The End of Tablets? Hardly.

Was former BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins actually right about tablets? While we laughed at Heins’ prediction last year that tablets would be dead in just a few years, there’s now some evidence to suggest that he might have been onto something. In an interview with Re/code, Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly says that tablet sales at his stores have been absolutely plummeting this year while PC sales have actually experienced a rebound in the wake of Windows XP’s demise.

“Tablets boomed and now are crashing,” Joly tells Re/code. “The volume has really gone down in the last several months. But I think the laptop has something of a revival because it’s becoming more versatile. So, with the two-in-ones, you have the opportunity to have both a tablet and laptop, and that’s appealing to students in particular.”
—Brad Reed, Former BlackBerry CEO’s bold prediction might actually be coming true
The era of tablets is over? I say no fucking way. Especially for non-professionals who don’t need all the extra complexity that comes with laptops.
Only time will tell.
Update: It always helps to read the source of the information you’re reacting to.
So here’s what Walt Mossberg at Re/Code asked Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly:
You said the tablet had “crashed.” Do you believe it’s going away?

Yeah, “crashed” is a strong word. So, the tablets have been an unbelievable phenomenon. I don’t think there’s a category that ever took off so quickly and so big in the history of tech.

The issue has then been that, once you have a tablet of a certain generation, it’s not clear that you have to move on to the next generation.
This I agree with this 100%.
Last year I upgraded to an iPad 3 from an iPad 2, and despite the lower resolution screen, I was ok with my 2. I don’t want to have to upgrade my iPad every year.
My iPhone? Now that’s a different story. My iPhone is much more integral to my daily life than my iPad. I also don’t expect as much from my iPad. I use it mostly for reading, watching videos/movies and surfing the Web.

One is the Least Interrupted Number

One ongoing Harvard study indicates that people form more lasting and accurate memories if they believe they’re experiencing something alone. Another indicates that a certain amount of solitude can make a person more capable of empathy towards others. And while no one would dispute that too much isolation early in life can be unhealthy, a certain amount of solitude has been shown to help teenagers improve their moods and earn good grades in school.
—Leon Neyfakh, The power of lonely
Anyone who engages in anything creative–writing, painting, dancing, designing—already knows about the power of solitude. Alone is actually important to everyone.

App Rot

The best thing Apple could do to increase the quality of apps is remove every top list from the App Store.

I hope Apple realizes how important it is to everyone — developers, customers, and Apple — that they make changes to encourage more high-quality apps. If they’re trying to boost iPad sales and increase differentiation between iOS and Android devices, that’s the first place to start.

But that won’t solve the biggest problem. (Neither will upgrade pricing, trials, or any other theoretical panacea.)
—Marco Arment, App Rot

Best Intentions

We may now have a new “most unread best seller of all time.”

Data from Amazon Kindles suggests that that honor may go to Thomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” which reached No. 1 on the best-seller list this year. Jordan Ellenberg, a professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, wrote in The Wall Street Journal that Piketty’s book seems to eclipse its rivals in losing readers: All five of the passages that readers on Kindle have highlighted most are in the first 26 pages of a tome that runs 685 pages.

The rush to purchase Piketty’s book suggested that Americans must have wanted to understand inequality. The apparent rush to put it down suggests that, well, we’re human.

—Nicholas Kristof, An Idiot’s Guide to Inequality

I’m guilty of going a step farther: I acquire tons of e-books with the intention of reading them, but takes years for me to get around to reading them (if ever).

There’s an idea in this pile of cash somewhere.

Awesome headline: BGR: Samsung is ‘hiring like crazy’ trying to come up with original ideas

Samsung is spending somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 million in building its Bay Area R&D center, which will be an enormous facility of 1.1 million square feet. Business Insider notes that Samsung actually spent more on R&D than any other company in the world last year, although the Korean smartphone still isn’t seen as an innovation powerhouse like Apple and Google are.
I’m confused. Does throwing money at technology not make it more innovative?

Being too close to a project

It sure seems like Amazon, and really, every company could benefit from some sort of Vice President of Devil’s Advocacy. That is, someone who looks at a product just about to launch and points out all the reasons it will fail.

It was said the Steve Jobs served a similar role throughout his years at Apple. He’d be presented with a product and more often than not, he’d rip it apart. He was even known to cancel launches at the last minute if he didn’t feel like something was up to snuff.

But Jobs was also undoubtedly deeply involved in the creation of these products. He was the rare visionary who could step back and see the forest through the trees. (And even he had missteps –plenty of them.)
—MG Siegler, The VP of Devil’s Advocacy

“To play, you must seek information elsewhere.”

Minecraft-the-game, maintained in Sweden by Persson’s small studio, is just the seed, or maybe the soil. The true Minecraft (no italics, for we are speaking of something larger now) is the game plus the sprawling network of tutorials, wikis, galleries, videos–seriously, search for “minecraft” on YouTube and be amazed–mods, forum threads, and more. The true Minecraft is the oral tradition: secrets and rumors shared in chat rooms, across cafeteria tables, between block-faced players inside the game itself.

The true Minecraft is the books.
—Robin Sloan, The secret of Minecraft
If I ever get to point where I have more disposable time on my hands, I’m going to play Minecraft.


If you’ve been to big events or company parties lately, you might have taken animated-GIF shots in a PHHHOTO booth.
Well, it’s not so much a booth as it is an iPad on a tripod with a circular, photography light around it. Once you take your GIF, you can choose to have it texted to someone. The party my company had earlier this year had the GIFs on rotation and projected on the wall of the gallery we rented.
PHHHOTO is the brainchild of HYPERHYPER, an experimental design/software studio in LA & NY. One of the co-founders is actually an old friend of mine from high school and my former East Village roommate, Russell Armand.
A few days ago, HYPERHYPER released a free, PHHHOTO iPhone app and the best way to describe it is Instagram for animated GIFs. When you choose to take a picture, it takes a burst of 5 photos. From there you only have the filter options of color or black and white. Nice and simple. Like Instagram, you can follow other people and there’s also a count of the number of PHHHOTO parties you’ve been to (you can book an event at
Try it out, it’s a lot of fun (I’m combustion on PHHHOTO).