Welcome to Printing Industry News Digest (PIND) issue 109, providing a summary of major news items from the printing, publishing, packaging, digital, and communications technology sectors. PIND incorporates brief summaries and links to the week’s key news stories so that you can look up that all important detail, digging deeper behind the headline.
Late Thursday afternoon, UK time, Heidelberg announced that it was pulling out of the IPEX 2014 print exhibition in London. There will be many reactions to this news from both suppliers and printers. PrintWeek is likely to have regular updates, and comments on the additional article illustrate the range of feelings that this announcement has produced. More next week!
Our original intention for this edition of PIND, until the above, was to dedicate this mid-August newsletter to our own latest thoughts and experiences of the tablet world. Tablets continue to evolve. Another landmark (albeit a late landmark in many people’s eyes) will occur next month when Microsoft enters the fray with Surface. For now, we will focus on the major offering currently available in the market from Apple and products based on the Android operating system.
Let us begin with the latest market share news as published this last week – this was effectively the catalyst for our thinking in producing some rough kind of overview of where we are now, what products we use here at PIND, how we think they have developed, and what value we think they will be to the average print, publishing, or packaging player. CNet has also published its latest guide to tablets, which you should read.
Why tablets? Well certainly for the print and publishing sectors they have already had a major impact. Book, magazine, and newspaper publishers have had to divert their attentions away from the previous distribution bases of print and basic internet. The smartphone, the e-reader, and then the tablet have changed the dynamics of the market considerably.
Apple iPad: we were relatively early adopters of this new wonder (two years ago) from Cupertino. The iPad changed the way we look at computers, the way we look at the internet, and, as things have progressed, the way we do business. The product is a true Apple device in just about every way: well built, well designed, with robust, tested and checked software. The iPad1, as we shall call our model, was quickly superseded by iPad2, and now iPad3 (although we are not allowed to call it that). It’s a great product, though our opinion is now getting slightly hazy, as the older machine is considerably slower than the new kit (obsolete in just two years? Ouch!). The market leader by a country mile because it is still one great product!
For a larger format Android tablet we will reference our own Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 – a product that has suddenly gone up in our estimation due to the late inclusion for this product of the Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0.4) version of the OS this last week. It now works properly! (Version 2 of this product is out UK this week). It is now a realistic alternative to the iPad. Android in our opinion takes quite a bit more learning than the highly intuitive iOS from Apple, but the overall package is a lot more flexible for the average (or maybe slightly above average – ie, a bit techy) user.
Our most recent hardware addition, as regular readers will have noted, is the Google Nexus 7, a seven-inch tablet. Built and designed around the latest Android OS (Android 4.1.1 or Jelly Bean) and the Chrome browser – both from Google of course – we see the Nexus 7 as ground breaking in both performance and form factor. Google have beaten Apple to the punch in the seven-inch world. Priced at just £159 in UK it has set both Android performance and price levels for the next year. We have added the Nova Prime launcher to both of our Android devices – it just helps to make the home screens and docks just that bit better, and adds screen gestures. Click here for an interesting debate on Nexus 7 v. iPad. Bottom line is, of course, how much do you want to pay and what features are important to you.
A seven-inch Apple? Well, certainly an iPad Mini is very strongly rumoured. The very latest suggestions of the size don’t make much sense to us. The biggest plus for the Nexus 7 is that it fits in a jacket inside pocket.
Then, as mentioned above, there will be the Microsoft Surface. What market share will that be able to gather, and what will be its market entry price – do mail us your thoughts please . . . PIND.Editor@gmail.com
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Issue 107: Olympic Print
Issue 106: Mountain Lion Launch
Issue 105: Google Nexus 7