Saturday, 3 November 2012

What I've been reading this week

I’ve had a busy week, so this is a small – but perfectly formed - collection of articles on the technology and media industries that have caught my eye.

This week: Uniqlo reinvents alarm clock, Torygraph charges foreign Officers for access, EE launches UK LTE, Apple scandal as iPad secretly faster than... er... iPad

Digital Media

Social media sites continue to fragment – just launched is Mepedia a linkedin for those poor, stuggling millenials. Bless ‘em. http://www.fastcompany.com/3002455/mepedia-linkedin-desperately-unemployed-generation

Apps are a growing part of branding, but most companies still make them joyless, semi-functional mini websites. Not Uniqlo. Their alarm clock app is bang on brand and on trend for the target market. Which I guess is... er... me? http://www.fastcodesign.com/1671109/uniqlos-smartphone-alarm-app-is-as-sleek-as-japanese-pants

Disney got Star Wars for $4Bn. Here’s what it’ll make them back. http://www.statisticbrain.com/star-wars-total-franchise-revenue/

I’m really interested in how new devices are expanding the amount of time we spend consuming information. Some data from Jumpstat (presented by Marketingcharts) shows how smartphones are used throughout the day, with tablets picking up in the evening. I’ll watch the effects of the iPad Mini with interest. Being smaller, it’s more portable and therefore more useable as a smartphone replacement. http://www.marketingcharts.com/wp/interactive/smartphones-work-round-the-clock-tablets-come-out-at-night-24442/

The Daily Telegraph has started charging foreign visitors for access to its website. Newspapers have a tough call to make now. Go all pay and risk the audience falling or go free and pray yields don’t drop with so many papers going that way. I wonder if there’s a dual strategy. Free in the big cities, paid in the rural and suburban areas. Worth a thought. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/nov/01/telegraph-paywall

Mobile email usage is going up. Unsurprisingly the busiest times are mornings around breakfast and evenings around dinner time. Because we’re commuting, rather than eating, presumably. http://www.tailoredmail.com/u/TailoredMail/43243-0-376939/127067/Mobile-Trends.htm

UK mega-broadcaster BSkyB aren’t worried about Netflix and Lovefilm – and rightly not – the big threats are a still stuttering economy and the lack of common sense of some “competitors” like BT who’ve driven up the cost of sports rights. http://www.standard.co.uk/business/business-news/sports-costs-put-pressure-on-bskyb-8273823.html

SOME GOOD SOCIAL MEDIA STATS IN AN INFOGRAPHIC. BUT WHY IS IT SO MASSIVE? http://www.go-globe.com/blog/social-media-facts

Business models

In the least surprising move in the history of firing, John Browett (formerly of retail disaster area, Dixons) has been fired as head of Apple retail. Curiously I had noticed that the experience was going downhill. The article explains why. http://arstechnica.com/apple/2012/10/no-surprise-browetts-reign-over-apple-retail-a-short-7-months/

Technology

I’m not sure whether it’ll succeed in the market, but this gyroscopically stabilised one person electric car looks awesome and has plenty of promise for urban commuting. http://www.fastcoexist.com/1680779/can-a-mutant-electric-half-car-half-motorcycle-disrupt-the-vehicle-market

Everything Everywhere has launched an LTE network in the UK. An 1800 network – therefore unharmonised with what’s happening in Europe – it uses some refarmed GSM spectrum. A colleague has acquired a handset. It doesn’t get much LTE signal, but when it does there’s 15MBit/s downstream available. Not bad for such a Heath Robinson network. http://www.techwatch.co.uk/2012/10/30/ees-4g-network-goes-live/

Robotics continue to advance at pace. Wearable additional arms for factory workers could be a reality very soon according to the generally trustworthy New Scientist magazine. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21628885.800-need-a-hand-wearable-robot-arms-give-you-two.html

Having just about got the 800MHz auctions sorted, Ofcom are reported trying to pitch the digital terrestrial broadcasters out of 700MHz too. I’m all for it. There’s already a great mass market delivery system for TV that’s super efficient. Satellite. If you want competition there’s cable. That’s enough in my view. We need more mobile broadband... or rather, I’d like more and everyone else can do what’s good for me. Thanks. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/digital-media/9641942/Ofcoms-5G-plans-already-under-way-after-4G-launch.html

Superpower politics

It turns out that the iPad 4 is actually a massive upgrade on the iPad 3, with the A6X chip more than twice as fast as the A5 on the iPad 3. I can understand why they wouldn’t want to publicise that too much though – an unexpected upgrade is potentially quite a bad thing from a PR point of view. http://www.gizmag.com/ipad-4-benchmarks-high-sells-out/24787/

This one did the rounds earlier this week: Steve Jobs’ Philippe Starck designed yacht has been launched. It’s pretty cool. http://thenextweb.com/apple/2012/10/28/steve-jobs-and-philippe-starcks-minimalist-high-tech-yacht-makes-its-debut/

A slightly superficial article about why Apple should enter the gaming market more actively. I guess the question is whether they need to. iOS devices dominate the mobile gaming market by virtue of (relatively) high speed processor power, great screens... oh, and the app store, or course. Yes, there is that. What more does Apple need to do? Open up the Apple TV some more and fit it with a high end graphics processor. I suppose that might do it, but it’d cost more and Apple TV is hardly a sell out product. http://www.slashgear.com/why-does-apple-ignore-gaming-28254388/

Just for fun

I love this sort of thing – 50 people who’re shaping the future of design. Inspirational stuff. http://www.fastcodesign.com/1670792/infographic-50-people-shaping-the-future-of-design

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