Posts tagged iphone
Posts tagged iphone
BeamItDown Software recently announced that their iOS eBook app iFlow Reader will be discontinued, and the company will be shutting down. The stated reason for this is Apple’s policy, implemented this year, that in-app purchases must go through their system, with a 30% fee (which is more than eBook sellers can generally afford to give up). Ben Brooks thinks the effect on BeamItDown Software and iFlow Reader is justified by an evolving market:
It sucks that iFlow can’t figure out an alternative, but it’s not Apple’s job to help iFlow run their business.
That’s true, but it is Apple’s job to support the app ecosystem they’ve created. That doesn’t mean they’re required to cater to every app’s specific model, but changing a policy, when it negatively affects some app publishers so directly, is inconsiderate and anticompetitive (especially since any eBook seller is a direct competitor to Apple, due to iBooks).
To add insult to injury, Ben thinks that iFlow screwed themselves by investing solely in Apple’s platform:
So iFlow, Apple didn’t screw you — you screwed yourselves. Linking your success to being able to sell one app in one market screwed you and it can and will happen to others.
It’s true that it’s a often bad idea to put all your eggs in one basket. This is especially true with networks, like Twitter. But with iOS and the App Store, Apple wants people to make it their exclusive market. Apple wants people to be building and selling only for iOS (and Mac OS X). Is The Daily “screwing itself” by relying entirely on Apple’s platform? Oh right — they’ve got a special deal with Apple. Is that what it’ll take to succeed on the App Store? Or at least, to feel safe that your business model is sustainable? Maybe that’s what Apple wants.
But it’s certainly not fair, and it doesn’t set a very good precedent for future companies deciding where to focus. If Apple wants their closed App Stores to be the best sources of software and services (and it seems they do), developers need to be assured that their business model won’t be pulled out from under them. It’s certainly Apple’s right, but it’s not necessary, and it doesn’t promote innovation, risk-taking, or exclusivity on their platform, or trust among developers (and users).
Furthermore, since Apple requires that the App Store price be equal to or lower than outside prices, even if developers rely on multiple platforms and multiple markets, this still puts them in a situation where, if they choose to remain on Apple’s platform, they need to raise prices outside the store as well. Apple’s policy doesn’t just require companies that can’t currently afford 30% to shift their App Store strategy, but their entire pricing strategy. Whatever the fairness of this, it’s undoubtedly bad for the users.1
This may be one of the first casualties of Apple’s draconian policy, but it won’t be the last. A nonnegotiable 30% cut on all in-app purchases is bad for developers, bad for competition, and worst of all, bad for users.
Shawn Blanc wrote an interesting post about using his iPhone as his only camera, and he ends with some great insights on the drawbacks:
…some of the most memorable moments are also the ones where you do not want your iPhone anywhere near you.
If the best camera is the one you have with you then the worst camera is the one you refuse to take. Funny how that can simultaneously refer to the same device.
In many ways the iPhone punched massive holes into the inexpensive digital camera market. But there are some instances when the iPhone is the worst option for a camera. Because there is something to be said about the fact that there are some places where you really want a camera yet you are not going to take your iPhone into that situation.
This creates a paradox of value. The high value of a device1 can be the very reason you don’t want to take it into a specific situation where its value is relevant. An expensive camera on a dangerous hike, a nice guitar through international travel, or in Shawn’s case, an iPhone to the beach. Expensive gear might perform better, but it also carries a much higher risk. Sometimes a cheap camera or an old guitar are enough — or even better. Which brings us back to the idea that there really is no single “right” tool. As Shawn’s example highlights, even the apparent “best” tool is not right for every situation.
Not just financial value either: as Shawn mentions, devices like the iPhone carry a lot of personal information. They’re very versatile, so losing an iPhone can mean more than just losing photos and money. ↩
The great thing about writing is the number of tools needed to do it effectively. There’s really only one: something to write with. Right now, for me, that’s my laptop (and my iPod Touch while on the go). In the past it’s been a pencil and notebook, and various computers.
There are other tools I use, and each has its purpose, but none of them make me a better writer. Writing makes me a better writer, and while the right tools (arguably) make me write more, and modern tools may make writing easier, none of them are essential in their own right.1 The only thing I really need is a reason to start: inspiration is more valuable than any accessory.
There’s a saying in photography that “the best camera is the one that’s with you.” The same can be said about writing: the best tool is the one that’s with you.2
It’s fitting that the book that seems to have originated (or at least popularized) that phrase is all about iPhone photography, and the iPhone is also one of the most accessible places to write. If we are to agree, at least for creative processes, that the best tool is the one you have with you, then something like the iPhone — powerful, versatile, and always in your pocket — is the best tool for a lot of things (with apps being key). ↩
Jef Raskin in The humane interface: new directions for designing interactive systems on the power of modelessness and monotony (two principles that heavily influenced Notational Velocity's development):
If I am correct, the use of a product based on modelessness and monotony would soon become so habitual as to be nearly addictive, leading to a user population devoted to and loyal to the product.
I think this explains the status Notational Velocity has reached, and devices like Apple’s iPhone as well.
In 2010 (and 2009), it’s all about being everywhere. Sites and services need websites optimized for desktop, mobile, touch and even TV, with an app for each device: iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, and all the rest, not to mention Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Synced, backed up, and accessible everywhere, the theme for the future is this: ubiquity.