September 12, 2014

Samsung thankful for the Apple Watch

At least now Samsung has a roadmap to copy.

A whimsical post with a valid message at its core. One value of the Apple Watch becomes evident when you receive a call or text and your hands/arms are busy/full:

To check that message or call all I have to do is lift my wrist and the gyro kicks in, turning the display on. Then I can simply glance at my wrist, rather than stopping the dogs to fish out the phone, to see if the message is important enough to drop what I’m doing. And I can then respond through the Watch rather than having to dig for the phone.

Exactly.

iPhone 6 pre-order demand overwhelms networks

As the clock ticked midnight in California, Apple fans around the world made their way to the Apple Store web site and app, as well as to many telco sites, in an effort to get their hands on an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. There were problems on many fronts, as demand trumped availability.

Here’s an example from the UK.

And from Australia:

Australian iPhone buyers crashed the websites of all three major telcos this afternoon in a rush to pre-order Apple’s two new smartphones. Pre-orders for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were due to begin at 5pm this afternoon but demand proved too great for Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and even Apple websites, many of which failed to load at all.

The fact that these outages are spread evenly across the web, telcos, Apple, and even across continents tells me this is about demand, not about poor provisioning.

Amazing.

If you are considering one of the new iPhones, spend a minute walking through this carrier-by-carrier list of deals. Most notably this beat all trade-ins, match all deals offer from T-Mobile:

America’s most iconoclastic carrier is promising to beat any iPhone trade-in deal offered by AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint. Find a better value for your old phone than T-Mobile is offering, and they’ll match that deal and give you a $50 credit toward your bill. Plus, switch from your old carrier to T-Mobile and they’ll also give you up to $350 per line to get you out of your old contract.

The company also just announced that certain models of its phones—including the iPhone 6—will be able to make calls and send texts over Wi-Fi. And for frequent flyers, any plane with Gogo Air Wi-Fi will give free access to T-Mobile users starting September 17th.

Note that AT&T now charges a $40 “upgrade fee” if you want to buy a new phone on an existing contract. Odd strategy, considering how easy other carriers are making it to switch and how easy Apple makes it to move from one phone (back it up) to a new one (restore from backup).

September 11, 2014

USA Today:

“If there was a lot of emotion in my voice today, it’s because we’ve all been waiting for this day for a long time. It felt so great,” Cook, 53, told USA TODAY. “The people at this company are doing the best work of their lives, the best work that Apple has ever done.”

“It’s an incredible opportunity for us to switch people from Android to iOS. So yes, this is epic. It is epic,” he says.

I made mention of this both on Amplified and Your Mac Life yesterday. Cook seemed genuinely excited up on stage.

AdWeek:

Sean Bonner says, “There’s no way for a brand to “insert themselves into a conversation” about a tragedy like this without it being bad.

“Today (or whatever other tragedy this kind of thing has happened with) isn’t the time for marketing. It isn’t the time for branding or getting people to pay attention to companies. It’s a time for people to interact with each other, and the only respectful thing for brands to do is stay out of it and wait for tomorrow to get back to business.”

I see these kinds of marketing “tributes” all the time in these situations and Bonner and Monteiro are right – if you are a brand, just STFU.

Even though you have to sign-up to watch this keynote, I would recommend you do it. I was at the event yesterday and I just love Legere. He’s crazy as a bag of hammers, but he speaks bluntly and honestly about today’s carrier market. If you don’t want to watch the video, you can read the press release.

National Geographic:

The Knowledge of London is a real-time, street-level test of memorization skills so intense that it physically alters the brains of those who pass it.

To qualify for that elusive green badge, you need to learn by heart all 320 sample runs that are listed in the Blue Book, the would-be cabbie’s bible. You will also have to commit to memory the 25,000 streets, roads, avenues, courts, lanes, crescents, places, mews, yards, hills, and alleys that lie within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross.

I am severely directionally challenged and couldn’t complete The Knowledge on pain of death but reading about the process they have to go through is fascinating.

New York magazine:

It will start with a friend. A friend who lives in San Francisco, maybe. Or who works as a venture capitalist. Or who recently had a birthday.

And then, sometime around June, you’ll get an unexpected infusion of cash — a security deposit you forgot you’d paid, or a few hundred dollars from your tax return. And you’ll find yourself on Apple.com late at night, admiring the watch, wondering if the $349 you’d spend would ever really be worth it.

What the hell, you’ll say. Add to cart.

It won’t work this way for most people but this will be a process very similar to what many have gone through in the past with Apple products and certainly will with the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch: The Musical

This guy has actually done a pretty good job on this video. It’s very amusing.

I love a good engineering effort. Paul Sprangers uses known numbers and some images from the Apple Watch site to build a more complete picture of the various Apple Watch dimensions. Be sure to read the comments, too.

A nice tip, just in case U2 is not your cup of tea.

New York Times:

Apple is facing a potential setback in China, one of its biggest and fastest-growing markets, after the much-anticipated introductions here of the new iPhone models were delayed.

On Wednesday, Apple told China’s three big state-owned mobile service providers that it would not release the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in mainland China on Sept. 19, when sales start elsewhere. The carriers had already booked advertising campaigns for the phones.

Last year, Apple released both the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c in China on the same day it was released in the US. It’s not clear how long the lag will be for the iPhone 6 release. The issue seems to be one of regulatory approval:

News reports in China on Wednesday said the iPhone 6 had not yet been approved by the Ministry for Industry and Information Technology, which must sign off on the technology of devices like smartphones. No approval for the iPhone 6 could be found on the regulator’s website on Wednesday.

Samsung releases new set of tin-eared ads

These new ads are unfocused and mean-spirited. I’m struggling to make sense of them. Where’s the clever?

September 10, 2014

Here are some comments on the announcement of Apple’s “newest” digital device:

“I was so hoping for something more.”

“Great just what the world needs.”

“Heres an idea Apple – rather than enter the world of gimmicks and toys, why dont you spend a little more time sorting out your pathetically expensive line up? Or are you really aiming to become a glorified consumer gimmicks firm?”

“I still can’t believe this! All this hype for something so ridiculous! Who cares? I want something new! I want them to think differently!”

“Why oh why would they do this?! It’s so wrong! It’s so stupid!”

“Come on everyone, y’all are saying it sucks before you have even held it in your hand.”

“The reason why everyone’s dissapointed is because we had our hopes up for this incredible device.”

Pretty typical commentary.

Except, all of the above is taken from the forums at Macrumors and all of the above, and more, are referring to the launch of the original iPod.

Some things never change.

Fast Company:

In January of 1984, Apple announced the Macintosh. Among the many things which made the launch memorable was the fact that the brand-new computer was accompanied by a brand-new magazine, IDG’s Macworld. Thanks to a deal hashed out by IDG’s David Bunnell and Apple’s Steve Jobs, the first issue debuted the same day that the Mac did, which means that there’s never been such a thing as a Mac market that wasn’t covered by Macworld.

Sadly, that long run is about to end.

The 800lb gorilla of Mac publishing just became a 4lb chihuahua. Sad day.

For those of you who want a copy of your own, Apple has posted the video of yesterday’s event on their Apple Keynotes podcast page.

HODINKEE:

I do not believe it poses any threat to haute horology manufactures, I do think the Apple Watch will be a big problem for low-priced quartz watches, and even some entry-level mechanical watches. In years to come, it could pose a larger threat to higher end brands, too. The reason? Apple got more details right on their watch than the vast majority of Swiss and Asian brands do with similarly priced watches, and those details add up to a really impressive piece of design. It offers so much more functionality than other digitals it’s almost embarrassing. But it’s not perfect, by any means. Read on to hear my thoughts on the Apple Watch, from the perspective of a watch guy.

Great perspective from “the other side of the fence” – how does the Apple Watch fit into the watch market? Thanks to Jared Earle for the link.

Chase sends out mass Apple Pay mailing

JPMorgan Chase put out a mass mailing this morning trumpeting their newly announced Apple Pay partnership. Here’s the banner from the mailing:

20140909_C1_EmailBanner_BLUE_600x178

Note the Apple Pay logo using the embedded Apple logo. Also note, in the prose below, the reference “when available in October”:

Introducing a new way to pay from Apple® and Chase

Chase is excited to join Apple in announcing Apple PayTM. It’s an easy, secure and private way to pay and will be available soon with the new iPhone® 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

We’re proud to partner with Apple to support this exciting new way to pay. Apple Pay, like our award-winning Chase Mobile® App, is another way we’re committed to providing the tools you need to manage your finances on-the-go.

So what is Apple Pay?

• Apple Pay will allow you to use the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to pay for purchases in stores and online at participating merchants with the touch of your finger. And as you’d expect from Apple, it’ll be incredibly easy to use.
• Featuring the latest technology, Apple Pay is secure. Your account number is not stored on your phone, and only your fingerprint can authorize a payment.

Using your Chase card with Apple Pay will be easy

• You’ll still enjoy all the benefits, service, and rewards your current Chase card offers.
• Once your card is set up on iPhone 6, you can checkout and pay quickly.
• When available in October, many Chase Visa® credit and debit cards will be supported.

Watch for more details on using your Chase Visa card with this great new feature once it becomes available. In the meantime, to learn more about Apple Pay, visit Apple Pay.

Thank you for choosing Chase.

Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. will reap fees from banks when consumers use an iPhone in place of credit and debit cards for purchases, a deal that gives the handset maker a cut of the growing market for mobile payments, according to three people with knowledge of the arrangement.

Under deals reached with banks individually, Cupertino, California-based Apple will collect a fee for each transaction, said one of the people, who requested anonymity because terms aren’t public. While that gives the tech company a share of the more than $40 billion that banks generate annually from so-called swipe fees, lenders expect to benefit as consumers spend more of their money via mobile phones and other digital devices, the person said.

“The timing is right with customer behavior, the customer experience is right, and elements have come together around how the ecosystem is evolving for this to be a game changer,” Gavin Michael, JPMorgan’s digital chief, said in an interview. “We’ve seen — certainly in our customer base — a drive to the mobile channel.”

Game changer, indeed.

Sprint is certainly aggressive.

The Apple Watch and the battle of fashion and functionality

Fashion is tricky. Some looks emerge white hot but don’t look great in history’s rear view mirror, others stand the test of time.

The Apple Watch is a marriage of form and functionality and has to answer to two masters. It has to pass muster as fashion and has to pack a lot of functionality into a small form factor.

There’s no doubt that the Apple Watch is elegantly designed. The detail on the watch body and bands is flawless. Divorced from fashion, the Apple Watch is museum worthy.

Will people buy it? That is the billion dollar question. The Apple Watch is being judged in a way that no previous Apple product has been.

Fashion aside, there’s a lot of punch in that small package and, given that Apple is giving developers access to the innards via an Apple Watch SDK, that punch will continue to evolve over time. The only issue that might hinder adoption from a functional standpoint is the question of battery life.

Charging is done via induction and requires a special cable. If life between charges is long enough (say, at least 24 hours), that shouldn’t be an issue. No doubt, someone will create a brick capable of charging both your phone and watch about the size of existing iPhone/iPad charging bricks. Keep one in your backpack or your pocket and you’ll always have a charging solution.

As to fashion, it’s difficult to predict someone’s specific tastes, certainly impossible to create a single design that fits everyone’s ideal sense of fashion. But that’s not what the Apple Watch has to do.

Just as those little white headphones started appearing everywhere and, eventually, reached critical mass and became fashionable, the Apple Watch will face its own adoption critical mass. My take? At some point, enough people will be seen wearing their personalized Apple Watches that the Apple Watch will become iconic.

Jony Ive talks Apple Watch after the keynote

Following yesterday’s keynote, and after the regular press had all gone, ABC News’ David Muir had a chance to talk about the Apple Watch with Apple Senior Vice President of Design, Jony Ive.

Finding the new U2 album Apple gave away at the keynote

If you made it to the very end of yesterday’s keynote (not easy, given the stream stuttering and Mandarin overdub), you got the chance to watch U2 perform live and Tim Cook give away the new U2 album to all comers.

Finding the album can be a bit tricky, though. If you search your library, chances are you won’t find it. And if you locate the album in the iTunes store, it’ll be marked as purchased, with no obvious way to download it.

The trick is to go to the iTunes store home page and click the “Purchased” quick link in the upper right corner. You should see the album there. Click on the “download from the cloud” icon in the upper right corner. That should do it.

September 9, 2014

Streaming Media:

Apple’s live stream of the unveiling of the iPhone 6 and Watch was a disaster today right from the start, with many users like myself having problems trying to watch the event. While at first I assumed it must be a capacity issue pertaining to Akamai, a deeper look at the code on Apple’s page and some other elements from the event shows that decisions made by Apple pertaining to their website, and problems with how they setup storage on Amazon’s S3 service, contributed the biggest problems to the event.

Interesting take on the utter disaster that was the streaming video of this morning’s event.

Ars Technica:

Apple has officially announced a release date for iOS 8, the latest version of the operating system that powers iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. The new software launches on September 17, and as we’ve written before it will be available on the iPhone 4S, 5, 5C, and 5S; the iPad 2, both Retina iPads, the iPad Air, and both iPad minis; the fifth-generation iPod touch; and all revisions of the third-generation Apple TV.

This was almost lost among the news of all the other cool things Apple announced today.

TidBITS:

With Apple Pay, Apple’s self-described mission is to replace your wallet, enabling you to pay a bill by holding an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, or the forthcoming Apple Watch, up to a payment sensor. No more fumbling with credit cards and signing receipts, or worrying about having enough cash. In theory, at least, Apple Pay both improves the payment experience and brings new levels of security and privacy to credit card payments.

Adam makes a very good point about wallets, too. This won’t replace it for most of us because we need to carry around other cards as well. But it’s a step towards an interesting future.

My question has always been, is using a credit card really all that difficult for most people that they need and want this kind of replacement?

Macworld:

With the death of the iPod classic, we witness the last of the original 5GB white iPod’s line. No more hard drive. No more squarish screen. No more wheel control.

And, no surprise.

True but there’s still nostalgia for the little thing.

The Verge:

The Apple Watch is amazing and boring at the same time.

After nearly two years of rumors, the Apple Watch has finally been unveiled.

Ignore the stupid words associated with this article but go look at the real world pics they have of the various watch faces and bands.

Apple has posted a page with a good overview of the four iPhone models and their specs. The pics are interesting and the iPhone 6 Plus seems huge.