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Mar 17, 2015

How Apple will make the wearable market

Interesting article on stratechery about the Apple Watch, focusing on how the world will change, and along with it the Apple Watch.

The best interface is no interface

Interesting view that immediately reminds me of the movie "Her". Today Google announced an API for GoogleNow and there are rumors that Cortana may come to Android and iOS, so the question of where our interface developments are heading is more interesting than ever, and this article adds a new perspective (and gorgeous graphics).

Ever heard of Sovrn?

Me neither. But it seems as if it's a service that provides analytics and monetization to many independent publishers - and the tools look better than many that I have seen at huge publishing houses. Clients include The Onion and The Chive (and around a million more). Plus, they have John Battelle on board. We should keep an eye on this one as it could empower smaller, native digital companies with a native digital cost structure, to compete with the bigger publishing houses.

Open API for Google Now

Will it become a superior notifications platform, enabling third partys to use cards, and speech recognition?

Wired's take on it:

Instagram Inteligence Report

Unfortunately, you have to register to download the report and will get spammed for the rest of your life. ClickZ took one for the team and published key takeaways from the study. Interesting stats abuot the correlation of follower numbers and engagement rates in this research.

Twitter goes second screen

Twitter has, because of its realtime delivery and lack of any relevance algorithm, always been a better second screen than Facebook. The only better ones may be group chats on messengers. And that's maybe where some pressure comes from. However, Twitter launches "TV Timelines" - a second screen product to accompany TV shows. Live.

Facebook Atlas - early phase

To me, the coverage of Facebook Atlas is not nearly as big as its impact on the digital landscape may become - the promise of being able to deliver display targeted to your FB profile, on third party sites, sounds like Google before AdWords to me. At least, there is some coverage, comparing Atlas to Double Click on Social Times.

Bonus: Facebook acquisition of "TheFind", immediate shutdown, integration into the Facebook platform for better shopping recommendations and retargeting abilities.

Live Streaming as the next big thing

Unlike basically everyone I know, I am not in Austin these days. But everyone says that SXSW is dominated by chatter about Live Streaming being the next big thing, and Meerkat had its share of buzz in the last weeks, too. Plus, Twitter bought Periscope and cut off some services from Meerkat, although not its core ability. Here's an overview on 

Meerkat CEO says 20% of its users watch 2 hours of video daily:

Will Nintendo end up a software or hardware company?

They are not the only ones who are standing at a crossroads - will we be a software or hardware company? Software has more scale potential, but is also subject to highest competition because of pretty low barriers to entry. Hardware may be risky when smartphones can more or less substitute whatever it is your hardware does (who still owns a dedicated digital point&shoot camera?).
Nintendo at least explores the software side of things, brings its characters and games on mobile phones.

Of course, the "next generation" of hardware is being developed, too

Will the new Apple TV be a service?

Apple reducing prices - sounds silly. But they announced this for the Apple TV box. But maybe - there are rumors - this is based on a subscription TV / OTT service that Apple could provide. The likes of Zattoo or Magine merged into one with a hardware box, access on numerous devices plus on demand services from itunes. Could make sense. As always, with a hefty pricetag of 30-40 USD per month,

Buzzfeed's new strategy

When you do not depend on real estate (display advertising) because all you do is native, content marketing and apmplification, there's no need to have people necessarily come to your digital destinations. It's sufficent if you can deliver eyeballs to your clients. That's what Buzzfeed does, and their approach to their industry is simply amazing. So they still talk about numbers like their 200mn monthly visitors, but more importantly, they talk about numbers others don't even consider: like their 11.3 billion (!) views generated on Facebook. Or 6.4 billion views on Pinterest. In January 2015 alone, by the way. A part of these views, Buzzfeed gets paid for. Here's your native digital business model in a time when destinations do not matter that much anymore.

Mar 12, 2015

Apple Watch interpretations

Ever since the Apple Watch was first introduced, there have been speculations about its impact not only on our lives, society or the wearables market as a whole, but also on how it may (or may not) affect the Swiss luxury watch market. No we know that Apple's watch will be offered in a 17k USD version, these thoughts have been fueled again. There are some interesting takes here:

1. This great Wired article points out that a company with a 700 billion USD valuation (that may want to reach the trillion) cannot focus on 400 USD products anymore, since it would have to sell its product to basically every middle class household in the world to achieve a measurable impact on its company value

2. This would mean that me may see some high end TVs, but will definitely see cars from Apple.

Business Insider shows how huge the market is  
And reportedly Apple shareholders are pushing them to buy Tesla.

3. Personally I find it a very interesting experiment to go into a top luxury market with a product that will be outdated in 2, max. 3 years time. Since luxury watches last forever - boiled down in that wonderful Patek Philippe claim "You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation" - the Apple Watch cannot make a promise that would be even close. I didn't read about Apple providing the generation 2, 3, 4 and 5 technology to be somehow built into the 17k USD edition you may have bought in April 2015, so basically in 2018, you will get a Huawei, LG or Pebble watch for 150 USD that will be a way better piece of technology. You won't be the dude with the expensive watch, but the idiot who could also be playing games on a gameboy. For the first time, Apple (or any digital tech with a certain market impact) does not scale the price of a product by its technological features, but purely by materials, bound to a technology that will be obsolete in a very short period of time. Besides sheiks, oligarchs, rich kids of instagram, Floyd Mayweather and drug lords, it will be hard to find a market, but maybe that is already enough to achieve that huge margin uplift that is needed according to topic 1) of this post. The Verge provides a nice overview about the clash between what the Apple Watch is and does, and the reasons why people (at least up to now) spend fortunes on luxury watches.

By the way, I have had a Pebble and an LG watch and sold them both. If I get a notification about something that's important, I take out my phone. If I get one that's not important, I am stressed by a vibrating watch and constant notifications. Unless I can (in Germany) actually pay with a smartwatch, unlock my DriveNow car and my hotel rooms (without being locked out because of a battery that runs out) and more of those "physical advantages", I don't think a smartwatch really adds a good user experience, a sense of luxury or freedom to my life. But that's me, based on experiences with stone age devices.