Posts from IPad

HTML5 (continued)

Last fall I wrote a blog post saying that I had seen a few super slick HTML5 mobile web apps and it got me thinking that the era of apps in a browser was closer than I had previously thought.

This week I saw a couple more that really blew me away.

Kindle in a browser has arrived and it is sweet. Here's our library in safari on our kitchen iPad:

Kindle browser

And here is what the reading experience looks like on the same tablet:

Kindle 2

Basically identical to the Kindle app experience. And it also supports offline reading by storing the books on the device. Very sweet.

And our friends at Etsy have rolled out item pages in HTML5 on Android. Here's an item page on my phone:

Etsy android fixed

And checking out via HTML5 is a breeze:

Etsy 2 fixed

So I'm even more encouraged today than I was last fall. HTML5 mobile web apps are taking us back to the web on mobile, where you can follow a link, go from service to service, don't need to download anything, and get shit done. That's a world I want to live in.


Some More Thoughts On Kindle and Reading On An iPad

I posted yesterday about highlighting and sharing quotes from books. I figured I'd make it a Kindle weekend here at AVC and talk about one other reason I love reading on an iPad and how Amazon could make it even better for me.

When I read, particularly biographies and other non-fiction, I love to hop out of the book and onto the web to get more details. I've been doing this a ton while reading Life, Keith Richard's biography.

When Keith talks about growing up in Dartford, riding bikes around the Heath, I hop out of the Kindle app and into Maps and find the map of Dartford and check out satellite views of the Heath. It's like taking a quick trip there to get some context.

When Keith talks about Andrew Loog Oldham, their first manager, I hop over to Wikipedia and get the lowdown on the guy. It makes the story more interesting to me.

When Keith talks about how beautiful Anita Pallenberg was when he met her, I hop over to Google Images and see what he's talking about. It turns a story into a movie in my mind.

Reading on an iPad via the Kindle app makes all of this pretty easy. I do it all the time. But imagine if, when you highlight something on the Kindle, you get a few more options, like Maps, Wikipedia, Images. Clicking on one of them takes you right to where you want to go. It would be killer. I hope Amazon adds this feature. I'd use it all the time.


Sharing My Kindle Highlights

When I read a book, I tend to do a lot of highlighting. I like to share many of them publicly on the web. I'm currently reading Keith Richard's biography Life and you can see the public sharing in action right now on my tumblog.

For years, when I came across a highlight I want to share, I pulled out my laptop and manually typed the quote into Tumblr. I do that with hardbacks, paperbacks, and the Kindle app on my iPad. It's a pain in the butt, but the desire to share the quote is such that I've been doing it.

I was with my friend Steven Johnson yesterday and he told me about a trick that is a game changer for me and maybe you too. When you are reading on a Kindle (or a Kindle app), your highlights are sent to a private page at The address of my page (and yours too I imagine) is If you have a kindle and do a lot of highlighting, go visit that page and you'll see all of your highlights.

From there, via the tumblr bookmarklet, it's trivial to share the quote on Tumblr. And so I suspect I'll be doing quite a bit more sharing as a result of this discovery.

Amazon has a gold mine on its hands but they aren't doing much with it right now. First off, they should let me make that page public or at least let me make some of the highlights public and showcase them on a public page. They should let me domain map that page so it becomes part of my social media presence. And they should let me connect that page with Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

I'm sure I'm not the only person who does a lot of highlighting and would like to share many of the highlights with the world at large. Curation is a huge part of social media and discovery and pulling quotes from books and sharing them is a big opportunity and one that Amazon should work to unlock for us.


Some iPad Help Please

I want to upgrade my original iPad's system software from 3.2 to 4.0. I've recently added some apps that don't run on 3.2.

The problem is I have no idea what mac laptop I used to setup that iPad. I think it may be gone to be honest. But the iPad wants me to connect it to the laptop that was used to set it up so it can do a software upgrade.

What is the best and fastest way to solve this problem? Should I do a factory reset on the iPad? If I do that will I lose all the apps I've got installed on the iPad? Is there another option?

I'm so confused why I need to connect an iPad to a laptop in the first place. Since that first setup, I've never connected the iPad to a laptop. I just download apps over the air and use them. Why can't an iPad do an over the air software upgrade like Android? Ugh.

#Random Posts

Mobile Reading Trends At AVC

I noticed that 16.2% of the visits to AVC in the past 30 days were from mobile devices so I did a little digging into that number. I opened a spreadsheet and went back in time on google analytics and the result is this chart. If you want to make it larger, click on the chart and load it in its own tab.

Mobile visits to avc

I then drew up a couple graphs. Here is total visits from the four most popular devices over time:

Mobile visits trend

But traffic to AVC has been growing pretty rapidly, so then I looked at this chart expressed as a percent of total visits:

Mobile visits percentage

So what does all of this tell me? Well first, a lot of people are reading AVC on mobile devices. Total mobile visits to AVC in the past 30 days was just north of 45,000. But the mix is equally interesting.

Probably the most interesting figure is iPad vists per month. In September 2010, AVC had 17,091 visits from iPads. In the past 30 days, iPad visits were 17,219, essentially flat. And on a percentage of total visit basis, the number was 7% of all visits last September and it is 6% of total visits in the last 30 days. That is not what I would have expected. iPad visits to AVC are not growing and are declining on a percent of total traffic basis.

iPhone, on the other hand, continues to grow month after month and now represents 6.7% of all visits. However, it was 5% of all visits in June of 2010 and 6% of all visits in September of 2010. So iPhone visit growth is slowing after a tear in the second half of 2009 and the first half of 2010.

Android is coming up fast. It grew 4x as a percent of visits from March 2010 to March 2011. But Android is not growing fast enough to overtake iPhone and iPad anytime soon. At the current growth rates, that would not happen until late 2012 at the earliest and that assumes continued flattening of iPhone and iPad.

Blackberry trails the other three devices by a lot and Blackberry visits to AVC have not grown in absolute numbers since the middle of last year.

The AVC audience are early adopters and the leading edge of technology users. So these numbers are not likely to be representative of blogs or online media broadly. But it is still very interesting to see them.

The iPad numbers in particular are interesting. I'm wondering if iPad users are reading via applications that Google Analytics does not record as an iPad. That would make sense. If so, the iPad numbers could be significantly higher than the numbers shown above.

But the big message is the early adopters are reading more and more on their mobile devices and at the current growth rates, half of the visits to AVC could be on mobile devices by the end of 2012. That is a megatrend. And it is investable.


The Treadpad

I got an iPad as a gift earlier this year. I use it in my home gym. Here's how it looks on my treadmill:

Treadpad #1

It was pretty simple to do this. I got some double sided velcro tape and put two strips on the treadmill:

Treadpad #2

And then I put two strips on the back of the iPad:

Treadpad #3

If you have more than one type of workout machine (ie treadmill and elliptical), you can move the iPad back and forth between both.

#Random Posts

HTML5 Mobile Apps

I saw two HTML5 apps yesterday. One running in my Android browser. The other running in the iPad browser. They looked and worked exactly like their mobile app counterparts. It was a mind opening moment.

There still are issues. When I went to show one of the HTML5 mobile apps later, my mobile data connection wasn't there and I couldn't load it in my Android browser. But a friend told me you could cache all the elements, including the database, on the phone and deliver an offline experience in HTML5 in the browser.

I've always disliked the idea that we have to download apps on our phones when the apps we use on the web are loaded in the browser on demand. But I've accepted the mobile app paradigm as something we will be living with for the next five years.

I'm not sure it's five years anymore.


Mobile First Web Second (continued)

I wrote a post called Mobile First Web Second a few months ago. In it made this point:

The thing I like about these kinds of apps is they are with you all the time and can be used in moments of downtime. As such they lead to higher levels of engagement. But because they are also web apps and connected to a web scale network, they can offer a lot of value that mobile only apps cannot.

Since writing that post, I keep coming back to this theme again and again. I think it is a critical element for success in today's web startup environment.

We had a dinner party the other night at our home. A friend asked me what the inspiration for the most recent AVC redesign was. I told her that I wanted AVC to feel like a mobile web site. I told her that I love how web pages look on the iPad and I wanted AVC to look great on an iPad.

I was meeting with the team from one of our portfolio companies a few weeks ago and we were talking about a redesign of their new web service. I had told them I thought the initial design was too busy and too complicated to work well in the market. They showed me the iPhone app they were planning to release soon. I said "just do that on the web." And happily they told me they were thinking the same thing.

Using the mobile web as a constraint to think about web design is growing in popularity. I see it in my own efforts and the efforts of our portfolio companies. When users spend more time accessing your service over a mobile device, they are going to get used to that UI/UX. When you ask them to navigate a substantially busier and more complex UI/UX when they log onto the web, you are likely to keep them on the mobile app and off the web app.

I'm starting to think a unifying vision for all apps should start with the mobile app, not the web app. And so it may also be mobile first web second in designing web apps these days.



Building web apps is not getting easier. The fragmentation of operating systems and browsers is getting worse, not better.

Here's a chart of the past thirty days of activity at

Browser & os pie chart

No OS/browser combo has more than 17% share. And there are five with more than 10% share. iPhone is about 6% and iPad is about 4%. If you go down to the next ten combos, you find a number of Android and Blackberry combinations.

Mobile OS/browser combos in total add up to about 15% of all visits and that number is up from less than 5% a year ago.

Add in the need to build mobile apps for iOS, Android, and possibly Blackberry and you've got quite a difficult environment for developers these days.

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Is The Web Dead?

My friend Howard Lindzon DM'd me on Twitter last night. He asked if I would agree to be interviewed on Skype next week on a series he is doing titled "The Web Is Dead." When I saw the DM, I shuddered. My good friend the web is dead? No way.

But then I thought about a conversation I had with Saul Klein when I was in London a few weeks ago. Saul told me he is using the web a lot less and his iPad and iPhone a lot more.

I don't personally have that experience. I use the web more and more. I've moved most everything I do to the web from desktop apps. And on my Android phone, I mostly use the web browser. I have a few apps, but the browsing experience is so good on Android and so familiar to me. And on the iPad, I mostly use the browser and the Kindle app.

So the web is not dead to me. But if Howard is asking the question and if Saul is a case in point, it is a question we must get our heads around. Our firm invests in web services and they have been very very good to us.

In a board meeting yesterday, the founder said, "everything we do is cloud-based, with an API, and mobile friendly". He did not say "everything we do runs in a browser." So to me that means the Internet and the cloud is more important than ever. But the web browser as a platform may be losing some of its importance as it turns 18 and becomes an adult.

There are some aspects of the web that I will hate to lose. The first and foremost is links. If we are going to retire the web browser some day, we cannot retire links. They are what makes the Internet work. I also will miss the "write once read many" aspect of the web. Sure there are differences between the various web browsers out there but for the most part, when you write a web app it runs on most popular web browsers fairly well. That is very much not the case with all the various mobile environments that are emerging.

I am personally rooting for HTML5 to reverse this trend. But I hear that HTML5 is a few years away from where it can be the platform we all want it to be. I am very curious what the readers of this blog think about that.

As I was writing this post, I realized (courtesy of our portfolio company Zemanta's blogging tool) that Howard was inspired by a Wired piece penned by Chris Anderson called The Web Is Dead. A Debate. I will go read what Chris has to say on this. And most of all, I am curious what all of you think.