Apple's new iPhone 5 looks stunning. But the most significant thing about it isn't the new form factor, or the sweet Panorama picture taking capabilities, or the turn-by-turn maps functionality, or any of the new jazzy features.
The most significant thing about the iPhone is its fast LTE speed, which is on what by all measures looks to be an exponential curve.
The new iPhone5 can reach speeds of 100mpbs. That's probably about 10x to 100x as fast as your home cable or DSL connection. 100x, today. And who knows how fast the next iPhone will be. And what does this speed mean?
It means that the iPhone -- and all smartphones -- are becoming the brains behind your digital persona. As a human being, you're analog. The phone is digital. It's your gateway to the digital world. It's you, digitally, in your pocket.
This massive speed increase means that your phone becomes the brains of everything you interface with. Many media companies call mobile the "2nd screen," meaning it's a secondary device after the TV. That's wrong. Mobile isn't a screen at all. It's going to be the way you choose what content to watch, on any screen. The mobile phone replaces the cable box on top of your TV. Just look at AirPlay -- a way to send whatever you want to watch on your phone to a connected device, like a TV. Now imagine AirPlay-type capabilities on any surface, with the phone as the conductor of the symphony you call life.
While media companies haven't quite digested this yet, car manufacturers have been wrestling with the same issue since smartphones became popular. They often thought of the "MMI" in-dash multimedia display as the driver's primary interface with the car. They made huge profit margins by upselling MMI devices in cars, and so were very reluctant to think of the car as the "peripheral," and instead thought of the phone as the peripheral. But the phone is the brains. The phone is where your contact list is stored. It's how you make calls, post to social platforms, and interact with others. The car's MMI device is the peripheral.
Watch for many more examples of the phone becoming your "command center" (with mobile apps as the primary interface) and everything else becoming the peripheral. With the iPhone5's faster-than-home connection speeds, it's ready to disintermediate a lot of industries that think it's the peripheral.
 Media companies haven't had to digest this yet, because the traditional distribution system is very powerful and ingrained. My guess is that the switch to mobile becoming "the brains" of how people choose what to watch will happen in the next two to three years. But I could be way off. Talk to any media company executive, and you'll likely hear a timeframe of more like 10+ years. That could be right. But here's one reason I think it'll be much sooner: As media companies start to simulcast their content across multiple devices, users will get used to picking up the device closest to them to determine what to watch. And that will-- more often than not-- be the phone, or the tablet, and not the TV with the cable box.
What I mean by this is that today, content is locked down on mobile devices for some period of time -- you can watch it on the TV today, but if you want to watch it on a computer or mobile device, you have to wait a day or longer. But I'd be willing to bet that the first crack in this model will be simulcasting, where the content shows up at the same time on the mobile device as it does on traditional linear devices. And when that happens, the floodgates will open, because at that point, why wait to get home to watch a show on your TV when you can watch it on train on the way home, on your mobile device?
A shout-out to Matcha, a fellow Turner Media Camp company, for their recent article in Ad Week: http://www.adweek.com/news/television/discovery-app-looks-own-tv-experience-143925
In the article, reporter Mike Shields writes "The company built an iPad app designed to serve as the ultimate TV companion. Through a growing slate of partnerships, Matcha allows users to sift through all the TV shows they might have at their disposal in one screen. It also offers a recommendation engine, social TV elements, and supplementary content from the likes of IMDB and RottenTomatoes.com."
This is 100% consistent that mobile is not the 2nd screen, but rather the brains behind our digital persona. The Matcha TV app is a great example of how that might happen. You choose what to watch in Matcha, and then you send the feed to your TV for actual viewing.
Great job Guy, Ilan & team!
Thanks Daniel. I think that the term '2nd screen' might have a few interpretations, however, it primarily implies that the main watching activity is done on the large (living room) screen while the tablet/ mobile (the 2nd screen) performs supporting activities.
At the same time, I agree that the brains can, and should be based in the device that performs everything from choosing to controlling. Controlling should cover any device both the big screen and the tablet itself, which is a great media consumption device. The large TV screens can be simple dumb displays. Guy
Yeah but Guy, isn't the term "2nd screen" by definition demeaning to what a mobile device actually does?
I guess my point is that it's not just a screen. It's what decides what's watched on any screen. Or at least it will be, in my estimation. Just not sure if that happens in 2 years or 10. But regardless of how quickly it happens, from the very beginning it's the brains, not just the screen, because the phone is already our digital representation of self.
Totally with you on that. I think the brain will reside 90% in the cloud and the phone will facilitate it for us as being the most handy and personal device out there!
Yeah good point about the cloud.
The phone is really just the handy conduit from which to interface with my digital persona stored on the cloud.
In that sense, the question becomes: Will the TV be just as, or more handy than the phone to direct what I watch, if it were to be able to interface with the cloud (which obviously the new smart TVs are trying to do)... or will the phone still be the preferred "remote control"in this future depiction?
I only wrote the article above 10 months ago. Yet today I just read a story about "4G LTE Advanced, which will offer up to 3 gigabits of connectivity speed. Whoa. That would be the read line I projected above, and it's right on time: Edge to 3G took 2 years. 3G to 4G took three years. Now 4G to 4G LTE advanced is slated for 2013/2014 (it's already available in Russia today).
What will 3 gigabit speed mobile devices mean for us? Aaaah the possibilities are endless. Let's go create something awesome.
Apple vs. Google in the Clouds
Take a look around at the next ball game or concert you attend. You’ll see thousands of fans sending text messages or snapping photos and e-mailing them to friends. Those armies of smartphone owners are behind a striking increase in wireless data usage: Cisco estimates that mobile data traffic will grow by a factor of 18 by 2016, and Bell Labs predicts it will increase by a factor of 25.
With traffic growing so rapidly, is wireless spectrum likely to run out?
BTW here's what I mean about this post: Attached is a picture of a laptop using a cable modem connection at 1.6mbps, and my iPhone5 at 14mbps. The iPhone is 10x as fast as the laptop. That's incredible.
Also related: I just got this email from a research company that caught my eye. Specifically "A new non-linear, OTT world has arrived where viewers can choose from among tens of thousands of shows that are always available and on every device they own." (OTT = "Over The Top" TV, which is industry jargon for broadband distribution of TV that disintermediates the traditional distribution channel (like the Comcast provider). You can learn more about OTT here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Over-the-top_content
Here's the full summary I got via email:
Mr. Daniel Odio
“The Death of the EPG and the Coming Demise of the Remote” report is
The rise of over-the-top (OTT) TV combined with the proliferation of smart
devices in the living room has produced a demonstrable effect on two
long-standing pillars of TV discovery and navigation: the electronic page
guide (EPG) and the remote control.
The year 2012 has seen the digital era viewer mature into someone who is
more likely to connect to the internet than pick up the remote control to
watch a video.
A new 22-page report from Rider Research called “The Death of the EPG and
the Coming Demise of the Remote” examines how recent trends in the changing
nature of TV search and discovery are threatening to drive EPGs and remote
controls the way of the dinosaur.
A new non-linear, OTT world has arrived where viewers can choose from among
tens of thousands of shows that are always available and on every device
This report is based on recent articles taken from the digital media
strategy bulletin, “The Online Reporter” and on new reports, summaries and
Amongst other features, “The Death of the EPG and the Coming Demise of the
* Explains how enhancements in the use of “metadata” are increasing the
effectiveness of search and discovery.
* Introduces metadata search and recommendation engines companies and their
* Examines “Second Screen” devices, services and trends.
* Provides a listing of companies with second screen EPG apps offerings.
* Makes an exploration of “Neo EPG” second screen apps and “Neo Remotes”, a
pairing of OTT content sources with the proliferation of internet
connected-touchscreen smartphones and tablets.
* Speculates the near-future as content providers and consumers respond to
these new “smarter” TV tools.
Who should read this report? This is essential research for content and
rights owners in entertainment and media; Consumer Electronics device,
semiconductor and component vendors; broadband carriers and service
providers; apps and software developers; strategy formulators and buyers;
consultants; financial analysts and any company with an interest in the
future of digital media.
Second Screen services, Neo EPGs and remotes are affecting your business
right now. Order your copy of this report today!
The pricing schedule is as follows:
Number of readers
Single reader license $249
License for 2-3 readers $695
License for 4-5 readers $890
License for 6-10 readers $1,595
License for 11-25 readers $3,995
For 26 or more readers, please call for quotation
Prices are per organization and do not include outside contractors,
advertising agencies or public relations companies.
To order, please send back a note or complete the attached form and fax to
011 44 1280 820554 or e-mail to [email protected]
Enjoyed your post... was very timely in light of a link a coworker sent me a couple days ago about the new "multiscreen world" we live in:
Keep up the great articles!
Here's an NYT article on the topic that's worth reading: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/17/technology/despite-a-slowdown-smartphone-advances-are-still-ahead....
Nick Wingfield reports that the iPhone5 is incremental as compared to the first iPhone, but there are other innovations ahead that can/will disrupt the industry, namely wearable computing.
Being embedded squarely in the middle of the fast-growing mobile revolution, our company has a unique perch which I've wanted to codify into a vision document for some time. I finally found time to do it, and the resulting video is below, along with the slides below that. I'd love your thoughts & comments on what points you agree or disagree with, and why.
Here's the video:
If you want to play the video faster, say at 1.5x speed, you can download it from the vimeo site (here's where you download it from).
Here's the transcript:
With the huge shift from keyboard to touch in the last few years the iPad, Smartphone and Tablet computer have turned the complex desktop computing metaphor which befuddled most users to the point of only understanding Outlook, Windows and Word into devices grandma and grandpa are actually happy to pick up and communicate with the grand-kids because its easy...
The new era of computing is all about being mobile, devices have 10hr battery life, they are 3G and 4G and designed to be used on the go with the cloud, and free
That is until you want to put the content from your mobile device onto the TV
Now I'm the first to admit that it is possible in a locked in world to use technologies such as Apple Airplay or Google's Chromecast. These are however proprietary systems locked into Apples iDevices are Googles Chrome OS/Browser and don't work at the family gatherings.