Guido lauds the Spectator as the first UK current affairs magazine with an iPhone app:

This is the future of journalism, the sooner the mediasaurs grasp this truth the more likely they are to survive into the future. 

I checked out the iTunes link and the only review of the App says that it is terrible: clunky and dysfunctional. So it does not get my money (yet).

Update: not clear that this is an official Speccie product.


Let’s take a wider look at the iPhone App phenomenon.

There are now tens of thousands of iPhone Apps created by people all round the world jostling for our attention, a superb example of focused but differentiated networked teamwork. Two billion downloads have happened.

What is going on here?

Basically, thanks to setting up a robust popular IT platform based on what millions of people want (namely music), Apple have worked out how to deliver reliable downloads on a mass scale. It delivers really fast, simply and well. And it looks nice.

But in addition to that, they have encouraged people to build on that platform using their own ideas: new Apps which meet Apple’s technical standards can then be eligible to join the growing App family, however weird or useless or useful they might be.

I am not a great App downloader. I shy away from addictive e-games, and most of the Utility apps do not do much more for me than what I can do anyway. The apps for finding one’s car in a vast Heathrow car-park are not yet (it seems, according to the reviews) quite accurate enough.

That said, BizExpense by Anishu is excellent. It allows me to tap all my expenses into the iPhone as they crop up (I can customise my own categories) and then email the lot to myself or someone else when the journey concerned is over. I can even take iPhone photos of the receipts and email them as attachments. A huge saving of time and messing about.

Plus I have been in touch with Anishu to suggest some refinements, and had nice replies. All in all, a superb, liberating and profoundly democratic and efficient Amazon Space (iPhone Space?) experience, based on the ultimate core of all market forces – human creativity.

At my talk last week to Conservative Friends of Poland I used the iPhone as a metaphor for a new vision of Conservatism. I argued that the madness of the New Labour project with its obsession with state meddling and control would have to give way to something lighter and better.

We do not know what education and health needs we are going to have, and how best to meet them. The task is now of a complexity far exceeding the capacity of politicians and bureaucrats to master it. Their ever more feverishly clever attempts to create order from uncertainty based on old ways of doing things are farcical.

So why not instead for education simply lay down some solid foundations (a two-page guide on core standards for running schools, plus a side or two for each subject describing the levels needed to be reached at GCSE and A-Level), then let all schools just get on with it?

This approach would get far away from the current obsession with targets by simply dropping the whole idea of targets. It would incentivise intelligent networked experimentation and managing the unexpected. It would bring to the fore at a huge pace the best educational ideas we can all come up with. The huge sums of money saved from slashing bureaucracy could be used to reward positive outcomes and boost teachers pay.

Having established the principle in education, similar ideas could be rolled out across all areas of government.

So here are my slogans for winning the next general election:

Put Labour out of Gordon’s misery – and ours!

Set our people free!

Design your apps – design your lives!

And the whole campaign itself could encourage witty anti-Labour apps and be run via iPhones and other cool mobiles.

Bring it on.