The 'GESTURE' Economy

Swipes, Likes and Retweets are in vogue. Just look at market valuations. I think all three are ‘gestures’ but Apple is best at monetizing for now.

The iPad has been around long enough to get some serious feedback from around the globe.

It’s a hit.

Duh.

I was a little off on it’s initial use for the financial web, but I guarantee the revolution is near. I am betting most of my life on it these days. My blog is a little too widely read to share everything though.

My friend John Borthwick of Betaworks and Bit.ly (I am an investor in both), has a great post up on his experience with the iPad over the 11 plus weeks. The main premise:

The iPad is the first full sized computing device with wide scale adoption with:

Hardware and software that requires little to no context or learning
An input screen large enough to manipulate (touch and type) with both hands
A gesture based interface that is so immersive, and personal that it verges on intimate
Hardware with battery and heat management that, simply, doesn’t suck
An application metaphor that is well suited to immersive, chunky, experiences. As @dbennahum says: “The ipad is the first innovation in digital media that has lengthened the basic unit of digital media”
A tightly coupled, well developed and highly controlled app development environment

For some people these attributes sum up to the promise that this will be the “consumption” device that re-kindles print and protects IP based video. That may occur but for me that isnt the potential. The iPad is a connected computing device that extends human gestures. If you step back from the noise and hype, after almost 15 years of web experience, we know a few things. Connected / networked devices have consistently generated use cases that center around communication and social participation vs. passive consumption. Connecting devices to a network isnt just a more efficient means of distribution it opens up new paths of participation and creation. The very term consumption maps to a world and a set of assumptions that I think is antithetical to the medium (for more on this see Jerry Michalski quote on the Cluetrain). I believe the combination of the interface on the iPad and the entry level experience I outlined above is sufficiently intuitive that this device and its applications has the potential to become an extension of us and transform computing similar to how the mouse did 45 years ago.

John also had a link to a great post on ‘Why Babe Ruth and Michelangelo Would Love the iPad ‘. Read it.

My gesture of choice has always been the ‘middle finger’. I can’t hit a fastball, a curveball or paint. The middle finger just gets it done for me…especially when driving.

The digital gesture is just getting started and trillions of dollars are going to be reallocated, not the puny billions so far.

Disclosure – Long $AAPL

26 comments

  1. Tim says:

    iPad, netbook-killer it’s not. half-baked, limited use, overhyped iPad does less but cost more than netbooks that Steve Jobs specifically berated. Touch is ok on devices up to 5 inches, but larger than that, navigating with touch only around larger screens is cumbersome.

    Steve Jobs, having tied Apple’s fortunes to iPhone’s supposed eventual smartphone dominance, now 3 years since iPhone launched, Blackberries keep outselling iPhones. 160,000 Androids vs 65,000 iPhone 4s sold per day. iPhone sales of 8.4 million are lower, compared to Q1 (8.75M) and Q4 of 2009 (8.7M). iPhone market share is down to 14% from peak in Q3 of 2009, of 17%; while the global smartphone market grew 10% over the past 6 months. And Android’s assault against the iPhone is just starting.

    Really- Short $AAPL

  2. Tim says:

    iPad, netbook-killer it's not. half-baked, limited use, overhyped iPad does less but cost more than netbooks that Steve Jobs specifically berated. Touch is ok on devices up to 5 inches, but larger than that, navigating with touch only around larger screens is cumbersome.

    Steve Jobs, having tied Apple's fortunes to iPhone's supposed eventual smartphone dominance, now 3 years since iPhone launched, Blackberries keep outselling iPhones. 160,000 Androids vs 65,000 iPhone 4s sold per day. iPhone sales of 8.4 million are lower, compared to Q1 (8.75M) and Q4 of 2009 (8.7M). iPhone market share is down to 14% from peak in Q3 of 2009, of 17%; while the global smartphone market grew 10% over the past 6 months. And Android's assault against the iPhone is just starting.

    Really- Short $AAPL

  3. jon knight says:

    For the life of me, I can’t imagine why I would ever want to buy a computer that requires me to own a different computer and the installation of software I particularly don’t like before I can even use it.

    To me, this thing is just another way Apple loses my interest.

  4. Peter Cranstone says:

    Interesting post and the contrarian comment from Tim. I’m still on the fence. The iPad is a consumption device with a crippled browser. There’s no real file system and productivity tools are inadequate for the Enterprise. Apple has been first before and we know how that turned out. Personally I think it’s still round 1. The big distraction is Android just as Microsoft was 25 years or so ago. Microsoft has to wait to respond because of it’s convicted monopolist status. I think Tablets will be a part of our future, but only when they offer real use cases. $700 to surf the web with your finger is a little much, but if you can get it, why not.

  5. Peter Cranstone says:

    Interesting post and the contrarian comment from Tim. I'm still on the fence. The iPad is a consumption device with a crippled browser. There's no real file system and productivity tools are inadequate for the Enterprise. Apple has been first before and we know how that turned out. Personally I think it's still round 1. The big distraction is Android just as Microsoft was 25 years or so ago. Microsoft has to wait to respond because of it's convicted monopolist status. I think Tablets will be a part of our future, but only when they offer real use cases. $700 to surf the web with your finger is a little much, but if you can get it, why not.

  6. jonknight says:

    For the life of me, I can't imagine why I would ever want to buy a computer that requires me to own a different computer and the installation of software I particularly don't like before I can even use it.

    To me, this thing is just another way Apple loses my interest.

  7. ivanhoff says:

    The I-Pad is still in the initial stage of the product cycle. People who own it at this point are early adopters or die hard Apple fans. Everyone who owns it, loves it and there are too many people who point to flaws without even owning it. I think this is a recipe for success.The majority of sales are still to come.

  8. ivanhoff says:

    The I-Pad is still in the initial stage of the product cycle. People who own it at this point are early adopters or die hard Apple fans. Everyone who owns it, loves it and there are too many people who point to flaws without even owning it. I think this is a recipe for success.The majority of sales are still to come.

  9. gbattle says:

    I’m not sure I agree with some of John’s superlatives regarding the iPad, but I will say this. The iPad is the first major device in recent memory to receive huge adoption by removing features, not adding them. The iPad is a metaphor for simplifying choice, reducing options, removing customization and choosing strategic defaults in the spirit of user benefits always outweighing device features. So yes, @Tim, it does less but benefits more.

    As I’ve seen some of the upcoming Android tablet prototypes, trust, this phenomenon has only begun.

  10. gbattle says:

    I'm not sure I agree with some of John's superlatives regarding the iPad, but I will say this. The iPad is the first major device in recent memory to receive huge adoption by removing features, not adding them. The iPad is a metaphor for simplifying choice, reducing options, removing customization and choosing strategic defaults in the spirit of user benefits always outweighing device features. As I've seen some of the upcoming Android tablet prototypes, trust, this phenomenon has only begun.

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  13. The real transition occurs when the gestures become the connection between the physical (offline) and virtual (online) worlds. This is where the real wars will be waged for market supremacy.

  14. The real transition occurs when the gestures become the connection between the physical (offline) and virtual (online) worlds. This is where the real wars will be waged for market supremacy.

  15. Mark Essel says:

    I’m hoping the intimacy of gesture is what makes Natal equally compelling. Although accustomed to banging away at the keyboard for hours, I’d much prefer swatting away, or moving about within 3D visualizations and conversing with interfaces. The next logical step beyond tablets and touch is making gestures without contact. Then neural interfaces, oh boy.Good luck with your massive investments, whatever they may be these days. My friend Kevin Marshall is having a blast with bit.ly now (not sure what projects they’re tackling, but he’s already tried out some suggestion apps based on bit.ly sharing stats).

  16. Mark Essel says:

    I'm hoping the intimacy of gesture is what makes Natal equally compelling. Although accustomed to banging away at the keyboard for hours, I'd much prefer swatting away, or moving about within 3D visualizations and conversing with interfaces. The next logical step beyond tablets and touch is making gestures without contact. Then neural interfaces, oh boy.

    Good luck with your massive investments, whatever they may be these days. My friend Kevin Marshall is having a blast with bit.ly now (not sure what projects they're tackling, but he's already tried out some suggestion apps based on bit.ly sharing stats).

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