iPhone, iPad Games, Apps, Reviews, News Sat, 01 Aug 2015 15:00:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Amazon worried about Apple’s iPad? Fri, 23 Apr 2010 18:27:10 +0000 Read More]]> Some say that Amazon is worried about the iPad.

Amazon was always going to face competition from other e-Book readers. But they perhaps didn’t expect the paradigm shift that has potentially come with the iPad and Apple’s iBook Store.

Even so, Amazon has just posted earning results which were higher than Wall Street expected. They did, however, follow them up with far more conservative estimates for future earnings for the next quarter. Shares in Amazon fell 6% in after-hours trading. Not a huge surprise there. The markets are fickle and tend to react to future earnings rather than current earnings.

What is interesting to note is that now that Amazon seems to be on the back foot and few industry blogs are starting to rally round their position, and gently taint their commentary with warnings of Apple’s impending dominance. Referring to the control the media savvy tech giant currently wields over the music retail business.

And yet it was only a couple of months ago that Amazon was locked in battles with publishers over royalty terms that those publishers found unacceptable. And some of those same blogs were cleating about how “evil” Amazon were being!

What we need to remember is that Apple re-invented the music business. In many ways rescuing a crippled industry from its own bad management and lack of foresight. And now they seem to have opened up the publishing industry further than Amazon were willing to, and given “new media” a brighter future. Hardly bad things.

Apple, keen to get a foothold in the eBook market has offered more favourable terms to publishers and small authors. Whilst Amazon was busy trying to lock people and companies into its system prior to the iPad hitting. They have obviously been slightly nervous for some time. But do they really need to be?

Amazon have traditionally exceeded the expectations of their shareholders, and don’t seem to be in such bad position really. They have apparently just inked a deal with Target to physically stock the Kindle in their stores. Target will sell the Kindle at the same price as Amazon retails them online. Amazon will be taking a cut in profits on its hardware by selling that way, and kind of contradicting its own corporate strategy of being an online retailer. Consumers will potentially be able to compare the iPad and the Kindle in the real world side by side before buying too.

Overall, Amazon seem to have a good spread of strategies, and healthy market penetration, that should enable them and Apple to keep each other honest, and in the end benefit the consumer.

What we must also remember is that Amazon can still sell its eBooks onto many platforms, including the iPad and the iPhone with its Kindle apps.

All in all it doesn’t seem Amazon have much to worry about, even if the Kindle slowly dies as a platform. Although they are predicting 7 million Kindles will have been sold by the end of the year. Not a small number if it pans out that way. And some say that many avid eBook readers still prefer the easier to read image on the kindles e-ink display to that of the iPad.

For techies the iPad is a much better deal. You can have your cake and read your eBook. But not all readers are looking for a tech bargain, many are more familiar with the Amazon brand, and prefer the more “ink-like” display of the Kindle.

Do you think the Kindle will die? Is Amazon in trouble? Has Apple actually made the eBook market a better place for consumers? Let us know in the comments

]]> 1 Microsoft’s Courier. Is this the iPad slayer? Sat, 06 Mar 2010 20:28:40 +0000 Read More]]> Mircosoft courier iPad Slayer 2

Microsoft’s Courier tablet was first mentioned on tech sites a couple of months ago. At the time it was only a concept which existed in the form of a kind of User Interface showcase with cartoon hands controlling a virtual device. But those concept videos were rather impressive and very forward thinking. Of the many UI features that impressed me one really stuck in my mind. It was perhaps the simplest of them all, but it struck me as really nifty. When you want to transfer a picture or note to the clipboard you just slide it to the hinge of the device and it sticks there partly exposed on both screens. You can then flip through pages until you find the one you want. Once there you slide the clipping out onto either screen and paste it. Simple, but so cool I wanted one just so I could try it!

The User Interface of the Courier overall had the same shock and awe effect on me that the iPhone’s did when I first saw it. Before that OS X blew me away similarly.

Because at that stage the Courier was a concept no-one had any idea of the dimensions of the device. Or how much of the hardware was actually real. Or even how close to reality the incredibly impressive conceptual GUI of this thing was. All we did know was that the Courier had two screens, and opened like a traditional book with a hinge in the middle. It also supposedly had a pen, although the UI videos showed both multitouch with fingers and the pen being used. Oh, and it had a camera if the concept videos were accurate. We get to see it taking shots with that, and those snaps being filed away in a scrap book, edited and collated, and used as part of a presentation.

My initial reaction to the hinged device idea was that I wondered how people were going to actually use a device on the move which folded in the middle. How would it stay open on your lap? How would you type, draw or work with it when also having to hold it. Would the hinge be floppy or stiff? It was all the same kind of concerns that people had about how Apple’s take on a Tablet would work for typing and viewing movies etc. But I loved some of the ideas that were being explored with the Courier. Part of the reason that I worried about the folding design was that I envisioned it being around the size of a legal note pad when folded shut. So around the size of a magazine. I am not sure why, but that was my impression. My mind was stuck with the idea of a traditional tablet sized device or something about the size of the iPad, I guess.

Looking at the concept videos again it is fairly clear that this thing is not actually that big. Indeed, pictures that Engadget have today show the device (or at least a mockup) in human hands, and as being much closer to the size of a traditional paperback. For some reason this has made a massive impression on me. Engadet’s information on the device is here.

Mircosoft courier iPad Slayer

The videos (which have been around for a while now) are further down the same page. Make sure you watch them. They are obviously not real. By that I mean they are not running on a real device. But there is no reason in this day and age that a User Interface could not do all the things we are seeing there. And if Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 7 interface is anything to go by then the general look and feel all fits. Again though, all we’ve seen of that is flashy web sites and conceptsÉ so far.

Engadget have this to say: “Courier will function as a “digital journal,” and it’s designed to be seriously portable: it’s under an inch thick, weighs a little over a pound, and isn’t much bigger than a 5×7 photo when closed. That’s a lot smaller than we expected.” With reference to that last sentence: Join the club guys!

If, and this is a big if. But if Microsoft can produce this device so that it looks as good as the pictures we have seen to date. And if the User Interface has the functionality detailed in those concept videos, then the Courier is going to be truly remarkable. And I will camp outside a store or travel half way round the world to buy one on day one. And I’ll want to develop for it too.

I am not convinced that this device will be all that the videos and pictures promise. It just seems too good to be true. But if it is then I think we could see a massive shift in power in the mobile market place.

Microsoft could really be making a rather incredible device that people simply must have.

What do you think about the Courier? Is it the iPad slayer or is it promising too much and will it underwhelm in real life?

By: Stephen Northcott

Microsoft’s Courier: Videos of the interface in action

Images and Video Credit: Engadget

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