Tech Tuesday is our weekly round-up of all you need to know from the news in online marketing and digital media technology
At the keynote speech of their annual WWDC (Worldwide Developer Conference), Apple revealed a taste of what Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users have in store for them when they are released later this year, with new versions of the Mac operating system OSX "Lion", the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch operating system iOS, and a new iCloud service.
Some big stories included a deep integration of Twitter into iOS (which seems likely to drive usage), a "Newsstand" service for subscription-based iOS apps, and the move to "cut the cord"- freeing iPhones and iPads from the need to plug into a Mac or PC, while moving the important stuff into the "iCloud" and relegating the computer to "just another device."
We will have a more detailed analysis of the implications for mobile media later this week, so watch this space…
Meanwhile, Microsoft have revealed a glimpse of what the user interface for Windows 8 is expected to look like. With a release date yet to be announced, but expected at the end of 2012, the design is reacting to recent trends of smaller, lighter devices, touchscreens and immersive experiences, and technology built around web standards.
While the user interface has been optimised for touchscreen devices (ie. tablets), users will still be able to plug in a mouse and a keyboard and use it like a "traditional" PC. This marks a significant difference in strategy between Microsoft, compared to Apple and Google; while Apple see their desktop operating system getting more focussed on laptops and smartphones/tablets as a different category, Microsoft seem to be saying that you can have the best of both worlds with a device that is a tablet on the move, and a "proper PC" when you have the space for a keyboard and mouse.
More info over at Engadget
The Financial Times launched a new application for smartphones and tablets, bypassing Apple's App Store (and 30% cut.)
Some may remember the first generation of the iPhone, all those years ago in 2007, before the Apps Store, when Apple was insistent that web-based applications would be all that anyone would need to provide a great user experience. But since the App Store opened in 2008, it has got the majority of the attention.
The FT have jumped on some of the benefits that it offers — not least, the opportunity to build on HTML5, a platform that works across tablet devices.
Although the FT have launched it (available now at app.ft.com), they say that they have no plans to pull out of any app stores, but would be launching a marketing drive encouraging users to adopt the web app- including a weeks free access.
Surprising news from France; presenters are banned from encouraging viewers to "join us:" on Facebook of "follow us on Twitter". Unless they are reporting on a Facebook or Twitter-related story, no mention of the social networking sites is allowed.
The reasoning is perhaps more of a surprise; the thinking goes that encouraging viewers to visit a profile on a specific (and dominaint, American) website is effectively advertising for that service.
Meanwhile, the BBC introduces Share Tools in iPlayer, making it easy for users to share iPlayer programmes via Facebook and Twitter (and Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon and Delicious.)
Groupon valuation leads to questions over the value of group buying
Since Groupon apparently rejected a $6 billion offer from Google in December, group buying site Groupon has had a lot of attention, and with talk of a $20 billion valuation following its S-1 form filing this week (an indication that the company intends to launch as a publicly traded company soon), the discussion is heating up.
With revenues in the first quarter of 2011 alone of $644.7 million (compared to $713.4 million for the whole of 2010 and $30.47 million in 2009), Groupon's growth has been astronomical, but what is less clear is the underlying value of the business.
That kind of rate of growth doesn't come cheaply, and Groupon is still a loss making business, spending heavily to build both its subscribers and sales force, losing $113.9m in Q1 2011 (or to put it another way, spending almost $1.50 to make $1), leading to analysts to question whether the value is rational or emotional.
But on the other hand, this is a very new digital space. It isn't hard to find books from experts in the digital space published in the late 1990s/early 2000s that completely missed the importance of search advertising, or failed to forsee the importance of scale for search engines. This post on Yipit's blog (an aggregator of daily deal services) questions some of the concerns around Groupon's estimated value.