In Loco Parentis

Parents Seem Pretty Chill About Letting iPads Raise Their Kids

Dramatization. (Photo: Brutal Gamer)

There’s nothing like the soothing glow of a digital screen to shut your kid up for a few minutes. Parents have known this since the dawn of television.

But now, there’s a new sheriff in town when it comes to getting your kid to sit still for longer than three seconds, and it’s called the tablet. Tablet ownership among families has risen at an insane rate–40 percent of families own the devices now, while two years ago, only 8 percent did, according to the New York Times. So if you wondered who was buying all those Kindle Fires, there you go. Read More

In Tablet We Trust

Tablet for Two: The Brothers Mueller, Twin Maestros of the iPad, Will Make You See Double

10 Photos

Kirk (left) and Nate Mueller at the SPD Awards dinner.

Identical twins Kirk and Nate Mueller sat side-by-side in identical leather chairs wearing identical GANT gabardine suits fiddling with identical Le Pen pens. It was chilly December afternoon just before the New Year at the Fort Greene offices of Studio Mercury, a boutique design firm made up entirely of alumni from the Rhode Island School of Design’s hyper-exclusive Digital + Media graduate program.

The Muellers’ similarities are more than superficial. The twins, who are 27 and stand 5’5″, share the same bank account. They share the same calendar. They share the same curriculum vitae. The same sexual orientation (gay), brownstone (Prospect Heights) and taste in boyfriends (“over 30”). They share the same profession, and the same specialty (interactive design). They even, in a manner of speaking, share an identity. Email the Brothers Mueller at their shared account, and the only way to tell which Mueller is responding is by whose name shows up first in the signature: Nate & Kirk versus Kirk & Nate.

“We have this little notation,” said Kirk.

“Some people figured it out,” chimed in Nate, who, along with his brother, seems unburdened by matters of selfhood.

One stutters trying to figure out how to address them. “The Brothers, the Brothers Mueller, or ‘the twins,’ or ‘the boys,’” Kirk said.

In the year and a half since the Brothers got their master degrees from RISD—sharing the podium as commencement speakers in 2010—and moved to New York, they have created iPad apps for Martha Stewart and e-books for Vanity Fair and Bon Appetit. Coming soon are a political website for The New Yorker and an iPad app for Newsweek. Whereas most graphic and user-interface designers tend to hand off the technical work, the brothers do it all, relying on Nate’s speed in programming and Kirk’s facility with design. Read More

The Medium is The Message

Lean Back, Way Back. News.me’s Jake Levine Talks Tablets and Consumption

Lean with it, rock with it

In a certain way, the web is a terrible medium for trying to read articles. Your browser is full of distractions like Twitter and email that need constant attention. Which might be why users of News.me, the betaworks service created in conjunction with the New York Times, read an average of six times more articles on their tablets than they do when browsing News.me via the web.

“The experience on the tablet is more immersive, more contextual,” said Jake Levine, general manager at News.me. “When the iPad first came out everyone was complaining about how you couldn’t multitask, but I think more and more publishers and app creators are coming to see this as an advantage.”  Read More

Tablet Wars

New York’s Top Digital Agencies See Big Changes Coming With Kindle Fire

Get this guy a smartphone

Aaron Shapiro sees a lot of interesting data as the CEO of Huge, one of the Big Apple’s top digital agencies. The jetsetting Mr. Shapiro just made the Crain’s 2011 “40 Under 40″ list of New York’s young business leaders. His firm oversees campaigns and website redesigns for CNN, Reuters and Pepsi. And right now, Mr. Shapiro said, “The tablet market is the top of my mind.” Read More

Tablet Wars

New York’s Publishing Set Loves Amazon’s New Kindle Fire

NY is en fuego for the Fire

There was a reason Jeff Bezos came all the way to New York to unveil Amazon’s new suite of Kindle e-readers and tablet devices. Like the iPad the Kindle is first and foremost a device for consuming media, with the new Kindles going beyond the book to offer music, television and movies as well. And the Big Apple’s high end publishers are thrilled to have a second dance partner for the party beyond Apple.

As the NY Times reports, Amazon’s new Kindle Fire tablet will come with a digital newsstand front-and-center where users can buy magazines and newspapers. To glossy publishers, this sounds like a haven from a digital world dominated by Angry Birds. Read More

Tablet Wars

Amazon Unleashes The Kindle Fire Tablet in Manhattan

The Kindle, The Kindle, The Kindle is Fire

A huge new player stepped into the tablet space this morning to challenge the completely dominant reign of Apple’s iPad. Bloomberg had the scoop before the 200-some live bloggers in Hell’s Kitchen could even get started. The device is smaller, seven inches versus ten, and costs just $199 versus the iPad’s $499 price tag.

The Kindle Fire, as Amazon’s tablet device is called, is missing a lot of things. It doesn’t have a camera or microphone, so no Facetime communication is possible. It is WiFi only, which, having used the iPad with AT&T 3G for several months now, we believe is a huge drawback. 3G service makes the tablet a truly mobile device. Read More

In Tablet We Trust

Qwiki Cracks the App Store Top Ten, Considers Killing Website Altogether

doug imbruce

Qwiki turned heads last September when it won the top prize at TechCrunch Disrupt. The service pulls information from around the web to create multimedia presentations on over 3 million people, places and things, a sort of Wikipedia composed of miniature documentaries.

Last week the service launched its iPad app, and within a few days had broken into the top ten list. “We may just end up killing the website altogether,” said Qwiki co-founder Doug Imbruce, only half joking, during a visit to Betabeat’s offices on Friday. Read More