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Reinventing the wheel?
This week we (briefly) look at the iPad 3, Apple TV and see what the big stories from SXSW are!
So you might have noticed that Apple launched the iPad 3 last week. I wont harp on about it as a) you probably know just as much, if not more, about it than me, and b) although still brilliant and the class leader there wasn’t anything dramatic about it vs iPads 1 & 2. So the highlights were the Retina display in lovely HD, some pretty impressive processing power from their new A5X chip and… well thats about it. Apple sold out of pre-sale stock almost immediately, as was to be expected, but really its just the luxury version of the original iPad. They rule the slate market and at the moment, with the possibilities still in their infancy, there is no need to radically change it, just keep updating it once a year. I suspect iPad 4, which I reckon will be released around Sept 2013, will make a dramatic change and I suspect it will be a connectivity based one. We’ll see…
While Apple concedes to being a little boring, at least they know how to sell a product, unlike Nokia. The Finnish firm have been threatening to release a tablet for quite a while and recently confirmed that they will start production on a 10 inch device running Windows on Arm (WOA), the tablet version of Windows 8. However, while Apple, admittedly by FAR and away the biggest tablet player, sold 15 million iPads in the last quarter of 2011 Nokia are preparing to make… 200,000. That’s it. Now some back-of-an-envelope maths says that if they price it competitively against the iPad then the total sales from their tablet will mean they will have spent about £4.63 on R&D. How are companies still not getting it? Apple aren’t special, they just put time into R&D, produce a market leading product and then collect the HUGE profits. Doing this stuff half-heartedly will only lower your reputation.
And finally on the Apple subject, they released a new version of Apple TV which now looks a lot more app-y, goes HD and allows playback on more formats. The Cupertino company maintaining their ‘Not-broke-don’t-fix’ attitude.
Navigating to SXSW
Lets start off with an admission: I am jealous. I am jealous of Americans who can get to SXSW without having to pay £600+ in airfare just to get to it. I know a lot of people from all over the world make the pilgrimage every year its just that I can’t afford to. Yet! However, this doesn’t stop me telling you about the hot new stuff from cool start-ups that were stealing the show.
The first few days of SXSW were all about location-based social networking apps. Its been a few years since the last ‘big one’ stole the hearts of the world (Twitter) and its been difficult for people to find something to join (or replace!) what we have already. However there was a few companies that reckon they can do that and the best of them was Highlight. This links into your Facebook account and then using GPS pinpoints people within 150 metres who you know, have mutual friends with or share similar interests.
I like it. In the last few years we have been told that we can link with so many new people, all over the world, through social networking. Which is great, don’t get me wrong, but it has always slightly removed the physical contact side of relationships. Highlight wants to turn that tide slightly and bring your online relationships back to the real world. At the moment its not perfect as it doesn’t show a preference to showing you a guy 5 across the room who you have 5 mutual friends with and a lady 150 metres away who liked the same shoe shop as you. But their working on it. Give it 6 months and the well-deserved invest its recently garnered and this really could be great social tool in the future.
This is a bold app from a relatively tiny company (18 employees at the moment). They want to redefine the search engine. A tough task considering google pretty much have that one sorted. Even Microsoft’s bing didn’t put much of a dent in the google establishment. So, how is this little group from the US and Israel going to chase the unicorn? They are going to be smart, thats how. They only want to target searches from smartphones and they want to make it the search you want, hence everything.me. They way their app works is by starting its search by looking at the apps you already have and showing you the results that are most relevant to you. So a search for a colleague brings up their Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ profiles as well as recent tweets and articles they have been mentioned in. The UI is also a lot more relevant i.e. their FB, LinkedIn and G+ entries are represented by those apps logos. It works best when searching for people, places and things. It fairs less well with companies, questions and abstract musings. But that is all part of the design, its not trying to usurp google, its trying to offer a fresh and useful way to get better results for some of your searches. As one of the founders, Ami Ben-David replies when asked if Google should be scared? “That would be like asking if an elephant should be scared of a mosquito,”. Its in beta testing at the moment and is only HTML5 but the iPhone, Android and Windows versions will be coming soon and all with voice recognition capability.
This is why I’m jealous, these guys are the cutting edge of the future and hanging with them would be a lot of fun. Oh, and The Cheesecake Factory is the BEST RESTAURANT EVER!