Macworld on Disney’s AppMates for iPad

Disney adds physical toys to its AppMates iPad game with a Pixar Cars theme. To play, launch the free iPad app and place one of the specially-designed playing pieces  ($19.99 per pair) on the iPad’s screen. Move it around to explore Radiator Springs, complete missions, race other cars and more. It’s a lot of fun, but I’ve got the same complaints as Macworld’s Philip Michaels:

“To make your AppMate visible to the accompanying iPad app when it’s placed on the tablet screen, you have to grip the car’s side windows with a finger—essentially completing a circuit. Loosen your grip on the car, and it will stop moving down the virtual streets of Radiator Springs. It sounds easy enough, but keeping your fingers in place for a prolonged period of play can be a bit of strain. Turning to follow the curves of a racetrack—all without letting go of the car—forced me to do things with my wrist that the human body shouldn’t be asked to do.”

You’ve got to hold the car just so or else the connection is broken and iPad no longer “sees” it. Additionally, some playing pieces are easier to hold properly than others. Lightning McQueen is more consistent than Sally when my kids play.

When it works it’s a lot of fun, but unfortunately it’s frustrating too often to recommend.

Ron Johnson on “What I learned building the Apple Store”

Apple’s former retail chief Ron Johnson recently left the Cupertino company to become CEO of JC Penney. While he builds his team (the Wall Street Journal suggests he’s recruiting former Apple colleagues), he’s written a guest post for The Harvard Business Review entitled, “What I Learned Building the Apple Store.” My favorite bit is right up front.

“When I announced that I was leaving Apple to take the reins as CEO of J.C. Penney this month, the business press (and lots of others) began speculating about whether I could replicate the Apple Store’s success in such a dramatically different retail setting. One of the most common comments I heard was that the Apple Store succeeded because it carried Apple products and catered to the brand’s famously passionate customers. Well, yes, Apple products do pull people into stores. But you don’t need to stock iPads to create an irresistible retail environment. You have to create a store that’s more than a store to people.”

I’ve often been with a group of people who visited an Apple Store just to visit it. No one intended to buy anything. Instead, we just wanted to walk around, talk with the employees and play with the toys. It’s the same reason my kids want to visit the Disney Store [1. Coincidentally, Steve Jobs himself reportedly had a hand in the Disney Store’s recent re-invention.]. Not just because they hope to get something (though they do), but because it’s an appealing place to be.


Financial Times (subscription required):

“The new 99 cent price tag and deals for rentals from Disney’s ABC, News Corp’s Fox could come as soon as Wednesday at a just-scheduled a press event on its entertainment gadgets…other studios remain leery of Apple’s intentions.”

I’m sure NBC is among the nay-sayers. In 2007, the network pulled its content from the iTunes store, and today seems committed to making a go with Hulu Plus. Don’t expect “The Office” to be a part of the $0.99 rental program any time soon. [2. Which is ironic, since iTunes all but saved “The Office” almost 5 years ago.]

[Via MacDailyNews]