May 2013
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Month May 2013

The Critical Path #84: Blessed Are the Apps

A new theory of device-enabled presentations; the iTunes ARPU average revenue per user and its putative erosion; a definition of smart devices, the cycles of computing as a continuum.

via 5by5 | The Critical Path #84: Blessed Are the Apps.

iTunes users spending at the rate of $40/yr.

In the latest quarter the iTunes top line grew by 32%. Additional newly reported items:

  • Quarterly revenues topped $4 billion (a new high) and the company suggests that this rate is maintainable by stating it has a “$16 billion annual run rate”. The pattern of revenues is shown below.

Screen Shot 2013-05-12 at 5-12-8.12.30 AM

  • The content portion of iTunes revenues was $2.4 billion, up from $2.1 billion sequentially. Growth into Q1 is not unusual as many holiday iTunes gift cards are redeemed during January.
  • Revenue growth has been surprisingly steady, averaging 29%/quarter for more than six years.

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The next Asymco Workshop: Airshow. June 9th, WWDC, San Francisco


I join forces with Pixxa, makers of Perspective, to present a workshop on the future of presentation.

After giving dozens of talks in the last year using an iPad with Perspective I’ve learned a few things. Having also spent years using Powerpoint to try to do the same thing, I’ve experienced first hand how slideware has gotten in the way of great storytelling.

So we teamed up to understand how stories come alive using data and drew inspiration from Aristotle, Welles, Tufte and Rosling to build a new theory of presentation.

We believe that we have summoned up enough cohesion in the theory to put it forward to an audience and tell the story of storytelling; practicing what we preach, so to speak.

Here are some of the questions we are putting forward:

  • How and why are presentations different from one-on-one interactions?
  • Can mobile technology help tell stories better than the Powerpoint metaphors?
  • Is motion and interaction effective, and if so how can it be choreographed and directed?
  • Does “camera position” affect the focal point of a story? In other words, should the presenter think of the camera as a character in the story?
  • Can presentations be built more quickly and can the presenter obtain confidence without rehearsal?
  • What are some of the constraints of venue and legacy AV equipment that perpetuate ancient dogma? How can the presenter eliminate or mitigate these constraints?

At a minimum, the workshop is designed to recruit and equip a new cadre (no more than 50) with a new algorithm of presentation built on rhetorical, theatrical and cinematic foundations.

We call the workshop Airshow. June 9th, 10am to 4pm, the day before WWDC, in San Francisco. Sign up here.

The Critical Path #83: The Analyst Taxonomy

Horace proposes a classification of analysts and their motives and how to think about the value of commentary. We delve into how Apple executives obtain and preserve authority and talk about the disruptive impact of Nintendo. Also a hint about a new Perspective presentation before WWDC.

via 5by5 | The Critical Path #83: The Analyst Taxonomy.

Measuring Platform Churn

The latest comScore data shows consistent growth in US smartphone penetration. The rate is now 58.4% of adult consumers who own phones. This is up from 20% only three years ago. The rate of growth remains a remarkable 1.2% per month. That’s 700,000 new-to-smartphone users every week. The historic average over 3 years has been 1.07%/month This after having crossed over 50% on schedule in August 2012. There appears to be no slowing.

Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 5-6-5.42.50 AM

The next milestone I have pencilled in is the 80% mark which I extrapolate to be achieved by October 2014. 80% could be considered “saturation” which would signify a rapid slowing of new user addition. However, that might still not happen until 100%, depending on the availability (or lack thereof) of non-smartphones to buy.

Martin Bryant of The Next Web Interview

“So paradoxically, the opinion of those who are highly paid should be treated with suspicion while the opinion of those subject to peer review should be treated with respect. It brings to mind the difference between highly paid fortune tellers and pundits whose methods are obscure vs. poorly paid graduate students whose methods are open to all. Whose opinion is worth more?”

To read more see Horace Dediu on the bad habits of Apple analysts and why Tim Cook shouldn’t be fired – The Next Web


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Surface Tension: The effect of Surface on Windows revenues

According to Strategy Analytics 3 million Windows-based tablets shipped in Q1. That is not inconsequential. It would add 4% to the total Windows-based computers and reduce the decline in Windows PC growth to -8% (from -11%). You can see the effect of those units on share in the following graphs.

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