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Flipboard CEO: Apple's iPad 'created a revolution' for beautiful Internet content

post #1 of 18
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Mike McCue, founder and CEO of Flipboard, credited Apple on Friday with creating a "revolution" with its iPad tablet and said the impact of that revolution is still being understood more than two years after the device reached the market.

Speaking at the Global Mobile Internet Conference in Beijing on Friday, McCue encouraged entrepreneurs and mobile app developers to sometimes "ignore the data." He challenged designers to consider emotion and "soul" rather than pure logic when building their products.

According to the executive, content for the PC Internet has been designed with an eye toward data, rather than beauty. He pointed to browser interfaces, Website navigation, and the current state of Web ads as clutter that makes online content less attractive than print publishing.

McCue pointed to Apple as having created an opportunity for publishers to bring design and aesthetics to the mobile Web, as the multi-touch capabilities of the iPad allow for the removal of much of the navigation controls.

"When Apple introduced the iPad, it really created a revolution. And we?re just now starting to realize how big that revolution is," he said. "With an iPad, you can actually navigate through content in a beautiful way that feels a lot like print...This is what "Flipboard" is all about: enabling publishers to present their content this way on devices like the iPad and the iPhone."

Flipboard CEO Mike McCue
Flipboard CEO Mike McCue speaking at GMIC in Beijing.


During his presentation, McCue also explained that Flipboard had targeted China for its first international expansion because it believed the country "will be the largest mobile internet market in the world." The Chinese version of "Flipboard" launched last year with support for local social networking services like Sina Weibo and Ren Ren. The app had previously been disabled in the country last year because it allowed access to blocked sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Flipboard expects the number of Chinese downloads will soon exceed the number of U.S. downloads. The upcoming release of an Android version of the app should also help the company expand its install base in the country.



The iPad "revolution" has made the device Apple's fastest-selling product. A total of 67 million iPads have been sold as of the end of March, with sales of 11.8 million units in the March quarter alone. The company released the third generation of its touchscreen tablet in March, adding a Retina Display and a quad-core graphics processor.
post #2 of 18
True. It actually started with the 'rainbow' iMac and OS X.0 if you consider the web and app in general. Apple first 'aquafied' the PC and it continue to evolve ever since. Generic PC users, creators tend to see black and white (data with rudimentary looks) whereas Mac users see liberal arts; aesthetic with the data still intact.
post #3 of 18

When Steve Jobs said that Bill Gates had "no taste," I think he was also making a greater point about technology. The same point Mr. McCue is making. That exceptional design and great aesthetics are far more than eye candy, they are critical elements for both hardware and software. That it is not enough to create something that reasonably works, that is good code, and can be quickly pushed out the door onto the market. That how the user perceives the product, interacts with the product, and how the product responds to the user--in short, the user experience--are essential to effective technology. To me there is no clearer example of this than the iPad. Apple spent many years of testing and trying out ideas in developing both the software and hardware of the iPad. The idea of a tablet was even shelved for a while waiting on the necessary technology to become available. Everything about the iPad was created specifically to work together, integrated to accomplish a single goal--the desired user experience. On its introduction, the iPad was a runaway success. Contrast that with the tablets introduced before and after the iPad. The former slapped a poorly modified copy of Windows on tablets that had immature, inadequate technology. The latter slavishly copied the looks and specifications of the iPad, and slapped in an unsuited Android operating system designed for smart phones, not tablets. Both ignored the user experience in favor of just shipping something to market. The result: utter failure.

 

Bill Gates was an excellent programmer and Steve Jobs was not. Bill Gates was the logician, Steve Jobs the artist. Steve Jobs had good taste and Bill Gates didn't. I think the take away is today's great technology needs both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs (symbolically).

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post #4 of 18

Completely agree and that's why iOS is beating Android in the app design. The New G+ app and the old is the best example hopefully Goggle will finally get design and some more competition will give the user even better apps...

post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by waybacmac View Post

That exceptional design and great aesthetics are far more than eye candy, they are critical elements for both hardware and software. That it is not enough to create something that reasonably works, that is good code, and can be quickly pushed out the door onto the market.

 

You would never, ever, be able to convince a nerd or geek of this. Like Gates, nerds and geeks have no taste and that's why a company like Apple is anathema to them. This is why they hate Apple.

post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by waybacmac View Post

When Steve Jobs said that Bill Gates had "no taste," I think he was also making a greater point about technology. The same point Mr. McCue is making. That exceptional design and great aesthetics are far more than eye candy, they are critical elements for both hardware and software. That it is not enough to create something that reasonably works, that is good code, and can be quickly pushed out the door onto the market. That how the user perceives the product, interacts with the product, and how the product responds to the user--in short, the user experience--are essential to effective technology. To me there is no clearer example of this than the iPad. Apple spent many years of testing and trying out ideas in developing both the software and hardware of the iPad. The idea of a tablet was even shelved for a while waiting on the necessary technology to become available. Everything about the iPad was created specifically to work together, integrated to accomplish a single goal--the desired user experience. On its introduction, the iPad was a runaway success. Contrast that with the tablets introduced before and after the iPad. The former slapped a poorly modified copy of Windows on tablets that had immature, inadequate technology. The latter slavishly copied the looks and specifications of the iPad, and slapped in an unsuited Android operating system designed for smart phones, not tablets. Both ignored the user experience in favor of just shipping something to market. The result: utter failure.

 

Bill Gates was an excellent programmer and Steve Jobs was not. Bill Gates was the logician, Steve Jobs the artist. Steve Jobs had good taste and Bill Gates didn't. I think the take away is today's great technology needs both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs (symbolically).

 

Was Bill Gates an excellent programmer? MS-DOS, which catapulted Microsoft, was licensed from someone else. After that, how much did Gates program? I believe he was a good programmer, but we cannot know if he was excellent.

 

What he had was the vision that software alone could be a very successful business model.

 

Likewise, was Steve Jobs really the artist? He didn't really do the design. Sure he contributed ideas and triaged them. But I liken that to a homeowner working with an architect on the design of a new house. At the end, the architect was the architect, not the homeowner. That won't stop the latter from telling everyone he designed his own house. Jobs did have a great appreciation for art, or rather design, and a strong vision that combining technology with great design could be a powerful business model.

 

So I don't see Jobs and Gates as great artist and programmer respectively. They might well have been, but their body of work does not demonstrate that. Instead, they both did something more significant - they formulated a vision and made it happen.

 

My two cents.

post #7 of 18

This will be truly realized when webmasters start taking advantage of the Retina Display.
 

post #8 of 18

Why is this a news article? Slow day?

 

 

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post #9 of 18

Apple's focus on aesthetics - not just in the physical device, but also on what is shown on the screen is, to put it simply, phenomenal. Windows 7 does not even come close to the polish of Leopard, Snow Leopard and Lion.

 

When competitors are struggling to match iPad pricing with lesser specs, I cannot imagine how they can attempt to put together something like the retina iPad! And the best part of the whole equation, is that Samsung makes the lions share of the components that go into the new iPad - but they are unable to put together such a device at costs that are comparable to Apple.


I think under Tim Cook, Apple has the ability to rethink its business dynamics completely - I see Apple slowly sucking up all the oxygen in the electronics space, and using its volumes, and cash hoard to lower its prices, without impacting margins significantly. Very soon, Apple will be in a position where no one will be able to compete with Apple. There will not be any easy market segments that Apple will "leave" to the competition.

 

Apple is investing in processor design, manufacturing techniques, basic materials research, battery chemistry, glass, etc - and I expect that all this reseach will soon result in a situation where Apple has technology that is not available to anyone else. Things like Unibody machining, Liquid Metal, compact lightweight batteries, etc are classic examples of such advantages. At the same time, they are optimizing their OS, coming up with Frameworks and APIs that make even complex programming tasks simple and efficient. They are optimizing business models with iTunes, AppStore, etc. They are redefining several industries - PC, DTP, Music, Movies, Mobile, Magazines, etc. They are perfecting user interfaces like Siri.

 

Imagine, Apple is the company that single handedly commercialized several user interface technologies, at least on a mass scale - like the mouse, the color monitor, Laser Printer (with WYSIWYG), Touch, Voice, etc. The only user interface technology that developed outside of Apple is the Stylus and the Joystick - probably explaining why they suck so bad and have not seen mainstream commercial success.

 

And Apple has innovated even in times when it has struggled (relatively). For instance, the Newton was launched at a period when Apple was facing steady decline in sales. The iPod was lauched when Apple was struggling to survive. So all the innovation was not just a function of having tons of money in the bank. Apple has innovation deep in its DNA, and resorts to innovation as its best way out of tough situations.

 

As long as Apple nurtures this culture of innovation, there is nothing to worry - except for the competition!

post #10 of 18

Quite sadly, the competition hasn't delivered at all. Expect more cloning of Apple products, and justifying that act as "the next evolution of __".

 

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Originally Posted by macarena View Post

 

As long as Apple nurtures this culture of innovation, there is nothing to worry - except for the competition!

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post #11 of 18
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Originally Posted by emig647 View Post

Why is this a news article? Slow day?

Journalists call this a feature story. If you fail to grasp the points that McCue made or they contribute nothing to your wisdom or perspectives, that's a shame. The article certainly inspired some thoughtful comments among other readers.

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post #12 of 18
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Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post


Journalists call this a feature story. If you fail to grasp the points that McCue made or they contribute nothing to your wisdom or perspectives, that's a shame. The article certainly inspired some thoughtful comments among other readers.

IMO, He didn't say anything we didn't already know.

 

 

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post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

 

You would never, ever, be able to convince a nerd or geek of this. Like Gates, nerds and geeks have no taste and that's why a company like Apple is anathema to them. This is why they hate Apple.

 

They don't get "people."  

 

"People" aren't circuit-boards, an agglomeration of wires, or floating-point processes.

 

Technology is meant to be an extension of lifestyle. It needs to accommodate itself TO US, not the other way round. 

post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ankleskater View Post

Was Bill Gates an excellent programmer? MS-DOS, which catapulted Microsoft, was licensed from someone else. After that, how much did Gates program? I believe he was a good programmer, but we cannot know if he was excellent.

What he had was the vision that software alone could be a very successful business model.

Likewise, was Steve Jobs really the artist? He didn't really do the design. Sure he contributed ideas and triaged them. But I liken that to a homeowner working with an architect on the design of a new house. At the end, the architect was the architect, not the homeowner. That won't stop the latter from telling everyone he designed his own house. Jobs did have a great appreciation for art, or rather design, and a strong vision that combining technology with great design could be a powerful business model.

So I don't see Jobs and Gates as great artist and programmer respectively. They might well have been, but their body of work does not demonstrate that. Instead, they both did something more significant - they formulated a vision and made it happen.

My two cents.

I don't know about Bill Gates but as an artist I can definitely tell you that Steve Jobs was an artist, and a great one. Period. Think about it. If he's not an artist then almost every film directors is also not an artist because they don't act in their films, not shooting their films, not scoring music for their films etc. They just envision it.
Edited by matrix07 - 5/11/12 at 7:28am
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post


I don't know about Bill Gates but as an artist I can definitely tell you that Steve Jobs was an artist, and a great one. Period. Think about it. If he's not an artist then almost every film directors is also not an artist because they don't act in their films, not shooting their films, not scoring music for their films etc. They just envision it.

 

I disagree. A director plays a far more active role. For example, it has been frequently written that Apple engineers (or contractors) would bring Jobs multiple prototypes, and he'd choose one to go forward. That's not what most directors do. They do not choose from multiple versions of a scene that have already been filmed. They actually are there directing most scenes (well, to be fair, the assistant directors are in charge of some of them). This is not to take credit away from Jobs, for his role was critical.

 

I am tempted to say Jobs is closer to the producer of a movie but that's wrong. His role is greater.

post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ankleskater View Post

 

Was Bill Gates an excellent programmer? MS-DOS, which catapulted Microsoft, was licensed from someone else. After that, how much did Gates program? I believe he was a good programmer, but we cannot know if he was excellent.

 

What he had was the vision that software alone could be a very successful business model.

 

But it wasn't a successful business model. It seemed like it for a while but now look at M$. Their whole business model is crumbling. It's only because they license out to PC manufacturers that they can make money. The only money they really make is off server and office.

 

Google is the same. Look at how bad Google looks because of Android. Google doesn't understand hardware which is why they outsourced that to hardware manufacturers but hardware manufacturers don't understand software which is why all their software is buggy and horrible to use.

 

Apple is the only company that understands both and as a result. Microsoft stocks are trading at just over $30 whereas Apple's is just over $570. That wouldn't have been the case 10 years ago so clearly something is wrong with Microsoft's business model and something is very right with Apple's.

post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by emig647 View Post

Why is this a news article? Slow day?

 

Uh, why the hell not? How many days of the year AREN'T slow days for Apple rumor sites? A handful, maybe? I will never, ever understand people who make a point to bitch about an article on a rumor site, as if there's fucking breaking news everyday or something. I found this to be an interesting read, and because I love flipboard, the CEO's thoughts are intriguing to me. I'm sure many others are in the same boat. You could have read the article headline in a split second, and moved on. But no, you decided to demand an explanation as to why this article was posted, as if this site owes you anything. Unbelievable. Would you prefer more fan made future iPhone mockups, sales reports, and analyst bullshit? Cause this story has more intrinsic value than all of those. 

post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ankleskater View Post

Likewise, was Steve Jobs really the artist? He didn't really do the design. Sure he contributed ideas and triaged them. But I liken that to a homeowner working with an architect on the design of a new house. At the end, the architect was the architect, not the homeowner. That won't stop the latter from telling everyone he designed his own house. Jobs did have a great appreciation for art, or rather design, and a strong vision that combining technology with great design could be a powerful business model.

 

 

 

Except in this case we would have to imagine a homeowner who kept ending up with innovative, awarding winning homes, built by a variety of architects but all sharing some fundamental ideas about design and utility-- more alike than not despite the various professionals employed.

 

In that case we would be forced to acknowledge that this particular homeowner was possessed of a powerful sensibility in his own right, sufficiently developed as to subsume the contributions of the nominal  "architects."

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