April 25th & 26th
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Abstract Submission Deadline: January 19th
What does it mean that digital technologies are increasingly a part of...
Works beautifully. I used it for a few minutes on Twitter, writing emails. Now the standard Apple wireless keyboard seems big. It will take a while to figure out the motor skills of touching the screen instead of mousing, though.
The image below was what I was afraid would happen to me, in reverse. I couldn’t remember what color keyboard I had ordered when I got to the Apple store to buy the iPad the other day, and the order that Logitech mailed me didn’t say. I guessed black, bought a black iPad min, and — yay! — a black keyboard arrived today.
And here is the mini and keyboard cover on top of the 10” Air it will be replacing. About same thickness, but half the size.
Barnes & Noble has risked a lot on Nook, and it’s not panning out. In fact, it’s hard to see how they can stem the fall of the retail giant.
Barnes & Noble Faces Steep Challenge as Holiday Nook Sales Decline - Leslie Kaufman
The results, covering a period that ended Dec. 29, are a sobering development for the nation’s largest bookstore chain. The declines occurred during what is supposed to be peak buying season. And the Nook unit’s sagging fortunes came despite a 13 percent increase in sales of digital content, suggesting that it is the tepid demand for Nook devices that is dragging down the unit’s performance.
Barnes & Noble has invested heavily in developing a tablet that can compete with offerings from media giants like Google, Apple and Amazon.com. Last April, in announcing a $300 million investment in Nook by Microsoft, the chief executive of Barnes & Noble’s chief executive, William J. Lynch, said the company wanted “to solidify our position as a leader in the exploding market for digital content in the consumer and education segments.”
A few months after that, the bookseller began breaking out the financial results of the Nook division, In October it completed its strategic partnership with Microsoft by creating Nook Media, a subsidiary and a signal that it was ready to ride its digital business into the future.
But while Barnes & Noble’s most recent Nooks have won critical praise, they have failed to gain significant traction with consumers.
Other companies do not break out sales of their digital tablets, but Amazonhas been saying sales of its Kindle Fire were strong. Analysts say Apple’s iPads also appear to be doing well.
“The problem is not whether or not the Nook is good,” said James L. McQuivey, a media analyst for Forrester Research. “What matters is whether you are locked into a Kindle library or an iTunes library or a Nook library. In the end, who holds the content that you value?”
For an increasing number of consumers, he said, the answer is not Barnes & Noble.
Though the company’s stock was down only slightly — falling 2 percent to $14.22 — the reaction in the financial world was unsparing. Analysts stopped short of saying that this was a do-or-die moment for the Nook Media division, but they acknowledged that options for a strong digital future were narrowing.
In a note to clients, S&P Capital IQ said, “We think this portends greater market share losses for the Nook over the medium term” and downgraded its recommendation on Barnes & Noble stock from hold to sell. Barclays said in a note that the Nook’s precipitous decline was “quite concerning” and “below even our modest expectations.”
Last month, Barnes & Noble announced that Pearson, the British education and publishing conglomerate, was taking a 5 percent stake in Nook for $89.5 million. Analysts said that cash investment was welcome and the partnership with Pearson, a major publisher of educational textbooks, might herald a strategy to move toward dominating an education niche market. Still, that would be a significantly smaller business.
My bet: Barnes & Noble will have to bail, even if Microsoft decides to increase its investment in the technology. (I doubt that Microsoft is ready to invest more heavily in a company building on Android technology, at least not until Ballmer leaves, and they bring in a new CEO who gives up on Windows.)
The Nook HD is based on the Android Ice Cream Sandwich platform and has a roughly equivalent hardware and software platform as the Kindle Fire HD. It’s slightly cheaper — like $30 — but Kindle has first mover advantage and huge capital resources. And any comparison to an iPad makes Nook look like something from a few years ago.
Maybe Texas Instruments — who make the chipset in Nooks — wants to get back into retail products? Not likely. However, Intel has been making motions to shake up their business model with the collapse of the netbook market, and the decline of PC/Windows sales, and with a market cap of over $100B they might have the money to take a run. But would they have to buy Barnes & Noble to do so? I wouldn’t buy that side of things.
Google’s another player who might want to play with Nook, but not Barnes & Noble, per se. But it would be interesting if Google decided to go retail with their own gear, as well as do something different in bookstore retail. Imagine, for example, if bookstores were reconfigured to be like gigantic Redbox machines, where you could type in any of millions of books, ten thousand of which are actually in the machine, and are delivered on the spot into your hands. All others delivered next day to your home. One percent of the staff costs. But I have no reason to believe Google is tending in this direction.
A 2013 prediction: Barnes & Noble with sell, spin out or shut down the Nook business. Pearson might be a fallback, with Nook becoming a niche educational tool.
Jennings pulls together many rumors pointing toward a touchscreen Chrome OS hybrid tablet/laptop designed and developed by Google.
If the Android/iOS one-two punch is a precedent, the emergence of a Chrome OS laptop/tablet is more of a threat to Microsoft’s push on Surface than Apple. And the Surface looks like it’s heading nowhere, according to Piper Jaffray’s Black Friday stats.
An alternate universe – Marco Arment
Microsoft is gambling a lot for a chance to fight with Apple, Amazon, and Google for the proximal (‘mobile’) device market. They are pissing off their historic partners, like Dell and HP, by making their first computers ever. The alternative might be to simply become an enterprise software company, milking Office, Sharepoint, and Yammer for the next decade.
I admit I like the keyboard cover idea, but I expect Apple will respond to that quickly.
But it may be too late, since the clients they want to attract with Surface and later products have already moved ahead with deployments of Apple and Android tablets:
With New Tablet, Microsoft Faces a Balancing Act - Nick Wingfield via NYTimes.com
Rich Adduci, chief information officer of Boston Scientific, a medical device company, has more than 20,000 PCs at his company using older Windows. But he has also deployed more than 5,500 iPads to sales representatives and other employees.
A day late and a dollar short?
Looking at the decreasing numbers of Macs and PCs being sold obscures what is really happening: a wholesale shift in personal computing to tablets:
Horace Dediu, Perspective and Context in Personal Computing
Seen this way, rather than there being a crisis in personal computing, we have a renaissance. And as in the actual Renaissance, it’s a volatile and unsettling period.
Nowhere more so than in the changing of bases of power. Consider the following data:
A change in perspective leads one to conclude that Apple is the new leader in selling personal computers. Maybe this charting is putting too fine a point on it, but the data is beginning to make evident that which has been perceived subjectively by only a few.
And that conclusion would only be more evident if we included smartphones in the mix.
The steampunk era of personal computing — with a WIMP interface, and the desktop metaphor of files (documents), folders, applications — is being supplanted.
iPad is the pivot on which this renaissance is turning. And Windows is the grave on which we will be dancing.
Apple is moving to merge Mac OS X and iOS — I expect an Air/iPad sort of hybrid in 2013 — where the keyboard is the cover, but which can be used as an iPad without hard keyboard, too. They will be able to make that trajectory work, but it’s harder to imagine Microsoft turning the corner. MSFT has a long way to run in a very short time: getting their mobile Windows 7-8-9 adopted, building a viable tablet, and crafting a future version of PC Windows that can merge with mobile.
Yes, there are still a lot of desktops and laptops running Windows, but a lot of the people using them are buying iPads, and their companies are shifting to BYOD (bring your own device). I think we are seeing the death of windows, and the transition of Microsoft to an IBM-like enterprise software company.
Not surprising at all. It shows Apple’s execs aren’t above common sense. It *is* a good size. And it will be for the iPad.
Matthrew Humphries via Geek.com
Qantas is one of the first airlines to offer all passengers a free iPad for use during domestic flights aboard its fleet of B767 aircraft. Each iPad will allow access to the QStreaming service, which has over 200 hours of entertainment to watch. There’s also going to be in-flight Wi-Fi for those who want to surf the web and check their email.
The main reason for the free iPad offer for all passengers is competition, with Qantas wanting to attract customers away from rival Virgin Australia. But there is a massive weight saving, too.
A typical in-flight entertainment system installed in the back of every seat can weigh upwards of 2,000kg. Rip that out and replace it with hundreds of 652 gram iPads connected via WiFi, and you get a huge weight saving, even if you include the required system to hook them into the QStreaming service.
Doing a quick calculation, 375 new iPads (maximum amount of passengers a B767 can carry) weigh 244kg — much less than the 2,000kg permanently-installed alternative. For one flight that weight saving may make a small dent in fuel costs, but added up over multiple years of flights it soon becomes clear the switch is worth it.
This is going to soon be the norm.
Marco Arment doesn’t actually say that Microsoft Surface or Windows 8 smartphones are doomed, but he cuts to the chase pretty fast: Microsoft is in real trouble because they are starting with next to zero apps, and app developers — like Marco — have migrated off Windows onto Mac:
Marco Arment via Marco.org
By 2005 or so, most of those developers were working on web apps. The web was the platform for that kind of work for most of that decade.2
And during that decade, almost every such developer I knew switched to the Mac if they weren’t already there, partly because it was better for developing web apps.3
That’s one of the biggest reasons there was so much pent-up developer interest in the iPhone before the App Store opened: these consumer-product developers were all using Macs already. As the dominant consumer platform shifted from the web to apps over the last four years, most talented consumer-product developers built products for their app platform of choice during that time: the Apple ecosystem.
Many Windows developers were upset that iOS development had to be done on a Mac, but it didn’t hurt Apple: the most important developers for iOS apps were already using Macs.
But the success of Windows 8 and Windows Phone in the consumer space requires many of those consumer-product developers, now entrenched in the Apple ecosystem, to care so much about Windows development that they want to use Windows to develop for it.
How likely is that?
Anything’s possible, but that’s going to be an uphill battle.
Actually, I don’t think that anything’s possible. But Microsoft might be able sway some developers by subsidizing development of critical apps, as reported by Bijan Sabet. I don’t think that will be enough.
I have used — occasionally — an clever app called DisplayPad, a tool with components running on the iPad and my Mac. The reason I bought it was to be able to use the iPad as a monitor for my Macbook Air when away from the office.
In the office, I have a 30” Cinema display, which I have become habituated to, and I usually leave Twitter open on the Macbook Air screen, and do everything else on the 30”.
This morning I was thinking about my travel next week to the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston, and I thought I’d check on any updates to DisplayPad. I found that, yes, the version I had on my Mac wouldn’t work with the current Mac OS X version I have running, Lion. So I upgraded.
I decided to run it with the 30” monitor plugged in, although I thought wouldn’t work. But I was wrong. In preferences for displays, I now see three monitors:
I don’t think I will actually operate in that mode in the office, but it’s cool that it’s possible.