Tag Archives: Apple

What iWant iWatch To Be, Not a Watch!

iwatch

While very beautiful, the image above is not what I want a wearable from Apple (or any other manufacturer) to be, and I very much doubt Apple would produce it, not because they couldn’t, but because it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t serve any additional purpose, users already have an iPhone in their pocket, why would anyone slap another one on their wrist?

I haven’t worn a watch for at least 10 years, my mobile is good enough for me when I’m mobile, and the menu bar on my Mac is a glance away when I’m at work, so a watch is redundant for me, if I’m about to put something on my wrist it needs to add functionality, not simply replicate another device (or look worth mugging me for).

I know Apple have started trademarking the name iWatch around the globe, but I suspect that’s either Brand Protecting whatever they do produce from copycats, or it’s putting the rest of the market off the scent of what they’re really working on… who knows, maybe iWatch is a trademark to cover something they’re working on for the Apple TV, referring to what customers view and has nothing to do with time keeping?

I have friends with Pebble watches, but they all tell me not to bother, why? Because they sound great on paper, but in reality they don’t actually add any real purpose or benefit to their daily routine. Example they’ve all said, you receive an SMS, your phone vibrates or goes ping, you start to reach for your phone in your pocket and then the Pebble on your wrist goes ping and vibrates, mmmmm… is that worth $150? There are plenty of others in the market, Sony, Samsung, Google Glass, but personally I don’t want to walk around looking like an extra from Star Trek, at least Google Glass is waterproof! So it has to look like something people would want to wear regardless of it’s function!

Apple have an amazing eco system they can monitor, they monitor how & where users are using their iOS devices, what apps they’re downloading, utilising, erasing, that’s a goldmine of UX. Their partnerships with the likes of Nike have been carefully orchestrated and even more carefully monitored, they now employ a former Nike Fuel Band consultant. They’ve purchased sensor development companies, notably in the medical monitoring and healthcare sectors.

But let’s look at the practicalities… the real world have hard surfaces, technology doesn’t like being smacked around and nobody likes scratching their shiny new bit of tech, why else would their be a multi-billion dollar industry in protective cases. And that’s for something that sits a large amount of it’s time on your desk, in your pocket, or bag… something on your wrist is going to get a lot more abuse, you move your arms around a lot more. And let’s no forget, we’re organic, we sweat, we have bacteria living on our skin, we get wet, we wash, we take showers, we wash our hands, we swim, snowboard, ride bikes, mountain climb, go running etc any device spending the majority of its time on our wrist or any other part of our body, needs to stand up to all of that. Something made of shiny white plastic and glass wouldn’t last long. Plus, with a reasonable size screen power becomes an issue, and with extra batteries comes extra weight.

So rather than a glorified wrist watch that offers a limited and lacklustre phone experience (which in itself is contrary to Apple’s raison d’être), I envisage an elegantly simple looking, non-descript, screenless, virtually seamless device that we forget we even have on our wrist until it reminds us with a little vibration, ping, or illumination. Something water proof, that monitors our biometrics (heart rate, temp, glucose levels, unique ECG pattern, sleeping patterns), our movement, elevation, velocity, has a fingerprint scanner for ID confirmation, handles NFC payments (Ski passes, transportation, Oyster), handles security (opens doors Locitron), connects to other devices around it (BLE & iBeacons), is voice controlled (Siri), has a battery that lasts days, not hours and costs no more than $200-250. If there is a version with a screen, then something with only limited functionality, i.e. SMS, email notifications, alarms, calendar events, media playback control (pause, stop, next, previous, volume etc)… and of course, the time! An always on screen would kill battery life of course, but a screen that only activates when prompted should be ok.

I could go on, but you get the idea, it adds functionality and usability where a mobile phone can’t (or it wouldn’t be practicable). That’s a wearable I’d wear.

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The above image is taken from an Apple patent for a wearable device, akin to a reflective snap on a cyclist would wear.

UPDATE (Jan 2014):
Wow just stubbled across this concept by Thomas Bogner, he must be a kindred spirit!

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iBeacons, Apple’s Stealth NFC Killer (Plus a Retailers Dream!)

I’ve an iOS developers account, so I’ve been playing around with iOS7 for a month or so, and have to say it’s pretty good, there’s still a way to go yet and there’s still a few bugs to iron out, plus I’m glad to see the back of all that digital felt & leather! But that’s not why I’m posting, iOS7 is out now so you can check it out for yourself.

No the reason I’m posting, is iBeacons. Like a lot of people, I’ve been longing for Apple to include NFC in the iPhone, and was hoping the 5S would have it, so was a bit miffed to see that it was still absent… but I missed iBeacons in the launch keynote presentation.

Now it’s all starting to fall into place, fingerprint scanning, Bluetooth 4, iBeacons… oh sneaky! I won’t go into details but let me point out a couple of very important distinctions between RFID & NFC… RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is a protocol that allows the wireless non-contact use of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data. NFC (Near Field Communication) is a set of standards for devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity.

So what does that mean in English… NFC chips are now in almost every credit / debit card and many smart phones, and allow you to make small payments or gather item info etc. As the name implies the great thing about NFC is that the devices have to be in very close proximity to connect… but that’s also a bad thing, as a retailer cannot push notifications to shopper unless they’re within 5 cm.

iBeacons (which is integrated into the iOS7) on the other hand uses the RFID protocol, which means that any iPhone / iPod / iPad (iWatch in the future), can detect other iBeacon devices at a range of 200m (but it can also be limited down to 10cm). So what this means for retailers is that they can transmit customised coupons, product offers / info, location, maps, directions etc directly to shoppers within their stores without needing shopper instigation, is Minority Report Advertising about to become a reality? But there’s another really important factor about iBeacon, the users iOS device isn’t just a passive receiver being bombarded by coupons and offers, as any iOS7 device can also become an iBeacon transmitter! This allows the user to filter out unwanted offers and connections… bad for the retailer you may think, but on the contrary it’s great news, rather than wasting theirs and the customers time with offers they’re not interested in, the user can tell the retailer (or advertiser) what they are interested in, now that’s powerful… plus there’s likely to be greater uptake by users if they can filter what they do and don’t want.

The potential advantages of iBeacons is huge, and with the built in fingerprint confirmation, the concerns over long range cyber pickpocketing or snooping are reduced. Of course if Apple had included a NFC chip as well that would have been perfect, but this is Apple’s way of breaking the back of NFC payments, are at least slowing it down in the short term so it can get leverage (sort of what it did with Adobe’s Flash dominance on the web vs HTML5, and look how that ended up). Apple do have their own a NFC / fingerprint solution in the works, but that may never see the light of day, especially if iBeacons and the fingerprint scanner take off in the way they’re planning!

So maybe I will upgrade to an iPhone 5S after all.

more details here on Gigaom

and check out the Estimote Beacons 

What’s the Cost of a Bad Brand and What’s a Good One Worth?

What’s your brand really worth to you? If you’re Coca Cola it’s a heck of a lot, in the past year alone Brand Finance estimate that Coke lost $9bn in Brand Value! In comparison BP and it’s recent Gulf of Mexico disaster lost $3.4bn in brand value last year, only a third of Coke’s loss? Does anyone recall a major Coke slick last year? So what did Coca Cola do so disastrously wrong last year? Not much actually, it appears to be more down to a shift in consumer interests, moving to more healthy and non-carbonated drinks, ouch!

Nokia took the biggest hit of anyone losing $8.8bn in Brand Value last year! The Top of the crop is Google, with a Brand Value (BV) of $44bn

But what does this all mean? To get a bit of perspective, Coke’s BV is now $26bn = 37% of it’s $70bn Market Capital (MC),  Nokia’s BV is $9.6bn = 28% of it’s $27bn MC, Google’s $44bn = 30% of it’s $143bn MC… while the likes of Apple, (whom appear to be in the press all the time) have a BV of $29.5bn which is only 12% of it’s $244bn MC, meaning Coke’s Brand Value is worth 3 times as much to it’s share price than Apple!

While ExxonMobil (the worlds largest company) with a MC of $312bn, has a BV of $14bn, which is just 4.3%

So as you can see, brands are very important, but they can be far more valuable to some companies than others.

more info here

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Apple’s Flashy iPod Touch Ad

There’s a iPod Touch advert on Wired’s homepage that’s very smart.

Anyone not in the digital media industry, will likely look at the advert and not be overly impressed, but technically, this ad is very impressive, as it extends beyond what you assume is it’s frame, the iPod covers the menu bar above (which remains active), and that my friend is really neat, in a very geeky way.

I’m assuming it’s done with a combination of still graphics synced perfectly with the video below, but I could be wrong. Although the question to ask now, is whether this is all done in HTML5, or did Apple use Flash?

Thinking Differently from 1955 to 2011

Here’s to the Crazy One.

The misfit. The rebel. The troublemaker. The round peg in the square hole.

The One Who Saw Things Differently.

He wasn’t fond of rules. And he had no respect for the status quo.

You can quote him, disagree with him, glorify or vilify him. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore him. Because he changed things.

He pushed the human race forward. And while some may have seen him as the crazy one, we saw genius.

Because the man who was crazy enough to think he could change the world, was the one who did.

iWater

Looks like Apple are about to shake up and dominate another unsuspecting industry with the release of iWater… I guess in this instance the name iH2O wouldn’t work, as that would indicate adding iodine to the mix, not a good idea!

Check out Scoopertino for more info

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Let Sleeping Lions Lie

I admit that I’m not one to shy away from hitting the install button and crossing my fingers (although I do always make a thorough back up… I’ve been using computers long enough to know that!)

So I took the plunge, I paid my £20 to Apple for OS X 10.7, or in Marketing Speak, Lion, or what Apple like to call “The World’s Most Advanced Operating System”, modest to a T as always the guys from Cupertino!

so was I brave, nuts, wise or foolish?

The installation was simplicity itself, after doing one last time capsule back up, I clicked the App Store icon, hit the Lion purchase icon and it jumped down to my tool bar and started downloading… 3.7Gb, yes that is a G not an M… but after 20 mins it was all down, the install dialogue window appeared asking if I’d like to install Lion. But before I proceeded, I copied the downloaded file onto an external hard drive for safe keeping… as the installer automatically deletes itself after installing and I’ve other Macs I want to upgrade, and I don’t wish to download it all again, plus I can now make my own installer DVD or memory stick (details below).

The installation took about 40 mins to complete. I won’t go into all the new stuff in Lion, there’s plenty of that on the web already, it’s a nice update, but it’s just that, it’s an update, the same as Snow Leopard before it was, but the few elements it’s copied over from iOS are nicely done, although don’t exactly have the same obvious UX as you get using an iOS device, after all regardless of what Steve Jobs says, we’re not completely in a post PC world yet, for real creation and effective work, we’ll going to require real computers, and proper operating systems for some time yet!

Any problems? yep, I’ve installed Lion on my MacBook Pro, for some strange reason my headphone socket isn’t working, plug in a pair of headphones and the audio just continues to come out of the speakers? this isn’t a major problem, as I mostly use my AirTunes to play my iTunes over Wifi, plus I’m sure a fix that addresses this bug will come out soon. More importantly, will my Adobe CS4 still work? The answer is yes, So far Illustrator and photoshop are working flawlessly, I rarely use all the other CS4 apps, such as In Design, After Effects, but I opened them all to see if they work and all opened fine. I have the Adobe CS4 Master Suite if that helps anyone else with this question before upgrading. The odd app lost it’s registration when I opened them, but inputting the registration codes again, sorted them all.

I have had a strange font issue, my Helvetica Neu Bold ignores spaces, in Illustrator all my text is coming out like this “HelloI’maMacandI’maPC”, but changing font and it works fine? So I went to look for the corrupt file, but after 2hrs looking I’ve given up, I had several copies of helvetica installed, all of which I have removed, yet some how or other, Helvetica is still installed!!!!

Oh which brings me onto this little nugget, Lion makes your Library folder invisible, which is a real pain in the arse, but there’s a fix, go to http://www.macgurulounge.com/library-folder-mac-os-lion/ for more info, but all you have to do is open Terminal type chflags nohidden ~/Library and it re-appears

Getting back to making your own Installer disk… locate the downloaded installer file, it’s in your applications folder, locate an application named “Install Mac OS X Lion.app” Yes it’s an application not a disk image! copy this to an external hard drive, or if you want to make a bootable installer disk do the following.

OS X applications are actually folders, so if you right mouse click on the app icon and select “Show Package Contents” you are now presented with the folder contents. Locate the file InstallESD.dmg, it’s in the SharedSupport sub folder. Select this image then make a DVD of it like you normally do. That’s it, you now have a bootable OS X Lion Installer disk

Is 2011 The New 1984?

It was broadcast just once during the 1984 Super Bowl, but that’s all it needed, as when Ridley Scott directed Apple’s iconic and multi-award winning 1984 advert, he created an advert that captured the very essence of what Apple was at that time. The underdog, fighting against the tyranny of the corporate machine, hoping to bring choice to the consumer. Jump forward 27yrs, the tables have turned, Apple have without doubt become their nemesis of years gone by (they are now the world’s 2nd largest company in value terms!)

I’ve been an Apple user for 25yrs (since 1986), I’ve bought more Macs than I care to remember (probably more than a 100 if I include my businesses and employees), yes I’ve got several iPods laying around the house on shelves and in drawers, Time Capsules, an Air Express connected to my music centre, a Mac Mini under my TV (no Apple TV), a couple of iPhones and of course an iPad… so yes I’ve bought heavily into the Apple eco-system over the years. I’m not one of those Mac is better than PC bores, each to their own is what I say, I’ve made my choice… the better informed one of course.

Although they’re not the first to do so, even Apple did it themselves by adding an iPod to the woman to launch the iPod, plus see DoubleTwist’s Choice video below… but Motorola’s Xoom advert that aired during yesterdays’ Super Bowl and parodies Apple’s 1984 advert, by turning it on Apple becoming the very thing they poked fun at originally, is very clever, or is it? As a longstanding Apple user, yes I understand the sad truth that Apple has changed, and not for the better… plus I’ve seen the original advert, but most of the white ear bud wearing iDrones won’t have, these guys are blindly buying into the iOS platform (you only have to see the last video below for a parody of that), these guys will likely miss the subtlety of the advert, or worse still, they may take offence at being portrayed as iDrones?

Either way, it made me smile when I saw the advert, but it won’t make me run out to buy a Xoom

Original Apple Advert

Motorola Xoom

iPod Version

DoubleTwist Parody announcing Choice

iPhone 4 vs HTC Evo AKA I would like an iPhone 4

Digital Magazine Sales Dropping on iPad

Continued from a previous post… Why are digital magazines on the iPad already in decline, after the initial gold rush users are losing interest in the digital versions. Wired, which sold 100K issues of it’s first iPad release, then managed to sell an average of 31K in the following months, with only 23K for October and 22K for November (for comparison they sold 130k printed versions in Oct-Nov).

Why is this happening?

It’s too early to say for sure (this is a very new market space), but general consensus is that Apple’s lack of subscription based payment is a major reason, meaning users have to manually purchase individual magazines rather than automated payments, plus these work out being more expensive. There’s rumours that Apple are about to roll out subscription based payments, hopefully it won’t be too little too late.

But will it be the answer, possibly, but I believe magazines and news networks need to look at the iPad and tablets in an entirely different way, rather than simply a medium for them to spout out digital versions of their print publications.

I’ve read numerous blogs and reports saying print is dead, but there’s new print magazines being released every week, so that doesn’t seem to ring true to me. Consumers still wish to consume, but the way they consume information is different now, it’s available instantaneously from so many sources and with social networks that information is becoming more and more driven by their friends, associates and their own likes and dislikes.

Flipboard on the iPad is a wonderful example of this, never before has my Facebook, Twitter and RSS feeds looked so good, and been so engaging. Now if I could subscribe to several news networks, magazines etc all within a single app, and micro pay for each article as I read it, I’d be happy, as I only pay for the articles that grabbed my eye and interested me, and the software would automatically highlight related articles from all my subscribed sources and suggest new ones from other popular sources I may not have heard about and would have never found on my own.

Hands up who has ever read an entire newspaper or magazine, cover to cover? Precisely, so why pay for the whole thing when you only read a fraction of it? So rather than getting what you pay for, how about only paying for what you want? Who wouldn’t pay a penny or a cent or two per news item or magazine article that they read, as long as the payment part was transparent and managed for them, most people would give this a go, especially if they knew they could set a cap, or would have access to the whole issue if they went over a certain percentage of articles. Adverts can still be utilised, they could even be used against payment, watch an ad, get the article for free or at a reduced rate.

The technology is certainly there, the main thing holding it up, is publishers being scared to give it go through fear of losing control of their content and user base, but if they don’t do it soon willingly, then their hands will be forced by market forces, and they’re have less room to negotiate!

Who could pull this off, Apple, Amazon, Google, they could all do it, although I feel Apple is best placed for the micropayments, plus by utilising the iPad and the iOS platform, far more engaging advertising can be achieved than on a Kindle. Google just don’t have the payment side worked out properly. Apple on the other hand do, they have iTunes, ease of use and making micropayments is already there. I’ve read often that micropayments won’t work as users are put off by the fear of accumulating enormous bills at the end of the month, but the success of the App Store squashes that claim, often I’ve purchased apps at £0.59 (the minimum charge), for Apps I know nothing about, or will only use for a day or so.

With rumours of the next iPhone and iPad finally having Near Field chips, Apple are in a prime position to take on the big credit card companies that have been dragging their heels on NF for years.

An application that fuses Flipboard and Apple’s iBook into a magazine / news RSS reader, come social app linked to your Twitter and Facebook accounts, that microcharges you for articles as and when you read them, embedded with iAds, all linked back to your iTunes account, would be a very powerful and profitable application, and would be the perfect way for Apple to build it’s own social network (which it’s hungry to do), and utilise it’s new cloud data centre.

DVD Zero, Downloads One

Apple today showed off their latest bit of techno-lust, the MacBook Air and I must say it’s rather gorgeous. It’s lighter, slimmer and more powerful than ever, and it even costs less! Also worth noting is that they no longer give you the option replacing the harddrive with a flash drive, as flash drives now come as standard! So all in all a fantastic piece of kit… but it doesn’t end there, as with previous models the MacBook Air doesn’t come with an optical drive built in, but it did come with an installer DVDROM should you need to re-install the OS (which you did by sticking the DVDROM in another Mac on your network). But that was never an elegant solution, not up to scratch with Apple’s usual ease of use. So this time Apple have replaced the DVDROM with a USB flash stick! Which I might add, happens to be one of the best looking USB sticks I’ve ever seen!

But it doesn’t end there either… Apple also updated their iLife suite but they didn’t include iDVD in their updates, it’s not even on the DVD, although you can still get the old version off their website as a download.

but of course this is Apple, so there’s one more thing!

Apple gave a sneak peak of Lion, it’s next OSX 10.7, but what they also previewed was their new Mac App Store, not to be confused with their App Store (which sells apps for iOS devices, like the iPhone, iPod and iPad)… oh no, this new store sells software for your Macintosh.

So how long before Apple no longer supplies, or start limiting supplies of it’s software on physical media such as DVD’s? This is many advantages, for both Apple and the consumers, limits piracy, and allows the user easier updates and installation. It won’t be long before you can purchase all of your Mac software this way. Note Apple are about to complete building their $1bn data centre, just outside silicon valley.

When Apple released the iMac without a floppy drive the press went crazy, saying Apple was mad, but of course they were bang on the money, (Shift Happens are you ready for it?) then they went after the audio CD with iTunes and the iPod, they’re after the movie industry and DVDs with downloaded movies, direct to your iOS devices and iTunes, plus their hobby the Apple TV (plus it’s worth mentioning they’ve never included any sort of BluRay drive or playback on the Mac)… and now they’re after the software industry and DVDROM. They may not have given the DVDROM a good kicking just yet, but they’ve got their sights on it, and going by past experience, they’re probably succeed.

iPhone OS 4, does this mean I’m lazy?

Over the weekend I installed the Developers version of iPhone OS 4 (one advantage of being an iPhone Developer), and I must say the multi-tasking is great, although unfortunately several of the apps I’d like to use and test it with haven’t released compatible updates yet… but regardless of that the I’ve found OS 4 to be very stable and responsive.

I’m positive multi-tasking will be a blessing in the not to distant future when updates are released, but in the meantime undoubtedly the biggest time saving and most useful feature thus far is the ability to organise and group your apps into folders! This has reduced my iPhone from around 15 screens down to one home screen with 17 folders!

But as I’ve said before… “Those who don’t keep their stuff in order, are lazy… while those who do, are too lazy to look for their stuff”

We ? Adobe

As Adobe & Apple slug it out over the Flash plug, arguing who is more “Open” I stumbled across something today that made me smile. A week ago Adobe placed Ad’s in the broadsheets in the US saying they Love Apple, and that they love choice… but I really smiled when someone, somewhere out there on the web had created a fake response from Apple, … genius!

More info here and  here

There’s An Ad For That

You have to admire Verizon’s audacity in creating this advert to try and snag AT&T customers over to their network, by playing upon Apple’s “There’s an App for That” tagline used in their iPhone & App Store adverts (in case you’ve been living in a cave for the past year, you’ll find plenty of them here).

But it’s not just Verizon that’s brand jacking Apple’s App Store advert, Pepsi have created a chat up application named “AMP UP Before You Score“… No doubt this will offend some, but that’s the whole point, they’ll get plenty of free publicity that way… anyway it’s an amusing and nicely designed iPhone app, plus it’s coded well.

Download AMP UP Before you Score

Macworld 2009: Apple Introduces The MacBook Wheel

In a keynote presentation to end all keynote presentations, Phil Schiller replaced Steve Jobs to introduce the revolutionary MacBook Wheel. Watch the video for more information.

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Hello I’m a Mac & I’m a PC 1996!

Apple’s “Hello I’m a Mac & I’m a PC” isn’t as original as you might think. Here’s a jpeg a friend sent me a while back from a 1996 Mac Addict magazine, he sent it to me with the message “isn’t this how you used to look in 1996?” and regrettably I had to say “yes”… although all that has changed since then, is that my hair is greyer & I’ve swapped the demin shirt for a pull over, (well I’m feeling the cold in my old age!!??!).

What’s amusing is the text “The casual Seinfeld cut is in, as Jerry would never us a PC”, well Mac Addict you got most of it right, but you forgot that every man has his price… even Jerry!

Steve Jobs would be spinning in his grave… oops there goes another rumour!?!

click the image to view full size

hello-im-a-mac-1996