Mobile Content Creation

Microsoft Office helps shift tablets from consumption to creation.

Apple iPad Tablet

The big news from Microsoft this week was the announcement of Microsoft Office apps for the Apple iPad (a more limited app is available for the iPhone).

Sidenote: does anyone else find it odd that Microsoft so openly trashes Google as a competitor then posts cute little Google Vine videos on their Twitter feed?

The apps are “free” but an annual Office 365 subscription is required if you want to modify and not just view Office documents. My primary home computer is now a Mac (I avoid using my secondary Microsoft Windows 8.1 laptop whenever possible), so my family relies on Apple Pages and Keynote. We also have Apache OpenOffice on stand-by, if necessary, and my children submit school assignments using Google Docs. I have a license to use Microsoft Office at work and therefore have no need to send Microsoft a subscription fee every year.

 

I know that many people are excited about these new apps, but I’ve owned an iPad 2 for three years and have never missed Microsoft Office. As you can see from the iTunes screenshot below, there are many Microsoft Office alternatives already in the iTunes App Store.

Microsoft Excel in iTunes App Store

I use my iPad and iPhone to type out short emails or 140-character tweets using HootSuite. I use the WordPress app to moderate comments or fix the occasional typo that finds its way into my blog post. And I love Evernote for storing small bits of information that I may want to later cut and paste into a larger document. With Dropbox combined with Apple’s Keynote, I can either edit or present Microsoft PowerPoint presentations from my iPad. Presenting tethered with the iPad’s VGA adapter is a bit of a challenge for me. I’ll practice with my iPad in a hotel room but prefer to give presentations from my MacBook Pro and a wireless remote. I’ve never bothered to add a Bluetooth keyboard to my iPad because if I need to type something serious, I’m going to head straight for my laptop with a full-size keyboard.

I love showing off location analytics from my iPad or bullet charts from my iPhone. But I’ve never had the thought “gee, wouldn’t it be great if I could build a universe from my iPad?” or “when will Data Services Designer run on my iPad?” The SAP BusinessObjects Mobile BI app (updated yesterday to version 5.1.9) already supports prompts and Web Intelligence input controls (although I’m not sure I like the implementation of the latter).

 

But I would like to be able to use a universe query panel from the Mobile BI app, if not a full-blown HTML5 version of Web Intelligence similar to Tableau’s fully-mobile web framework (see related article, Tableau 8 Roadshow).

ASUG is sponsoring a webinar entitled What’s New in BusinessObjects Mobile (ASUG membership required) on June 18, 2014, just a few weeks after SAP SAPPHIRE North America. No doubt we’ll see the next chapter of SAP’s unfolding Mobile BI story.

What mobile analytics innovations do you want to see SAP deliver in 2014?

Resources

Apple Retires the iPad 2

After 3 years, Apple retires the iPad 2.

Today, Apple officially retired the 3-year-old iPad 2 and replaced it with last year’s iPad 4, or possibly a slightly tweaked (cost reduced) version of it. Apple also introduced an 8 GB iPhone 5c in multiple markets although the iPhone 4S is still in the United States product lineup. My iPad 2 has been a close companion for three years. I purchased it shortly after Apple introduced it in March 2011. I’m grateful that it’s capable of running iOS 7.1 and SAP BusinessObjects Mobile BI runs great. But I am starting to notice some of my favorite apps like Evernote are running slow. I’m guessing that app vendors are spending less time tweaking performance on older tablets when the newer models have much faster processors- this year’s iPad Air runs up to 7x faster than an iPad 2.

What does Apple’s latest product shuffle mean?

First, the legacy 30-pin connector has been phased out of the product line-up. I expect Apple to introduce the 8 GB iPhone 5c in the US once the iPhone 4s supply chain has been fully depleted.

Second, I’ll predict that the next iPad Air, expected around September 2014, will only be a modest bump in speed and capability to the current model. So instead of two very similar models being sold side-by-side when this year’s model is depreciated, Apple has instead reintroduced a clearly lower-performing less-desirable model (although clearly superior to the iPad 2 it replaces) at the bottom of the line-up.

Third, the original iPad Mini and its non-Retina display remains on sale. I hope that is an indicator that I’ll be able to upgrade my iPad 2 to iOS 8 later this year, as it shares the same processor and screen resolution.

I’m really looking forward to this year’s revised iPad lineup (see related article, Why I won’t buy this year’s iPad). But for now, my iPad 2 is within arm’s reach.

The Price of Early Adoption

There’s always a price to be paid for early adoption of technology.

Earlier this week, MG Siegler wrote an article entitled I Got Bugscritical of the quality of Apple iOS 7.

I remain convinced that in just about every way, iOS 7 is a huge upgrade over the previous iterations. Except one. And it’s a big one. The software is so inexplicably and inexcusably buggy.

I experience some minor issues with iOS 7 on both my iPhone 5 and iPad 2. But the experience has been largely positive. Besides, like everyone else I really wanted to be an early adopter to start using new features, assumming Apple would fix anything “critical”. They have – we’re on 7.0.4. We haven’t seen iOS 7.1 yet (although it’s now in beta) because it’s a more substantial release. And like most companies, Apple slows down for the US holidays in November and December. We don’t hear as much about Android bugs because so few Android devices are running the latest Android 4.4 OS (aka KitKat). And there’s not enough users of Microsoft Windows Phone, Microsoft Windows RT tablets, or Blackberry 10 devices to bother writing about.

Apple iOS 7 Adoption Is Unprecedented

But we hear about Apple iOS 7 not only because of the volume of users but also because of the velocity of their adoption of the new OS.


Apple iOS 7 Adoption

Apple’s own statistics, posted on the Apple developers web site, show that iOS 7 adoption is at 78% as of the end of December 2013. That’s very impressive for an operating system that was only released in mid-September. Although there is criticism of iOS 7 and the new versions of iWork applications, Apple is to be commended for how much hardware, software, and iCloud services were shipped last September. Due to their tight integration, everything from iOS 7 to OS X Mavericks‎ to Safari to iTunes and iWork apps had to be released simultaneously. I’m sure there are many in Cupertino grateful that no “antennagate” (see related Daring Fireball article, Antennagate Bottom Line) or iOS 6 Maps fiasco (see related Daring Fireball article, Pogue on iOS 6 Maps) has emerged from this year’s updates (I’m not sure iWork frustration counts as a fiasco). Although adoption is very high, it’s still not 100%, with 18% of users still on iOS 6 and 4% on an even earlier version (the latter most likely due to device incompatibility, such as the original iPad).

Count my mom among the iPad users still using iOS 6. Although I updated her MacBook Air to Mavericks 10.9.1 over the Christmas holiday, I’m keeping her iPad 2 on iOS 6 until iOS 7.1 is released. My mom will appreciate the automatic app update feature, but I’m waiting for a more stable version before having to explain to her the nuances of the revised multitasking, notification center, and command center features.

Consumer Adoption vs. Enterprise Adoption

There are no parallels for the rate of user adoption seen with iOS. Consumers largely remained on Windows XP, avoiding Vista in favor of Windows 7. But many users are staying on the 12-year-old OS even though it will be officially retired in April. Enterprise adoption tends to be even more conservative than consumer adoption. “Dot-zero” releases are routinely shunned until not only the “dot-one” release appears, but enough early adopters have taken the plunge and given their blessing. (Although most Microsoft users are sticking with Windows 7 even though Windows 8 recently received a “dot-one” 8.1 update).

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0 Adoption

Consider SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.0, the first major release of the platform since SAP’s 2008 acquisition of BusinessObjects. The product went through a lengthier than usual ramp-up period during 2011 before becoming generally available on September 16, 2011. The product received a lot of new features with the introduction of Feature Pack 3 on June 15, 2012. Originally intended to be called BI 4.1, I’m still unsure if the release was renamed “Feature Pack 3” to increase adoption or to suppress it until the more stable BI 4.1 was released on August 29, 2013.

As a consultant, I’ve been grateful to work on several BI 4.0 projects instead of being stuck on XI R2 or XI 3.1. But there have been adoption hurdles. And although any customer is frustrated when a project is delayed due to software bugs, most adopters of BI 4.0 understood the risk and perceived enough benefits from upgrading to take that risk.

But the “dot-one” release isn’t always a panacea for user adoption. Although BI 4.1 has both more stability and features than it’s now two-year-old predecessor, it isn’t without issues. After releasing a glowing endorsement of the new Support Pack 2 on Monday (see related article on the EV Technologies blog, State of the SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0 Upgrade, January 2014), I discovered on Tuesday that even the most basic of publications using the sample eFashion universe won’t work properly, let alone mission-critical publications (see related article on the SAP Community Network, Publications Fail). And no scheduled documents, publications or otherwise, can be sent to the Mobile BI Inbox (see related SAP KB 1967424- Reports scheduled to BI inbox not visible in SAP BI app for iOS in BI 4.1). Ouch!

Should customers kicking off BI 4.1 migration projects apply the brakes? Absolutely not. There’s a lot of work to be done regressing testing existing content on a BI 4.1 development platform, which will most likely be patched between project kickoff and go-live anyway. (By the way, EV Technologies Sherlock Inspector Suite can be an enormous help in cutting the scope and duration of your BI 4 migration projects). And administrators, developers, and power users need at least a BI 4.1 sandbox to start exploring the new platform’s features. But unfortunately, BI 4.1 is starting to show more in common with Windows 8.1 instead of iOS 7.1.

The introduction of iOS 7 brings an extra adoption wrinkle for both SAP and the organizations that deploy SAP BusinessObjects Mobile BI (see related article, SAP BusinessObjects Mobile BI 5.1 for iOS). Because iOS 7 can automatically update a user’s apps, mobile app quality has to be guaranteed on day one of its release. And the product documentation should be ready, too.

There’s Always a Price for Early Adoption

Bottom line, there’s always a price to be paid for early adoption. In many cases, it’s a price worth paying. But always be prepared for the risks, seen and unseen.

Are you an Apple user on the iOS 7 bandwagon? Or a SAP BusinessObjects user on the BI 4.0 or BI 4.1 bandwagon? Would love to hear your comments, as always.

Why I won’t buy this year’s iPad

I’m tempted but still not buying.

iPad Air and iPad MiniTomorrow, the iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina Display go on sale online and at Apple Stores around the world. Both are amazing feats of design and engineering. The iPad Air is amazingly thin, losing the heft that made (in my opinion) the iPad 3 and iPad 4 less desirable than the iPad 2 even though the latter has a much inferior display and camera. And fans of the original iPad Mini are positively ecstatic about finally having a Retina Display.

You may be one of the thousands standing in line to purchase one. But I won’t.

Last week, Lance Whitney published reasons similar to mine (see related CNET article, Why I won’t buy this year’s iPad). I currently use a 2011 iPad 2 with 16 GB and Wi-Fi. The iPad 2 runs the latest iOS 7 and is good enough for Apple to continue selling, therefore it’s good enough for me to continue using. It’s positioned at the same price point as a new 2013 iPad Mini with Retina Display.

My iPad is the only one in our home, so it frequently resembles the Coke bottle in The Gods Must Be Crazy. My wife, two daughters, and son each have their own reasons for wanting to borrow it at any given moment. The new iPad Touch with its 64-bit A7 processor is five times faster than my iPad 2 with an A5 processor. I’d certainly love to have a second iPad in the house for sharing, but here are three reasons why I’ll wait.

Touch ID

First, the new iPads omit the new Touch ID sensor recently introduced on the iPhone 5s. Whether omitted due to supply or pricing constraints, it seems plausible to me that Apple could pull the “iPad 3 maneuver”. Just as the iPad 3 was pulled from the market in just six short months and replaced with the much better iPad 4, Apple may replace the models announced last week with nearly identical ones sporting the missing fingerprint sensor.

Storage

Second, the internal storage for base models is still a pathetic 16 GB. Apple does not break out sales numbers for individual iPad models, but I’ll bet that more iPad buyers are choosing 32 and 64 GB models, particularly those who have already owned a 16 GB tablet. I’d have a lot more additional storage on my iPad 2 if I could move my children’s games and educational apps to a second tablet. But I really want 32 GB or maybe even 64 GB- just not at today’s prices. Apple practically has the tablet market all to themselves and has no competitive incentive to boost storage. They can delay bumping the low-end models to 32 GB. But I will delay the purchase of a second iPad because of it.

Apps

Third, there isn’t any business intelligence software that demands a newer tablet. SAP’s mobile BI apps don’t have any features that require a Retina Display or a faster processor.

Because the second-generation iPad will still be sold alongside the fifth-generation, I’m a bit surprised that Apple didn’t spend the effort to redesign it with a Lightning connector instead of the old 30-pin connector. Which probably means that the iPad 2 will finally disappear whenever the next model refresh occurs (see related article, Apple Retires the iPad 2). I’m not surprised that the original iPad Mini is still in the lineup. Although Apple currently owns the education tablet market (see related CNET article, Apple CEO: We’ve locked up 94% of education tablet market), I doubt they want to give any incentives for schools to look at lower priced Android or Microsoft tablets. I predict Apple will continue to produce non-Retina models in both sizes for the foreseeable future.

I will be keeping an eye on the refurbished department of the online Apple Store. I may yet be tempted to get an inexpensive refurbished iPad Mini just to have two tablets in the house. But for now, I can live without Apple’s latest glass rectangle (see related article, I Can Live Without Apple’s Latest Glass Rectangle). But I’ll be eagerly waiting until September 2014 to check out Apple’s newest tablet offerings.

Will you purchase a new 2013 iPad Mini or iPad Air?

SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence from SAP Press now in eBook format

Grab your iPad, Kindle or other favorite eBook reader!

SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence: The Comprehensive Reference by Jim Brogden, Mac Holden, Dallas Marks, Gabriel Orthous, and Heather Sinkwitz is now available in multiple eBook formats. Previously available in hardback and web editions, SAP Press now offers ePub (compatible with Apple iBooks), mobi (compatable with Amazon Kindle) and Adobe PDF formats from their web site.

Be sure to add it to your holiday wish list.

 

I Can Live Without Apple’s Latest Glass Rectangle

Sure you can buy the latest Apple gadget. But you don’t have to.

As a “fanboy” who’s doing just fine with a 3-year-old 2009 iPhone 3GS, late-2010 Mac Mini, and 2011 iPad 2, this recent article about planned obsolescence by New York Times technology writer Nick Bilton really bothered me.

It’s part of a strategy that Apple has perfected. How else can the company persuade people to replace their perfectly fine iPhone, iPad, iMac and iEverything else year after year?

From Disruptions: You Know You Can’t Live Without Apple’s Latest Glass Rectangle

It’s true that Apple (and “other vendors”, but hey, let’s rag on Apple because it gets more page views) create sexy new products each year that make the old ones look obsolete.  But I’ve purchased Apple products knowing that they will have a long and productive life, not just a 12-month lifespan until the next model is released.  Not only will these products be supported by Apple, they’ll be upgraded as well.

My late-2010 Mac Mini is running Mountain Lion 10.8, the latest version of Apple’s Mac OS X operating system.  In contrast, the $500 Dell i3 laptop that I purchased last year barely ran Windows 7 well and is now struggling to run Windows 8 (see related article First Impressions of Microsoft Windows 8).  But PC’s are cheap and Macs are overpriced, right?

My 3-year-old iPhone 3GS and 2-year-old iPad 2 are both running the latest iOS 6.  In contrast, many Android tablets and phones neither ship with the latest Android OS or ever get upgraded to it.  And the iPad 2 is so great, Apple continues to sell it even though it recently discontinued the 3rd generation iPad in favor of a much better 4th generation model.

And while PC vendors are shamelessly copying most of Apple’s designs, nobody is copying the great Mac Mini.  Yesterday, I took a quick stroll down the desktop PC aisle at Best Buy (where I purchased my Windows 8 Pro upgrade). There’s nothing but over-sized yet underpowered traditional PC enclosures. Sorry, Nick, the Cadillac fins are stuck on PCs, not Macs.

This year, I’ll be replacing my iPhone 3GS with an iPhone 5. My 3GS runs iOS 6 surprisingly well, but the battery on my beloved 3-year-old phone is toast. Eventually, I will also want to replace my Mac and my iPad with newer models. But I’ll be handing them down to my children, not to the local recycling center.  Which is a different fate than Nick Bilton’s article will have.

Goodnight iPad

A great gift idea for gadget geeks who need to learn to power down.

Goodnight iPad by Ann Droyd is billed as “a parody for the next generation”. This parody of the popular children’s book Goodnight Moon is wonderfully written and illustrated, making it a great gift idea for gadget geeks who need to learn to power down.

Highly recommended.

Purchase Goodnight iPad on Amazon.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased this book and did not receive it free from its publisher. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”