Tag Archives: apple

Unapologetically plastic.

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The past few days I’ve been using a blue iPhone 5C courtesy of work. It’s just a loaner and it’s been an interesting return to iOS after quite a few months of being entirely on Android. Some thoughts …

  • Solid. Plastic or not the 5C feels great in your hand.
  • Size matters. One one hand the iPhone is quite small in comparison to any recent top end android device. Typing feels a bit cramped by comparison though you get used to it. The iPhone is still largely focused on and delivers a single hand experience.
  • Responsiveness. More than general speed the iPhone has a responsive gestalt and it’s a pleasure to use in most circumstances. I found myself wanting to use it more often than my other devices. Time will tell as it’s far from perfect but really such a well considered and designed device. My last active iPhone was the 4S for reference … It’s sitting in my briefcase – updated to iOS 7 but essentially gathering dust.
  • Flow. I’m really acclimated to the android way and find the lack of app addressability beyond what apple dictates to suck. That I can’t share content to any number of apps beyond apple’s very short list hurts. Intents are an amazingly powerful function of android and it’s hard to operate without them.
  • Camera. Damn this is a nice little shooter. I can easily flick the camera open from behind the screen lock- something android makes impossible with exchange security on! One hand use really comes into play as it’s super simple to grab a shot on the go. I snapped a few pics while biking yesterday in a reasonably safe manner and would have not considered this on android without first removing my exchange account or working through a more complex root based hack. Pictures look great of course and the gallery is super fast and a visible from the usual photo apps. I do miss being able to send via a reviewed pic … Again intents are amazing with android.
  • typing. While the keyboard is a bit cramped at first the screen is so damned responsive and the auto correct generally friendly that you can sweep through longer email, note or post (like this) very easily. I read over the weekend that the scene response time on iPhone is substantially greater than the current crop of android devices and typing – something I do constantly receives a huge boost!
  • battery. The battery is terrible on this phone though sadly I have such low expectations at this point. I’m at 60% now at 9:10am. Going to be impossible for this to last a full day without some intervention.

I got a fresh start on iOS 7 with the 5C and have to say it works great. There are many improvements though largely it’s just iOS. I like it.

I’m not really in the market for a new phone but see the 5C selling a zillion. My pic would be the 5S without even seeing it as I would want the extra power, better camera and I’m very interested in the motion sensor.

Tony Fadell on the Design Process

I stumbled across a great piece on Network World recapping a presentation from Tony Fadell from the Bloomberg Design Conference. The most amazing point captured was that Apple would ship 99% of the products worked on vs his experience at Philips earlier in his career where the ratio was the exact opposite!

The video above comes from Behance via Wubbahed and is well worth a watch.

Weaker iPhone 5 Demand?

Remember when everyone could get a new iPhone on release day regardless of when their contract was set? I do … That’s changed and now we are all back to the standard mobile upgrade cycle. Price matters.

Apple’s orders for iPhone 5 screens for the January-March quarter, for example, have dropped to roughly half of what the company had previously planned to order, two of the people said.

The Cupertino, Calif., company has also cut orders for components other than screens, according to one of the people.

Apple notified the suppliers of the order cut last month, the people said.

The move indicates that sales of the new iPhone haven’t been as strong as previously anticipated and demand may be waning. It comes as the company has been facing greater challenges from Samsung Electronics Co. 005930.SE +1.24% and other makers of smartphones powered by Google Inc.’s GOOG -0.20% Android operating system.

via WSJ.com.

Great, but …

I’d have to agree. Solid, but I’m left wanting more.

But theres also another segment of the market, of which I consider myself a part. That segment thinks that theres still a lot of work to be done in mobile devices; still a lot of innovation to come. And thats not innovation for the sake of innovation. I mean real innovation in the way we use our phones, in the flexibility of those operating systems, in how those devices become an extension of ourselves. For that segment, I think the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 fall short. Theres a lot more work to be done, but right now Apple seems to be in a holding pattern, too comfortable or too scared to take real chances.

via iPhone 5 review | The Verge.

When the cloud works

I’m just starting a vacation with my family in an area with fairly limited connectivity. This isn’t a bad thing in fact it’s quite nice on many levels. The house we are renting has an incredibly slow but functional Internet connection which is essentially a satellite point to point from across the lake.

We’ve rented the same place a few times and this year found an AppleTV here which I’ve logged into for streaming music to the stereo, (very) slowly browsing Netflix and as I’ve just realized / remembered streaming a good portion of our home music collection via iTunes Match. We’d beamed some Spotify earlier while prepping dinner but it’s quite nice to have access to what’s yours as well. This is the first time I’ve connected my iTunes account on a new / random AppleTV and it’s quite excellent to see it in action.

At this point only Google an Apple offer such tightly knit systems. Amazon has much of this to provide as well but like Google lack the tightly connected hardware like AppleTV – even in its current hobby state – to make things this simple. Now that I’m logged in we can easily (bandwidth limits aside) stream “anything” on our collection purchased or not. The only restriction with Apple’s solution I’ve encountered is they do not sell an advanced package to upload / sync very large collections. Google Music seemed to enable my collection to upload but it’s nowhere near as easy to stream on a stereo here – or at home.

These services and general consumer knowledge of them are still pretty limited in use – compared to the more mainstream use case of an iPod plugged into a stereo though it’s not a hard concept to grasp … I’d love to even see guest access pop up as a feature … I guess that’s part of the Nexus Q when that makes a return. Could be an interesting fall …

Mobile Wallet format wars

First a bit of a disclosure. Through work, I have a business relationship with Google and previously MasterCard and over the past few years have spent a pretty considerable amount of time working on and thinking about payments. I’m don’t think I am biased but you can be the judge…

This week another consortium was announced to develop a mobile wallet solution. Merchants like Best Buy and Target (among quite a few others) are looking to develop a format and technology that would allow consumer payments within their stores. It’s not clear how this will work or even when it will arrive. Today it’s simply a press announcement.

Previously, we’ve seen quite a bit of press from Isis a joint effort between Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. While Isis has gotten some solid press, released their web site and some pseudo demo videos try also have yet to launch. Their proposed launch markets of Austin and Salt Lake City still wait …

While Google Wallet has been live for a year growth appears limited by only being directly offered through Sprint on about half a dozen phones. There’s a lot of opportunity for other carriers though the Isis partnership seems like a pretty clear obstacle until that at least makes it out of the gate.

There are other methods of paying with (tapping) your phone today but they involve the use of a sticker as a proxy for your card and in most cases do not offer any proper interface on the phone to receive back the transaction. An SMS is a start but is pretty lame by today’s standards.

Because the traction on NFC has been slow — and depending on which analyst you ask we are anywhere from 3-5 years from mass adoption — there are some rather interesting bridge solutions ready today that add technology into our traditional card mix. The two that get the most attention are Square and LevelUp. Perhaps PayPal deserves a mention here as well as they are pushing rather hard to break through the virtual barrier into traditional commerce. Though even with theor recent merchant deals it seems like a long road ahead. Both Square and PayPal offer dongles to accept card swipes but also have other methods like phone number (PayPal) or simply your name (Square). LevelUp uses the phone screen to present a QR code much like Starbucks does for it’s own system. While Starbucks an Square announced a recent deal (and investment) one won’t replace the other from what I’ve read instead you will simply have another option in store.

The payment networks and banks are also playing here with wallet tech they hope will be adopted though appears to be a very slow train.

And of course the elephant in the room is Apple. They’ve shown about 80% of a wallet in iOS 6 via Passbook. Like many people I’m hopeful that they will go all the way when the next iPhone shows itself in September. While Apple is likely to light a fire it’s unclear if they will stay proprietary or try to define the industry. It’s likely that we will see some quick arranged marriages following their announcements and the organizing committee is already forming.

The worst possible scenario and frankly the direction a lot of this seems to be heading is that the choices create a stalemate. There are already too many similar potential options and not enough differentiation both between players, but even more importantly from today’s way to pay. Unless an actual problem is solved or benefit added its like the industry is simply talking to itself.

iPad three point oh yes

Tomorrow the new iPad arrives and I’m rather excited for the upgrade. I am currently using the original model which has been great, but there’s much to like in the third generation.

Instead of simply doing a backup and restore to get everything on the new device, I’m going to take a more considered approach and only put the things I really need for now. There’s plenty to go back and get if I want from two years worth of apps – not too mention all the content I’ve also collected.

Remembering back to the original days with my iPad, it was amazing how quickly I started leaving my laptop at my desk and even at the office. I’m not sure that’s completely possible today thanks to VPN requirements, but I definitely see a strong return of the iPad in my campus and client meetings. LTE should also be killer on my commute … I’ve got two hours a day to burn through on the train and the mega speed boost and enhanced screen for reading are what I’m most looking forward to taking advantage of every day.