Racepoint Group is very excited to present to you another episode of RPG Live, where a group of Racepoint Group employees discuss the latest culturally relevant issues and trends we’re seeing in the news and pop culture, hosted by our own Evan Siff. This week’s guests include Ashley Crutchfield, Colleen McCarthy and Lori Niquette. Please have a listen as we discuss:
1. Netflix, Hulu Plus, Original Content
Do you subscribe? How do you feel about their original content and which devices do you watch on?
2. iPhone vs. Android
Have you recently made a switch? What features would you like to see on the Galaxy S4 or iPhone 5S? Are phones now becoming too big?
3. March Madness
Who do you have winning the NCAA men’s basketball tournament? Have you been following via an app on your smartphone? (Note: this recording is from yesterday, 3/28 – Miami was crushed last night by Marquette 71-61, once again destroying Evan’s bracket hopes and dreams…)
4. Spring has Sprung
What are you looking forward to most about Spring?
Please feel free to give us a shout out with questions or comments via Twitter!
It’s been a crazy week in the technology world, and I’m just getting around to sifting through the news out of Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference earlier this week. The computing giant unveiled a new operating system for its iPhones and iPads along with a new version of its MacBook Pro laptop computer, among other things. Nobody merges technology into a lifestyle brand better than Apple, and there have been countless fan boys and girls expounding the beauty of these new software and hardware wonders. But what about the impact Apple’s news will have on other brands in the technology industry?
Fast Company’s @kiteaton has a great article dissecting the news and how it will impact everyone from search companies to car companies. Here’s a brief synopsis of some of the ways Apple is changing the world this week:
Apple’s new mobile operating system – iOS 6 is what the industry calls “backward compatible.” That means you can use it on almost every iPhone – even your iPhone 3GS from 2010 (which it still sells today). This sets a precedent that anyone can have the latest software systems and apps, even on low-end devices. It could be a game-changer for the entry level smart phone market.
Siri gets serious. Eaton points out in his article that Siri is a gateway app – it makes it easier to use a whole bunch of other apps – from planning to navigation tools. Now, with an open API for Siri, expect to see a new generation of apps emerging that will be richer and more dynamic than what we’ve seen in the past.
Oh yeah – and Siri queries get routed through Apple servers, not Google servers, so guess who doesn’t get to collect your search data first if you use Siri…? That’s right – Apple gets your search data first and then chooses where to send your query – so Google may or may not get a search from Siri. It’s interesting that Google moves down a notch in the search data hierarchy.
Not that business users needed any other reason to use Apple products – every business person I know has an iPhone – but, Apple added a host of innovative and useful business-friendly functions. These include new cloud editing features for working on documents on the go, the ability to move IM discussions from laptops to tablets to mobiles, video conferencing capabilities over cellular networks and even a “do not disturb function” for multiple Apple devices.
Lastly, the sleek design of the MacBook and the awesome Retina display now available across the line-up means that other hardware manufacturers – think mobile, gaming, tablet and computer – are on notice. The bar has been raised and some will struggle to keep up while others will be just fine (cough, Samsung, cough, cough).
In the immediate future and in the long run, the consumer benefits the most from Apple’s news this week. The company is continuing to push the envelope for mobile computing and enhancing the user’s experience across all devices. The news also puts additional pressure on competitors, but that is good for the market overall – in my opinion.
Happy Shopping Mac Fans! It’s gonna be a great year for you.
This is a guest post from RJ Bardsley, a Senior Vice at Racepoint Group. Follow him on Twitter @RJBardsley.
If you’re on the West Coast and just waking up, run, don’t walk to your nearest news source. What you’ll find is a blistering barrage of news from some of the biggest and coolest tech brands this morning. Here is a quick run down of what hit the Wall Street Journal today.
Microsoft buys Skype for $8 billion. This is the biggest-ever acquisition for Microsoft. Can they make it work? It makes sense – Skype will add a lot to MSFT’s gaming and communications platforms.
Google Unveils Web Music Service… uh, watch out Apple? I don’t know about that, but Amazon and Spotify may be shaking in their boots a little bit. Google still has to secure licenses from the four major record labels. Expect the system to operate like a remote hard drive.
Apple and Google will both testify before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on mobile privacy. Yes, location-based information is really neat, but it turns out people don’t really like it when you know where they are all the time…
LinkedIn set the terms for its IPO: how does $3 billion+ sound? This could be the first in a flood of US tech IPOs. Expect Groupon to follow suit later this year and Facebook maybe next year. Freescale, the chip company also set price terms for its IPO yesterday. Can you say 1998?
Silicon Valley wild child, NVIDIA, also announced an acquisition this week. It bought Icera, a UK start up focused on baseband chips. The move will make NVIDIA more of a competitive force in the mobile phone market.
Gilt, the online luxury retailer (and @rdeplazes’s frequent digital haunt) has raised $138 million form investors. Yeah, I guess you really can say 1998…
Video game maker Activision announced a 32% jump in sales.
Apple and Conde Nast announced that many of your favorite media outlets – including Wired, Glamour, Vanity Fair, Allure, Self, GQ, and my personal favorite, Golf Digest – will be available for subscription on the iTunes store. Yey.
I recently wrote a guest post for Piehead on why Rupert Murdoch’s new iPad news publication, The Daily, will be a success. Below is an excerpt of the article, to read the full post click here.
This month Rupert Murdoch launched The Daily, an iPad-only news publication. It’s on sale through Apple’s iTunes store and costs just $40 a year, which breaks down to just 14 cents per day. The Daily is focused on attracting a wide array of readers, as it covers breaking news, sports, pop culture, entertainment, apps, games, technology, opinion, celebrity gossip and more. The Daily is being treated like a big deal, too. Murdoch has put together a newsroom of 100+ people, including former New York Post columnist Richard Johnson and New Yorker music critic Sasha Frere-Jones.
Murdoch’s focus on building a digital media powerhouse will pay off big. It probably won’t happen in the next year or two, but in the long run – if The Daily continues to evolve and adapt – it will have a bright future. However, as consumers continue to adopt the iPad and tablets, they will become increasingly comfortable getting their news from these new technologies. Additionally, consumers will become excited by the new format in which news is delivered, making the entire media consuming experience more interactive and visual. However, before looking ahead, it’s important to examine the evolution of written news, which can be broken down into four main stages:
1.Print: people had newspapers and magazines delivered to their homes or purchased them at a local store (remember those days?) People weren’t able to access breaking news online – the timing was forced and consumers had to wait until the news arrived to read about what had happened in the past 24 hours.
2. Online: newspapers and magazines began publishing their content online, giving readers the choice between reading content via a physical newspaper or their computer. Consumers got hooked to receiving breaking news at all times of the day.
3. Blogs: The traditional editorial process went out the window – news became more opinionated, less research-based and occurred in real-time. Video and multimedia also became central as blogs have unlimited space for content. Traditional media outlets began sourcing stories to leading blogs, as they wanted to get in on the real-time news cycle and appeal more to online consumers.
4. Devices: The next phase of written news will be focused around specific devices, such as the iPad. For consumers, this means news will be accessible anywhere at any time, due to the mobile nature of tablets.
Today at 1:00pm ET Apple is expected to announce the second generation iPad, which means the entire tech media world will stop, listen and write. We’ve decided to join in on the fun this time, but instead of following Apple’s announcement, we’re going to follow the live blogging of Apple’s announcement, examining how a few different media outlets are covering the news.
11:45am ET: The WSJ and Macworld already have live blogs up and ready to go. Engadget and Mashable haven’t yet published live blogs.
12:30pm ET: Engadget now has their live blog up, while the WSJ already has 3 updates to set the stage. Still nothing from Mashable.
12:50pm ET: The WSJ has two people live blogging, Jennifer Valentino-DeVries and Geoff Fowler. MacWorld has Jason Snell and Dan Moren. Joshua Topolsky is in the driver’s seat for Engadget, and Mashable is still silent. The WSJ and Engadget both report that they’re listening to the Beatles.
12:53pm ET: Uh oh. The WSJ live blog is down.
12:55pm ET: Macworld is working in some photographs – a nice touch.
12:59pm ET: The WSJ is still down, Macworld is taking reader questions, Engadget reports there is no Steve Jobs sighting (yet) and has a picture of an empty couch. Mashable still hasn’t posted anything. It’s likely Mashable will write separate posts for each update to try and maximize their clicks. It’s also a good way to frustrate readers by making them click several different pages to access the information they’re looking for.
1:02pm ET: Engadget and Macworld report the lights are dimming. WSJ still down. Nothing from Mashable.
1:03pm ET: Ok, Macworld’s updates are really fast. They report Steve Jobs is on stage and already have pictures posted. Engadget is right there too. WSJ is still down and nothing from Mashable. We have a two horse race.
1:06pm ET: Engadget has better photos then Macworld, but I think Macworld has a slight edge on the timing. As expected, Mashable is doing a new post for each piece of the press conference. Their first post went live a minute ago and has over 1,000 tweets. This number seems as inflated as as Mubarak’s past election results.
1:10pm ET: Major #fail right now for the WSJ. While they’re streaming live video on from the event (outside, not inside) with updates, the blog is still down.
1:14pm ET: Engadget and Macworld are doing a great job covering the event, with pictures and real time commentary. Mashable hasn’t actually provided any information yet. Now their tweet counter shows “0″ – something weird is going on there.
1:16pm ET: Engadget has some great photographs showing the iPad being used in schools and hospitals.
1:18pm ET: Mashable has 2 posts up now. Really going for those clicks and tweets.
1:19pm ET: Now we’re on to what’s new in the next iPad. Engadget had the update first, followed closely by Macworld. Mashable doesn’t have anything yet, and WSJ is still down.
1:22pm ET: Engadget seems to have more photos while Macworld has a bit more text. At this point I’m really disappointed with the WSJ live blog, as the site is still down. Mashable’s coverage is also disappointing, as it’s way behind and difficult to follow.
1:24pm ET: This is the message I’m getting on the WSJ live blog:
1:28pm ET: Mashable has 2 more posts up. I’m really not liking the way they’re doing this. Also, in 38 seconds one post has 565 tweets. I’m suspicious.
1:31pm ET: Macworld and Engadget have play-by-plays of the new iPad cover. Engadget has more pictures, but both do a good job. Nothing yet from Mashable on the cover. And there is good news – the WSJ is now up! Unfortunately, their last update was at 12:48.
12:34pm ET: I’m really liking that Engadget and Macworld update automatically. Mashable has separate posts so you have refresh the home page (annoying). The WSJ might have given up at this point on the live blog. They must realize they aren’t #winning this one.
12:38pm ET: John Paczkowski at All Things D is also live blogging the event. While they’re part of the WSJ network, I’ve heard Kara Swisher say multiple times that All Things D competes with the WSJ, so we’re counting this as a separate blog.
12:39pm ET: Engadget was first to report FaceTime. Macworld followed, still waiting for Mashable to put up their next post.
12:33pm ET: Apple’s event isn’t over yet, but our job for the day is done. Today’s rankings (from the outlets we watched) are as follows: First place to Engadget, second place to Macworld and (a distant) third place to Mashable. We’re giving the WSJ an incomplete grade due to their tech problems, and we’ll give their hard-working reporters another shot next time.
The Daily is not just Rupert Murdoch’s pet project – it’s going to be taken seriously. Jesse Angelo, editor-in-chief of The Daily, made this clear when sent around the following memo to his staff this week, clearly stating his expectations for the publication. He’s not going to let The Daily become another news organization that re-publicizes the same content as everyone else. His goal is to make The Daily different and unique, not substitutable. How refreshing!
Subject: The News
Folks, Egypt is over – time for us to get focused on covering America.
We need to get out there and start finding more compelling stories from around the country – not just scraping the web and the wires, but getting out on the ground and reporting. Find me an amazing human story at a trial the rest of the media is missing. Find me a school district where the battle over reform is being fought and tell the human tales. Find a town that is going to be unincorporated because it’s broke. Find me a story of corruption and malfeasance in a state capitol that no one has found. Find me something new, different, exclusive and awesome. Find me the oldest dog in America, or the richest man in South Dakota. Force the new White House press secretary to download The Daily for the first time because everyone at the gaggle is asking about a story we broke. Get in front of a story and make it ours – force the rest of the media to follow us.
It’s good stories that will keep people coming back to The Daily – we’ve assembled a crack news team, so let’s show the world what we can do.
The following is a guest post by RJ Bardsley, a SVP based in Racepoint’s SF office. If you like this post, check him out on Twitter (@rjbardsley) and his blog, BrandFiller.
By now you’ve all read that Steve Jobs is taking an indefinite leave of absence from his post as CEO of Apple. The news was hard to hear – for both technology enthusiasts and the financial community. Many are questioning Apple’s ability to innovate in the absence of Jobs. After all, it was Jobs who stepped in and not only rescued the company from the brink of extinction, but propelled it to greatness with game-changing products like the iPod and the iPhone.
It is fascinating to me that so much of this company’s image and respect hinges on one man’s name. Jobs is brilliant, but there are two reasons that I think Apple will continue to innovate.
First, there is and always has been a team behind Jobs. He is brilliant, but he has not been brilliant alone or in a vacuum. Success breeds success and while I am not deeply familiar with the personalities behind the Apple brand, I am sure there is a cadre of great minds already working on the next innovations in consumer electronics.
Second, Jobs built a culture of “design comes first” within Apple. This culture has set Apple apart from many of its competitors in the consumer electronics market. While Creative, RCA and others had MP3 players on the market as the Napster age swept the country in the late 1990s, Apple was the first to come to market with a sleek design for all three elements of consuming digital music: hardware, software and a commerce model. A corporate culture is bigger than one person – even the founder. It’s not impossible to dismantle that culture, but in my opinion it is unlikely to happen. Continue to expect beautiful things from Apple: they will probably deliver.
One other thing to consider with regards to Apple: over the last decade or so they have not been outside of the mainstream of ideas in consumer tech – they have just executed better. What I mean by that is they didn’t invent the digital music player with the iPod; they didn’t invent the idea of a lush mobile user interface with the iPhone; they didn’t invent the idea of a tablet computing device with the iPad; they just figured out how to deliver the most elegant products.
All that said, let’s hope Jobs is back at work and healthy in the near future.