Student of many. Master of none.

I think laptops can benefit from touch screens, but that doesn’t mean we should consider them tablets. Laptops, phones, and tablets all play different parts in my work or play. And, for me, they each need to be no compromise machines.

It’s very interesting to see Microsoft (becasue those are Microsoft even though it is an HP machine) and Samsung advertising with the word “best” in reference to a device they’re trying to say does two things. 

And you can eat the cake too, right?

They are not selling the devices, they are not selling books and traffic is down.

Mike Shatzkin, the founder and chief executive of Idea Logical, on Barnes & Noble’s most recent quarter.

I have fond memories of going to Barnes & Noble as a kid; I fear that’s all they’ll be soon: memories.

Also, what’s up with this part of the story by Leslie Kaufman of The New York Times:

Other companies do not break out sales of their digital tablets, but Amazon has been saying sales of its Kindle Fire were strong. Analysts say Apple’s iPads also appear to be doing well.

Um, sure, Amazon is cagey with their numbers, but Apple always tells us exactly how many tablets they sold in a quarter — no mild prognostications from “analysts” necessary.

Tom Warren for The Verge:

We’re told that the large majority of Nokia’s focus with its tablet is on a battery-equipped cover. Nokia will release a special cover for the tablet that envelops it like a book. Clicking into place, the cover provides a keyboard and a kickstand for the tablet. Nokia has also built a battery into the cover that can be used to power the tablet once it runs low on energy. Two USB ports on the case will also provide additional connectivity.

Sounds like a creative idea, especially that it acts as an additional battery. But this cover is the “large majority” of Nokia’s focus? Shouldn’t it be, you know, on the tablet itself?

Horace Dediu, noting that Microsoft’s major problem going forward isn’t necessarily that Windows 8 is a dog, it’s that the entire economic structure of the computing market is changing:

The economics of tablets imply a “commoditization” of system and application software. So what’s Microsoft to do?

The answer is Surface where the software margin is captured in hardware. This explains the pricing of Surface. The price isn’t significantly below what Apple charges because Microsoft wants to capture a comparable (30%+) margin. On a $500 product that amounts to $150. After subtracting hardware operating and distribution costs we can get pretty close to the $120 it currently obtains from a PC.



I bought a Microsoft Surface yesterday. Long story, don’t ask why, it wasn’t for me.

This is the story of the purchase.

It started with a phone call to the Microsoft Pop-Up store at the Shops at Columbus Circle…

Evan: “Hi, do you have any Surface tablets in stock”

Sales Rep: “Yes, plenty!”

Evan Gotlib’s experience was slightly worse than mine.

Philip Elmer-DeWitt breaks down the numbers from Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, who spent Black Friday at the Mall of America in Minneapolis.

Shoppers at the Apple Store bought an average of 11 iPads per hour. Despite heavy TV, print and billboard advertising for the new Microsoft Surface tablet, not one was sold sold during the two hours Piper Jaffray spent monitoring that store. Doesn’t bode well for Microsoft’s answer to the iPad.

No, no it doesn’t.

One store, sure. But when I went to buy the Surface a few weeks back, I saw exactly one sold in all my time playing around at the kiosk — the one sold to me so I could do my review. On the other hand, I was also in an Apple Store (in Miami) on Black Friday, I’ve never seen such a crowd. And yes, plenty of folks were leaving with Apple bags in their hands.

Damon Porter for PCMAG.com:

Buoyed by Black Friday sales, more tablets than laptops are projected to ship in the North American market for the first time ever in the fourth quarter - and it won’t even be close, according to NPD DisplaySearch.

Porter specifically points to this post by Richard Shim, a Senior Analyst on DisplaySearch’s Analyst Blog. You may know how I feel overall about these types of numbers, but focus on the “and it won’t even be close” part. Specific numbers aside, this is happening.

For what it’s worth, NPD doesn’t expect tablets to overtake notebooks worldwide until 2015.

At that point, perhaps PCMag will rebrand as TabletMag.

Michael Lopp:

Apple is eventually doomed. Yes, the most valuable company on the planet will slowly fade into stagnant mediocrity. It will be replaced by something that they will not predict and they will not see coming. This horrifically efficient culling is a fact of life in technology because it is an industry populated by a demographic intent not on building a better mousetrap, but who avidly ask, “Why the hell do we need mousetraps?”

That’s exactly right. Yes, Apple will eventually fall because guess what? All companies do. But it won’t be because someone like Microsoft or Google builds a better tablet or smartphone. It will be because another company you’ve never heard of builds something that makes tablets and smartphones obsolete.

This is the main problem I have with all of the recent “Apple is failing” stories. All seem to imply that missteps will allow their big rivals to take over Apple’s position of power. That’s not going to happen.

That’s why Lopp’s last point is so important: while the ouster of Scott Forstall makes a ton of sense from an org perspective as it seem to make Apple more stable, maybe that’s not the best thing in the world for Apple going forward. If they’re going to defeat these unknown assailants with unknown products in the future, maybe Apple (and really, any company) needs some level of instability to keep the creative juices flowing. At the very least, it makes it hard for anyone to know what and how to attack.