Apple Flubbed It Today

Today Apple held a press conference to outline their latest venture: improving textbooks.  I was genuinely hoping that Apple would do something truly innovative to education, but that was probably hoping too much.  Apple, in fact, announced a lot of glitz, a new revenue stream for themselves, but didn’t come close to improving the textbook industry.
 
I want to first say, though, that the new iBooks format is good looking.  It’s not original, really, but iBooks in the new iBooks 2 format are a big improvement over regular books.  I have no comment on the authoring tools, but I view those as a plus regardless.  The books themselves i have no issue with.  Ebooks have come a lot way since I was reading books off of the Rocket E-Book reader back in the late nineties.
 
There are two main reasons I feel today was a flub.  The first was that iBooks is a proprietary format that can only be used on Apple products.  The future of education in this country cannot depend on proprietary solutions from one company.  The future can rely on three textbook companies working in cahoots with Apple to lock in users to one platform.  The country, not to mention the world, will be a heterogeneous device world.  Students, who were basically treated as props in Apple’s announcement, should be able to access great content on any platform, whether its the future $80.00 (I’m speculating) Kindle Fire or the $800.00 iPad 2.  The lock in is for one reason only: to make Apple money.
 
The second reason I thought today was a flub, was that Apple didn’t talk about a new way to get books into students hands.  From what I remember from high school, books were provided by the school.  Apple only mentions being able to buy books from the iBooks store.  Do students need to have their own accounts or Apple IDs?  Are students responsible for buying all their own books now?  Apple mentioned that students get to keep the books, but how does that happen unless students buy them?  Do books need to be repurchased every year?  How do students get iPads?  Are schools going to rent them out?  Give them away?   Who buys the books then, if the school owns the iPads, and how does the student keep the books?  How does a school manage all this?

It’s not hard to see why Apple wants to get into this market.  However, for the moment, this announcement only helps those well off enough to afford iPads and internet access, doesn’t address who buys the books, and doesn’t present a real solution for schools.  It presents a solution to the problem of:  How does Apple make even more money?

Apple Flubbed It Today

Today Apple held a press conference to outline their latest venture: improving textbooks.  I was genuinely hoping that Apple would do something truly innovative to education, but that was probably hoping too much.  Apple, in fact, announced a lot of glitz, a new revenue stream for themselves, but didn’t come close to improving the textbook industry.
 
I want to first say, though, that the new iBooks format is good looking.  It’s not original, really, but iBooks in the new iBooks 2 format are a big improvement over regular books.  I have no comment on the authoring tools, but I view those as a plus regardless.  The books themselves i have no issue with.  Ebooks have come a lot way since I was reading books off of the Rocket E-Book reader back in the late nineties.
 
There are two main reasons I feel today was a flub.  The first was that iBooks is a proprietary format that can only be used on Apple products.  The future of education in this country cannot depend on proprietary solutions from one company.  The future can rely on three textbook companies working in cahoots with Apple to lock in users to one platform.  The country, not to mention the world, will be a heterogeneous device world.  Students, who were basically treated as props in Apple’s announcement, should be able to access great content on any platform, whether its the future $80.00 (I’m speculating) Kindle Fire or the $800.00 iPad 2.  The lock in is for one reason only: to make Apple money.
 
The second reason I thought today was a flub, was that Apple didn’t talk about a new way to get books into students hands.  From what I remember from high school, books were provided by the school.  Apple only mentions being able to buy books from the iBooks store.  Do students need to have their own accounts or Apple IDs?  Are students responsible for buying all their own books now?  Apple mentioned that students get to keep the books, but how does that happen unless students buy them?  Do books need to be repurchased every year?  How do students get iPads?  Are schools going to rent them out?  Give them away?   Who buys the books then, if the school owns the iPads, and how does the student keep the books?  How does a school manage all this?

It’s not hard to see why Apple wants to get into this market.  However, for the moment, this announcement only helps those well off enough to afford iPads and internet access, doesn’t address who buys the books, and doesn’t present a real solution for schools.  It presents a solution to the problem of:  How does Apple make even more money?

Facebook nits

I’ve moved away from using Facebook because it’s too cluttered for me.  Too much sharing, to many different columns (though I noticed the activity window no longer shows up for me), etc.  For some, it’s great, for me it became noise, and I deleted all my friends on FB except for close family and friends.  I am looking at a better way to follow certain people you can subscribe too, but I haven’t figured how to do that yet because of the following reasons:

1) Facebook constantly forgets my wall settings and reverse to “Highlighted Stories First” instead of “Recent Stories First”

2) Facebook hides too much.  The more I “unlike” pages and people, the more stuff suddenly shows up that was being hidden before.  It’s too unreliable.

Any suggestions for those who want to follow public Facebook updates but not have to use the Facebook interface?

Facebook nits

I’ve moved away from using Facebook because it’s too cluttered for me.  Too much sharing, to many different columns (though I noticed the activity window no longer shows up for me), etc.  For some, it’s great, for me it became noise, and I deleted all my friends on FB except for close family and friends.  I am looking at a better way to follow certain people you can subscribe too, but I haven’t figured how to do that yet because of the following reasons:

1) Facebook constantly forgets my wall settings and reverse to “Highlighted Stories First” instead of “Recent Stories First”

2) Facebook hides too much.  The more I “unlike” pages and people, the more stuff suddenly shows up that was being hidden before.  It’s too unreliable.

Any suggestions for those who want to follow public Facebook updates but not have to use the Facebook interface?

Google TV

Enjoying Google TV via the Logitech Revue more than I expected.  I’m not certain I could call it ready for my parents, but collecting video/music content from around the world of tv, streaming and satellite is not an easy task.  

In any case, I’m very tempted to get a second one, but first I need a new switch.  Running out of ethernet ports in my office!