Apple iPad: The Best iPod Touch Available

I have a weakness. I like to think big. And when we heard so many juicy rumors about the Apple tablet device, now named the iPad, I knew that with Steve Jobs at the helm, I could afford to think big. So big did I think, that I suggested the iPad should take media consumption to the next level and create an entirely new category of device.

At first, Jobs appeared ready to confirm my suspicions. He said seductive things like, "Everybody uses a laptop and or a smartphone. The question has arisen lately. Is there room for a third category in the middle?" I was sitting on the edge of my seat, ready to hear Jobs demonstrate that new category of device. But he didn't.

Instead, what Apple debuted today was a very nice upgrade to the iPod Touch.

Don't get me wrong. I love the iPod Touch and I was this close to getting one for myself. Now that the iPad has arrived, I can finally get one, the new, big one. But it's not a new category of device. It doesn't really revolutionize the 5-6 hours of media we consume the way it could have. It doesn't even send Amazon's Kindle running to the hills for cover. In fact, the competitor likely to take the biggest hit from the arrival of the iPad is Apple, in the form of fewer iPod Touches sold and fewer MacBook Airs sold.

Read more

The Data Digest: Where US Consumers Buy Or Borrow Their Books

Just after X-mas there were a lot of tweets about the news that Amazon.com had sold more ebooks at Christmas day than real books, as a result of the Kindle being the most gifted item in Amazon's history.

Read more

Taxing the Net Won’t Stop the Media Meltdown

A new French government sponsored study has recommended taxing online advertising revenues to help compensate the French creative industries for copyright infringement.  The study proposes taxing the large online players Google, Facebook, Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo, but not ISPs, which are more traditionally seen as the key conduit for online media piracy. The sharp eyed among you will have noticed that these are all American companies and that the French ISPs are, well, French. 

Parochialism aside, there is a major flaw in the logic here: if these large companies are deemed responsible in part for illegal content consumption, then so are the ISPs (arguably more so).  And indeed the French Hadopi (Three Strikes) bill which this study is intended to complement, expressly apportions responsibility to the ISPs, making them partners in anti-piracy enforcement.  So if they are deemed responsible under French law, shouldn’t they also be subject to a levy, if one is implemented?

The so called ‘Google Tax’ proposals also suggest that the tax should be paid regardless of whether the publishers have offices in France, based instead on whether French consumers view the ads.  So this would mean, for example, that Google would have to make payment to support the French media industries if a French consumer clicked on a sponsored link, say, for washing machines in Seattle.

Read more