Tag Archives: iPad Blog

Controlling a PC from an iPad Turns Tablets Into Genuine Work Devices

I have a problem with the whole “Post-PC Era” marketing hype. The problem is that, for me, trying to do any real work on a tablet is a miserable experience. Typing and keyboard issues aside, there is so much that you can’t do on a tablet that we take for granted on PCs. Much of that has to do with the limited tablet interface, and the fact that desktop applications are so much more full-featured than apps. Also, file management doesn’t exist at all on tablets, which at times is absolutely maddening. In my opinion, the only “serious” work that can be done on a tablet is email, web browsing, taking notes at meetings (which, when combined with an app like DropBox, works nicely), and perhaps writing, if you can live with the touch interface or a flimsy add-on keyboard. I call my iPad my “couch computer.” It’s a handy little device to have around, but it’s good for little else.

What would be nice is a way to access and control a desktop computer, and all its applications and files, from a tablet. The only remaining obstacle to doing real work would be the tablet interface. But full functionality and access to files would be re-established, with the tablet simply serving as a portal to a full computing experience.

Such solutions have existed for a while, such as GoToMyPC and LogMeIn. But these run into their own interface problems because PCs rely on precise control of a mouse, which is difficult to emulate with finger-controlled tablets. However, a new product, called Parallels Access, may have solved these problems. Reviewed by Walt Mossberg, Parallels Access apparently succeeds at turning the desktop experience of a computer into a full-screen tablet experience that makes controlling a PC remotely quite easy.

Unlike many others, [Access] doesn’t force you to constantly try and emulate the precise mouse pointer for which most of these computer programs were designed. It runs them like iPad apps, in full screen, and at the iPad’s resolution, yet preserving full functionality and the ability to switch among open apps and windows on the computer. It works over both Wi-Fi and cellular connections.

File  sharing is still a bear, but Parallels is said to be working on a solution. Also, the program is quite pricey — $80 per YEAR, per computer accessed. Ouch! But for the ability to do real work on the road, the price may be worth it. Read the article, check out the accompanying video, and be sure to read the comments, where a less expensive program with similar capabilities called Splashtop is discussed (with Splashtop’s CEO providing some interesting notes).

The “Post-PC Era” may be brilliant marketing, but it requires good post-PC apps if it’s going to succeed — and apparently a remote PC to access, as well.

Read full article: http://on.wsj.com/17kK3Xf

Internet Trends Report

Knowing how and where people get information is the best way to know how and where to deliver our messages and services. With that in mind, Kleiner Perkins analyst Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends report is a valuable compilation of research and observation that sheds light in these areas to help us keep up with the constantly changing business/tech landscape. This year’s report, delivered at the recent “All Things Digital” conference, highlights several notable trends.

The move to mobile is in full throttle. Laptop and desktop sales will continue to decline as smartphone and tablets become the devices of choice in the ‘Post PC” era. Apple and Samsung claimed a combined 51% market share of global smartphone unit sales in Q4 2012, making them the dominant players in the field.

  • Tablets are being adopted even more quickly than smartphones. Measuring the first 12 quarters after launch, iPads have sold 3-times faster than iPhones. Tablet sales also eclipsed sales of desktops and laptops for Q4 2012, and projections are that annual tablet shipments will surpass laptops in 2013, and total PCs in 2015.
  • Mobile Internet traffic is now 15% of total global internet traffic.
  • Time spent with print and radio continue to trend downward while TV and Internet remain steady. Mobile, on the other hand, continues to trend upward. Interestingly, the money advertisers spend on print is 4-times greater than the time spent there, while money spent on mobile advertising is one-fourth the time spent, pointing to a $20B opportunity as advertisers catch up.

The entire presentation is 117 slides and provides information on topics including media, global browsing, and wearable tech.

View full report: [no longer available]

iPad Takes Significant Lead as e-Commerce Shifts to Mobile

A study by RichRelevance illustrates the power of Apple’s tablet platform in the area of e-commerce (m-commerce?). The iPad has put a charge in the shift from desktop to mobile when it comes to buying things online, accounting for “68% of all mobile shoppers.” The larger screen undoubtedly helps consumers view full webpages better than on smartphones, making them more comfortable navigating shopping sites. iPads may also make shopping online a more casual experience since purchases can be made from the couch or kitchen table. Also, people may be finding shopping on-the-go on smartphones challenging from a time perspective. True m-commerce implies “buying while flying,” which apart from technologies like Near Field Communications that allow instant purchases, may currently be an unrealistic expectation considering that shoppers like to research and compare when buying online.

Whatever the case, there’s no denying the iPad’s power when it comes to the all important act of spending.

The report, the 2012 Q1 Shopping Insights Mobile Study, finds a steady rise in mobile share of revenue from 1.9% in April 2011 to 4.6% in March 2012, with the iPad driving nearly all shopping, browsing and purchasing in this emerging channel.

According to March 2012 data, iPad users spent significantly more time and money on retail sites than other mobile users, account for 68% of all mobile shoppers, and show the strongest conversion rates (1.5% for iPad vs. 0.57% for other mobile devices).

Read full article: http://bit.ly/HQxXH3

Worthy of the Mantle: Disney and Jobs

My wife and I recently visited Disney World with her son’s family. For myself and our two grandsons, it was our first-ever trip to the world-renowned resort. The boys were wide-eyed and excited as they took in the rides and attractions (although the many lines tried their patience a bit). For me, however, it provided a case study in customer experience, which led to some interesting thoughts.

Everyone is familiar with “Disney perfection.” The pleasant on-site accommodations are linked flawlessly with the various parks and locales by a reliable and comfortable transportation system. The parks are clean, the staff friendly, and there are ample restrooms, food services and tasteful souvenir shops about the beautifully laid-out grounds. In an era where “customer experience” is often crowed about, Disney holds the high ground.

One detail of the parks that stood out for me is how they tactfully block off areas that are under construction. Painted fences surround the building sites. Alongside are benches where visitors can take a break. And on the fences at regular intervals are little plaques, with quotes from Walt himself, that provide a bit of the Disney philosophy with regard to building. It’s as if he’s reminding everyone to not feel too inconvenienced — pursuing new dreams and ideas is what the parks are all about.

A particular Disney quote, however, stuck with me. Supposedly, said Walt, “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse.” I recalled the cartoon, “Steamboat Willie,” with Mickie bouncing up and down at the wheel, and how that character became a hit that started the Disney studios on its way to riches and fame.

Of course, it wasn’t just Mickey that made Disney successful, nor was the long-lasting fame automatic. Rather, the success of Mickey Mouse opened a door that allowed Walt Disney’s full vision and capabilities to be expressed, including his desire to push the technology and business of animation, and an innate understanding of what his customers wanted. And this got me to thinking about Steve Jobs.

Both Steve and Walt mastered customer experience. Both pushed technology in order to deliver products that customers love. Both exist in an ethereal world of dreams (Disney: “When you wish upon a star..”; Jobs: “Think Different”). Both maintained precise control of their products, companies and brands. Both brought ground-breaking innovation to their fields (Walt implemented cell animation very early on, perfected “multi-plane” camera techniques — an early 3D-like experience, and delivered the first animated feature film, “Snow White,” despite the trepidations of everyone around him. Jobs, on the other hand, conceived and delivered the Mac, his iDevices, and numerous innovations in the marketing of his tech gadgets, effectively marrying them to our daily lives).

But perhaps most interesting is how Disney came to technology through entertainment while Jobs came to entertainment through technology. Walt, the entertainer, envisioned Epcot, the technology-ruled “City of Tomorrow,” while Steve, the “tech guy,” became CEO of Pixar Studios, the hugely successful 3D animation studio, and also brought the music industry into the 21st century through the iTunes store. It’s as if they shared a gene somewhere that enabled them to bring us treasures from the future. Whatever it was, they were set on paths destined to converge. Pixar inevitably was bought by Disney, and Steve ended up on Disney’s board as its largest share holder.

And so I propose that Jobs has become, in a sense, the heir of Disney’s legacy. Sensitivity to customers’ innate desires, and the ability to create things that connect with and satisfy them is what links the two visionaries. People unequivocally  love their products and are delighted to use them. Indeed, customers stand on lengthy lines to ride “Pirates of the Caribbean,” or to get a new iPad. Their success isn’t the result of a cold, calculating computer analysis, but an expression of gifting and vision that is theirs alone. It’s business as art, technology as instrument, innovation as life-blood, and unquestioned success the result.

Today, Disney’s work lives on, driven by the philosophy of innovation and customer experience that’s fully embedded in the company he founded. Will we say the same thing about Apple when Steve Jobs is one day gone? Our culture needs companies that “get things right,” and can deliver extraordinary products and services in extraordinary ways. Perhaps a “sorcerer’s apprentice” is in the wings somewhere, waiting to take up this mantle. The job description includes an unfettered imagination, an iron will and a love for delighting the masses. “Thinking different” will help, too. Applicants, however, need not apply. We’ll know you when we see you.

10 Things Apple Doesn’t Want You to Know About the iPad

I must admit, I’ve been taken by the iPad. It’s another beautiful device from Apple that comes with a world of promise. But it’s not without it’s detractors, many of whom have insightfully pierced the hype to point out some notable weaknesses. A Flash presentation from eWeek, below, is a good summary of the arguements against becoming blindly enamored with the iPad.

For my money, the real test will be the content deals Apple makes for the device. Everyone knows that Apple excels at producing beautifully designed, eminently usable products. But what they’ve also become very adept at is creating markets for digital products. The fact that the iTunes store and the iPod turned illegal file swapping into a billion dollar business begs the question, can they do the same thing for print publishing?

Newspapers and magazines are languishing with steadily declining circulation and lame efforts on the web. A killer reading and media experience on the iPad beyond what’s currently available on the web, along with a viable advertising model, could make tablet devices like the iPad invaluable for consumers and publishers alike. Of course, prices must come down substantially before the masses will carry them — but isn’t that what happened with smartphones after the iPhone launched?

View presentation: http://bit.ly/dsY3nP