Tag Archives: ipod

e-Book Readers, are they the future?

On Ollie Bray’s blog a comment was made on Ollie’s post about e-Books.

Neil commenting on the blog said:

I don’t think e-book readers will cut it. They will please a few – gadgeteers and the followers of Oprah (or would that be Jonathan Ross over here?) – but I think they will only be a niche product. After all, you can already read e-books on many phones, netbooks and PCs, so why would you want a specialist device?

Which would you rather spend on – a class set of Kindles (at £175 each) or a set of iPods touches (@£149)? No-brainer really. ANd you are never going to get a head to spend that kind of money twice.

I do agree that in terms of functionality that the iPod touch (currently) is superior to the Kindle, but you do need to ask what functionality are you looking for when purchasing a device.

I am going to disagree with  Neil about the e-Book, personally I think they are going to be one of the next big technologies.

Many negative things were said about early mp3 players and notably the iPod. If you go back to 2001 the following comments were made which are not exactly positive about Apple’s music player.

The iPod does cost considerably more than the nearest competitor with a portable hard drive…

…analyst Tim Deal dinged the $399 price as “a little high.”

“I question the company’s ability to sell into a tight consumer market right now at the iPod’s current price.”

“Apple lacks the richness of Sony’s product offering. And introducing new consumer products right now is risky, especially if they cannot be priced attractively,”

Stephen Baker said that the iPod will likely stand out for its large storage capacity but predicted that the device may have trouble digging out a niche in the market.

The iPod has “good features, but this is a pretty competitive category,” Baker said. “The question is whether people want that robust of a feature set with that high of a price.”

Look where the iPod is now!

Let’s take Niel’s comment:

After all, you can already read e-books on many phones, netbooks and PCs, so why would you want a specialist device?

If you rewrite this as

After all, you can already listen to mp3s on many phones, netbooks and PCs, so why would you want a specialist device?

That’s what many people said about the iPod and the early mp3 players.

e-Book readers are supplementary to netbooks, iPhones, iPods and PCs, not replacements.

They also have one big advantage over those devices for e-Books and that is battery life.

I have to charge my iPhone on a daily basis, I charge my e-Book reader once a week.

For me the Kindle and Sony Reader are generation one devices, and as the technology matures and changes I expect to see better and smarter products.

The rumours are that Apple and Microsoft will both release an e-Book Reader type product in the next twelve months. These devices will certainly raise the profile of e-Books and the market for devices to read them.

It’s only rock and roll, but we (still) like it

As I have mentioned before, on September 9th, Apple are running a music style event called It’s only rock and roll, but we like it.

appleevent090909

It’s quite normal for Apple to make an announcement at this time of year. In 2007 Apple for example announced the iPod touch. I said before that:

According to the rumour sites, there are good indications that we will see new iPods with cameras.

Will we see the rumoured Apple Tablet?

I think it is a strong possibility, but there are other rumours which state we won’t see it until the first quarter of 2010. I wonder if Apple will announce it, so that developers can develop Apps for it in the same way that they did for the iPhone.

Reading Ollie Bray’s blog he brings to the rumour table, the social side of iTunes.

Again the rumor mills suggest a number of new features of iTunes 9 of which I think the most likely are the introduction of social networking tools or someone else’s social networking tools (eg: Facebook). This will allow you to share your playlists with your friends. If you think about it this makes a lot of sense – Apple knows that the future of the web is social.

I would agree that this is a strong possibility, think about how iPhoto ’09 now has Flickr and Facebook intergration, how easy it is to upload videos from the iPhone 3GS or iMovie to YouTube. It makes sense to add a social element to iTunes.

Some say that we may see the Beatles, possibly.

Whatever happens it will be interesting and fun to see what happens at the event. The Apple event takes place at 6pm BST on the 9th September, which is the same night as the ALT-C Gala Dinner, I suspect that many with iPhones at that dinner will be closely looking at their iPhones to see what new things are announced.

Apple iPod Event

On September 9th, Apple are running a music style event called It’s only rock and roll, but we like it.

appleevent090909

It’s quite normal for Apple to make an announcement at this time of year. In 2007 Apple for example announced the iPod touch.

So what will be announced?

According to the rumour sites, there are good indications that we will see new iPods with cameras.

Will we see the rumoured Apple Tablet?

I think it is a strong possibility, but there are other rumours which state we won’t see it until the first quarter of 2010. I wonder if Apple will announce it, so that developers can develop Apps for it in the same way that they did for the iPhone.

Personally I think the proposed Mac Tablet has a lot of potential for learners and learning, especially if it has a battery which lasts all day.

The Apple event takes place at 6pm BST on the 9th September, which is the same night as the ALT-C Gala Dinner, I suspect that many with iPhones at that dinner will be closely looking at their iPhones to see what new things are announced.

Using an iPod to improve performance in sports

In my college we have been using PSPs with cameras and video cameras to analyse performance by learners in Sports Studies, it would appear that we’re not the only ones using mobile technologies to improve performance in sports, it would appeat that Ben Foster of Manchester United is doing the same.

ben-foster-001

From the Guardian

Sir Alex Ferguson hailed Ben Foster as an England first-choice goalkeeper in waiting after the youngster’s fine penalty shoot-out save from Jamie O’Hara proved pivotal in Manchester United claiming the Carling Cup to complete the second leg of what would be an unprecedented haul of the three major domestic trophies, the Champions League and the World Club Championship.

Foster, who had spent the moments before the penalties watching footage of Tottenham Hotspur’s players taking recent penalties on an iPod…

The article continues…

“I did a bit of research for the penalties,” said the 25-year-old. “We tried to find out everything we could about Spurs beforehand and, just before the shoot-out, I was looking at a video on an iPod with Eric Steele, our goalkeeping coach, and Edwin. It’s a new innovation he’s brought in since coming to the club…

Via Andy Turner on the ILT Champions Mailing List.

In at number two…

Those of you who read the blog of a regular basis will know that as well as the blog I also (with a group of e-learning friends) record a podcast.

You can listen to the podcast on the blog, there is a simple Flash based player, so you don’t need to download it to listen to it.

You can download the mp3 file from the blog which then allows you to transfer it to a mp3 player, an iPod, burn it to CD, listen to it on your computer, or on your phone.

You can also subscribe to the podcast, either through the blog RSS feed (which incorporates all the blog postings and media files uploaded) or through the podcast RSS feed. You can subscribe via applications such as iTunes, Juice or your browser.

Finally you can subscribe to the podcast through the Apple iTunes Store. I submitted the podcast to the iTunes Store last October to the Educational Technology Podcasts section of the store.

It is proving reasonably popular and the podcast is generally always in the top twenty, quite pleased though today to see it is in at number two!

In at number two...

Now if you go and look I suspect we may have dropped a fair few places, the top podcasts list does change on a daily basis dependent on how many subscribers you have and how many new people subscribe.

I am working on a workflow document which describes the process I use for recording the podcast, it is currently a work in progress but you can view it here.

Apart from an (extra long) break over Christmas I am tying to post the podcast on a weekly basis, every Sunday. Always interested to hear about topics people would like us to talk about.

The mobility of learning: using mobile learning to rethink the digital divide – done!

I ran a workshop at ALT-C yesterday afternoon on mobile learning though didn’t have time to blog about it yesterday.

Session seemed to go well though I did have about sixty people in a long narrow room.

The feedback from the session can be found here:

http://altcworkshop.blogspot.com/

Please feel free to add comments to people’s blog posts.

Recorded Gabcast podcasts from my sessions at #altc2008 today. They are online now at http://tinyurl.com/hood2feedback

iPod nano on the big screen

Now and again I will watch video on my iPod, but the iPod nano screen is rather on the small side for me, so prefer using other things for video (such as my Mac or my Archos device).

iPod nano on the big screen

However I have been experimenting with an AV cable for the iPod nano and it works well on my TV. Battery life is ample for a whole movie.

Only downside is pausing or rewinding the movie is a little more complicated than using the remote.

You can also connect the iPod nano to a projector, if the projector has a video input.

Though you can only show videos and images in this way.

PSP or iPod touch, that is the question?

I believe that the iPod touch has a lot of potential when it comes to mobile learning.

I think the SDK gives a whole new way of working with the iPod and Exchange intergration via ActivSync allows it to be used at an enterprise/institutional level that wasn’t possible before.

In our MoLeNET project we have a group using the iPod touch and another group using the iPod classic. If you remove the wireless aspect, the classic (or nano) is a much more flexible device. What makes the touch special is the wireless capability.

The fact you can browse the internet, use e-mail, web widgets, etc… on the iPod touch makes it much more usable for some aspects of learning than the “traditional” iPod.

My colleague Alan though mentions one failing of the iPod touch over other iPods. With the nano and the classic you can use them as USB storage devices to store files, however this is not possible with the iPod touch.

You will need to consider that the touch interface does mean the screen gets grubby pretty quickly and the included cloth will need to be used on a regular basis.

Another disadvantage is that it can’t play Flash based content.

So what about the PSP?

PSP or iPod touch, that is the question

Well it has a bigger screen for one thing and it can play games!

I do like the PSP and at £120 is cheaper than the iPod touch.

It does not require iTunes and can be connected to a PC via a simple USB cable. With extras you can use Skype, record video and audio, and use GPS. The PSP also has built in speakers which means you don’t always have to use headphones.

However it comes with no onboard storage, so you will also need to buy a Memory Stick Duo for it. The wireless browser is okay, but nowhere near the level of usability or sophistication of the iPod touch browser.

Text entry is, well let’s just say, it’s interesting compared to other devices, it does mean that entering URLs is not easy.

The PSP can play “some” Flash based content.

So which one do I prefer?

Well I do use both on a regular basis, but for me the iPod touch wins out.

New Apple products announced

Those who know me will know that I am a bit of a fan of Apple products, not exclusively, but I do like good design and stylish kit.

Yesterday in San Francisco at MacWorld Expo, Apple announced some new products and upgrades for the iPod touch and iPhone.

Key new product announced at the keynote was the MacBook Air, a small light MacBook.

New Apple products announced

I do like small computers, great fan of the 10″ Sony VAIO laptops, however this is slightly bigger than I would like, and I can’t see how that would survive travelling by air or train.

Don’t get me wrong I think it’s very stylish, well designed, but doesn’t meet my needs for a small portable computer for use at conferences, on the train and in coffee shops.

No rumoured touchscreen, nor a Blu-ray drive either (actually no optical drive, though cleverly you can use your other Mac’s drive wirelessly, which is a very clever piece of software and something I would like to use with Windows UMPCs).

There was also upgrades for the iPhone and iPod touch announced which provide additional applications, annoyingly free on the iPhone and a £12.99 upgrade for the iPod touch.

Huh!

Probably worth it for the e-mail and notes applications which make the iPod touch a more interactive device.

Also announced was a new Airport Extreme base station which comes with a 500GB or 1TB drive for Time Machine backups.

On the Americans get the opportunity to rent films, here in the UK we don’t.

iPod touch, impressions

Gloucestershire College is undertaking the Glossy project as part of MoLeNET and as part of that I am evaluating and reviewing mobile devices that we may use as part of our project as well as seeing how they work so when we create (and convert) content for use on a mobile device we can ensure that it works on the majority of devices that our learners actually use.

Well I now have an iPod touch, and though I have touched one before, to actually use one for quite a bit of time, is a different kettle of fish. I am very impressed still with the device. Apple have done an excellent job.

The touch interface is very impressive and compared to the typical Table PC or Archos touch interface, the iPod touch interface is more fluid and responsive, and though I don’t like the fingerprints all over the device, the use of the finger is very intuitive.

It is these fingerprints which will probably mean that the device is not suitable for use in a classroom environment with the institution providing the devices. Learners will more thank likely look after their own iPod touch, but a class set would soon get very grimy and would need to be cleaned on a regular basis. That’s not to say this would not happen to other mobile devices, I only need to look at my phone and my iPod to see fingerprints all over them, but there is a difference when you are using your finger to poke and swipe to actually use the device.

Having said all that I can certainly see learners been able to use this interface quickly and easily, more so if webpages (ie web content) is designed for the interface.

The screen quality is excellent and images and video look excellent.

iPod touch

Syncing took a bit of time, it’s just an 8GB device, but I did put over five hundred photographs on the device as well as 4Gb of music and podcasts. This is something to consider when first using the device, it will take time to initially charge and synchronize.

The browser is probably the best I have seen on any mobile device, the way you can intelligently zoom in and out makes browsing webpages really nice and you don’t feel you are losing out with the small screen (well it’s a lot smaller than my 20″ iMac).

Overall I do like the iPod touch. it is one of the best mobile devices I have ever used and I have used a lot.