Perceiving myself as a non Apple fanboy, and a tech-loving neutral, I’ve tried to hold off entering into the iPad debate, but much of the venom directed at Apple and its latest incredible device is so ill-conceived that I can’t help weighing in with my point of view. So here are a few thoughts:
1. iPad versus other tablets/slates (or Apple win)
It would be idiotic to suggest that the iPad is the be all and end all of tablet devices. Technology moves on and at some point somebody will develop a better device than the iPad (it may even be Apple themselves). But for now the iPad is hands-down the best tablet device and will stay so for a long time (minimum 18-24 months). Why? Partly the OS, partly Apple’s superb application of multi-touch, and partly Apple’s unerring commitment to user experience over technology for technology’s sake. HP’s slates will be ponderous, heavier, less pleasant to use. Windows 7 is not a multi-touch, tablet OS. The JooJoo is doo-doo. Android/Google Chrome tablets will not come close (in the short term, and possibly ever) to creating a user-experience that will match the iPad, which leads me on to point 2.
2. The point of the iPad is the user experience
Forget technology, forget flash, forget multi-tasking (though with OS 4 that’s now a non-issue pretty much), forget any debates in developer circles. The iPad is a consumer electronic product. It is revolutionary, because it takes the most common use-cases (video, web browsing, creating simple documents, email, gaming, etc) and hides the technology – it just works, and it works beautifully. That’s all the vast majority of consumers are interested in. And so far there’s hasn’t been a device that delivers such experiences in so compelling a manner as the iPad… and thus onto point 3.
3. Screen size and the everything, anywhere revolution
Here’s the biggie. Increasingly we all want to be connected, all the time, wherever we are. We want our media, our files, our social lives delivered to us regardless of our location. The iPad is the perfect device for those who want constant connectivity. The form factor is the reason why. True the Iphone offered a pleasant web browsing experience, but it wasn’t perfect. The screen size is the core reason. And don’t get me started on watching a movie on an Iphone. I’ve done it (many times), but it’s a far from perfect solution. Laptops are too heavy. Netbooks are OK, but see points 1 & 2 for why the iPad wins here. The iPad’s screen size defines its utility. It’s a size we’re comfortable and familiar with – it feels novel like, it gives a close to full field of vision viewing experience. There’s very little I can’t comfortably do within the limitations of it’s screen size. For some reason that hasn’t been the case with netbooks – probably lack of multi-touch and pinch to zoom, etc.
4. The best mobile OS and purpose built tech
This is also vitally important. No other device has had so much love poured into its operating system. Apple has understood that mobile devices create new behaviours and demand new operating systems and new user interfaces. If you’ve ever played with a google phone, watch how that processor drains the battery, see what a leach Flash is, see how multi-tasking is a power vampire, see what a crappy, confusing and inconsistent menu system apps employ. The iPhone and iPad OS on the other hand aim to resolve such problems. Does that come with some compromises, sure (eg can’t import fonts into Keynote application), but once again the over-arching experience is very compelling.
5. The ‘it’s not a real computer’ argument.
Let’s just get over this. A tiny proportion of the population needs all the computing power of a real computer. But if you do want to use the iPad as a real computer, you can. Simply install a VNC app and the Ipad becomes a window onto your home PC or Mac, letting you run applications, open documents, and heaven forbid open a browser and browse flash sites. For more details on how to access your entire computer from an iPad see here.
6. Is it too expensive?
No, but it is expensive. In the same way a BMW is expensive, or a good coffee machine costs that little bit more. But is it value for money? I’d say yes. For now, it’s almost the perfect marriage of form and function. As I said above, at some point it will be superseded, but for a while nothing gets close to the iPad experience – and that’s what commands a price premium.
7. Phone, netbook, laptop, desktop… why do I need a tablet?
This is a tough argument. The only answer is to hold the iPad in your hands, perhaps borrow one from a friend for a weekend (if you can prise it from their fingertips), and see how quickly it becomes your default device. My iPhone now seems puny, my netbook is in the cupboard, my laptop is now just my desktop, and my three year old girl refuses to play with her mother’s iTouch anymore – she simply says, “I want Daddy’s big phone.” Relegating other excellent devices to the sidelines is surely a triumph in this respect.
OK, that’s me almost done. In my view anybody who has a childlike fascination with the way technology is changing our lives, can’t possibly fail to appreciate how amazing the iPad is. It is like a vision of the future, here today. It is a triumph of invention. And most importantly it is a challenge to competitors. If the iPad forces others to make more compelling devices then excellent (I’d love to see Microsoft’s Courier become a reality), we’ll all be the better for it.
Comments as always appreciated, but please let’s try to avoid a flame war.
Now that the dust has settled and the initial spike of test activity has dropped off, we’re starting to see what the fascinating combination of having both a wide pre-installed base and some very interesting functionality is achieving for Google Buzz.
It turns out that Buzz has all the key ingredients (functionality, convenience, and users) to kick off public location-based discussion, which is a pretty big deal.
Recognising that first impressions count, Google haven’t yet allowed visibility into this brave new world from the browser, although it is possible to use a workaround and get a taste of what this means – see the example screenshot above.
Here’s a bit of theory. There’s only two dimensions that really matter – time and space. And the most relevant ends of those spectra are right now and right here. Part of the appeal of Twitter was that you could find out about things happening right now. Google Buzz now takes us the final step of the way.
Just consider what this could look like a few years from now.
The world of evening venues suddenly becomes an efficient market. Buzz will tell you which venues are empty, which are too crowded and where the really interesting people are.
Imagine shoppers operating with a hive mind, honing in collectively on the most compelling local special offers, guided by the invisible hand of Google’s algorithms that highlights only the most relevant buzz – and imagine shops monitoring and reacting to that buzz.
Finally, imagine decades of quiet resentment between neighbours too polite for direct confrontation suddenly exploding into all-out Buzz-enabled flame wars over late night music, post stealing, and territorial hedge issues.
Saying that this is one to watch is an understatement.
Some projects are an absolute delight to work on. Our send a smile campaign for the Operation Smile charity is one such wonderfully inspiring project.
Operation Smile funds medical treatment for children in developing countries who suffer from cleft lips and cleft palates.This is a condition that really blights young children’s lives, destroying their confidence and often meaning they can’t speak properly, don’t attend school, and often can’t even smile.
Earlier this year Operation Smile approached Rapp and asked us to help them develop a campaign that would persuade the BBC to base their famous annual Blue Peter Appeal around Operation Smile’s work.
We developed the ‘Send a Smile’ idea and proposed that Blue Peter encourage the UK’s schoolchildren to make surgical gowns out of their own clothes. Each gown would save Operation Smile £3 which would go towards funding more operations.
Blue Peter loved our idea and this week (Wednesday 21st November) they dedicated an entire programme to the launch of the appeal (you can watch it here in iPlayer - warning: this link will expire in a couple of weeks). That’s 25 minutes of prime time exposure for the charity brand. It’s almost impossible to put a value on that kind of media exposure.
As part of the campaign we’ve also mailed schools across the UK and developed an education pack which thousands of teachers are now using in classrooms, while also encouraging their pupils to support the charity by making gowns.
Hopefully all this great work will lead to many children undergoing the medical procedure which will transform their lives.
Like singing dogs and cats? This new campaign we’ve just launched for the Blue Cross animal charity features a bunch of pets doing a cover version of Staying Alive. Production courtesy of the inimitable Joel Veitch – whose new singing kittens video is also tremendous.
The singing pets campaign, follows last year’s hugely succesful talking pets campaign – see the running theme? Any suggestions for the third execution in this campaign gladly received ;)
I wrote a little while back about the Facebook beta test in the US, allowing a small group of retailers to sell real goods through Facebook’s gift application. Well very soon, Facebook is going to become an e-commerce platform in a major way. See this techcrunch post here.
That’s because of a number of developments, the most interesting of which are Paypal’s opening up of their Adaptive Payments API. This allows developers to build applications that can accept and distribute payments. The first interesting application is Payvment which enables anyone to set up a retail storefront on Facebook. For small retailers this is huge news, as there is pretty much zero infrastructure cost now to opening an online store. But even for bigger retailers a facebook storefront will be interesting. More and more brands have a presence on Facebook – now they can monetise that presence by allowing facebook users to make purchases for themselves or their friends.
Payvment features a regular shopping cart and has the huge advantage over previous Facebook e-commerce applications of keeping the transaction within the Facebook environment. In the past users had to jump out of Facebook to complete a transaction, which is why so few retailers have built e-commerce Facebook applications.
That is set to change very quickly. Payvment is opened up to the public from November 1st. It wouldn’t surprise me if we very quickly saw quite large shopping portals opening within Facebook.
DDB Stockholm’s Fun Theory campaign for Volkswagen is excellent. The piano stairs viral shows how you can change human behaviour just by making something fun. Simple insight, really on brand, over 1 million views on YouTube already. Excellent work.
What Google Sidewiki allows you to do is comment on any webpage or content on any webpage. That means any user can correct information, add more useful information or links, make a comment, etc, etc.
Google Sidewiki appears as a sidebar so you can see the content alongside the page you’re browsing. There’s also some very cool additional functionality and of course it’s all on an open API so other developers can play at will.
I’d be very happy if somebody installed the Sidewiki extension and used it to leave comments on this site.
Art directors dream comes true. Scamp an image, then watch at it trasnforms into a photograph.
PhotoSketch is an “Internet Image Montage” technology created by Chinese five students at Tsinghua University and the National University of Singapore.
The technology is created quite a stir on the net, with stories appearing on Mashable, ZDNET and Gizmodo. A surge in traffic has taken the student’s site down, but you can see the technology in action above.