The iPad's flagship newspaper is finished. Today News Corp. promised what some of us in the media long hoped for. Big boss Rupert Murdoch will take The Daily out back of the barn and shoot it in the head on December 15, putting the godawful digital rag, its editors and the few readers out of their misery. Thus ends the iPad's big, publishing experiment. In ruins.
What a mess it is, too. News Corp. spent $30 million just to launch The Daily, which debuted in February 2011 on iPad. Apple joined the revelry that made the then less-than-year-old device seemingly legitimate -- a truly compelling platform for digital publishing. But News Corp's. digital newspaper stumbled right at the start. Early users complained about constant crashes and slow updates. The Daily promised ongoing content updates to the app, but they proved to be too much -- even after new versions released. Fundamentally, however, The Daily's failure is about editorial content.
With the advent of advances in technology and the increasing power of process, we are witnessing a tremendous transition in the design of user experiences and interface design in software development. Of particular interest in this article is the culmination of natural user interface design as it relates to the current crop of touchscreen laptops made possible by Windows 8.
One of the things I have noticed as more and more tech sites review touchscreen laptops is the increasing amount of comments such as, "I would never touch a screen on a laptop" or "why would anyone ever need to touch a screen on a laptop?" The problem with the comments, the thinking is limited by mouse and keyboard. Windows 8 is the first operating system to force us to move beyond this thinking when it comes to using traditional computing devices like desktops and laptops.
I can see only one good reason to choose iPhone 5 over Nexus 4: The LG-manufactured mobile is sold out, and you can't wait. For the patient, Google's fourth-generation stock Android delivers rewarding experience. The new Nexus is the smartphone to buy this holiday season -- if you can find one.
Two reasons stand in iPhone 5's favor, neither is good, just necessary for some people: Your carrier -- for example, Sprint and Verizon in the United States -- isn't supported (Nexus 4 is GSM/HSPA+), or you bought heap loads of apps from Apple and don't want to lose your investment. I feel your pain, but offer no pity. Nexus 4 is exceptional.
That was fast, if it ever was. Don't blink or the so-called PC era will pass you by. For years, I've called it the cloud-connected device era because of the deeper meaning: Context. But more appropriately, the new epoch is contextual computing, which really extends a transition underway since the World Wide Web opened to the masses about 20 years ago. During the two earlier computing eras, mainframes and PCs, location defined the user. During the contextual computing era, the user defines location. If you listen to analysts obsessed with selling services to enterprises or companies like Apple, post-PC is all about devices. It's anything but.
Context is everything today. I started writing about the concept circa 2004, borrowing from my boss of the day -- Michael Gartenberg. The concept is simple: People are satisfied with what they've got on hand. In context of the airport, a hand-held game console is good enough, while at home the person prefers Xbox and big-screen PC. But because of the cloud connected to an increasing number of mobile devices, context is a much bigger, broader and badder technology trend.
Searching through my old Microsoft Watch posts for one thing, I found another -- my Sept. 23, 2008 news analysis "How Android hurts Microsoft". I wanted to find some of my past posts about contextual computing, and you can read more about that soon. For today, this story uses the lens of the past to look at the present.
I take lots of flake from commenters, whether directly on posts or blogged by others elsewhere, about my stories. Many accuse me of idiot perspective and being clueless. But often my seemingly brash analyses at the time, peering into future implications, are generally right. If you look at the totality of my writing, there is consistency of thinking that rightly anticipates trends. Abrasive writing style, provocative headlines and forceful argument puts off some people, especially those who don't like change or embracing new ideas. Occasionally I write seemingly contradictory perspectives, trying to look a things dimensionally rather than flatly. The Microsoft Watch post is one example of many that demonstrates what I mean.