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Quick iPad Thoughts From a Travel Journalist

April 7, 2010 1 comment

Still not sure how I feel about writing iPad, but whatever, it’s just a name. Here’s a few observations from my end. Nothing revolutionary — there is already way to much published about the darn thing — but nevertheless:

  • In no way is this the savior of media. It’s a cool idea, cool concept, has some cool features, but $500 bucks for a device that can’t be dropped, smashed, chewed on (folks with animals and toddlers) and spilled on. (Think morning coffee and the NYT’s and a sudden bark from the dog and you jump up just to tip if over…….)
  • When working on applications with text make sure to ask the developer to devise an action to have the text fit directly to the screen. Playing with NYT’s columns was cumbersome (note: this was the online version) and at times frustrating to size the font just right. If there was a way to tap or execute a series of taps to autofill that would be sweet.
  • Photos look fantastic. I might just buy one of these for the next wedding I shoot. Download the photos en route to the reception and let people see them at the tables. (Need to figure out the spilling and theft deal), but it’ll make more than one head spin.
  • It’s a great portfolio device. Going on a trip through NY to shop your work with editors? Bring this, it’s a goldmine in this application.
  • Word processing on first glance was a bit cumbersome. Without a mouse and apple key to activate keyboard shortcuts, it’s going to take some time to nail down. Probably just a few weeks, or days, or days, whatever, but it’s not looking to be something you’ll want to use to produce fine edits on a longish piece.
  • It’s definitely a game changer. The fourth screen. The slate that does everything. But it’s a long way off I think. Price deduction, third party apps, third party accessories and price deduction are the keys I think. Family of four? You’re out 2k. Ouch.
  • Forget anything travel oriented with this and produce education applications. This is a goldmine for students. Think K-12 with a college set happening afterwords. First group to nail a killer app for J-schools is going to make a bundle. (That is if said J-schools have deans who understand that Apple is not a fruit)
  • It’s heavyish. I need to workout.

Overall: This thing didn’t exist six months ago. The iPhone is only three years old. iPods at first were shunned. Apple is onto something here. The early adopters will create a cool and sexy hipster vibe that will flood the creative New York world with iPad toting artists just ready to show off their work. Those who can afford one will boast about it’s awesome game-changing power and create those like me who don’t need one into thinking it’s keeping me back. If you’re looking to get ahead of the curve in app design and understanding how content can be repurposed it’s a solid investment, but as I thought when I was playing with one: It’s not about creating content for one device in our field. It’s about telling a compelling story. If the story is there, the device will follow.

Apple’s iPad, Apollo 13 and The Media Industry

January 27, 2010 2 comments

During the past 18 months I’ve been having lots of conversations about rethinking media. A month ago while speaking with several Conde Nast employees I used an example from Apollo 13 as my thesis for what media has to do today. In honor of Apple’s Tablet iPad, I thought I would share my entire thought processes in one, one minute clip.

Is Your Brand Ready For The Apple iSlate?

January 19, 2010 Leave a comment

The Apple iSlate, otherwise known as the-only-possible-thing-on-the-planet-that-can-save-media, is supposed to be released next week by Apple and the media is scrambling to be ready. But what are you doing to get your own brand in place to take on this new technology?

Not sure? Consider the following:

  • If Apple does in fact release the iSlate, magazines and media companies will be turning to advertisers in droves to fill their new digital properties. This means ads will need to be placed next to interactive content and possibly be interactive themselves. Is your brand ready to be interactive and have multiple campaigns?
  • If you’re brands video is placed next to a Sports Illustrated video recap of last night’s NBA game, how will your video quality compare to the high definition video SI is using? Flip camera’s worked great last year, but now as mobile displays are able to distribute video in full hd will your ad take advantage of that?
  • Advertising, or rather good advertising today, is all about storytelling and providing viewers with a story. With interactive ads, brands can now highlight personalities, product demonstrations, real-world situations and story lines that support their message and engage the viewer. Outdoor brands and travel brands have a strong advantage here. Who wouldn’t want to see yesterday’s snow conditions, check out interactive trail maps, and view 360-degree photos of hotel rooms when deciding if they were going to book a trip that weekend to their favorite resort?
  • Are you still thinking one-way? Or are you using your ads to encourage conversation and participation? Advertising is no longer about putting out a message and expecting it to stick. We all know this, but for some reason advertisers are still approaching ads as if they were ads and not their own branded content. Most magazines have little to no online budget, so ads can take advantage of this and use various mediums to create their own content targeted specifically at iSlate users. For instance, if your brand was a rafting company, approaching your advertisement as a narrative travel story following a select number of guests, engages the viewer more than just a bunch of b-roll video with crappy copyright-free music. If you are thinking like a journalist, your brands advertisements will stick out. Big time.

There are many more ways brands can set themselves up for the iSlate and mobile advertising, but by far the largest step needs to be action. Like podcasting and iPhone Apps, the early adopters were able to grab market share quickly and stay ahead of the game by innovating along the way. So instead of wringing your hands, start small and build from there. Brands that do will succeed and I believe will stand out sometimes even more than the editorial content they are next to.

Have An Idea? Don’t Sit On It! — RiverGuide for Kayakers

August 7, 2008 Leave a comment

Two months ago while sitting in the airport I was texting my boss a new business idea: “We could build a website that aggregates all the geological stream data in the US and build the ultimate spot for kayakers, boaters and fishermen.” My boss thought it was genius and encouraged me to pursue the idea. Just one problem: I had no idea how to code, where to start, and if it was even possible.

Enter RiverGuide for Kayakers — a new iPhone application that does everything I said above, except it’s on your phone, in the palm of your hand, with gps driving directions, the ability to call your buddies, and of course the Internet.

The application sells for $1.99 and according to a quick Google search is popular. Apple employees have even picked it as a “top favorite.”

Beyond the obvious lesson–don’t sit on your ass when you have an idea–I learned something else. I saw barriers and didn’t have the drive to push through them. Instead I worked harder than ever at my job, and even played harder on the weekends. Was it worth it? In hindsight yes, but then again, I did get scooped once again and damn it hurts.

Categories: apple, iPhone, Personal, Technology

Pure F-ing Genius

January 22, 2008 Leave a comment

Sorry for the delay folks. Work has been busy and according to my coworkers, “Tim is trying to take over the world.” In reality it’s just California and Las Vegas.

Remember that computer Steve Jobs released last week? The small, yet significant paper-thin laptop that instantaneously created an obesity epidemic for laptops everywhere?

Well it has gotten better. And in true Apple fashion, the creators are as far from Steve Jobs as you can get.

I present to you AirMail. No seriously, I’m not joking, this thing is so F-ing genious, even Fake Steve wrote about it.

Two hippies: one journalist, one web designer/musician have done what millions wish they could. Make and market vinal manila envelopes to double as sleeves for the new Macbook Air.

Their website, eye candy in itself, not only mimics Apple, but proves how stupid Fortune 500 companies are.

In it’s entirety the site has less than 300 words of written text.

They have three simple choices for visitors.

AirMail: All you want to know
Press about AirMail
AirMail: About the makers

They have three high-res graphics for press to utilize. Multiple email hotlinks for questions, and ordering options from the home page.

There is no clutter. No splashing quotes on the header. Just simple white with a splash of manila.

These guys are genius. Pure F-ing geniuses.

Categories: apple, Technology

What if Steve went to Washington?

September 6, 2007 1 comment

After watching Steve Jobs give numerous keynote presentations I’m beginning to wonder why he hasn’t dropped the tech world and made his way to Washington. They guy is genius. And not the kind of genius that most of the old geezers up there think they are. Instead, this guy, Steve, got the whole world to flip for a freeken phone. Not terrorists, not conservation, not even lower taxes, but a phone, and one that would cost $600 at that.

If you don’t know who Steve is, and yes I’m now referring him as though I personally know him, then I suggest you take your head out of the sand and watch this video of his most recent keynote. Then watch this video of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg trying to emulate him and it’s not hard to draw conclusions. Is Mark really Bush?And Steve more of an Obama? Hmmmm

Categories: apple