Maccast Members Show #167 - Let's Talk
V Opening
V A struggle for direction
* We need to talk about the future of the Member shows.
* I don't want to stop doing them, but I'm struggling. Struggling for ideas, struggling for time.
* Who knew creative processes would be hard, right?
V One of the things I'm struggling with is just the concept of what these shows are supposed to be.
* I thought they'd find their own way, like the Maccast itself did.
* I really want them to be a conversational, but the challenge is doing that in a medium that, is really one way in most respects.
* The thing is, you are as much a part of this as I am
* I want these shows to be more about the community and our relationship even more so than the regular Maccast.
* You are my closest listener's and the shows best supporters.
* What I love about this is our community and the interactions and exchanges we have. So I want to do more of that here, but I guess I'm struggling with how.
V I think I've been trying to make the shows too much about me teaching you stuff
* I've been looking to do big deep topics and I think I'm getting lost and overwhelmed in coming up with ideas for that.
* I'm not saying we won't learn new stuff in these shows or dive deep, but I think I want that process to happen more naturally
* I want us to simply have conversations to talk about all the cool and interesting things we discover and to share that
V I think somewhere along the way, this show, became it's own thing and somehow not "the Maccast".
* I want these to be the Maccast, plus.
* More of the Maccast
V So that's what I'm going to attempt to do. Get back to the basics.
* I might experiment with format a bit.
* My gut tells me to do smaller, more frequent shows, but I'm not sure. I'll need you to give me feedback on that.
* But I'm starting with this show and we'll take it from here.
V Today we'll talk about three things:
* eBooks and eMagazines
* Apple's future notebook lineup
* A new iOS app I discovered that let's you create cell animation on your iPad.
V Topics
V Print isn't dead, but ePrint could be
* Well here's a strange twist of fate. For the past few years many have felt that all the dead tree forms of publishing would be on their way out.
* The rise of the web, blogs, eReaders (like the Kindle and Nook), and iPads would mean newspapers, magazines, and books in traditional printed forms would be dead in a few years.
* I came across a couple articles this week that seem to show that isn't happening. At least not for Magazines or books, or at least not as quickly or as holistically as some might have thought.
V Can Apple be blamed for the death of the eMagazine?
* A couple of folks are not too happy about how iOS 7s redesign has changed the look and functionality of news stand.
* Hamish McKenzie, wrote a piece on titled, "Who hates Jony Ive’s iOS7? Publishers, that’s who"
* He cites recent comments from Marco Armant (Creator of 'The Magazine'), Glenn Fleishman (Current owner and Executive Editor of 'The Magazine'), and Marko Karppinen of digital publishing startup Richie
V The issue they all say is Apple's Newsstand.
* Apple built and marketed Newsstand as a way to build up the digital Magazines and Newspapers
* It had it's own special section in the store and it's own place on iOS devices
* The trouble with Newsstand now, according to these publishers, is that in iOS 7, it no longer offers any advantages over standard apps
* And worse your publications actually have a greater chance of betting lost and forgotten about.
* This isn't exactly new, in 2012 John Gruber said in a post, "Newsstand is a place where apps go to be forgotten."
* The Magazine was hugely popular when it was first released and got a lot of fanfare because it was designed and built first and foremost as a digital magazine
* Since then though things have been going not as well. Marco sold the publication to Glenn Fleishman. The magazine is reportedly breaking even, but has also been losing subscribers.
* Fleishman thinks some of the blame can be placed on iOS 7 and the redesigned Newsstand
* There seems to be three big issues
V 1) The new icon is lame, generic, and gives no indication of updated content
* There isn't a good way to know when new content comes out.
* You can send Push notifications when new content arrives, but you can do that with an App too.
* It's also easy to get annoying to the point where you're ignored
V 2) Newsstand can be even more buried
* It's now just a regular folder, so it can be hidden away anywhere.
V 3) Apple has removed all the "exclusive" benefits of Newsstand with Apps in iOS 7
* Auto-renewing subscriptions can be done in almost any app
* Background downloads can be done in any app
* 'Content available' push notifications are no longer exclusive
* Armant also says the App background-download system is much better than what is available to Newsstand apps
V So basically there are now very few benefits to being a Newsstand App vs a standard app.
* You still need to be a Newsstand app to appear in Apple's special section in the App Store and that could have some marketing benefits
* Trouble is once you are a Newsstand app you are stuck there forever. Moving out and becoming a "standard" app would mean losing your subscribers.
V So is it the technology that is the problem or is it something else?
* It all seems to me to come down to "attention" and that is getting harder for everyone.
* Apps, podcasts, TV, movies, blogs, Twitter, Facebook
* It really comes down to marketing at a lot of levels
* I think too many developers of content think it is Apple's responsibility to help them market their stuff.
V Briefly, there was another interesting piece this week on young adult readers and eBooks
* This was published in The Guardian
* Youth marketing research firm Voxburner surveyed 1,420 young adults ages 16 to 24 and found that 62% preferred reading printed books over eBooks.
* Why? Price and the emotional connection
V They view eBooks as being over priced. 28% said prices should be half of what they currently are. Only 8% thought current eBook prices are set correctly.
* They were surveyed from a student money saving site, so that could have factored in.
* This is also where I get concerned about ePricing. Digital items seem to inherently have less perceived value among consumers. They do have less material and distribution cost, but the creative costs remain the same.
V But the physicality of the object was the big reason why they preferred a book over an eBook
* The ability to hold and share
* A book collection was also viewed as a status symbol and that's not something you can get by looking at an iPad
V In terms of physical vs. digital media preferences in the group there were some other interesting results
* Movies just beat out newspapers and magazines for being preferred in physical form movies (48%), newspapers and magazines (47%)
* Music and video games were more likely to be preferred in digital form CDs (32%), and video games (31%)
V Does Apple still need two notebook lines?
* Ben Lovejoy posted an interesting commentary piece over at 9to5 Mac
* This is actually something that I had been thinking about for a while too.
V Apple has the Macbook Air now positioned as the "entry" notebook, starting at $1,000 USD
* It's basically now what the MacBook lineup used to be
* The Macbook Pro's main difference now is mostly about the Retina Display, Pro Graphics (mostly on the higher end), and an HDMI port.
* Storage and memory are now built in on both line-ups.
* Price ranges are not that far off especially on the low end, where a 13-inch Retina Macbook Pro is $1,299.00, just $300 more than the 11-inch Macbook Air
* You can see how the two lineups are on a convergence course
* Add an 11-inch "Pro" with Retina Display at the $999.00 level and slim down the Pros profile to an Macbook Air size and you pretty much have it.
V The only other thing Ben points out is possibly bring back a 17-inch model on the high end.
* the theory being that Apple likely did in the 17-inch because of the high cost of a Retina panel at that size currently.
* I think he put a realistic timeline on the merger of 2015 as well.
* I'm always down for Apple simplifying the choices for consumers as long as they balance options, with price and performance.
* Plus, with BTO options you really end up with a lot more actual configurations. Starting with just four base options works.
V App: Animation Desk
* Available on the App Store for $4.99USD from Kdan Mobile
* Lets you create frame by frame animations like a flip book.
* Has 3 layers you can work with background, middle, and foreground
* Controls for adding, removing, duplicating, and stepping through frames.
V Brushes and palettes that can be customized
* set up swatch palettes
* Gesture controls.
V Frame manager
* let's you duplicate, delete, move frames around.
V Project manager
* Export options for Facebook, YouTube, YouKu, Photo Library
* Also go to email, a ZIP package, and PDF (with different frame layouts)
V Sounds
* This was a very limited Ui and hard to work with. Also buggy.
* The app is very full featured and while that seems to be a strength it's also a weakness.
V In use I found it to be a bit buggy
* Some features didn't seem to work as advertised
* Also the first time I used it the "undo" buttons didn't seem to work. Now they do, but not all the time.
* It's very "skeuomorphic" in design and while that looks pretty I think it encumbers the interface a bit.
V It's hard to figure out where things are and how to control them which can be frustrating.
* For example there is a cool "Stamp" tool that let's you select cut, copy and clone elements
* It feels very much like the original 'Skitch' in how it looks
* But I had to watch the video tutorial on the support website to understand how to use it.
* There are in-app videos and a help overlay. The videos appear when you first launch the app, but the help overlay itself is even hard to find. Also when you pop it up even it can be overwhelming.
* I get the sense that the app was ported over from the OS X version and it might suffer from a bit from that.
* Still I was able to create some great animations with it and for five bucks it's a really good deal.
V I recommended the app on Applr, but listener Rene didn't like the app as much
* The trouble over all seems to be that for anything other than playing around the iPad is maybe underpowered for 2D animation in his opinion
* He did recommend Do Ink Animation & Drawing and FlipBook HD, both $4.99 USD
* He said Flipbook HD probably needs an iPad with an A7 for best performance.