Die Welt iPad App

Gestern gab es eine Pressemitteilung der Welt Gruppe in der mitgeteilt werden, dass die Welt und die Welt am Sonntag die ersten deutschen  Zeitungen seien, die im iPad-Store verfügbar sind:

Zur Markteinführung des iPad in den Vereinigten Staaten am 3. April 2010 ist die WELT-Gruppe mit einer eigenen Applikation im App-Store vertreten. Mit der „Kiosk-App“ haben Nutzer die Möglichkeit, die aktuellen Ausgaben von WELT, WELT KOMPAKT und WELT am SONNTAG auf dem neuen Tablet von Apple zu lesen.

Jan Bayer, Verlagsgeschäftsführer WELT-Gruppe: „Die WELT-Gruppe als Innovationsführer im Segment der Qualitätszeitungsmarken ist von Anfang an auf dem iPad vertreten. Wir haben uns bewusst dafür entschieden, zum Marktstart unsere starken Zeitungsmarken als digitale Ausgaben auf dem iPad anzubieten. Bereits bei der iPhone-App der WELT hat sich gezeigt, dass die PDF-Funktionalität ein sehr stark genutztes Angebot ist

Natürlich wurde diese Mitteilung sofort von den verschiedensten Medien aufgegriffen und hat es auch auf die Rivva-Homepage geschafft (da ich momentna in USA bin Where2.0 und Wherecamp, verzichte ich mal auf individuelle Links). Dabei ist folgender Tenor zu lesen:

  • Teuer
  • Was, nur PDF?

Zu dem ersten Punkt möchte ich mich nicht äussern da ich mir nicht die Mühe gemacht habe den Teil mit den Preisen zu lesen :-). Aber bzgl PDF habe ich eine Meinung.

Ich kann mir vorstellen, dass es schon einigen Druck von Seiten ASV  gab, um zum Launchzeitpunkt im iPad Store vertreten zu sein.

Ich fand schon die Idee nicht schlecht , dass die Welt iPhone App PDF  mitbrachte, da es praktisch umsonst mit dem iPhoneSDK  mitkommt. Die eingebaute Preview App kann natürlich PDFs darstellen, da schon NextStep (der Vorläufer von MacOSX) auf Display Postscript basierte, und der Window Server von Mac OS X auf Postscript basiert (Wikipedia).

Via AirSharing haber ich schon etliche PDF Dokumente auf mein iPhone gebracht und dort gelesen / angesehen. Die deutlich größere Auflösung  des iPad zusammen mit der Tabloid Grösse der Welt kompakt lassen für mich die PDF-Variante für diese Kombination aus Produkt und Gerät durchaus attraktiv erscheinen. Insbesondere dann, wenn man nur wenig Zeit zur Entwicklung einer App und gar keine Möglichkeit zum Testen der Applikation auf dem echten Gerät hat.

PDF ist damit die Variante die unter den gegebenen Voraussetzungen: Zeit, Aufwand, Testability etc. den besten Kompromiss darstellt, wenn man zum Stratzeitpunkt im iPad-Store vertreten sein will.

Die entscheidende Frage ist die nach der Geschwindigkeit des Renderings, aber auch hier ist davon auszugehen, dass das iPad deutlich schneller ist als das iPhone. Und dieses ist in Bezug auf ds PDF rendering deutlich schneller als alle PDFs die ich auf eReadern wie dem Kindle und dem Sony Reader gesehen habe. Dort war PDF für mich bislang keine Option.

Natürlich ist PDF eine der Optionen die wir uns im dpa newslab im Feld ereading ansehen, neben einer Reihe von anderen. Allerdings ist es für mich /uns nicht die primäre Variante die für alle Zeitungen geeignet ist. Aber unter den gegebenen Umständen kann ich die Entscheidung der Welt Gruppe nachvollziehen.

Wie sich das ganze anfühlt werde ich am Samstag sagen können, wenn ich mein iPad abgeholt habe :-) Einer der Voreteile wenn man gerade in USA ist.

Vielleicht haben die geänderten WePad-Photos auch etwas damit zu tun. Von diesen sind nämlich die Verweise auf das Abendblatt und Welt verschwunden.

Skyhook Wireless, Wardriving, WiGLE and Newspapers

One of the most interesting facts of the Stevenote was the geolocation cooperation with Skyhook Wireless. Apple uses them in addition to Google in order to complement Google’s cell tower based triangulation with a Wi-Fi based triangulation. Wi-Fi based position is not new and e.g. used by Microsoft in VirtualEarth (AFAIR because of ActiveX only running on Windows). Navizon (a Skyhooks Wireless competitor) introduced its Wi-Fi / Cell-Tower based triangulation called VirtualGPS to the iPhone on September 19th, 2007.

skyhookwirelesscoverageus.png skyhookwirelesseurope.png

But Apple’s announcement finally brought this technology to the attention of a broader audience. Unfortunately for people living outside the US, Skyhook Wireless coverage is very dim in europe and the plans are not too promising.

To pinpoint location, WPS uses a massive reference network comprised of the known locations of over 23 million Wi-Fi access points. To develop this database, Skyhook has deployed specialized vehicles to survey every single street, highway, and alley in 2500 US cities, scanning for Wi-Fi access points and plotting their precise geographic locations.

WPS currently provides coverage to 70% of the American, Canadian, and Australian populations. By the end of March 2008, Skyhook will have coverage in the top 50 metropolitan areas of Europe as well as cities and towns representing 50% of the UK, French and German markets.

But acquiring and maintaining large amounts of data can either be done using lots of money and high-tech or using lots of people and sufficient tech enabling them to do the tasks. Some of the best examples for the feasibility of the latter “wisdom of the crowds” approach are Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap.

Wardriving and warwalking are taking the wisdom of the crowd concept to the domain of Wi-Fi based triangulation using tools like NetStumbler and Kismet. Navizon is also using this approach with its reward scheme and the respective capabilities built into its client software.

wigleus.png wigleeurope.png

Of the various open Wi-Fi databases WiGLE has an european coverage superior to Skyhook Wireless (at least by looking at the maps) and the stats are not looking to bad either with 13,621,213 unique networks, 12,840,768 unique networks with location, and 793,274,794 unique locations in the database at the time of my lookup. WiGLE also has (a kind of) geolocation API that is available to registered users. I didn’t have a closer look at the T & Cs, hence i have no idea if/when it is legitimate to use the API.

Looking at the headline of this post you may now wonder what all this has to do with Newspapers?

Easy. If you want to have a regularily updated database with good to great coverage you need to have people that regularily cover most of the area. Typically a good distribution organization is doing this. Like the postal service. Todays postmen not only deliver the post they also already serve a number of data gathering tasks like recording with cars are parked at a house etc. This data is then sold to companies like Nielsen, infas etc.

One of the few distribution networks that are comparable to the postal service are thedistribution networks of newspapers. This is the reason why a number of newspapers started their own postal services (e.g. the ill-fated PIN-group in germany).

Think about doing a field test. Equip some of the delivery men with the respective data gathering devices, IMHO a series 60 phone or a Windows Mobile should be sufficient with that. Start talking to the providers or build a solution yourself. After all all this raw data may also useful for getting into talks with mobile advertisers like Jiwire.

What do you think? Stupid idea?

Newspaper Next – Blueprint for transformation

I just finished reading through “Blueprint for transformation” (Local copy) , the American Press Institutes Final Report on its’ Newspaper Next project. Touting itself as:

“The American Press Institute’s groundbreaking research into the new business models for the newspaper industry: New ways to see opportunities, produce sustainable growth and reshape organizations for consistent innovation”

it sets high expectations that in short, it does not fulfill, at least for all audiences.
Being a typical report aimed at “decision makers” and “senior executives” it tries to get its message through by repetition of its arguments. The arguments itself are neither new nor surprising if you have an acquaintance with “that online business”.

Nevertheless, if you happen to work in the media industry, i recommend to read through the report (just to know what is inside) and then pass it on to the senior management of your company. It may help you to justify the natural processes you already have set up and to get the support of the senior management and official approval.

I don’t even try to summarize the nearly 100 pages, just some comments:

  • The real value of the report for me were the figures. I especially liked the “How ready for innovation are newspaper companies” on page 16 and the “Innovation process do’s and don’ts” figures on page 57.
  • I was wondering through the whole report why the report only promotes colloboration between newspapers in the area of advertising and not in reader oriented platforms. This puzzle was finally solved in the last section, revealing that this bias was more or less the result of a questionnaire answered by senior executives of newspaper companies.

IMHO you first have to build the ad places before you can sell the ads. The aspect that every web based solution, especially if it based on communities, social networking (insert your web2.0 buzzword bingo favorites here), is inherently multi-local, and the costs of setting it up for another local market are somewhat marginal is neglected.

I guess that the reason for that is that, although regional newspapers have almost always a local monopoly (at least in germany) there are fears of strengthening the competition.

A solution to this dilemma may be that the national news agencies as the “traditional” providers of shared infrastructure step in as a trusted third party.

  • Interestingly, the team members of the seven newspaper next demonstration projects described in section 4 did not include any member with a technical background (At least by looking at their job titles). This is in contrast to the typical staffing of startup companies. A technical background helps to scout new technologies and come up with new and fresh ideas how to use them in a newspaper context. It als helps to distinguish the “invest a little” from the “invest a lot” ideas.