Tag Archives: iPad

Reading list for 12 October 2015

Kids playing cards
Yes you can play cards on an iPad, but kids don’t enjoy it as much as the real game

In between all these links I’m currently reading LEAN Enterprise – I’ll provide a full review if/ when I manage to finish it.

In the meantime, here are some of the more interesting links I’ve visited over the last week:

Mobile leads first half digital ad surge| warc.com – Ad spend on mobiles increased 51% to £1.08bn during the first half of 2015. Is it a bubble or a natural trend? Continue reading Reading list for 12 October 2015

Review of 2014 predictions

Blackberry shares in 2014 - at 49% growth, there are worse things you could have done with your money
Blackberry shares in 2014 – at 49% growth, there are worse things you could have done with your money

How did my 2014 Digital Media predictions from last December turn out?

2014 has been another interesting year in the digital world. The end of a terrible recession has forced most companies to place digital at the heart of their strategy. #Fintech has become a recognised term for banks, insurance companies and other financial services organisations trying to update their systems to become ‘digital‘.

1. TV will change

Last December I predicted Ultra HD will become production ready, 3D TV will disappear and we’ll start seeing transparent TVs on the market. Continue reading Review of 2014 predictions

Apple & Facebook’s staggering results

We keep hearing stories about young people leaving Facebook in their droves. And how consumers are buying Android phones in multiples to Apple. Or how China’s growth is stuttering.

Don’t believe the hype.

Facebook and Apple have released their quarterly results, and both are staggering. Continue reading Apple & Facebook’s staggering results

Why Apple and the fashion clothing industry are so similar


I met someone recently who works in the fashion industry and I was surprised that she manufactures her clothes in the UK, in London.

The rationale was both the quality, although she said that with enough training there are other cheaper countries which could eventually match the UK quality; and the time to market. She said that there are other fashion companies moving to the UK because it’s difficult to justify garments sitting on a container ship for several weeks on their way from Asia to the UK.

The same is happening in the technology industry. Apple has announced it will begin manufacturing Macs in the US. One reason for this is the publicity of job creation. Another reason for this is to speed up the time to market – something that Tim Cook has spent his career doing in supply chain management.

I recently bought a new Dell laptop. We placed the order during the first week of January and a couple of days later we heard that the laptop won’t be shipping until February 11th. 

This week I was told that shipment won’t be before February 28th. 

It is hardly surprising then, that Apple’s hardware financial results are simply outstanding at the moment, and that Dell is having trouble. You can’t increase revenues if your products are unavailable for purchase. 

This is one of the key reasons Apple is so successful – a consumer can walk into a shop or buy online, and have the product instantly. The consumer can then take out their credit card and start buying apps straight away.

Apples are fashionable devices. That’s another reason the company is so successful – as soon as the new [version of] iPhone, iPad or iPod comes out, people want to buy them. Apple then offers the [fashion] buzz and purchase immediacy. 

So then, it’s no surprise how the world of fashion clothing and technology are aligning.

Photo courtesy of Digital Cat on Flickr

Akamai’s latest State of the Internet report

I can’t believe it’s been two and a half years since I last wrote about the Akamai State of the Internet Report.

The latest Akamai State of the Internet report has been released and as usual it’s interesting reading. The Internet continues to grow at a fast rate, both in terms of the sheer number of users and connectivity speeds. Unfortunately the side effects of security also continue to increase.

Akamai is a huge cache network of servers that make it faster for end users to access websites, and usually cheaper for the website company.

This means that Akamai stores the pages that we visit on a server closer to our computer. So when you visit say, www.domain.com, you might go to an Akamai server to see the content rather than domain.com’s server.

Akamai serves approximately two trillion requests for Web content every day. In the second quarter of 2012, over 665 million devices with an IP address, from 242 countries/regions, connected to Akamai.

Bearing in mind that in some cases multiple individuals may be represented by a single IPv4 address (for instance everyone in your home will probably share a single IP address, and most companies work on this model too), so this is likely to equal around a billion users.

Some highlights from this quarter’s report are below.


The top 3 countries with originating security attacks are (in order) China, USA and Turkey. These 3 account for 36% of the Internet’s security attacks.


The global average connection speed grew 13% to 3.0 Mbps, and the global average peak connection speed grew 19% to 16.1 Mbps

In the second quarter of 2012, average connection speeds on known mobile network providers ranged from a high of 7.5 Mbps down to 340 kbps. Average peak connection speeds for the quarter ranged from 44.4 Mbps down to 2.5 Mbps.


For users of  mobile devices across all networks (Wifi and the various cellular data networks), Apple’s Mobile Safari accounts for approximately 60% of requests, indicating that significantly more users of iOS devices use these devices on Wi-Fi networks — heavily driven by iPad and iTouch usage.


If you look at pure cellular data, the most common web browser is Android Webkit, which indicates a significant number of iOS users only use Wifi.


Amount of users (IP addresses)

  1. USA (142m IP addresses)
  2. China (93m)
  3. Japan (39m)
    UK is in 6th place with 26.5m
    Brazil grew the fastest – an extra 12% to 21.5m IPs


The full Akamai State of the Internet report can be found here.


What are the most popular cameras today?


I’ve always enjoyed photography and embraced digital photography as soon as it became affordable. I know own a pseudo-SLR camera – a Panasonic DMC-FZ18, and I’m proud of many of the photos I’ve taken in the last few years.

I used Flickr to store my best photos, both for archiving reasons and to show friends and family abroad. Flickr is a great website and one of its successes was “getting it right” so early on. It hasn’t changed very much in the last few years, which is a sign of how far ahead of it’s time it was.

Flickr provides a raft of analytics to premium members, showing all sort of visitor information of them people who have looked at your photos.

One of the publicly available reports is the popular camera model graph. What’s interesting about the graph is how quickly camera phones have replaced “traditional digital” cameras, and how quickly they’ve done so.

The most common camera in use by Flickr users is an Apple iPhone 4S. Until recently, the second most common camera was the Apple iPhone 4! I suspect it’s only dropped in the rankings recently because users are migrating over to the 4S or even the iPhone 5.

During the Olympics this year I was amazed how many spectators were taking photos after the athletics with iPads and iPhones. One would have expected that attending the World’s premier sporting event would warrant dusting off a camera to get the best possible photos, but the majority of those spectators on television had different views (no pun intended).

Holiday report


Last Tuesday, which now seems an age ago, we came back from our family holiday to Israel. Since then I’ve been to Germany and New York and back, and am looking forward to staying in the UK for a while.

I have a belief of not doing work while on holiday. Otherwise it’s not a holiday. I find it takes about 4-5 days to completely forget about work, so for a fortnight’s holiday, I can come back after ten days of a real break from work, and think much more creatively than when I went away. I find the break from work really helps the mind ‘cool down’. When I have worked during a holiday, the return to work has never been quite the same.

I still take a family laptop away, mainly as a backup for the day’s photos. I take a lot of photos on holiday – usually between 2 and 3,000, and once we’re back I usually whittle this down to around ten percent.

I find that backing up photos to the laptop doesn’t quite give me the peace of mind, that the photos are really safe, so I’ve been using a folder on Dropbox to back them up. I’m using Dropbox more and more, mainly because it integrates so well with Windows – so I can work on the photos in Picasa directly from Dropbox.

Israel is a very technologically advanced country. There is a true start-up culture there, and almost all the large, familiar, IT brands have offices in the country. I’ve discussed Waze on this blog before, and it’s still by far the most popular mapping technology in Israel.


Waze provides turn by turn directions on a journey and reports traffic conditions as soon as other Waze users report them. Waze can then reroute based on what the rest of the community is doing. So if a Waze user reports a car is blocking a lane on a motorway, Waze will start routing other users around the area. Also, if most users prefer a different route to what other mapping tools provide, Waze will use this community data for its users.

With Apple no longer shipping iPhones with Google Maps, there are several other Israeli start-ups creating map apps with new features. I got to see one of them, which made Google Maps and TomTom look ancient. The app isn’t due for release until October, and I was asked not to include it in this blog, so I’ll report on it when it is released.

Another good app that I saw was services.me. It’s a personal CRM tool that records your conversations with call centres, and collects the data to remind you to follow up the conversation. When you first download the app it’s pretty blank. The first time you need to call a utility company, you type in the name of the company and the app downloads the relevant plugin. You then dial the company via the app (at normal call rates), and the app records your conversation. Once you’re finished, the app uploads your voice recording to its service, and asks you if you need to follow up again, or was the matter resolved. Over time, you’ll download more and more plugins for your energy company, phone company, garage, etc. Users who have installed services.me say that they don’t know how they lived without it, the sign of a really useful app!


The London Metro, the free newspaper, ran a story a few months ago about how Londoners look like zombies when they walk along the pavements looking at their mobile phone. Since that article I’ve stopped using my phone on the pavement, and watched people bumping into lampposts, each other, and shop doors. And as a cyclist, I’ve seen too many people walk across the road without looking up. They are all zombies.

In Israel it’s exactly the same. Only I noticed it wherever we went. Even in remote areas people were walking along, typing, playing or whatever else they were doing on their phone. And I noticed more children in a zombie state than I’ve noticed in the UK.


In the UK we have pretty good free Wifi coverage. I know, because my kids are always hunting for free Wifi on their iPod touches. In Israel, free Wifi is in available pretty much everywhere. I don’t use data when roaming abroad because it’s so expensive, but I was able to use data on my iPhone pretty much everywhere. I usually had a harder time charging my iPhone than getting free Wifi! Free Wifi is even available on the beach – yes, I “checked in” on FourSquare!


Although Israel is a very technology literate country, and for people in hi-tech (as it’s called) the cost of living (salaries and rent/mortgage) is roughly the same as London, iPads are seen as a top end luxury. I still think the iPad is overpriced (the UK and globally) and I’m amazed at its sales success. Many of my friends in the UK have an iPad, and I’ve been to conferences recently where I was the only person not with an iPad. Talking to friends in Israel in hi-tech, they all say they’ll buy one tablet device or another in the future, but only a couple of people I knew there actually owned on.


Delete the save button


One of the joys of having children is looking at the world as you know it from a completely different viewpoint. Watching my own children use the Cbeebies website before they could even read remains the best demonstration of usability that I’ve ever seen.

My children now span school years 1, 4 and 5, and from about year 3 onwards, a large proportion of homework is done on a computer. My kids’ school uses a national website where kids have their own login, and it sets the homework for the child. Wikipedia has replaced Encyclopaedia Britannica, and Google Image search has brightened up essays.

Most of the time, the kids use [the excellent] Google Docs for documents (they’re a little too young for spreadsheets), and they use PowerPoint for presentations. However there’s a huge usability difference between the two applications which the kids really struggle with – and it’s a major difference between Google and Apple iOS versus Microsoft applications: the concept of ‘saving’.

If you’re a child who’s grown up with Google and iOS devices, the concept of needing to ‘save’ stuff is alien. You don’t need to save or even confirm changes on an iOS device. You don’t need to save notes for the device to remember them. And in Google Docs (now Drive), you don’t need to save documents either.

However as soon as children start using Microsoft Office applications, they need to save their documents and presentations, and suddenly the complexity of computers comes crashing down – drives and drive letters, folders, even filenames add on a level of technology that Google and Apple have done such a great job of removing for the last five years.

The next version of Office needs to address this once and for all. The necessity of files and all of their relations – drives, folders and file extensions, can now safely be removed.


3 components for perfect m-commerce


Every day I receive a link to a news article describing how powerful mobile shopping, or m-commerce has become. 98% of mobile commerce revenue is from iPads and there were $240 billion of mobile payments in 2011 – rising to $1trillion in 2015, Amazon have sold $1bn of products in the last 12 months, and eBay sold $5bn of products last year.

However, I think we’re about to see a step change in these revenues, because most m-commerce offerings are simply migrating their web offering to a mobile equivalent – either through app or a web browser. The statistics above are still mightily impressive, however there’s a lot more room to grow.

Amazon’s one click ordering makes it easy to buy a product, and eBay’s feedback rating is a brilliant piece of loyalty marketing – once you’ve won an item via Buy It Now or through an auction, the feedback rating psychologically compels consumers to go through with the purchase without any of eBay’s manual overhead.

Both of these systems are great for impulse buying, but are separated from marketing.

The next version of m-commerce will marry brand marketing and impulse buying. Consider these two scenarios:

  1. A consumer sees a poster advert in a train station promoting a new film. The consumer will soon be able to connect their smartphone to the poster – whether through the camera, wireless or another communication channel, and order tickets to the film at their preferred cinema.
  2. A consumer sees a poster advert of a perfume. They connect their smart phone to the poster, enter a quick and fast security check, and that perfume is then ordered and delivered to the consumer.

These scenarios require a number of barriers to be broken down before the purchase process can be made quickly and easily. Consumers won’t have the time or inclination to enter 4 pieces of information from their credit card for each purpose – it needs to be simplified. A current example of this is PayPal’s mobile app which has been simplified recently to remove long passwords and replace them with a 4 digit PIN number.

In order for this new world to occur, three things need to happen:

  1. The technology needs to be in place. As pointed out, with PayPal and existing smartphones, I think this is already in place.
  2. Marketing agencies need to help design the buying process. The agencies will need to help the commerce store with the actual purchase rather than a brand awareness exercise – and this will be difficult to achieve. It will be a huge educational process and mindset change for marketing and design agencies.
    I don’t think this can be achieved with QR codes because they are still clunky; require their own app and a decent Internet connection. Most consumers still don’t understand what a QR code is. QR codes also fragment the buying process, sending consumers off to websites rather than enabling a one-click, under 20 second buying process.
  3. The single fulfilment store.  One key player that has the infrastructure to do this is Apple. Imagine if they rebranded the App Store as simply ‘The Store’. A consumer sees the perfume poster above, links their iPhone to the poster, and orders through ‘The Store’. Apple already has the payment information and owner’s address – in the App Store. They also have the cash to setup the distribution infrastructure.
    Other contenders to be able to do this are Amazon and possibly Google. Or we could see a new player/ brand emerge, who won’t need to worry about the legacy of ‘old’ e-commerce systems and behaviours. Tesco have tried a system in Korea, however I think it was more of a marketing stunt or a proof of concept. And when I mention legacy systems, the future of m-commerce described above will be single, impulsive purchases, probably linked to brands, unlike the Tesco video which is a small step forward from shopping online.

Once these three component are in place, consumers will consider this as standard shopping behaviour. The holy grail of marketing will have been achieved – Marketing will have become directly linked to the purchase.

Photo courtesy of Eric on Flickr.


Early thoughts on Christmas and football


This Sunday, that’s the 9th October, don’t go to Oxford Street because the road will be shut. It will be shut because the Christmas lights are going to be hung up. It feels strange that last week in London the temperature was over 30 degrees and next weekend Christmas lights are being hung up.

Fifteen years ago, even five years ago, the Western world was buying discs and tapes of films, music and computer games.

At least the retailers on Oxford Street could sell something because yes you can still buy a physical DVD or BluRay, but it’s now easier to download an ‘on demand’ movie via Sky, cable or BT Vision.

Music CDs? In our house we use Spotify (Premium – so that we can use the iPhone app in the car) to listen to music. I haven’t bought a music CD for years.

The one physical format that has stood the test of time is computer console games. Although you can download demos for the Wii, PS3 and XBox, most consumers still need to buy a physical disk for the latest releases. 

Perhaps the main reason for still needing a physical disk is the price point. A music ‘album’ (how much longer before no one understands what that word means?) costs under £10 on Amazon. Watching a film on BT Vision and Sky is under £5. Compare those costs to the latest football game, FIFA 12, which is £43 on the PS3 and Xbox. Perhaps buying a product for over forty quid is too much for a virtual object.

There’s also a school of thought that because most games are bought as presents, you need to be able to wrap and hand it over. I don’t necessarily agree with this because a console such as an Xbox has a much higher age group and the gift element doesn’t apply so much. And personally I’d welcome downloadable full games because my kids wouldn’t be able to scratch the disks without any possibility of exchanging the useless £45 circular plastic.

Back to FIFA 12 for a moment… at the time of writing this post:

·         Xbox and PS3 versions both cost £42.89

·         Wii version costs £32.99

·         PC version costs £27.51.

(All those prices are from Amazon).

Now hop over to the iTunes store to buy FIFA 12 on an iPad. It’s £5.99. Why such a huge price difference? I wonder if the iPad version cannibalises the other formats, or whether it helps market the other formats (i.e. iPad users try the iPad version and think it’s so good that they want it on their Xbox).

At least if you do visit Oxford Street this weekend, you can download FIFA 12 to play on your iOS device while the lights are being put up.

Photo courtesy of dark delicious on Flickr