The Future is Now

I’m not usually one to get too excited about buzz. Very often, buzz is simply over-hyping what can’t possibly hope to live up to the claims in reality (I still recall the PlayStation 2 real-time demos that turned out to be just highly crafted CGI).

But now and again I see something and I think, that’s a possibility. This video from Time, Inc and The Wonderfactory is one such example. And with the imminent release of Apple’s own tablet, the future may be closer than we think.

If this is what we have to look forward to, you can just start to imagine the possibilities. Marketers have a captive audience; advertisers can really get creative; non-profits can use images and media to connect emotionally while showing where the donations go. And that’s just for starters – the possibilities are endless.

How do you see something like this being used?

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  1. says

    Think cloud computing. Access to any content — e.g. all different app stores — via a device like this one. It’s the perfect hybrid between a computer and a smartphone (so many people think the screen is too small too use Web, apps frequently).

    I agree, could be a game changer. But I think Kindle could have been too. All about usability and how much control users have over accessing the content they want.

    My two cents. Yours?

    • says

      Cloud would be the perfect partner. I think Kindle struggled because A) it was damn ugly and B) it was very restrictive. And monochrome.

      Give me something I can manipulate (much like Microsoft Touch), that looks great and works great – you got yourself a customer.

  2. says

    I will not be surprised when Apple succeeds with this. The path seems very similar to the iPod launch years ago. They are great at building the necessary content systems for their devices that “close the loop”. I suspect it will bring new life and business models to the publishing industry just as iTunes has for the delivery of music. It’s not just the hardware, but the total user experience that is the key.

    • says

      100% agree, Glenn. As both you and Mark above point out, user experience is the differentiator for sure. Get that right, the battle’s already half over.

  3. says


    I agree with @Justin. Cloud computing will be the next step jump, once they figure out the all pervasive, and nagging issues of privacy, security, international law etc.

    Apple is already talking about music from the heavens or cloud :))

    Here is the link to the article.

    Btw, it seems to me that cloud computing advances we are talking about, are a few years away. Is that your feeling too??

    .-= correlationist´s most recent blog post …Darwinism & Social Media =-.

    • says

      I think the key issue with cloud computing at the moment is performance. Not so much speeds and data exchange; but what happens if everything is stored on the cloud and the company goes bust? Or the servers have a major meltdown? That’s a lot of trust to put in a platform when it comes to your business.

      So, yes, personally I think cloud computing is definitely the future; but there needs to be some major assurances and safeguards put in place first.

  4. says

    Awesome – i know what I am spending my money on next. I am a Apple junkie and proud of it. On the other note – the possibilities are truly endless, not just from marketing point of view but education, commerce, banking etc. And yes, a cloud will be a part of it too. As it stands I am working with a publisher who struggles with transition from print to online media – this will be an important piece to close that experience gap.

    • says

      Agreed, Wojtek – there’s a definite opportunity here for smart media types to use this to revitalize their industry. Question is, will they take it?

  5. Daniel says

    Warning, this parade may get rainy.

    Do I like it? Sure. But I don’t see anything in this video that’s that groundbreaking. The touch interface is nice, but the actual software concepts behind this demo have been around for a while. A static image that launches into a video. A slideshow. Links that pop up little information chunks. Even real-time updates of game statistics. Unless I’m missing something, it’s all been done before. It’s just rearranged into a tidy package.

    Yes, it’s a better experience. No question. And therefore it will probably drive sales because the information SI offers will be in a more user-friendly format than a relatively archaic magazine or traditional website. But it’s an experience we could have had (at least on the software end) last year, easily.

    I would be interested to see them go into more depth about exactly how much more interactive this is than what we already have, because more interaction possibilities = more engaged consumer + more/better data for advertisers/editors.

    So, in sum, I believe the hardware will merely be the sugar coating that will get people to use the software, which is where the real depth of something like this will kick in. Will publishers take advantage of that depth? Time will tell. I have not been impressed by the mainstream media’s usage of web assets (speaking very generally).

    (In case it sounds like I’m whining, I’m not really. I’m working on two projects right now with two traditional media outlets to drastically enhance user experience on the web. Maybe I’m jealous? ;))

    • says

      Hey there Daniel,

      For sure, the concepts have been around. But I think it’ll take someone like Apple to really move from concept to reality, and that’s where the difference from previous mock-ups lies. Will it be as cool as it looks in the video? Who knows – but it’ll be fun finding out.

      And I feel your pain, bud – so jealousy fully allowed here 😉

  6. says

    Hi there Danny, if that is the near future its extremely fascinating, Apple can easily deliver this scintillating experience.The opportunities which it produces for people from different communities are also vast…Lets look forward to getting this soon.

  7. says

    Wowser, that’s impressive.

    I can’t help but wonder if the “we’re working on that” features will never arrive because they are just too darn expensive.

    So I guess the revenue model for this is subscriptions and advertising? Print ads are already expensive enough to produce, imagine the cost of producing videos to the magazines specs…

    One more thing – the potential for OOS or RSI for tablet PC’s, that’s why the mouse is so good, I can operate my PC using a mouse for 10 hours a day with no trouble, could you do the same with a touch screen?
    .-= Sheldon Nesdale´s most recent blog post …What Does Your Website Look Like In Different Browsers? Different Screen Sizes? Different Colour Settings? =-.

    • says

      I’m not sure if the video production will be a stumbling block. We’re already seeing some really cool indie ads coming out of the woodwork, so maybe the same will be for tablet ads? It could be that this will encourage the video ad equivalent of the bedroom coder from the heyday of video games?

      The workings of the touch screen will be interesting. If it’s anything like Microsoft Touch, I think we’ll be okay. Then again, that’s not condensed into tablet size… 😉

  8. Daniel says

    Also, people keep on mentioning Apple. I may have missed something, but isn’t this proprietary hardware produced by TWF/Time Inc? The logo at the top of the device would seem to indicate so, but I may have missed something.