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Sure its thinner, lighter and pretty slick looking – But to me the more subtle features enable this iPhone to become a real powerhouse.

Specifically

  • HD (Wideband) Audio
  • Better camera in low light
  • Faster processor

In combination, these features enable the iphone to become a real Collaboration Tool.

With the right software enablement (And the correct grip) I have a phone that can be a worthy addition to a collaborative meeting – even from the airport, cab or baseball game.

Cool.  now who’s up for building the infrastructure?

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It’s April and while the iPad is available to our friends in the south, no shipments have yet made it to the frozen north. Yet this rare beast can be sighted here in Toronto from time to time, due to the joys of cross-border shopping and a strong Canadian dollar.

I had just such a spotting yesterday in a boardroom meeting I attended.  I derailed the pre-meeting chit-chat with the often heard “So how are you liking ‘It’ so far?” question and the answer shocked me.

The only form of answer a proud iPad owner is allowed is a Demo.  In this setting I was expecting some kind of productivity demo or a business content look up. Instead I was shown a game.

( Disclosure: I hate games. I know I may come off as cold,wet rag, but I have a good reason. I suspect that given enough time and resource, games could suck me into their vortex. I get little joy out of defeating hordes of zombies or keeping tribes of elves happy on a fictonal planet. Makes me nuts. And, truth be told, I fear the addiction. )

This is my frustration with the iPad. Yes, it is a fantastic Content Consumption device in a very pretty package – but why-o-why is Apple leading only with consumption – as I look out at http://www.apple.com/ipad/apps-for-ipad/ I see only consumption apps featured, including Games, Comics, Scrabble. No sign of GTD, Productivity or Notetaking apps in the featured set.

How cool would it be to tie in Bluetooth collaborative features (like the Scrabble Game & its ability to Bluetooth link to iPod touch & iPhone players around the table) at a agile/scrum “stand up” meeting? It would be a major advantage to be able to flick Commitments, Story and Action Items around the room to various participants (Rally, I hope you are listening!).

It is this kind of real world business use that I imagine – and a message that Apple needs to bring forward before the iPad gets dismissed as a very expensive gamng platform – a “nice to have” rather that “must have”.

That is the reaction I saw in the eyes of the firm’s CEO that walked into this discussion – He’s a smart, hip guy, who also owns a newly minted iPad (which he did not bring to the meeting), and I’ll bet he wished there were killer business apps that could rationalize his iPad.  I will bet he is considering “giving it to his wife” because the app that he yearns for, the useful, business dashboard, collaborative, run his young business app, is not there yet.

and that is a shame… but I still keep the faith!

With the release of the iPad only few days away, many of us are revisiting our reasons (or rationalizations) for buying one.

In my opinion, Steve Jobs / Apple have really sold this device short (Maybe intentionally) – Sure, lots of talk about content consumption, a place for web browsing, Photos, Books. And yes, this is not a great content creation device – BUT let’s remember that iWork is available on the device and it is a nearly a perfect “Bring to Coffee, Bring to Lunch” device.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve always felt like a geek bringing my laptop to a coffee shop meeting or to lunch. It comes off as rude, or being distracted, or reading email. Yet no one minds a pad of paper for notes – why? because both parties can see what is written and it relates directly to the conversation.

I’ve tried this with a Windows based Tablet & stylus, but the interface is not clean enough and there is far too much going on (It’s Windows after all) . The whole experience feels like you are ignoring your Date at the prom.

Now enter the iPad – a few things in its favor:

1) It’s small and “pad of paper’- like

2) It’s large enough to be visible – everyone can follow the simple interface and participate

3) Most folks KNOW the interface from the iPhone or iPod touch, so I’m not doing anything magical – just Cool!

Most of all it has just enough power to do what I want to do well – Present a couple of key ideas with visuals from Keynote, supporting evidence from Numbers and capture reaction and action items with other tools.

One of my anticipated products will be MarketCircle’s Daylite & Billings – These Canadian developers are being quiet about their plans, but I have high hopes that they will ship iPad specific versions shortly.

This is all I really need for selling Products, Services or Ideas. It’s all I need for day to day project management meeting, pitch meetings or business reviews.

My other question mark is around this new Apple DataCenter in Maiden North Carolina. 500,000 Square feet of data Center space in one place – one of the largest in the world. At risk of tripping the Wild Ass Speculation Alarms (WASA) at Apple, I think that this facility is a little excessive for just Books, iTunes and a few MobileMe Accounts. This has got to be a Cloud Application play – Perhaps even Remote Client Computing under the MobileMe brand, using the iPad as a Thin Client.

All enabled by the iPad.

Cool – I want one…

So many times we forget the business we are in, particularly when it comes to IT decisions.

Peter Keen’s excellent The Process Edge describes the 5 types of processes – they are:

Identity – a Process that defines your firm to customers, employees and investors (usually directly associated with the art of the product produced)

Priority – Is excelling at process X critically important to business performance?

Background – a process that supports other processes

Mandated – Legally required (i.e. complience, taxes)

Folklore – (i.e. we have always done the TPS reports) stamp these out as quickly as you can.

What we need to remember is to stick to our Identity processes, spend enough time on Priority processes and if possible, automate or outsource the rest – particularly when it comes to Information Technology. An architectural design firm will never become great by refining its payroll systems. When it comes to the other processes, good enough is good enough.

So here’s where we apply the lesson to IT – and in particular the Desktop/Notebook computer – almost all workers can survive very nicely with a standard configuration, and this should be outsourced to an external provider who provides technology decisions, standard application suites, backup services and disaster recovery. An  external provider also provides an economy of scale that a small or medium business cannot.

For most small & medium companies IT is “necessary evil“.  You must have it, but don’t focus precious brain cells on decisions that could be made externally – this is great outsourcing!

I’ve always felt a bit silly about taking a Laptop to a Lunch – or Coffee – or any kind of human, face to face meeting. Not that I doubt the power of using technology to convey an idea, or capture great notes – I’m a huge proponent of better living thru technology – It’s just that I fear sending the wrong message.

  • Is it rude? If I’m taking notes will someone assume I’m actually reading email?
  • Is it too Geeky? While visual aids are great in pitching ideas, the machine often dominates the space.

I think we finally have a winner in this space with the iPad as a sales / presentation tool.  small, bright and yes, cool.

Thoughts on the new iPad

27 January 2010

Joined by many others, I spend part of this afternoon (27 Jan 09) keenly following the Apple iPad announcement ( and watching the several “live blogs” implode – not the best moment for the future of journalism ).
First let me say as a Technology professional, a seasoned product creator, a cynical observer of personal computing – that the iPad looks “way cool”. I want one rather badly. I’ve held off on a book reader, but I am feeling the need for one of these.
That said – Apple sold themselves short in one key regard – this is a killer sales & presentation machine. iWork for the iPad was a bit of a surprise in an otherwise consumer play. I immediatey imagined loading up Keynote and some form of Marketcircles Daylite/Billings a well as at decent GTD app.

Apple is doing well – but they would be well advised to embrace the cloud with this device, particularly in the SMB / Professional space

Hot on the heels of the little goblins we see the Xmas decorations starting to appear… Let’s hope for an optimistic season.

Back to School!

25 August 2009

Hard to believe we are winding up another summer! The Kids appeared to have a fantastic time despite the rain. Now its off to that Annual “back to school” shopping ritual.  I suspect that netbooks will suck the life out of mobile PC sales – not so much for university students, but the High School market is certain to feel it.