Latest industry insights

Changes in store for Apple TV

If you love your Apple TV even a tiny bit as much as I do, or are intrigued about getting one, then hopefully you’ll be excited about the recent rumours that Apple has big plans in store. Talking of store, that is how some eagle eye fans detected that change was in the air – Apple TV has now been given a prominent promo slot in the Apple online store. It’s been bumped up to the top on the homepage, sitting alongside ‘shop... ipod, mac, ipad, iphone’. As usual the people at Apple are keeping very quiet, but its sounding like the Apple TV could now include its own router, therefore supporting better video quality and helping to hook up all your household devices on to one network. There’s also an indication it will support apps and games, so it will have much more potential. But who knows, maybe they realised it just didn’t make much sense to find the product under ‘iPod accessories’?!

Christmas is the magic day for tablets

Just after Christmas, once all those new tablet devices had been excitedly exchanged and unwrapped, iPlayer saw the number of views on tablets overtake desktops. Over 2 million requests for programmes in fact. We all know that mobile device usage is ever on the increase but it’s particularly fascinating when these figures start to overtake the once predominant desktop PC. In the case of iPlayer, tablets make a great video streaming device, they’re portable, you can settle yourself down anywhere with them and they usually have a size screen big enough to make the viewing activity pleasurable. Other digital services, like are also starting to wonder when the number of visits via mobile devices will overtake desktop. In a world full of coincidences they are also predicting Christmas Day, this year (well, if not before).

Worth studying outside of school hours…

A neat new product that helps teachers, parents and students track their homework is winning awards and gaining popularity. It’s also backed by Ofsted which gives it instant credibility. The idea behind the service is simple but brilliant, it makes homework setting transparent. In a calendar view you can see when homework was set, when it’s due in and upload your completed homework. Therefore, it’s great for students to keep track of what they should be working on and when, and parents can log in and see this too. Teachers have homework submissions handled for them and it flags any over dues. There’s not much chance for excuses or squirming your way out of that! It’s a great example, particularly for teachers, of using technology to handle the menial, time-consuming jobs and therefore freeing up time for focusing on the valuable, meaningful activities.

Man walks into lamppost and realises real world exists

Finally, as January is well known as the month of detox, Dry-January and all that. At the point where we all want to feel a little better, healthier and happier, how about reflecting on the digital behaviours in your life? Menthal is an app developed by researchers at the University of Bonn to help you understand your mobile usage habits. Concerned that you may be coming over dependent on your mobile? That it’s becoming harder to resist that urge to pick up your phone with no real reason to? Menthal will keep track of your phone usage and analyse your patterns, see which apps consume most of your time and how life events affect your phone usage. The underlying story that the researchers are aiming to understand better is how mobile phones affect our mental and emotional health, a serious concern and a growing problem. The depth of data that collected through the app will provide new insights into digital addiction and a new quantitative approach to psychology. Of course, reading industry news updates is considered a vital activity, therapy really, so it doesn't need any moderation.