AMITIAE - Tuesday 17 December 2013
Cassandra: Mid-week Comment - Update to Mavericks; A Missing App; Newsstand News; and Apple Innovations to make you Slack-jawed
By Graham K. Rogers
I am not sure if this was a perfect update (are they ever?) as a couple of problems were revealed after I installed this. One problem occurred with Safari as several of the pages that I had open when the computer restarted, were missing. Well, that's OK, hit Open all pages in History. But that did not do it. As some of the pages were downloaded several days ago and I emptied the caches at the weekend, I expect that I shot myself in the foot there.
We went through the basics in class first, then I ran the app - connecting to the projector with an adapter - and outlined the organisation. Take notes, I said (several did not). Download the app yourself, I said.
In class last time, one of the students complained that, although the app was shown in the app store, it was marked as No Longer Available. I tried using my own iPhone, but as I already had it installed, that was inconclusive. Then we tried with another student's iPhone and we had the same result as with the first student's device.
I later sent email to Enchroma about this and, bless them, they got back to me within a few hours. I was told that, Yes, the app was still available. In reply I wondered if the authorisation for Thailand had somehow failed.
A couple of days later, Enchroma sent me another mail. I was right. The developer account with Apple had expired. They have now renewed it, so the app should start reappearing again soon. Lucky I told them.
Many had rushed to Apple's Newsstand, but few of them appreciated the potential of the medium and instead put out PDF-based (or In Design-produced) output and this is not as interactive as the tablet medium demands. It is not a surprise, therefore, to find that readers are not willing to be dealt poor materials, so sales sink and the publishers are left wondering why.
This followed an item I saw a couple of weeks ago by Gabe on MacDrifter (that I linked to via The Loop) examined the changed dynamics of Apple and the News Stand on iOS devices. The writer (Gabe) had noted that one of his regular reads was now no longer available in the iOS Newsstand. The publisher had "decided that the iOS-only publishing model is a dead-end and they are moving the periodical to the web instead."
Vassallo points out that publications were hidden inside Newsstand and that recently the app - or folder - was changed becoming less visible. This seems to signal less interest from Apple for this feature that appeared to be a focal point in an earlier version of iOS.
There is simply so much content (good and bad) available online for readers to select from, that hooking a reader - even for a single item - is not always an easy task. Some take the lazy way out and put "Apple" in the headlines, when perhaps they are writing about Tablet computers or the decline in PC sales: yes, it is related, but not the main subject. Apple (not in this headline, you will notice) is easy bait.
Some of the earliest attempts to run with the iOS devices include the Murdoch Daily App. At firs this so-called international publication was US-only; but when it was available worldwide, the content was falt, boring and of interest only to those within the US. The publisher just did not understand the possibilities of the medium, either in terms of the market or the content needed for success.
One that I reached for as soon as it was announced was The New Yorker Magazine. Long one of my favourite publications, it was difficult (and expensive) to buy in its print form here and was always out of date by the time it did appear on the few shelves that stocked it. To have it available on the iPad was perfect. There was no problem with content, of course, but more of time. The publisher,Condé Nast also puts out Vogue and this also makes good use of interactive nature of the iPad, but more than that, the content is unsurpassed.
Motor Sport, a publication I read every month when I was working in the UK in the 1970s, took a while to appear on the iPad and I subscribed right away when it did. Downloading was never as good as (say) The New Yorker: it took too long and there were often items missing. But it was the mass of content that caught me here, albeit only a small step away from what was available in print (if it was ever available in that format here). Like The New Yorker, there is just too much content available these days and there are still only 24 hours in a day.
Not long after the announcement, one of the execs of Qualcomm started bad-mouthing Apple, suggesting it was an unneeded gimmick, but several reports made the point that this was probably sour grapes as Qualcomm had not done it first and would now be several months catching up. To make that point, the exec was shortly afterwards removed from his position and Qualcomm statements became a little more conciliatory.
Now there is more information about the concern within the company as a report from Dan Lyons (fake Steve Jobs), outlines just how innovative Apple's move was:
"The 64-bit Apple chip hit us in the gut," says the Qualcomm employee. "Not just us, but everyone, really. We were slack-jawed, and stunned, and unprepared. It's not that big a performance difference right now, since most current software won't benefit. But in Spinal Tap terms it’s like, 32 more, and now everyone wants it."
I just wonder how Wall Street is going to try and belittle Apple's next quarterly financial report as indications are that (once again) the figures are going to break all records.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.
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