Gene Moy (梅忠毅) is a user experience architect from Chicago with 15 years experience working on the web and now, medical devices. Occasionally he thinks every day feels like 1995 all over again. More about Gene »
Or was it? I’ve been saying this in various places, but, I think we saw a game changer of an event today. Technologically nothing has changed. But because it addresses emerging markets and unmet user needs, the iPad will change computing as we know it, really make it part of our contemporary everyday experience, almost akin to radio and television no longer being special, but ubiquitous. We all knew, deep inside, that the netbook was really only a band-aid to people’s real needs, which really don’t require the computing power of a laptop, and yet need something more heavyweight than a cellphone or Blackberry. At the same time, they couldn’t build something that would take share away from their phone or laptop business.
We all saw how e-Readers took off this Holiday season and that it may just a matter of time, really, before book discounters could potentially go the way of the big box video rentals, like Blockbuster or Hollywood, and music stores like Tower Records and HMV. Amazon is better insulated against this because they’ve diversified their risk, but you can see it in the big boxes like Best Buy: everything is bits. Hard media is passe. Publishing rights and deals are the new currency in such an economy. I would not be surprised to see not only big time houses do well, but small independent publishing should flourish through the new Apple online bookstore, as podcasting did under iTMS. Amazon has never been able to leverage this as Apple could and hopefully will. Now Apple owns the world’s largest music, movies, and bookstore chain. I get the sense that Amazon’s happy to just sell through Apple, so long as they mind their own business. But there will be a day when Amazon will want more from their partnership, and that will be the end of that.
I have seen some snippy comments about the technology not being so special, in fact, not new technology at all, but those same people said the same things about the Nintendo Wii when it was announced. Again I would say no one is looking at emerging markets, no one is looking at the vast untapped needs out there, no one is looking at how regular, everyday people use computers, now and for the foreseeable future. But this is what divides the design thinkers from those who don’t. The best way to predict the future is to create it, and that’s what Jobs demonstrated today. Again.
NPR had a commentator talking about the “fifth screen” which I’d never heard of before. I think it was fifth. Let’s see…1st – movie, 2nd – tv, 3rd computer, 4th – cell? Yes, I think it was 5th. At any rate, the guy was saying how he thought this might be the start of that. Interesting.
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