There’s a few trends I think are interesting at the moment.
IPad – people are starting to realize that the apple app store is isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I think it’s directly due to the influence of the droid, which lets you run unsigned code. If I were apple I would do a full court press on the fact that (up until release 2 anyway) the droid was crashy, slow, and wouldn’t run applications equally. They’ve gotten their crap together, but the early adopters paid the price. The early adopters always pay the price, and this is especially true of apple, which is why I’m surprised they haven’t thought long and hard about throwing that stone. “Hey look, apple has it’s shit together, droids the new guy just trying to be apple. If you got burned by your early adoption experience, why do it again?” I’m guessing it’s because apple assumes the ipad/iphone is entrenched via contract, but lock in only helps you in the beginning when you’re looking to protect your head start. Once there’s competition, especially competition which prides itself on being open, lock in becomes a trap. On Star is a good example of this – because the lock in is complete on both sides of the fence, no-one has challenged On Star despite ODBC and cellphones being ubiquitous. OS X is built on open standards and trying to lock it down is why the jailbreak bit is so high profile.
Amazon Kindle versus the Nook – Both of these are dead out of the gate. The pricepoint is high enough that anyone interested in it realized they could buy a low end iphone/ipad (see above) and get the app from the apple store. Those of us with droids or whatever already rip books to PDF. They industry won’t cop to it but they basically tried to legitimize piracy of printed materials the way the MPAA legitimized MP3s but they tried to do it without the lawsuits. With little deterrent effect and high price of entry, the ebook is a nonstarter. Add to the fact that PDFs can be shared as many times as you want and are basically free and the next pricepoint becomes the used book on half.com. Trying to take away the used book via lock in when the old method was to take away the used book via “updated material” (see most college courses) and there’s no reason at all to buy one of these. This is why the kno boggles my mind. Not only is it trying to compete in a struggling market with a poorly thought out economic drive but it’s neither a computer nor an ipod while being as expensive as either one.
Speaking of Piracy – the 3D thing boggled my mind as to it’s popularity up until one recent idea – AVATAR was done in 3D and James Cameron, despite being a thieving bastard, isn’t stupid. He steals tried and true scifi ideas, because he wants a sure fire way to make money. Why take the risk on 3D when it means making the most expensive movie ever? Maybe someone else was footing the bill. Someone else like the MPAA. You see, it’s a lot cheaper to help pay for 3D filming versus a giant legal team of dubious effacy. Not only that but lawsuits are pure deterrent, and people don’t like being threatened. The idea here is to replace the paddle with a carrot on a stick. Instead of saying “videotape our movie and we’ll track you down and sue you”, they said “look at this gee wiz new technology”. What they left out was that a videocamera cannot film a 3D movie.