (Thunderbolt) speculation is starting to look better.
So it looks like the MacBook Pros will be keeping the optical drives. And they’ll weigh in at 2.04 kg, which is 4.5 lbs — the same weight of the current 13” MBP. In fact, by these specs, they’ll be the exact same size.
They are getting spec bumps and this new “Thunderbolt” high-speed input (the artist formerly known as “Light Peak”). But it has a lame old 5400 rpm standard hard drive.
Unless I’m missing something, I’m still not seeing any really compelling reason to get one of these over a MacBook Air (besides video production, obviously, but why wouldn’t you use a 17”?). The 13” Air is 2.9 pounds.
The unstated x-factor may be battery life. The current 13” MBP gets up to 10 hours. If they can stretch that to 12 hours, it could be worth it. That would be a full 5 hours beyond the the 13” Air.
It’s also not clear if “HD” FaceTime is different from the current variety. The current iSight cameras are capable of 1280x1024 but often limited to 640x480.
As we’ve been saying since last October, Publishers need an easy way to monetize their content while also retaining information about their readers across multiple platforms.
Okay, but what about what customers need? Do we want or need publishers having access to our information? Isn’t it enough that we’re paying them for their content?
Setting aside the larger Apple subscription issues outside of the publishing world for a second, it looks as if what Apple has done is create the first potentially viable way for content to move online in a way that is monetizable beyond ads.
And so now all we’re hearing from rivals is how that’s not good enough for the publishers. And if they listen, they will continue to fail.
So now MacRumors has an email supposedly from Steve Jobs saying that SaaS apps won’t be affected by the new subscription rules.
Here’s the thing: I’ve heard of at least a few that have already been rejected on the grounds that they aren’t using Apple’s new in-app subscriptions.
Why is that the case of what Jobs says is true? And why on Earth doesn’t Apple just issue clear rules or at least a statement about it, if that’s the case?
This just furthers the theory that Apple really didn’t think this through. They knew they wanted subscriptions in place, and they were fine potentially screwing/getting more money from folks like Amazon. But there are so many edge cases — and every single one of them is freaking out right now.
I have no idea why, but Blockbuster’s fall from grace used to get me all riled up. Perhaps because I’ve been watching it happen and writing about it for at least five years now. It has truly been comedy of errors.
Of course now it’s just beyond pathetic. $290 million? Netflix now has a market cap of $12.43 billion. Coinstar, which owns Redbox, has a market cap of $1.45 billion.
Still waiting on those ubiquitous kiosks we were promised that would save the company.
I’m all for the “_____ is dead” articles, but this one is a bit odd since their two examples of it dying are Blogger fading in the U.S. and LiveJournal.
It just looks like a case of “we have a story, let’s find some stats to match it”.
First of all, as NYT notes, Blogger is actually growing quite quickly globally — which is actually pretty surprising. But the larger issue is that people are moving from some older blogging tools, like LiveJournal and Blogger, to others, like Tumblr and WordPress.com.
Speaking of WordPress, founder Matt Mullenweg has some good thoughts on this. And he’s right that one of the big “blog killers”, Twitter, can’t fully kill blogs because sometimes you do just need more than 140 characters to say what you want to say.
At the same time, people who had been writing very brief thoughts about a topic now do seem to do that more on Twitter or Facebook. But who cares? Mullenweg’s key point remains the important one: people are expressing themselves more online overall, no matter the format.
I’m reading this and thinking how funny it is that Hiner thinks Apple is only making $20 in profit from each third-party retail sale of the iPad. There’s just no way they’d agree to sell it in any other store (besides their’s) if that were the case. Sure enough, at the bottom:
Since first publishing this article, I’ve received multiple reports from people in the retail sector saying that the wholesale price Apple sells the iPad to its retail partners is significantly higher than the traditional 50%-of-retail that I suggested (remember when I stated that some OEMs and retailers occasionally take lower margins?). In fact, one individual who didn’t want to be identified because of being under NDA stated unequivocally that Apple sells the iPad to retailers at a meager 3% discount off of the retail price (in other words, $485 for the $500 iPad).
Yes, I’d say that’s “significantly higher”. And undoubtedly much closer to reality. Apple doesn’t need to sell the iPad at other retails stores. The other retail stores need to sell the iPad to get people in stores, and they act accordingly.
Rather than keep the back and forth going on TechCrunch, or leaving a comment that will be one of probably 500, I figured I’d do a quick response to Jason’s response to my Apple subscription posts here.
Jason brings up some good points, but his post is ultimately flawed for two very important reasons above all else: competition and change.
First of all, the post is written as if Apple has already won. In other words, it totally downplays the competition that is out there. Ultimately, that’s the only thing that holds any company, be it Apple or Google or anyone else, in check.
Most of these are now shown outside the U.S. — all of them are great.
While Google gets a lot of flak for lack of focus on design and being too analytical with changes, this is pretty much the opposite. It’s all creativity.
They also show Google caring about what is ultimately a small detail. The majority of these doodles are seen by only a percentage of users and usually only for one day. They have little or no effect on the bottom-line, but they’re done anyway. Which is great and allows Google to connect with users in a meaningful, if mostly subconscious, way.
Totally agree with this take by Matt Drance. No one seems to be talking about this (though I alluded to it in a title last night), but it sure looks like what Microsoft just did was install a puppet government within Nokia.
Step 1: Install Elop.
Step 2: Get him to make a crazy bold bet to move Nokia phones over to the struggling Windows Phone platform even though embracing Android would seem to be an easier and safer bet.
Step 3: Install another Microsoft vet, Chris Weber, as head of U.S. operations.
Step 4: Install other former ‘Softies in positions of power. (It will happen.)
When you consider the Microsoft had been attempting to buy Nokia — a move which would have cost billions upon billions — this is so brilliant. They really did just “buy” the company for free.
As Drance notes, it may not ultimately work, but it’s a brilliant maneuver regardless.