Archive for The Future
I have long believed that something was up with democracy. I had the feeling that it just didn’t work, and the recent stalemate in Washington certainly supports my argument. At the moment the Republicans and Democrats are trying their hardest to fill a ‘super committee’ on debt reduction with their least flexible candidates. Republicans put forward candidates for whom any kind of tax increase is out of the question, and Democrats put forward candidates for whom certain spending cuts are out of the question. huh? isn’t it supposed to be a committee designed to come to a compromise? why fill it with the people least willing to. Democracy has created a situation where we don’t get the best outcome. Too many voices all saying different things.
There is a link between Apple and Google. Google is an open democracy with many companies and developers collectively adding to the Android platform. Apple’s iOs is a closed system, dictated to a large extent by Apple. I get frustrated when I hear people saying ‘Android is growing faster than iOs’. It isn’t. It reminds me of the J2ME days where you have to make many versions of applications for phones (see there was a work angle). Android’s openness is not doing it any favors.
Anyway I’ll stop now and refer to this article, which sums it up pretty nicely.
Magazines!… grow some balls and charge for your iPhone and Blackberry apps. I hear so much whining about ‘oh the BBC is stealing all my eyeballs‘ or ‘boo-hoo the advertising revenues are down‘, well here is your chance to make some subscription revenue and you are squandering it!
iPhone 3.0 can handle subscriptions…. nice ongoing subscription revenue. Even $1 a month would help. I read the telegraph every day on iPhone and I would gladly pay that, and people will gladly pay as long as that becomes the norm. But they won’ t pay if people like Business week are pulling their pants down and destroying the model early.
Business week bringing out a free iPhone app is the WRONG approach. You don’t give away business week for free at the newsstands do you? I hear alot of back pedaling by publishers lead my Murdoch who is now trying to charge for on-line content when it was free before. This is the right idea, but its like closing the gate (10 years) after the horse has bolted.
Now we have a new horse and are thinking of putting him in a pen with no gate again!… why?. Magazines have a price, and also advertising revenues. Why change the business model just because the medium changes? Sure you don’t have printing costs, but you still have to pay journalists, who are being laid off faster than something very fast that I can’t think of right now.. And it doesn’t seem bad now, but believe me, we don’t want to wake up in 10 years to find out that we live in a world where journalists have been replaced by bedroom bloggers and Twitter!
So like I said – grow some balls, and charge for your valuable content (unless you think it isn’t valuable) AND get advertising revenue too – just like you do for the actual magazine. You never know you might actually make some money!… and as a bonus, you could save journalism too!
Ok since it isn’t out yet, here are my three main predictions for what Apple will do, since everyone seems to be making predictions one of these will be announced at WWDC, and the others over the coming year:
iPod Nano phone
Cheap version maybe on Verizon / for Walmart. Also a Nano sized phone would look awesome and girls would love it. Especially if it is pink. Yep, that does sound sexist, but look what happened with the Pink Motorola V3. Unfortunately for the geeks, the fact is that design sells way more than features. There is a whole section of the market who don’t care about features at all as long as the phone looks cute, and feels nice in their pocket / handbag.
New iPhone 3G
Even though I firmly believe that features don’t sell phones, there will be a new iPhone 3G in response to the Palm Pre / others, with head to head competing features. The one area where a feature does sell is megapixels with cameras. Which is utterly ridiculous because all it means is that my mum sends me images that are way too big. With the age of sharing images on Facebook you don’t need or want high megapixels, and actually end turning on the ‘for web’ setting. Where Apple wins is usability. Usability trumps features.
Medium sized tablet
My Sony Vaio is excellent. You can’t travel with a PC that is bigger. But it is still too big. Often I use my iPhone (which I use alot, and haven’t made one call on it yet) instead, but it is still too small. So these two need to converge. And this is the Apple tablet, which will be less than half the size of my Vaio, and more than twice the size of my iPhone. Maybe an iPhone that you flip open with touch screens on both bits.
While I am at it, this is what sells handsets (in order)
- Design (external design – does it look and feel pretty, and not seem to plasticky. Also important here is what is cool. What does Paris Hilton have?)
- Usability (is it easy to use and not frustrating. In particular texting. For business users, this is important too, how to read, organise, search email easily. Better to have 3 features that are simple and usable, than 20 that are not usable)
- Price (what can you afford on what plan – what is being offered free. All manufacturers will need a low priced entry level handset to grab market and then move them through the range later)
- Features (the least important factor in my opinion. They have to have value and most importantly be easy to use. If I were in charge I would have as few features as you can get away with, but make them uber usable)
In my last post I talked about mobile phones with projectors in them. This means that the small screen can become a big screen (then I saw this article about 3M designing miniature projectors today). So will this mean that all our business designing for the small screen and building mobile sites will dry up?
Well the answer is no. Even if ALL new phones have new projectors in them, it would take 18 to 24 months for those devices to get in people’s hands, so there will be 3 to 4 years before projectors become ubiquitous (god I HATE that word!). It took as long for cameras to get in all phones, which is pretty much is now; but remember the first one was on there 5 years ago.
More importantly, the nature of projectors is that you need to remain in one place (to project on to something), and the nature of mobile is that you engage alot of the the time, when you are on the move; and those two things don’t go together.
What it does mean is that mobile TV and mobile movies become more viable. Imagine going to iTunes (or bit torrent – lets be honest) with your phone and downloading a movie, then watching it wherever you find a nice surface. And the good thing is that it will look cool (so as I said, the geeks and gadget lovers will love it).
So what will happen in 2009 for mobile? (and some other stuff)
- Companies will go bust. In my opinion these will be mainly venture funded companies without a viable business model whose venture capital backers refuse to give them more and they can’t raise it from elsewhere. I reckon more than one of the mobile ad networks will go under. Banks are still reluctant to lend to small and medium sized businesses despite government handouts and pressure
- Companies will get stronger. The good thing about downturns is a) it means you have to work harder and smarter, and people who don’t get axed (i.e. the company becomes leaner, as you separate out the high performers from the people who can’t cut it)), and b) because some companies will go bust, even a smaller market size with fewer players will lead to a larger market share for the surviving companies
- Mobile internet will become a no brainer. i.e. everyone will have a mobile enabled website. Smart companies will design and build these appropriately rather than just squashing their on line content into mobile. Because of this, mobile advertising will settle down and actually start making some people some money (the remaining mobile ad serving networks once some have gone bust)
- Mobile payments has to happen soon, but maybe 2009 is still too early for big adoption. I see someone like Visa / Mastercard winning this race, despite the lead being taken by start-up companies. Mind you Paypal didn’t do too badly against the big boys
- MMS will become bigger in the USA as interconnect happens. But it won’t go massive
- QR codes/Bluetooth/other peripheral mobile tech still won’t be mainstream enough for brands to seriously consider them for anything other than to get PR
- iPhone will continue to grow and push the market. We haven’t seen any devices that are as good. Yet. Mind you mine runs out of batteries in less than a day! something must be up!
- I think that we will see the first phones sold with mini projectors in 2009. Allowing full screen web browsing from the phone. Which will stir things up conceptually, but will be in the hands of GEEKS! and will be mainstream (if at all) in 2 more years
- Android may well become big, depending largely on whether Sony Ericsson / Motorola / others adopt it in new handsets… they have said they would…
- Facebook will get stronger as will Google and Apple (well Duh!)…. carriers and handset manufacturers will get weaker. Carriers won’t exist as we know them in 10 years time.
- Japanese toilets will become big in theUSA. Ok so that won’t happen… but it would be good if it did!
- The USA should do something cool with tech as they have a newly appointed CTO type person. Countries should start to cover themselves in WIMAX soon, and even if they don’t, internet access from laptops will happen everywhere. If not through WIMAX then standard wireless, or 3G cards. In the later part of 2009 you won’t be able to buy a laptop without as a minimum, the option to connect wherever, whenever. And it will be free. Maybe not in 2009, but certainly by 2010
- I hope they sort out international roaming charges. I am sick of having 3 SIM cards. The EU is legislating for this which is good news. But I can’t see it getting sorted in 2009. Carrier tech is actually way crapper than you think, it isn’t just the money men hoarding their pennies!
- Because of Facebook and myspace’s sharing of content it will become less important for politicians to be squeaky clean. Doing the odd line of coke or dressing up as a girl or kissing a dude won’t ruin your political future (or it better not otherwise we will be out of politicians very soon – and to be honest I wouldn’t trust someone squeaky clean to run things anyway. Hitler was squeaky clean vegetarian, whereas Churchill was a drunk)…. so I will add a quote from Abraham Lincoln “those with very few vices tend to have very few virtues!.
Happy new year….