Category Archives: Technology

Essential apps and services

I am commonly asked which iPhone apps and tools I use for various functions in my businesses (as well as for personal enjoyment). Given that I enumerated the hardware which I use in my portable office, it seems appropriate that I incorporate the softer side of things here. In formulating the list of applications which I rely on daily, I realized that in addition to native programs running on my iPhone and Mac, there are a significant number of services (what is hiply called “the cloud” these days) which I have been using for years and have included below, as well.

To the talented visionaries and meticulous implementers who have made possible all of these services and products: you have my appreciation, gratitude, and loyal patronage. Thank you for enabling such a deliciously seamless and omnipresent access to data, media, and overall connectivity which I had dreamed about in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Such access makes doing business (and life) easier, more efficient, and ironically more “untethered” than ever. Continue reading

The new iPad: an experiment, at best

I’m an Apple fan and self-admitted power user/rationalizing Apple-aholic, but it took the iPhone development a full two years of maturity (in both hardware and OS design) to make me a buyer. It appears the iPad is taking a similar path. I would expect more innovation in the software on its release, building on nearly 3 years’ knowledge base following the initial release of the iPhone, but even in its current state (an iPod Touch with a larger physical form factor) with little change to the software, the device could prove useful in a number of niche applications.

Perhaps its original target as a high-end “Kindle killer” with multimedia capability holds sufficient promise to launch the product. In this limited view, there is at least an existing e-reader market, though the iPad is far outside the current market in terms of pricing. By comparison, the iPhone was not a BlackBerry killer when it first launched, and Steve Jobs clearly stated it was not trying to compete in this arena (implying–yet). While sorely lacking in basic smartphone (and even some basic plain-phone) utility at the time, the iPhone was revolutionary as a portable gaming and media device. As such, it flew out the door to the tune of millions of units worldwide.

As an oversized iPod Touch, the iPad is actually better suited than its smaller brother for a number of potential uses: ideal car-computer for telematics and entertainment as a center console and back-of-headrest display, interactive home theater/control remote, countless commercial and industrial custom applications, etc. What surprises me most about the specs of the device is the oversight of the hardware/industrial design which compromises the expansion of use as applications follow on its release. This is particularly surprising since Apple usually nails this aspect and is often regarded, even among its critics, as creating beautifully elegant and minimalistic though functional hardware. Maybe Apple excluded its normal set of “out of the box” thinkers when defining interfaces and constraints at its early high-level design meetings on this one. Continue reading