Having lost its appeal against the UK High Court of Justice’s ruling, which decided Samsung’s tablet designs didn’t infringe on the iPad, Apple is being forced to make a public apology.
The best bit? The judge in question has described how it has to do it. Apple will have to post notices on its website, and in newspapers, explaining why it’s sorry. In Arial. With a font size no smaller than 14 pts. Brilliant.
The case in question had previously thrown out Apple’s complaints, when Judge Colin Birss explained that the Galaxy tablets “do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design… They are not as cool.” As a result, Biriss judged that consumers were unlikely to confuse the two tablets, meaning that Samsung’s product didn’t infringe on Apple’s registered design. This particular legal battle just keeps getting better. [BBC]
Men are disproving the stereotype that they hate shopping, and the retail world is taking note.
Many are even opening men’s stores.
Here are some of the changes the industry has made recently:
- Christian Louboutin, designer of red-soled shoes, opened a men’s store in New York’s Meatpacking District.
- Ugg opened a men’s store this summer.
- Nordstrom is opening a temporary men’s store in Soho with “a coffee bar, complimentary shaves and, naturally, lots of gadgets.”
- Urban Outfitters just released a men’s catalogue for the first time ever.
- Saks Fifth Avenue remodeled its men’s store this year.
In 2011, men’s spending on apparel increased by 4 percent. The increase was fueled by a broader interest in fashion according to research by NPD Group, Wilson reported.
DON’T MISS :Celebrity Designer Max Azria Tells Us How Fashion Houses Are Coping With The Bad Economy>
Campaign season is heating up, and in Michigan’s 3rd congressional district the Democratic primary battle pits an entrenched 60-year-old against a young social media upstart. Guess whose campaign has more Facebook Likes? Old man Steve Pestka’s. He’s got the best Facebook friends money can buy.
Eclectablog reports the curious rise of Steve Pestka’s Facebook popularity. Pestka has been running a pretty traditional campaign against Trevor Thomas, who’s running a “more modern campaign” that “involves heavy use of social media to create a buzz and appeal to a wider cross-section of voters.” Then a few weeks ago, Pestka’s Facebook popularity skyrocketed from just over 1000 likes to some 7500. Impressive! Er, except it’s pretty suspicious:
But what’s even stranger than the surge is the demographics of his followers. If you look at the screenshot above, you’ll see his “Most popular age group” is 13-17 year-olds and his most popular city is in Israel. In April, it was kids in the age range of 13-17 from the Philippines:
While this is hardly definitive proof that Pestka’s campaign went on a Facebook Like shopping spree, it’s hard to think of any other plausible explanation. Eclectablog spoke to the Pestka campaign, which claimed that the meteoric rise was due to nontargeted Faebook ads. Yeah, sure, right. Dear inexperienced social media people of the world: Don’t try to be sneaky. We will catch you. [Eclectablog via Sean Carlson]
There’s fascinating disconnect between which advertisers the media thinks did well on last night’s Super Bowl and what the research says was effective.
But it didn’t even show up in the Ace Metrix Top 10. Ace Metrix measures a panel of 500 consumers who watch ads and rate them for effectiveness. That research says Doritos’ sling baby ad won the night.
It was also a big night for dogs. Volkswagen’s much anticipated follow-up to its little Darth Vader spot from last year used an obese dog getting in shape to gets its revenge on a VW it wanted to chase down the street (and then somehow ended up in the Star Wars cantina scene).
Skechers used a dog — Mr. Quiggly — in a greyhound race.
As did Bud Light, whose appeal with Weego, a rescue dog, was heartwarming.
So did Doritos, in another comedic appeal revolving around the whole Dogs v. Cats war.
Chase ran an ad that for the life of me I can’t recall even though I am paid to remember these things. And TaxACT’s ad, featuring a kid who urinates in a swmming pool, was disgusting.
Later today — much later — we’ll take a look at how B.I.’s readers judged the ads with the results of our Super Bowl ad readers’ poll. Vote early, and often!
- VOTE HERE: For The Best And Worst Super Bowl Ads
- SUPER BOWL ADS LIVE BLOG: Instant Reaction From Our Man With The Nachos!
- Here Are All Of This Year’s Super Bowl Ads
Now that we’ve seen the iPad in the light of day, there’s a lot of chatter about what it can’t do. But Apple is now a massive threat to netbooks and ebook readers. Here’s why:
Generally speaking, the iPad’s goal is not to replace your netbook, assuming you own and love one. It’s not about replacing your Kindle either, assuming you cashed in for that as well. We have reviewed plenty of both, and know there’s plenty to like. If you derive pleasure out of using either, then Apple might have a hard time convincing you to switch to the iPad. But for the millions of people who aren’t on either bandwagon, yet have the money and interest in a “third” device between the phone and the computer, the iPad will have greater appeal.
250 Million iPods Earlier…
When the first iPod came out, its goal was not to grab the customers who Creative and Archos were fighting over, with their dueling 6GB “jukeboxes.” It was to grab everyone else. I remember listening to arguments about why Archos had a better device than Creative or even Apple. Lot of good that early-adopter love got them in the long run. The pocket media player market exploded, with Apple eating over half the pie consistently for almost a decade.
When the iPhone came out, BlackBerry users were like, “No flippin’ way.” And guess what, those people still buy BlackBerries. (And why shouldn’t they? Today’s BlackBerry is still great, and hardly distinguishable from the BB of 2007.) The point is, the iPhone wasn’t designed to win the hearts and minds of people who already knew their way around a smartphone. It came to convince people walking around with Samsung and LG flip phones that there was more to life. And it worked.
iPhones now account for more than half of AT&T’s phone sales. You can bet that WinMo, Palm and BB combined weren’t doing that kind of share pre-iPhone. Globally, the smartphone business grew from a niche thing for people in suits to being a 180-million unit per year business, says Gartner, eclipsing the entire notebook business—about 20% of which, I might add, are netbooks. The iPhone isn’t the sole driver of this growth, of course, but its popularity has opened many new doors for the category. Just ask anyone in the business of developing/marketing/selling Droids or Palm Pres.
You could say, “Those were Apple’s successes, what about their failures?” In the second age of Steve Jobs, there aren’t a whole lot. Apple TV is the standout—quite possibly because Apple discovered, after releasing the product, that there wasn’t a big enough market for it, or any of its competitors. Apple TV may be crowded out by connected Blu-ray players, home-theater PCs and HD video players, but Apple TV’s niche is, to this day, almost frustratingly unique.
So how do you know if a market exists? You ask the “other” Steve, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
It’s Business Time
There’s a famous Ballmerism, one he’s even said to me, that goes something like, “A business isn’t worth entering unless the sales potential is 50 million units or more.” 50 million. That’s why Ballmer is happy to go into the portable media player business and the game console business, but laughs about ebook readers. Microsoft may not sell 50 million Zunes, but it’s worth being a contender.
You can bet Apple thinks this way. You can easily argue that, despite its sheen of innovation, Apple is far more conservative than Microsoft. Apple TV is a bit of an anomaly, but with no major hardware refreshes and a few small-minded software updates, you can hardly accuse Apple of throwing good money after bad. Presumably Apple TV was a learning experience for Jobs & Co., one they’re not likely to repeat.
With that in mind, let’s look particularly at netbooks and ebook readers.
Like Notebooks, Only Littler
Netbooks are cooking, but it’s well known they’re cooking because notebooks are not. A netbook was originally conceived as something miraculously small and simple, running Linux with a warm fuzzy interface that dear old gran could use to bone up on pinochle before Friday’s showdown with the Rosenfelds. But instead of growing outward to this new audience (always with the grandmothers, it seems), it grew inward, cannibalizing real PC sales.
The Linux fell away, mostly because it was ill-conceived, and these simply became tiny, cheap, limited-function Windows PCs. They may have been a 40-million-unit business last year, according to DisplaySearch, but they only got cheaper, and the rest of the business was so depressed nobody was happy. (And just ask Ballmer how much he makes on those XP licenses, or even the “low-powered OS” that is Windows 7 Starter.)
Point is, nerds may love their netbooks, but the market that the netbook originally set out to reach is too far away, running farther away and screaming louder with every blog post about what chipset and graphics processor a netbook is rumored to have, or whether or not it is, indeed, a netbook at all. Clearly the audience is cheap geeks, and while that may be a good market to be in (just read Giz comments), it’s definitively not Steve Jobs’ market.
Easy on the Eyes
Now, about that Kindle. Best ebook reader out there. Every time we say that, we say it with a wink. We totally respect the Kindle (and I for one have hopes for Nook once it pulls itself out of the firmware mess it’s in), but we think e-ink is a limited medium.
Its functionality is ideal for a very specific task—simulating printed words on paper—and for that I have always sung its praise. The Kindle is ideal for delivering and serving up those kinds of books, and as a voracious reader of those kinds of books, I am grateful for its existence. But there are other kinds of books of which I am a consumer: Cookbooks, children’s books and comic books. (Notice, they all end in “book.”) The Kindle can’t do any of those categories well at all, because they are highly graphical. E-ink’s slow-refreshing, difficult-to-resize grayscale images are pretty much hideous. No big deal for the compleat Dickens, but too feeble to take on my dog-eared, saffron-stained Best-Ever Curry Cookbook.
So, e-ink’s known weaknesses aside, let’s talk again about Ballmer’s favorite number, 50 million. Guess how many Kindles are estimated to have been sold ever since the very first one launched? 2.5 million. Nobody knows for sure because Amazon won’t release the actual figures. Guess how many ebook readers are supposedly going to sell this year, according to Forrester? Roughly 6 million. In a year. Compare that to 21 million iPods sold last quarter, along with 9 million iPhones.
I am not suggesting that the iPod or iPhone is a worthwhile replacement for reading, but I am saying that, for better or worse, there are probably at least 2.5 million iPod or iPhone users who read books on those devices.
Are you starting to see the larger picture here? I am not trying to convince you to buy an Apple iPad, I am trying to explain to you why you probably will anyway. As the Kindle fights just to differentiate itself while drowning in a milk-white e-ink sea of God-awful knockoffs, you’ll see that color screen shining in the distance.
Sure the iPad may not be as easy on the eyes as a Kindle. But you will be able to read in bed without an additional light source. You will be able to read things online without banging your head against a wall to get to the right page. And, once the publishers get their acts together, you will be able to enjoy comics, cookbooks, and children’s books, with colorful images. Even before you set them into motion, dancing around the screen, they’ll look way better than they would on e-ink. (I haven’t even mentioned magazines, but once that biz figures out what to do with this thing, they will make it work, because they need color screens, preferably touchscreens.)
Tide Rollin’ In
So we have this new device, carefully planned by a company with a unique ability to reach new markets. And we have two types of products that have effectively failed to reach those markets. And you’re going to bet on the failures? The iPad has shortcomings, but they only betray Apple’s caution, just like what happened with iPhone No. 1. Now every 15-year-old kid asks for an iPhone, and the ones that don’t get them get iPod Touches.
We can sit here in our geeky little dorkosphere arguing about it all day, but as much as Apple clearly enjoys our participation, the people Jobs wants to sell this to don’t read our rants. They can’t even understand them. My step-mother refuses to touch computers, but nowadays checks email, reads newspapers and plays Solitaire on an iPod Touch, after basically picking it up by accident one day. That’s a future iPad user if I ever saw one.
Jobs doesn’t care about the netbook business, or the ebook business. He’s just aiming for the same people they were aiming at. The difference is, he’s going to reach them. And the fight will be with whoever enters into the tablet business with him. Paging Mr. Ballmer…
PS – If I’ve gotten to the end of this lengthy piece without telling you much about the iPad at all, it’s because other Giz staffers have already done such a handsome job of that already. If you missed out, here are the best four links to get you up to speed:
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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