Category Archives: iPad
I was intrigued by my own response to the Apple product announcements yesterday. How does that work? Well, I allowed my own technical interest to play out. I watched the product announcement video, I critiqued the Jobs-less Apple presentation as any Apple fan might do. But then I stepped back and evaluated what I had seen and what my gut reactions had been. And I believe I sensed a turning point similar to what I witnessed when the PC finally emerged as the option for the masses back in the early eighties.
Apple’s new products are beautiful and carry an even higher “cool factor”, but I think the difference now is the status difference that emphasizes affluence over practicality. I caught myself asking “why do we really need such a thin iMAC with a retina display that will cost approximately $2000. Sure some power users can justify the specifications, but I sensed a new arrogance from Apple, one that says we only care or cater to the affluent buyer and if you have concerns about being locked into our platform then tough, we don’t need you. Why haven’t I felt that before.
- Was it because the Apple products were so superior that cost was not a factor.
- Was it the fact that I don’t really see a difference with the retina display.
- Was it the lack of attention to even offer low cost options.
- Was it the $329 entry price for the iPad Mini.
Yes, probably so.
If I wear my Higher Education hat, I start to question whether the recent trend of students preferring Apple laptops is still healthy in these turbulent financial times. I see the student with a white macbook as the Kmart shopper and the those with aluminum models the Neiman Marcus shopper. I see our entitled students as being concerned about this. Nothing wrong, this is who we are, but I sense that the split in the road is now pronounced. Apple only wants the high road and the profit margins that come from that market segment. Do we in Higher Education need to shift our focus to the affordable consumer market that appears to be dominated by Google based platforms?
I think the door is still slightly open for Microsoft to hold onto the corporate workplace, but it won’t be because of an Office Suite but can be about professional applications. Let’s accept the fact that a Pad computing device is more then adequate for working with today’s cloud based information. I believe we will see affordable smart computing devices appear in the hands of the consumer masses worldwide. This is a movement that redefines the Personal Computer, “PC”. And with it, we will have an even greater need for techies to maintain computing sanity.
Our student News team wanted to do a story on our iGFU Mobile Portal. They tried to video record a demo off of an iPAD which was not going to work so iGFU author, Brian McLaughlin, made them a simple tutorial that we now use on our website. Checkout the tutorial if you have any interest in what a university mobile portal needs to be. Remember, our mobile portal is basically a skunk works project that leverages the flexibility and performance of HTML5 using Java and PHP to access useful data from general data feeds, Moodle and our PeopleSoft ERP.
The tutorial also highlights a couple of other useful tools. Brian made the video by using an App called AirServer that allows him to mirror an IOS device to his MacBook. He then records it with Quicktime and with a little editing on iMovie you get a very real view of a mobile app. Then we upload the video to our new ShareStream video distribution system which gives us total flexiblity to manage and distribute video (especially if we want to manage copyright). We are investigating if AirServer might offer a better path for iPad mirroring to projector in the classroom.
Have you looked at your cable TV bill and asked yourself why is this so expensive? Then you tell yourself that you are going to eliminate all the waste and get the bill back to reality. Then you get off the phone with the cable provider and realize it is as low as it can be assuming you want a DVR, HD and the Golf Channel. So about 4 months ago I went through this process and decided to explore if there was another way. I eliminated my cable TV option and kept my Internet which immediately increased in price by $20 because I no longer had the TV bundle. OK fine, I was determined to give this experiment a chance and so far it has been a worthwhile adventure.
I have learned just how much of a monopolistic control cable TV has on our entertainment choices. And guess why, Money$. Bundling cable TV channels is the only way the existing cable TV industry can survive. Hopefully “existing cable TV industry” is the key here. Will Apple be the change agent again? My guess is that breaking up the cable TV industry will be a whole lot more difficult then it was to breakup the music industry.
There have been positives come from my research. The most obvious was that we really don’t need to watch as much TV as we do. When you don’t have it you do something else. Now of course I devoted my TV quota to trying out alternative sources of video via the Internet. Netflix is good, I’ve watched a lot of great documentaries along with new and old movies. I am more then willing to buy a movie via my iTV from Apple for $5, in fact I am more then willing to spend as much if not more on entertainment if I had a choice. We watch nightly news and CBS Sunday Morning via podcasts. And you can watch most of the current TV series via the various online networks NBC, ABC, CBS, unfortunately I don’t have antenna access. A recent major success was the opportunity to buy access to the Tour de France via the NBC Sports iPad app. But once you venture into cable TV land, access ends especially when an iPad app is involved. I can watch a lot of good ESPN sports on ESPN3 but only on my laptop. If I want to watch the same content on my iPad I need a cable TV subscription. And that is the norm for TNT, History Channel, etc. The upcoming Olympics would have been the real test since online options require a cable subscription, but my upcoming 2 week vacation will wipe out that frustration. The real problem is the lack of a online Golf Channel.
The bottom line is that we are still slaves to the cable industry but there is light at the end of the cable. But wait, there is hope, Google is willing to take on CableTV in KC.
Finally an alternative to Apple’s iPad in the latest Kindle offerings. I have to admit that I am impressed sight unseen by the Kindle Fire for $199. More then anything else I see adopters of these simpler pad devices desiring simplicity. Just give me a device I can check my email surf the web and read books, and a guess playing games would be cool. This is really about the fact that these pad consumers have never wanted to use a real computer nor should they have been forced to. Now we have some pad options that truly justify having one as a digital consumption device. Let the geeks have the computers but let the masses participate in our digital world more simply and affordably.
Something else that struck me was how Amazon may now be able to build a stronger customer profile database. Not only from this more controlled connection to their customers because of the Kindle device, but maybe more from their controlled monitoring of their web browsing trail. What I am talking about here is the Amazon Silk web browser. Isn’t this improved performance based on running everything through the AWS cloud better then even a proxy server. Google only gets to monitor us when we are on their sites. What if Amazon can now monitor everything we do?
Stephen Shankland’s CNET article: Amazon Silk: One step forward, two steps back shed’s additional light on my privacy concern’s.