With so many of us on-the-go these days, it’s only natural that we are constantly looking for ways to combine and manage our, for lack of a better word, stuff, under one device. Long gone are the days of carrying a cell phone, book, camera and laptop. (No, this isn’t a plug for an iPad.) But I came across some research regarding Apple’s Newsstand app, and I have to admit, I wasn’t very surprised when I read about the tremendous amount of money publications are making from iPad users.
While the app itself is free, there are subscription fees for most of the content available on it, and according to February research from Distimo, the top 100 grossing publications from Newsstand made more than $70K per day in the U.S.. While that’s a lot of money, you have to remember that people are cutting out of their lives door-to-door newspaper deliveries, print magazine subscriptions, and the like in order to have everything in one central location. So isn’t it only natural that everything washes itself out in the end, once you factor money, convenience and accessibility? I guess I just don’t find it surprising that people are removing the clutter from their lives and trading in hard copies for electronic. Instead, the study is more of a reinforcing reminder of what most of us expected to happen.
Per Distimo, the top five U.S. grossing publications in February were The Daily (an iPad-only publication), the New York Times, The New Yorker, National Geographic and Cosmopolitan.
If you’re an iPad user who contributed to that $70K number last month, what publications are you subscribed to, and do you still purchase hard copies of newspapers, magazines, books, etc.? What are the pros and cons of the two worlds?
- Mary Evans
Photo credit: MoDevUX
Mobile continues to be a hotbed of action as the market tries to capitalize on the success of app stores and the consumer adoption of new platforms. However, a successful mobile program goes far beyond just the sheer number of app downloads. Today’s mobile user demands a unique and intuitive mobile experience. Personally, if I choose to invest in the iPad I want to use apps developed and designed specifically for it that deliver on a killer mobile experience.
To address best practices in mobile design and development for end users like myself, the MoDev Network fostered MoDevUX meetups and conferences. The next MoDevUX is being held right in our backyard at the Ritz Carlton Tysons Corner on April 20, from 8am-6pm. The event brings together the nation’s best mobile developers, designers, architects, and creative talent to discuss what works in mobile experience and design and the future of mobile platforms. Topics and presentations will cover UX/UI, structuring content, touchscreen design, HTML5 mobile framework, app creation, app markets, usability and more. You can view the full schedule and information about additional workshops on the 19th and the Hackathon on the 21st here.
To all of the savvy mobile users out there: what are some of your favorite mobile apps or websites?
From apps to devices to startups and even advertising, the March 8 Potomac Tech Wire Mobile Outlook panel didn’t hold back about their opinions about 2011 and predictions for 2012. Panelists included:
- Charles Curran, General Partner, Valhalla Partners
- Barg Upender, Founder and CEO, Mobomo
- Carolyn Parent, Co-founder, timeRazor
- Martin Ringlein, Co-founder & Senior Consultant, nclud
- Sean Shadmand, President and Co-founder, Socialize
- Moderator - Paul Sherman, Editor, Potomac Tech Wire
The event kicked off with panelists responding to what mobile trend they were most surprised by in 2011. While several panelists agreed that location-based apps and services have been “taking off like a rocket”, others seemed more impressed by the fact that mobile innovations are helping to cut out the “middleman.” Upender used the simplicity and genius of the car service app Uber as an example, divulging details of his recent experience. He noted that with a few clicks he was able to hail a town car (with notification of when it was approaching his pick-up location), go to a restaurant and pay the driver all through the app, calling it “an awesome user experience.” Curran noted that, in 2011, he was impressed with the growth in demand for data scientists, providing a helpful message to the parents in the crowd: “Tell all of your kids in high school and college to become data scientists.”
iOS vs. Android
The battle of Android vs. iOS was also a hot topic at the event, with the panelists and the audience mostly preferring Apple devices and agreeing they are leading the pack in innovation. Ringlein mentioned that iOS is still the leader in mobile and Android is barely hanging on in second place. “Android still has a lot of problems from a platform and programming side,” said Ringlein. However, he also noted that people should keep their eyes on other front-end technologies that could help bridge the gap between the two platforms in the upcoming year.
Of course, Apple didn’t come up without the mention of their recent new iPad announcement and tablets, in general. Ringlein mentioned that 4G was going to really change the way we distribute and consume content. Parent gave the nod to an increase in tablet use in the retail space, noting a change in how people will interact with retailers. She said we can expect to see people bringing their iPads with them to retail destinations to research buying options in real-time, impacting their purchase decisions.
I’m sure Curran had my August 2011 blog post about the future of mobile advertising in mind when he mentioned that soon mobile ads would be location-based. He noted that businesses will be able to tell when you are nearby and push specifically targeted ads out to your mobile device, and I think he is on to something. However, in response to Paul Sherman’s skepticism that there is a place for mobile advertising, Shadmand stated that the term “ad” is a scary word. However, he did explain that, although advertising on mobile devices will and should take on a much different model than conventional advertising, there is definitely a market for it. He use American Express as an example, citing that the company is allowing people to sign your credit card up to your Twitter account and rewarding users for tweeting about them.
Upender brought up that some mobile apps are ads within themselves, including apps such as Chefs Feed - an app that gives you the in on where the country’s top chefs are eating – essentially creating ads for each restaurant. And a final thought from Ringlein on mobile ads: “the ad you don’t notice is the ad that works the best.”
Parent was the first to put in her two cents about mobile startups, once again focusing on the location-based community. She informed the audience that people need to get the right information at the right time, and startups need to aspire to connect those two things by really thinking about the value-add and uniqueness of their offering. She also noted that having a plan in regard to how to make money is also essential.
In response to whether or not charging the consumer was working, Curran interjected that you can’t charge everyone. He gave the example of Dropbox – 99 percent of the consumers using their product don’t pay, but the 1 percent who do are making them successful. In turn, he referenced that The New York Times is trying to charge each consumer, but it’s not working.
Sherman kicked off this conversation by noting that this year at CES the mobile health community was everywhere. The panel agreed that we would see a huge wave of health-related mobile services over the next five years, including wristbands and heart monitors. They also discussed the social incentives attached to these services that will make it huge, i.e. running apps that will tweet your mileage and giving people the motivation to take health to the next level. Shadmand wrapped up the topic by stating that what will help mobile health boom will be how it cuts out the middleman and goes straight to the consumer, blurring the lines between B2B and B2C.
Following the panel, a handful of local startups were given the opportunity to give live demos of their apps, showcasing D.C. companies’ abilities to innovate in the mobile market. Here’s the list:
You probably heard that Apple unveiled the new iPad today. And actually, that’s what they called it: “the new iPad.” Funny thing is, save for a few added, admittedly cool features – Retina Display, 4G connectivity, etc. – it’s kinda the same as the old iPad.
Doesn’t matter, though. It’ll sell gazillions.
That’s because Apple, perhaps more so than any other company on the planet, has become unbelievably good at getting people to not just want something but feel, deep down in their bones, that they absolutely need it. Even when they really don’t (and let’s face it, as nice as the iPad is, no one really needs one).
The funny thing is that Apple seems to do this without even breaking a sweat. How many big press releases do you see Apple distribute per month? How many speaking engagements does Tim Cook do outside of Apple-sanctioned events? How many byline articles have Scott Forstall, Jony Ive and Phil Schiller written recently? Y
You get my point. And that’s why companies of all shapes and sizes would kill to be Apple. The brand is so recognizable, with such a fervent following, that it towers over the tech landscape.
Chances are, you’re not Apple. But someday you might be. In order to get there, you need to do the seemingly little things that other companies who aren’t Apple do on a daily basis. Be up to speed and involved in all aspects of social media, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs. Get the word out about your organization through relevant news releases (two per month is a good goal to shoot for, provided you have something newsworthy to talk about). Submit executives for awards. Explore potential speaking opportunities. Heck, you may have to do something as simple as get involved in your local chamber of commerce.
I’m not sure if that’s exactly how Apple built their brand to what it is today, but I’m willing to bet it involved at least a smidgen of that. Just some things to consider while you’re standing outside the Apple Store next week waiting to get your hands on the new, somewhat better than the old, iPad.
- Pete Larmey
Photo courtesy Associated Press