Why You’ll Buy The iPad Even Though You Don’t Want One

After months of speculation, followed by  the device’s introduction–the iPad is here. I didn’t buy one, nor did I intend to make a purchase, but let me tell you why I will anyway.

My initial thought is the iPad is for content consumption not content creation. It’s not as powerful as my Macbook Pro which I use for tethered photography, Lightroom & Photoshop processing. It’s not as portable as my iPhone which aside from the obvious mobile features is really my handheld portfolio. I don’t have a pressing need for a third device. However, as a business owner, I can’t ignore existing or potential customers. It doesn’t matter what I think about the iPad–300,000 iPads sold on the first day. Twitter was a buzz, mainstream media jumped in, and the Apple fanboys enjoyed the Rapture as the iPad finally arrived in stores last Saturday. If you’re an iPad naysayer you probably want to jump in and tell me about it’s lack of Flash media support, remind me that tablet computers have never been mainstream, but that’s not the point. Apple didn’t make the iPad for the Power User, the technophile or gadget geek–the iPad is a consumer electronic device.

Consumers don’t care about how technology works, they just want it to work. Consumers expect a dial tone when they make a call, they’re not interested in how many hops the call is routed through. Consumers don’t debate the advantages of HDTV vs standard definition, they just want to watch their TV shows. Apple has created a device that my retired parents will love with proven iPhone technology so simple my two-year old daughter already uses it. Apple isn’t creating a new market, as much as they are recognizing the needs of an existing consumer base. Anyone will be able to use an iPad because the learning curve isn’t steep. Will everyone take advantage of all the nuances of the device? Certainly not, but that’s the same for a lot of consumer electronics out there. HDTVs are more common now that prices are under $1000, but only the home theater enthusiast is going to pay money to calibrate their LCD screen if they don’t tweak settings themselves.

We as content creators cannot ignore how consumers are accessing our products. Scott Kelby wrote a post this morning on how the iPad affects photographers, and I would add all industries should pay attention. In this global marketplace, you have to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself. Making your content available for the iPad while time consuming AND financially redundant is the smart choice because leaders are proactive not reactive. While many people are focusing on iPad apps, Terry White mentioned the opportunity for eBook self-publishing with Adobe InDesign. That’s right, my mother could very well publish that cookbook she’s always dreamed about, and make it accessible to 300,000 people today.

In summary, it remains to be seen if the iPad will be the revolutionary device Steve Jobs claims it will be, but I’m not going to stand around on the sidelines waiting to find out.

Website RSS Feed Update

Good afternoon dear readers!

This is just a quick update to let you know there will be some changes to the website in the next few weeks. The biggest change will be the use of Category Feeds. As longtime readers know this blog has covered a wide range of topics ranging from entertainment to games to politics, fitness & health and of course Adobe software.

Having individual category feeds will make the blog more useful to everyone. In the future you’ll be able to pick the category you want to follow, and you can ignore the rest of my ramblings. Given my schedule this is the best option versus starting another blog, or two, or three.

So there you have it. I’ll announce the updates when they’re online, and I appreciate your continued patronage of the blog.

iPhone App Reviews – MyFitnessPal vs DailyBurn

It’s week #2 of John P’s GetHealthy Challenge and I’m sitting here having lost 2lbs in about one week. That’s surprising given the fact that I cheated last week while in Oklahoma eating McDonalds not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES… the horror. However, in my defense I really only blew it once. After discovering my Double Quarter Pounder meal was over 1300 calories that was enough to make me think about just having a snack wrap the next time. I decided early on that if I was going to commit to this fitness challenge I would take advantage of any technical gadgets I could get my hands on. You see I love gadgets, and if I can find a legitimate use to buy/trade/download one then so be it. Today’s review is of two iPhone apps–My Fitness Pal & Daily Burn. Both apps do a good job of helping you track nutrition & exercise information which tie into the websites and online communities they support. That being said, neither app will work unless you sign up for a free website account. My intention is to primarily use the iPhone app as I hope to be moving around more, and sitting in front of my computer less. Also, given my schedule it’s more likely that my fitness diary will be entered on the go. Let’s get to the details of each app:

My Fitness Pal

The iPhone app and online web account are free.

The Good – My Fitness Pal has a well thought out interface. If you do not have an account you can create your profile directly from the iPhone app. You’ll be prompted to enter such info as current weight, goal weight, current height, activity level, weekly number of workouts planned, in addition to some personal info like your birthday & city location. The final step is to create your username/password and then you’ll be shown your calculated daily calorie summary. NOTE – I highly recommend getting the advice of your doctor or a professional nutritionist to calculate how many calories you need per day. My suggested calorie intake was a total of 1100 calories, which I found rather low. Fortunately, you can edit your profile info, so I changed the suggested number.

After creating my account I was able to jump in right away adding my first meal on record–Two Eggs Scrambled, Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage, Pace Salsa – 289 calories. The Home screen shows a Daily Summary with the “Add to Diary” button easily recognized in the center of the app. Scrolling the Home page reveals detailed nutrition information, calculated from the foods you enter.

When adding new entries you can search for foods by name or brand, choose from your last entries, or create specific foods & meals. That’s right, you can group a series of foods into a meal which makes data entry even easier once you get a few items entered. The process is straight forward, and I found it easy to edit items such as number of servings or create meals.

The Bad – the application requires an Internet connection via WiFi or cellular. Entries cannot be entered offline. The workout section could be improved to capture & provide more information. Compared to the nutrition section of the app, the workout implementation feels light.

Daily Burn

The iPhone app and online web account are free. There is a PAID version of the app for $2.99 that has more features, and the website also has varying subscription level services. Daily Burn is also supported by a 2nd iPhone app called Food Scanner which is currently on sale for .99 cents.

The Good – The application has separate screen page icons that display your fitness progress, workout and nutritional summaries. Nutrition entries include a picture of the item as well as a capture of the product nutrition label. The workout section includes popular programs–even the Wii Fit–allowing for detailed progress of your workouts. The body section provides a graph which allows for a larger detail view simply by rotating the phone. This application interfaces directly with the Food Scanner which is a slick application. I found myself going through my pantry scanning stuff I had no intention of eating. Nice if you don’t like to type on your phone.

The Bad – The application interface requires too many page changes to get to what you want. The free version of the app only allows you to save 20 food items, and you can’t save complete meals. When I searched certain foods–or even scanned them directly with Food Scanner–the nutritional information was wrong. (I can understand this with the Daily Burn app, but was very surprised to get mistakes with the Food Scanner). Constantly reminded in app (and on website) to upgrade to Pro version. As with My Fitness Pal the app requires an Internet connection to use.

Overall Comparison Summary

As I mentioned before, both applications are good for counting those calories. Daily Burn has an advantage when you pair it with the Food Scanner app, but I would have to say for regular use My Fitness Pal just works better. The fact that I can create meals saves more time than the ability to scan bar codes, and the user interface is clean, simple & easy to navigate. But don’t take my word for it, test drive the apps yourself. For me, I’m going to use My Fitness Pal for the rest of John P’s GetHealthy challenge.

ReTweets – Is Twitter Breaking Community Features

According to yesterday’s blog post, Twitter has plans to work retweets (RTs as they’re used) into the online application. According to Dan Zarrella this is a summary of the change in function, “Twitter plans to add a button to the Twitter web client that says “Retweet” that will allow you to send the same exact Tweet, withno editing, to your followers. Your followers will see the original poster’s avatar and name, even if they’re not following them, and the only indication they’ll see that it is a ReTweet will be a small line of light gray text underneath it.”

I saw a sputtering of tweets today on the topic, and I’m inclined to jump on the #SaveReTweets bandwagon. However, if we’re to assume Twitter has the interests of the community in mind, I would like to add some helpful critiques.

Read More

Quick Links – Thursday

It’s late (or early) so I’ll just throw out some links for you to visit:

NAPP – You should already be a member if you have any interest in Photoshop. Really. Other people who know Photoshop will heckle you if you’re not a member. They’ll be like, “There goes that person who thinks they know more than Scott Kelby AND all his friends.”

Why NAPP? Why now? Well, yesterday NAPP members got access to an exclusive Watermark panel that can be downloaded for CS4. That alone is worth the $99 membership fee for some folks. So go join. Now.

Wacom introduces the Intuos4. This was all the buzz yesterday during the Photoshop World keynote, maybe due to a few folks winning the tablet. Brought to you by the leaders in pen tablet tech, it’s worth a look.

AppStorm – I have Erik to thank for pointing out this website. For new & experienced Mac users, here’s a place to go to find app reviews. Sure there are more apps for Windows, but I’m starting to focus on quality in my computing experience not quantity.

Alright, I’m out. A bit of sleep before the day really kicks off.