Author Archives: Kristen Nicole

I wasn’t going to write about this because I’ve been covering the upcoming Apple iPad launch, from various angles, almost every day for the past few weeks. But a story about the iPad’s board game potential piqued my interest. A preview of TUAW’s iPad app GameTable has gotten me all excited, primarily because of the possibilities for a new generation to fall in love with board games.

You see, I’m a huge fan of Backgammon. I’ll play against the computer for hours, forgoing sleep on some occasions. I’ve been a bit of a Backgammon addict when it comes to online play, working my way up in rank against other players from around the world. I’m not saying I’m the best at Backgammon (though I am the best at Text Twist), but I really like the game.

And I don’t even think that Backgammon is part of the new GameTable iPad app, but it should be. Still, that’s not exactly the point here. My main reason for writing this article is to sing my praises to board games on the iPad. As Mashable points out, the larger tablet screen makes board game play a great deal easier, especially when you factor in two-player games.

Board games may not be the most exciting in the world, but as I just mentioned, they’re good for two players. And with the size of the iPad, I’m hoping that a new era has dawned for the popularity of board games. Chess, checkers, Backgammon and the like are great learning experiences for people of any age. They help you to maintain your mental activity, strategy and logic. Boardgames aid you in your ability to control your environment, and overcome obstacles. The benefits of board game play reach far beyond those of a global leaderboard and high scores.

The funny thing is, I’m not even sure how I ended up loving Backgammon as much as I do. My mother taught me how to play, and she ensured that I would one day beat her by making me practice against myself. Sounds like a crappy way to spend a sizeable portion of my summer vacations, but apparently it worked out for the best. Even though there were a few years in high school when I stopped playing Backgammon all together, the rise of Yahoo Games revived my interest, as the game was suddenly electronic, on-demand, and I no longer had to play alone.

I’m hoping the same explosion will happen as a result of the touch screen, graphics and overall usability of the iPad and other multimedia tablet devices. Sure, I’m joining the bandwagon of those placing far too many expectations on a new consumer electronic device, but I think that highly of board games. So I’m really hoping GameTable adds Backgammon to its repertoire.

The iPad isn’t out yet, and that leaves us a few more days to speculate about its greatness. Isn’t speculation fun? We have no idea how many iPads have been ordered so far, meaning your guess is as good as mine. We have very little idea as to how the device will work in the practical, every day sense. We don’t even quite know where to categorize the tablet, seeing as it appears to be a bigger version of the iPod Touch, but with a lot of the cool factor that has been determined by the popularity of the iPhone.

Seeing as the iPad is a little bit the same and a little bit different from everything we’ve experienced before, there’s a lot of room for…speculation. When it comes to the applications built for the iPad, there’s not only room for speculation, but for opportunity as well.

Selling more apps could be big business for some app developers, especially as the iPad has such a large focus on media consumption. But a recent review by Wired indicates that a few other things may be different for the iPad’s app store, some of which could have consequences (good and bad) all their own.

Browsing the iPad App Store: A Video [By @viticci] from Federico Viticci on Vimeo.

The three areas Wired mentions are the cover flow, the pricing and the titles of the apps themselves. These partially address some of the concerns that have been brought up since we saw our first Steve Jobs demo of the iPad.

With what appears to be a new section for highlighted apps, the cover flow of the iPad app store may be different than what iPhone users are accustomed to. Yet similar changes are being made to the iTunes App Store as well, especially as Apple seems a better way to help users fin the apps they’re looking for. Adding a new Adult category for those apps that have previously been banned all together is just one concession Apple may make towards offering more app options within a system the company is comfortable with.

The prices of the iPad apps have already changed, as many developers are requesting higher prices for apps already present for the iPhone. Of course, the apps aren’t exactly the same–optimizing for the new tablet has been something many developers have already begun working on, particularly those in the media production and distribution industries. Yet, we’ll still have to see what the demand will be for pricier apps that are coming in a bigger size.

Naming the apps for an iPad app store would seem like a trivial thing to concentrate on, but the vastness of the existing iTunes App Store means that a properly named app could do even better on the iPad than on the iPhone. It’s safe to say that this can be confusing for consumers if a company has changed the name but not the product, but even more important is whether or not Apple will create a new store entirely for iPad apps. This would offer a bit of a reprieve for users, as the iTunes App Store is already filled with apps and its search and recommendation system is less than stellar. However, carrying over the iTunes App Store to the iPad seems like the logical thing to do.

What we’ve seen from the iPad so far seems to have merely raised more questions than answers, so we’ll still have to wait a few more days to see how things really play out. But the fact that so many questions have been raised means that the expectations around the iPad may truly offer Apple another great opportunity to build its brand and increase consumer satisfaction with its wireless, mobile devices.

Brightcove is the latest company to look to HTML5 as a workaround for Apple products. As HTML5 is the browser-based alternative to Flash, many app developers have been toying with the new option specifically for use on mobile Apple devices.

Video software and product provider Brightcove is incorporating HTML support in its service Brightcove Experience for HTML5. With the new Experience, Brightcove clients can use it for HTML5 to auto-detect the requesting platform and direct traffic to the appropriate content. This will improve video playback, detection and playlist rendering for iPad users.

One important piece behind this is the potential for the advertising industry to refocus efforts on mobile marketing. Flash has helped web-based advertisers for years now, as many attention-grabbing ads use the Adobe product for slick animations. The less-interactive format stirs debates all its own, regarding its prevalence across the internet and whether an alternative should be offered.

It’s the fact that the iPad is so centered around media consumption that HTML5 has been brought to the forefront of many discussions regarding expectations for the mobile device itself, as well as those developers looking to launch apps for it.

CBS is another brand that has recently begun toying around with HTML5, particularly as it can improve the viewing an advertising experience of iPad users. Several media publishers, content providers and app developers will be seeking ways in which to improve the interactivity of media through the iPad, encouraging similar progress across other mobile devices in the coming year.

As Brightcove has been shifting its business model for the past few years, finding more ways in which to appeal to its core customer base is a priority for the company. While focusing on the growth of the right features, Brightcove also has to focus on growing those features in the right direction.

Hopefully it will continue to do so with its latest release. Brightcove also mentioned that it will expand Experience for HTML5 to include full support for “customization and branding of the player environment, advertising, analytics, social sharing and other capabilities currently found in Brightcove experience solutions for other platforms,” according to its release notes.

[via PCWorld]

Social media and the new revolution of love. Technology has its effects on society, and when it comes to the internet and its social networking sites, technology has a definite effect on our ability to communicate with each other. It is, in fact, easier than ever to meet people online. Now we have the venereal diseases to prove it.

After a UK professor noted the correlation between increased VDs and meeting partners through Facebook, the idea that the social networking site led to sexually transmitted diseases quickly took hold. Of course, there’s a major difference between correlation and causation, but that’s not really the point, is it. Facebook provides the means by which millions of people can meet each other. Considered the new booty call, Facebook is the primary link between many people’s sexual hookups these days. As a result, VDs are on the rise.

More than a decade after seeing real implementations of socially-driven communication mechanisms in the online realm, our society has become rather comfortable with the act of meeting someone online, and subsequently meeting them in person. The result is a new generation of lovers, finding technology as a way in which they can increase their opportunities while (relatively) retaining their anonymity.

Communication between two people can be kept more private on Facebook than say, flirting at a party. And since Facebook seems to be one online party anyway, it can be the perfect way to meet someone, for whatever reason.

To some extent, Facebook is going to have to take some responsibility for its influence on our changed relationships. While Facebook isn’t the actual cause behind an increase in VDs, it has had a noticeable affect on our culture. Facebook set out to change the way in which we communicate with each other. Now that social media, and Facebook in particular, have become deeply integrated in our regular correspondence with friends, family and peers, we’re realizing its prowess for affecting our culture in other ways.

From marketing to consumer research, friend-making and media-sharing, Facebook continues to center itself in our every day lives. Why shouldn’t it realize its influence on our sexual behavior as well?

As an expected byproduct of how much Facebook has been incorporated into our lives, we’re going to have to take the next step towards addressing something as dire as increased VDs. They do relate back to our online behavior, as do other aspects of our relationships with people and products. Finding a way to react to the changing patterns of our sexual behavior is one of these next steps. I imagine we’ll be using social media, for starters.

CBS has been testing HTML5 on the upcoming iPad, giving us a hint at what we can expect from media and its consumer interface on Apple’s latest family member. The iPad won’t be available for you until April 3, but pre-order sales have already soared based on the anticipation around the device. Large content distributors like CBS are hoping to take full advantage of the hype around the iPad, seeing it as another opportunity for delivering media into the hands of consumers.

So why is this such a big deal? The importance behind HTML5 is that it enables a video to be played back in a browser, even without a web connection. The browser HTML5 standard is an upcoming one, though its specific importance for Apple devices is its use as a substitute for Adobe Flash, which is not supported on Apple devices (RWW has a good breakdown here). Media companies and developers have been seeking a viable workaround for this particular issue, and now they have one.

The timing, of course, couldn’t be better. The iPad is very media-centric, honing in on all the cool ways the personal device can become your media central for movies, television shows, magazines and news papers. The media companies themselves have hopped on the bandwagon, seeing the iPad as the next generation in consumer electronics, helping to revive interest in media.

That media, however, still needs to be on-demand, and accessible. So finding a way for both Apple and media distributors to push content through the iPad is something that will be of large benefit on each side of the equation.

There are also a number of possible marketing opportunities that can come as a result of the HTML5 and its support on Apple devices. Incorporating more advertising into video content is something Apple’s been after for quite some time, even before the days of opening its iPhone mobile platform for development by third parties. While Apple has alleviated some of this by working directly with content providers, the limitations of connectivity have been another obstacle in monetizing the ongoing consumption of media.

With the iTunes App Store now filled with third party content, the monetization of those apps could be increased with the inclusion of HTML5 and additional advertising that can be incorporated as a result. There are likely several aspects of Apple’s monetization strategies that the company has yet to reveal, which could be applied to the iPad over the next few months. With Apple’s own chance at becoming an even more loved brand through the iPad, the relationships it builds with content providers (big and little brands alike) could further cement Apple’s position as a dominant player for mobile platforms and devices.