Wednesday, January 27, 2010

finding its resonance frequency

I have been always interested in Apple and any announcement of new technology coming out of Cupertino. And today the announced the iPad. Which I agree with some female twitters is a poor choice of a name. Regardless of its nomenclature, the thing exists in a space that many critics, such as those at TechCrunch feel has no need to be filled. Such that there is no space for it. But I disagree. As someone who fought the lean forward lean back arguments in interactive TV, that was the argument of who would control the Living Room. Well, in my mind Apple decided to not necessarily leave the Living Room but rather go into the room next door. The den. The Den is that space between the living room and the Kitchen. Its that home office nook, that space where it might be near the entry or tucked into the rear looking out to the backyard. Its where you lounge without the 40-50 inch screen. Its where you sort bills quickly without opening Quicken. Its where you answer the phone and decide where to eat. The iPad is a den product. Its where that magazine rack might be if I were not connected to the net. There are times I check my iphone and think god this screen is tiny... That right there is the space that TechCrunch did not get. And maybe many won't. If you live in a small studio apartment in SF or NY, dens don't exist. But Steve lives in a house that has one (presumably). As do many people who have Macs and iPhones. He doesn't sell anything cheap, so he knows what his market can bear. The question is will it resonate? Is their enough specific behavioral vibrations (as it were) that will make the object amplify its power to the user? This is something I will be working on in the future. I believe massive social actions require resonance to make them tip to massive scales. But I digress. The iPod powered by millions of songs / TV and iPhone powered by 100K apps found many resonant frequencies. Places and spaces where that app or capability was exactly what you needed. And felt more powerful because of that need. I driving around and I am lost in trying to find a bar. I google voice search it. Get a map problem solved. Or I see an actor undercover leave a print shop and think dam what's his name. IMDB in seconds solves it for me. But its not just the object's resonant frequency that matters. Think of the famous opera singer that can sing a note that cracks a champagne glass. Little off here or there in temperature or not the right kind of glass, or more importantly the ambient sound is too great it doesn't work. But that singer knows the exact pitch to break glass. To create a vibration that in and of itself creates a powerful moment only if everything is perfect for that to happen. And that is the conundrum of Apple's iPad. Can it survive the attacks from HP/Dell/Acer from a very capable Windows 7 and from the bottom up from Google's Chrome OS. I would venture yes, but only in so much as macbooks survive. It will not be a dominant player in the future of slate computing as their iPod and iPhone are. Why? Intel and Arm players do not sit quietly. So the edge on power consumption may be short lived. Both other OS and hardware configs will have ebooks, OLED or LED backlits, they will have more options like SD slots, web cams, and USB ports. No they will not be slick and as stylish as an iPad. And that is the problem, more options create more opportunity to find that resonant pitch. Its not easy, its not printed in acoustic manuals or physic books on sound. That sound that internal "Aha" is mysterious at best. The iPad requires three things to find that resonate frequency: 1)Fairly reliable wifi or 3g in large homes. Remember small homes of tech already have roku, boxee, laptops, netbooks, iphones, etc. Large homes don't always get great wifi due to walls and windows and multiple floors 2) A Space where no laptop, desktop or net connected TV exist. My Samsung blu-ray has net connection ability built in... Though its no substitute for an iphone or ipad but it will get me my netflix and youtube.. 3) Free time to veg comfortably. I would never write this blog post with one.. Why? I walk into my office and use my 24inch iMac. Add a keyboard to iPad? why? Students may rejoice on it as they already use iphone and evernote to snap whiteboards for lectures. But serious writing is done in an office with a big desk and comfy chair. But this last issue is critical. Steve sat in a comfy chair and just fiddled with it. Perfect use for one. But I am not Steve Jobs, I do video editing, I do statistical analysis of social issues with SPSS, I do photo editing, and web research.. But would I like to read my textbook in an iPad in bed or in my den sure. Would I like to have it downstairs to check a movie and get tickets for show for me and my wife absolutely... But then of course I have a den.


Post a Comment