iPad – great marketing trumps great technology every time

It’s been called everything from the “second coming of pod” through to the Jesus Tablet but finally the iPad arrived (well in video anyway) last night with all the usual Steve Jobs fanfare and hyperbole.

This has got to have been the most hyped piece of technology in recent years. Back in September I posted an article from AppleInsider saying that “despite the fact that no one has seen it, a new survey says that 21 percent of buyers are interested in purchasing an Apple tablet device” and it seems they were spot on.

At the launch even yesterday comments ranged from the typical Apple lovers superlatives through to “it’s just an iPhone with a big screen”. Clearly both points of view are wrong and based on little actual data or experience so here’ what we know


  • Apple A4 1GHz chipset (…. wow Apple are now in the chip business !!)
  • 9.7in LED backlit 1024 x 768 pixel, multi-touch display
  • Dimensions of  – 242.8 x 189.7 x 13.4mm and weighing about 700g
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and an optional 3G add on
  • 16GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities
  • “Up to” 10 hours battery life, one month on standby
  • Accelerometer, digital compass, speaker, mic, dock connector, 3.5mm jack


  • Modified variation of the iPhone OS and “almost all” iPhone apps compatible with the iPad
  • Contacts, email, music, video and photo iTunes synchronisation
  • HD capable (720p) video playback
  • New iBook (eBook) store  with publishers like Simon and Schuster, Penguin etc already signed up
  • iWorks productivity software available at an additional cost of $9.99 with word processing, spreadsheet and powerpoint functionality

… and most importantly it costs $499 (£310) for the entry level 16GB model without 3G, $599 for 32Gb and $699 for 64GB with a 3G facility costing an additional $130 extra – NOTE that it will use SIM Unlocked but use a mini SIM (how many of you have one of those)

As the FT put it “Arriving with few new content deals despite months of heavy hype, the half-inch thick gadget, which looks like a giant iPhone, met with mixed reviews”. Hardly a revolution ??

Trustedreviews.com went a bit further saying “For a product so massively hyped I think it is fair to say Apple certainly hasn’t managed the Wow Factor like it did with the launch of the original iPhone. The iPad is certainly a competent product, but one that with its strong iPhone roots lies more closely to smartbooks than netbooks and keeps in place the typical fenced gate Apple likes to enforce about how its customers use its products.”

In fact, most analysts have focussed on the negatives – particularly the Guardian however to do this is missing the point. A colleague of mine once told an audience of CIOs and technology leaders that great marketing trumps great technology every time …. and he was right !

The power of Apples brand ??

One-fifth of buyers interested in Apple’s unseen tablet.

According to AppleInsider –  in a survey of more than 3000 people (presumably all Apple owners ??), over a fifth said they were interested in Apple’s long-rumored tablet device. That’s more than the 9 percent that said they were interested in the original iPhone back in April 2007.

The survey also assumed that the product would be priced between $500 and $700 for its question.

So something no-one has seen, with dimensions and functionality that no one can describe, is wanted by over 20% of potential buyers !! I bow to the friend how told me that great marketing trumps great technology every time – he was so right

Spotify for iPhone – it had to come but …

…. will it be crippled

Spotify have confirmed their iPhone application and a short video demo is sitting on my favourite trusted resource TrustedReviews.

With offine modes, sharing facility (with other Spotify users) and multi device sync this looks a really interesting development in the current streaming vs downloading debate. It also now creates a reason for you to pay for the premium spotify service as the iPhone app will only be available to premium subscribers.

However the big issue here is whether those nice folks at Cupertino will certify it and more importantly ever allow it to run over HSDPA/3G connections. What ??  Simply protecting their iTunes franchise in the face of competition from the streaming market ?? Surely not  ??

Lets wait and see.

New iPhone – big disappointment

Am I the only one who was disappointed by Apples iPhone announcement yesterday ??

Look – don’t get me wrong – I really want to love the iPhone. It’s cool, its sexy, its hip – it’s got an app store with some really good stuff but why does it have to be such a crap phone. For months now I’ve been wanting to ditch my old Windows Mobile device but every time I asked whether the iPhone did something the answer was always “no” to even some of the most basic stuff. No cut and paste!!  No sms forwarding !! No MMS!! No video!! No Voice-dial (kind of important for the Bluetooth brigade who want to stay legal when driving)  etc etc  …. Even the lowest cost HTC winmo devices could do that

So I waited with bated breath for the new iPhone announcement. Surely not only would all those deficiencies that Apple lovers happily overlook be rectified but we’d also see a new ground breaking device taking smart phones to the next level and throwing down the gauntlet to Google’s Android upstart.

Well actually no. What we got was the iPhone 3G S (…a sort of iPhone 3G with go faster stripes)

  • something that’s a bit faster than something that went so slowly Apple had to put disclaimers on their TV ads
  • something that has a bit more battery life than something that could barely last a day in average use
  • and loads of so called “new features” like Cut, Copy and Paste, MMS* and a landscape keyboard alongside a new camera (that’s still underpowered compared to market norms),  voice command (yep seen that before), a compass app (woohoo) etc

So no new form factor, no new call handling, no improved screen resolution (it stays at  320 x 480 pixels), no front mounted camera for video calls, no expansion slots or removable battery, no camera flash.

Saying all that, now that it’s the phone it should have been when it was launched, it’s actually quite an attractive proposition ….. until Google put android on some new hardware (the impending Samsung i7500 springs to mind) and slap down a new challenge.

Suddenly the mobile market is getting interesting again…. so what will I buy ?

Spotify on Google Android …..

… now that might just be a buying decision

You all know how much I love spotify – well in all the announcements about the slew of new android phones we’re gonna see this year, this little nugget of information seems to have passed almost unnoticed.

Thanks to the nice guys over at TrustedReviews.com we have details of an early spotify app for Android. Building on their propose iPhone app (that still has the Apple boys in a bit of a lather) this one has something even more interesting under the hood – the promise of an offline mode where tracks can be stored for later listening.

Suddenly, android looks even more attractive

Apple to buy Twitter – really ???

As wild rumours go its right there with the best of them but ….

According to Trusted Reviews (and a heap of less reputable websites)….. “Apple, yes Apple, is apparently locked in “serious negotiations” to buy Twitter for $700m. Quoting a “source who’s plugged into the Valley’s deal scene and has been recruited by Apple for a senior position” ValleyWag claims the duo want to unveil a deal by 8 June in time for WWDC 2009″

The article also points out that

  • Apple has no ad model
  • Apple is hardware and OS focused
  • Apple doesn’t do ‘free’
  • Apple image is slick and expensive- Twitter image is cute and bumbling
  • Twitter has already stated it will not sell for under $1bn

The FT has an equally sceptical position (though from a slightly different angle)

….. and as for me …. I just cant see it but stranger things have happened

The ultimate try before you buy..

People who view my ‘non CIO’ blog – RockandRoll Football – will know that I stumbled across spotify earlier this year and love it.

So I was excited to hear today that a deal has been struck between Spotify and 7 Digital that will see a ‘Buy From 7Digital’ option added to the right click menu inside Spotify and will cover a six million strong catalogue of tracks. Now for the iTune haters amongst us – and there are many – this is just fantastic news as 7Digital also delivers its content at ear embracing 320kbps bitrates.

But is this the ultimate try before you buy experience ??  In the past you were only able to hear a few seconds of poor quality audio before making a purchase decision on a particular track. Now you get the whole track, superb quality, arguably better performance than on your local device (see my comment on iTunes performance vs Spotify) and all this before hitting the buy button. Is this the future for other consumer items ?? What d’ya think ??

In related news, I also heard that Spotify are finalising an iPhone / iTouch solution that will be available from the app store. Will Apple really let this go out unencumbered and embarrass their belover iTunes ?  Indeed, if you can get Spotify quality streamed to your device and the buy from 7Digital – why would you use the iTunes store at all ? This one will be interesting to watch.