Ever thought that even though ereaders have supposedly “revolutionised” the publishing industry, an ebook on your Kindle looks pretty much the same as its predecessor in the bookshop? Or wondered why your Facebook insights show that your reach is slipping, even though you’ve gained fans and haven’t changed your strategy? Or maybe that the fact that Apple announced a tablet update just months after the new iPad came out is adding to throwaway consumerism? No? Maybe you will, after you read this round of top tech stories…
Facebook pages used to make sense. Let’s say you have a blog, and your readers want to keep up to date with your posts. So they like your Facebook page, actively volunteering to let your links pop up in their newsfeed. It was a good system: until Facebook started limiting the amount of your posts that your fans could see. Now only an average of 15% of your fans actually see a post… unless, of course, you would like to pay to promote it and reach that other 85%. Of course, 100% of your fans would never have seen a post even before Facebook introduced the promoted option — but is the social network holding a large chunk of fans for ransom unnecessarily? And is it doing its users a disservice by not frequently showing them posts from the fan pages which they’d actually like to keep up to date with?
It seems to be Steven Sinofsky’s way or the highway over at Microsoft: whether you call it decisive leadership or micromanagement, it looks like the Windows president is a man with very clear ideas about the source of innovation and how product development should be controlled. Ahead of the launch of Windows 8, Jay Greene paints a picture of the man who could one day be CEO but will ultimately be the target of the praise if everyone loves Microsoft’s new OS, or the blame if it’s another “Vistaster”.
It seems like a flawless plan: get tech journalists into a room for a product launch and they’ll whoop and cheer at your new iDevice. Let them touch it, and they’ll write you loving reviews and populate the Twittersphere with happy tweets. Are Apple’s product unveilings becoming more and more of a crafted marketing machine to get consumers lusting after a device they probably can’t afford and which will be outdated in months? And how much is Apple’s tablet really “revolutionising” education when relying so heavily on an ecosystem is potentially risky and schools could purchase a score of Android slates for the cost of a few iPads?
Now that analysts are predicting that one in seven people worldwide own a smartphone, you have to wonder about the continued growth of all those Windows Phones, BlackBerrys, iPhones and Androids. Who will the next billion smartphone owners be, and what will they use their phones for? It’ll be different from the first billion: as cheaper entry-level phones flood the market, the next billion owners will be less affluent (theoretically) and located in more developing markets than before. Jon Evans wonders about which first-world apps will flounder, and which as yet unexplored niches will become future goldmines.
Words may have transitioned from ink to pixels, but how much has really changed? In this comprehensive piece, Jason Pontin chronicles the innovations in writing from printed footnotes to tweets and blogs, wondering if the potential for story telling that tablets and new media offer is really being exploited to the fullest.
Image: Dangerous Minds