Tag Archives: iPad

If You Have News, It Will Be Aggregated and/or Curated

The Pew Research Center has come out with a massive new report on the state of media as part of its Project for Excellence in Journalism, and it comes to a number of conclusions about where the industry stands—including the fact that Twitter and Facebook are still driving a fairly small amount of traffic to media outlets (although this segment is growing quickly) and that such tech giants as Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft control almost 70 percent of online advertising. But one other thing that becomes clear from the Pew report is just how big a role aggregators of all kinds—both human and machine-powered—are playing in news consumption.

Despite the growing evidence to the contrary, many newspaper companies and other traditional media outlets still seem to think the vast majority of their audience comes to them directly and prefers to read their content above all other sources. More than anything else, this is the core philosophy behind the rise of paywalls—which more and more papers are implementing—and also the millions of dollars media companies have poured into developing iPad apps and other walled-garden-style approaches to news delivery. The assumption is that readers will want only the content that comes from that specific outlet.

For many consumers, however, aggregators of various kinds are the way they consume their news now, whether through Web-based portals like Yahoo News or Google News, or through a variety of newer aggregation-based apps and services, such as Flipboard, Pulse, or Zite for the iPad, as well as News.me, Summify (which was recently acquired by Twitter), and Percolate. According to the Pew report, almost 30 percent of consumers get their news from a “news organizing website or app,” compared with the 36 percent who go directly to a media company’s website or app.

In effect, many users seem to be looking to generate their own digital-newspaper-style overview of the world rather than accepting one from a single media outlet, and if the content they are looking for comes from an aggregator like the Huffington Post because the original is behind a paywall, then so be it. The problem for media companies is that this kind of behavior is in direct conflict with most of  the business models they’re relying on for revenue, whether it’s advertising or app- and paywall-based subscription services—which is why such media moguls as News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch continually accuse Google of “piracy.”

And the problem is actually even bigger than that, since the Huffington Post and Google News are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to aggregation and/or curation. Although Facebook and Twitter may not be huge factors in terms of news consumption at the moment—as my colleague Staci has pointed out at paidContent—with only 9 percent of users saying they get their news from those networks, that figure has grown almost 60 percent in the past year alone and is likely continuing to increase.

To some extent the curation phenomenon is helping mainstream news organizations, because people are sharing links that get clicked on and drive traffic back to news outlets. This is especially the case with Twitter, since the Pew report notes that a larger proportion of users follow official media sources there, while a majority of Facebook users get their news from friends and family members. But just as with aggregation apps and services, the content that any single media company produces just becomes part of the sea of content that is distributed through these networks.

On top of that, Facebook itself is becoming much more of an aggregator of news, through the “social reading” apps it offers from such outlets as the Washington Post and the Guardian. Although both newspapers have bragged about the number of people who have registered for their apps and shared content through them, the reality is that much of the benefit from that activity ultimately goes to Facebook—in terms of the time users spend on the site, the advertising they are exposed to, etc.—rather than the news outlet.

Emily Bell, the former Guardian digital editor who now runs the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, noted in a response to the Pew report on Twitter that social platforms like Facebook are becoming “frenemies” with media companies, since they generate traffic but also suck up much of the benefit in terms of advertising.

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-03-19/if-you-have-news-it-will-be-aggregated-and-or-curated

BBC developing new iPhone app for field reporters

The BBC is developing an app that will allow its reporters in the field to file video, stills and audio directly into the BBC system from an iPhone or iPad. The software is being adapted for the Apple phones from an existing app used by the BBC and is due to be in use within around a month. As part of a new strategy which will see the broadcaster focus on getting the most out of smartphone technology, it is also aiming to obtain iPhone licenses for existing app Luci Live, allowing reporters to broadcast live from the phone using 3G signal. Martin Turner, head of operations for newsgathering, said developing the software for iPhone was “a logical extension of what the BBC can do already” but added that it was a “significant development”. “Reporters have been using smart phones for a while now but it was never good quality. Now it is beginning to be a realistic possibility to use iPhones and other devices for live reporting, and in the end if you’ve got someone on the scene then you want to be able to use them.” He added that the development was part of a wider strategy at the broadcaster to make better use of smartphones in its field reporting.

http://www.journalism.co.uk/news/bbc-developing-new-iphone-app-for-field-reporters/s2/a544714/

Ping! Apple enters social media market via music

Ping – Apple’s new social media network, will allow users to follow friends’ music interests working in a stream of updates similar way to Facebook or Twitter Having cornered the MP3 player, mobile phone and computer tablet markets with the iPod, iPhone and iPad devices respectively, last night Apple announced its latest expansion – into social media – with Ping. Ping will be integrated into Apple’s latest iTunes software update and will enable users, or “Pingers”, to follow musicians, friends and others to see details including what music they’re buying and what concerts they’re attending. Steve Jobs, Apple’s chairman and chief executive, said the information will arrive in a long stream of updates, similar to the way Facebook and Twitter work. “Be as private or as public as you want. The privacy is super-easy to set up,” he said adding that users can choose to automatically accept followers or decide on a follower-by-follower basis – similar sounding controls to those on Twitter. The service is available immediately to more than 160 million iTunes users, Jobs said, and will also be available across the iPhone and iPod Touch ranges.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/sep/02/ping-apple-music-social-media

WSJ Europe to launch new tech section as part of digital expansion

The Wall Street Journal is to launch a new European technology section as part of its digital expansion. Six new jobs have been advertised by publisher Dow Jones as it prepares to enlarge its online and mobile offering and build up commercial opportunities. Europe.wsj.com launched in February 2009 and since then has seen good growth in terms of traffic, its editor Neil McIntosh said. The journal is well known in the states for its technology coverage and the WSJ wanted to offer more in Europe, McIntosh said. The new section is expected to cover technology business activity in Europe, startups and entrepreneurs, and gadget and service launches. The new section will incorporate US content, as well as its own regional output. The new section will be a mix of news and commentary, as seen in existing sections that include “straightforward top quality reporting” supported by analysis on Heard on the Street and other blogs. WSJ Europe currently offers an iPhone app and a mobile web edition, with an iPad app on the way.”

http://www.journalism.co.uk/2/articles/539305.php

Sony to launch e-reader in Japan, take on Apple

Sony Corp said on Thursday it would launch an e-reader and online content distribution service in Japan by year-end, taking on rival Apple Inc whose iPad hits shelves in the country on Friday. The maker of PlayStation games and Bravia flat TVs said it also plans to launch its e-book operations in China, Australia, Spain and Italy this year. Sony’s Reader electronics book reader, which vies with Amazon.com’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook, is available in the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands. The debut of the iPad, a computing and entertainment system that also functions as an e-reader, is expected to boost Japan’s still-small e-book market, which Chimera Research Institute expects to double to about USD 1bn in four years. Sony has partnered with telecoms operator KDDI Corp, printing firm Toppan Printing Co and the Asahi Shimbun newspaper to set up a planning company to prepare for the service, which will offer book, comic, magazine and newspaper content.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE64Q1QD20100527

Apple iPad ready to hit UK streets

Jake Lee knew he would have a long, cold night ahead – but wasn’t troubled: the 17-year-old from Theydon Bois, Essex had his father’s thick coat – plus the assurance of being the first to buy an Apple iPad at the company’s Regent Street store in London when it opens its doors at 8am tomorrow.

“I didn’t order online because I wanted to get the experience of buying it, of being in the queue,” said Lee, who has been saving from his part-time job after school “for months” to be able to afford the £429 low-end version.

Yet judging by the length – or brevity – of the queue outside the store, which by mid-afternoon comprised just five people, Apple’s latest offering – a 9-inch touchscreen tablet computer operated like its hit iPhone – is not drawing the crowds in the same way as previous product launches, which attracted scores of patient buyers.

However, online demand has apparently been strong: Apple was this week warning people who ordered iPads through its website that delivery may be put back to 7 June. It has already delayed the international launch of the iPad, which Steve Jobs showed off in January, by a month after strong sales in the US used up production capacity. So far it has sold more than 1m of the machines, which means it is already the single largest maker of tablet computers this year – capturing a market that Bill Gates, of Microsoft, tried and failed to create and corner in 2001.

Sales in the US have outstripped expectations , where the 1m mark was reached only 28 days after the 2 April launch, compared with 74 days for the iPhone.

Peter Buckley, the British author of the Rough Guide to the iPad, who has been using a US-bought model for the past five weeks, says that while it cannot replace a laptop machine for producing content, it is an ideal machine for a new era of “sofa computing”.

Critics have focused on the price, which ranges from £429 to £699, and point out that “netbook” computers with full keyboards are available for about £350.

There has also been criticism of Apple’s use of the Chinese electronics manufacturer Foxconn, where 10 people have apparently committed suicide this year due to work pressure. Simon Middleton, a brand expert, said: “I think we need to call on Apple to take the leadership role in its sector and to form a coalition of companies who would specify, monitor and maintain the highest standards of worker conditions: and to insist that the suppliers they deal with comply.” Foxconn workers claim that they have to work up to 15-hour shifts, and that the company has put up a huge safety net around the factory to prevent roof suicides.

Rival companies are also looking to build on Apple’s lead by launching their own tablet machines: the Joojoo, made by the Thailand-based Fusion Garage, launched in April, while HP is expected to launch models later this year using Palm’s WebOS software, having acquired the company last month. Other companies including Archos are also expected to launch tablets built on Google’s Android or Chrome software.

Buckley says that the success of the rivals “will depend on how quickly software developers feel compelled to develop apps for it. The draw of the iPad is partly to do with Apple’s design – but also that developers are working to write software for the platform.”

The success of the iPhone has accelerated as its App Store, opened in July 2008, has grown to offer more than 180,000 third-party applications, which have had more than 4bn downloads.

For the iPad, many have been rewritten to take advantage of its larger screen – including magazines such as Condé Nast’s Wired and GQ magazines, which have special £2.99 iPad electronic editions. The US version of the iPad Wired sold 24,000 copies in its first day, generating $120,000.

While those figures were being announced, Chris Thompson, a motor racing memorabilia dealer from Epsom, was taking his place at the end of the iPad queue. Why wait? “Well, patience is a virtue,” he replied. “I’ve come for the atmosphere. It’s more fun being outside here than sitting at home looking out the window waiting for a van to come.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/may/27/apple-ipad-uk-launch

IPad’s international launch slated for May 28

Apple Inc said on Friday it will launch the iPad tablet computer in nine international markets on May 28, following a strong debut in the United States last month. The iPad will go on sale in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and Britain. Pre-ordering for those markets will start on May 10. The international launch was originally schedule for late April, but Apple delayed it by a month due to what it called higher-than-expected demand. Apple also said the iPad will expand to Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore in July. The iPad, a 9.7-inch touchscreen tablet intended primarily for games, Web browsing, and digital media of all sorts, went on sale in the U.S. on April 3. The company has already sold more than 1 million iPads. Analysts expect the company to sell roughly 5 million of the devices this year

http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE64002T20100507

What Rupert Murdoch Still Doesn’t Get About the Internet

Rupert Murdoch knows who’s winning the war between big media and the Internet. Unsurprisingly, it’s Rupert Murdoch. “Without content, the ever-larger and flatter screens, the tablets, the e-readers and the increasingly sophisticated mobile phones would be lifeless,” he proclaimed when News Corp. posted unexpectedly strong fiscal 2010 second-quarter earnings. “Devices and platforms are proliferating but this clever technology is merely an empty vessel without any great content.”

Murdoch danced a lively jig for investors as he bragged about his company’s ability to thrive in the media tumult caused by the Internet. I’m not buying it. News Corp. may be getting a big lift from “Avatar” right now, but like any big media company, it still has a lot of learning, experimenting and failure to do before it can really start to monetize the web. The arrival of the iPad and other tablet devices may, in time, make that easier. But first they will make it much harder by speeding up the process of adaptation.

The most difficult thing about the disruption facing the media industry hasn’t been the certain sense that business models are changing — it’s that nobody is sure how they’re changing. But one important idea is starting to become clear: Content isn’t a product anymore, it’s a service. Because for consumers, content is less and less a thing they buy and more a thing they experience.

The notion emerged a couple of years ago, with the likes of Kevin Kelly alleging that the Internet is essentially a copy machine and asking what can be sold that isn’t easily copied. Others took it even further, to the notion of content as a service.

Over at his O’Reilly blog, Andrew Savikas wrote:

Whether they realize it or not, media companies are in the service business, not the content business. Look at iTunes: if people paid for content, then it would follow that better content would cost more money. But every song costs the same. Why would people pay the same price for goods of (often vastly) different quality? Because they’re not paying for the goods they’re paying Apple for the service of providing a selection of convenient options easy to pay for and easy to download.

It’s no accident that Apple has been thriving in this chaos. And it’s no surprise that the iPad was designed to enhance the experience of web media in ways that are more immersive and intuitive than either laptops or smartphones. In fact, the iPad seems to be built on the blunt assertion that content is now something to be experienced rather than possessed. Selling content — whether it’s news, music, books or something else — as a product on a tablet is setting yourself up for disappointment. 

This evolution in content is clearer in music, which was the first to feel significant disruption from the Internet. Twenty years ago, buying music meant purchasing a CD after you heard a song on commercial radio (or, for the adventurous, college radio) or read a review in a magazine. Today, music is becoming an experience that begins with discovery sites like Pandora or social network sites like Twitter and end up in a cloud-based service like Spotify or Grooveshark. Significantly, these companies are startups and not traditional media giants.

In short, the old media giants need to think like startups: That is, look at the iPad with the eyes of any other app developer and imagine what it can do that hasn’t been done before. How will a tablet change the experience of books, news, music, and so on? And why will we consumers be willing to pay for that new experience? These are the questions to start with, rather than asking how to shovel the same old content products onto devices that radically transform what content is.

Murdoch is right that those devices are lifeless without content, but he neglects to mention that it’s a symbiotic relationship. “Content is not just king, it is the emperor of all things electronic!” he crowed. Maybe, but this emperor is wearing the service uniform of a burger flipper. When do we get fries with that content?

http://gigaom.com/2010/02/06/what-rupert-murdoch-still-doesnt-get-about-the-internet/

‘The new iPad is like an iPhone on steroids’

Contrary to reports, Apple’s new tablet is not capable of turning water into wine. But as a piece of consumer-friendly hardware, it is pretty revolutionary. Part of that, most of that, is down to the price but we will come back to that later.

During Steve Jobs’s presentation at the Yerba Buena Center, I was feeling slightly underwhelmed. As he went through its capabilities, I was thinking: so this is just another slice of computing loveliness from Apple but I don’t really think I want to buy one. Then, I went to have a play in the hands-on area and now I may have changed my mind.

My first impression is an obvious one – although Apple won’t like the description, the new iPad is like an iPhone on steroids. It will be familiar to anyone who has an iPhone or an iPod Touch – the touchscreen interface is pixel perfect and the larger screen allows video and games to breathe and become much more immersive. It is slim and elegant to hold, and although it has some weight in the hands – it is after all made of metal and glass – it is feels a lot lighter than any laptop.

I played with one for only a few minutes, taking my turn among the hundreds of ravenous media. There is only one button on the whole machine – the home button at the bottom of the device – everything else is handled through touch. The adapted iPhone operating system was as intuitive and pleasing as on the iPhone and the colour screen brought the applications to sparkling life.

In particular the gaming community should be rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of this new platform. Apple said it would provide a “goldrush” for developers and I am inclined to agree. There are already 140,000 apps in Apple App Store and many more specifically designed for the tablet are doubtless on their way.

The biggest announcement within the launch was Apple’s new iBooks application and its online iBookstore. Apple now has three market-leading online stores for music, software applications and digital books – a pretty powerful combination. More than 125 million people have one-touch purchase already with Apple and even if a fraction of these use the bookstore, the other e-reader companies such as Amazon had better look out.

So will I buy one? I have a smartphone and a powerful portable laptop. I don’t really need another portable device. I love my media, like movies and TV, on my laptop. But I might just buy an iPad because Steve Jobs has priced them so aggressively. In the US the basic model, with constant 3G connectivity, will be $629 ($499 without the 3G). Apple has cut a deal with AT&T to provide an unlimited data plan for just $29.99 a month. That is pretty good. I am tempted. We will see if such deals will be available in the UK.

Here’s what Stephen Fry, actor and gadget fan extraordinaire, who I spoke to as he left the hands-on area, said: “It is transformative device. You only really get it when you get your hands on it.”

http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article7005389.ece