Bidding Goodbye to Small iPhones?

Posted by Kirhat | Friday, July 03, 2015 | | 0 comments »

Smaller iPhones
Today's consumers continue to believe what Apple's current-gen versions of its signature iPhone line offer that they helped rack up sales of iPhone 6 and iPhone Plus to the tune of nearly 140 million units over the past two fiscal quarters.

However, if the consumers are thinking that the Cupertino company is resting on its laurels, they could be more wrong. According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple's already started working on the next version of its iPhone, going into volume production on August 2015.

And while we're all unsure of the name, the conventional naming nomenclature for phones has been to follow a number change (i.e., going from the iPhone 5S to iPhone 6) with a letter change (i.e. the upgrade from the iPhone 5 to the iPhone 5S), leading anybody to think the models will be named the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus.

Again, nobody knows what Apple will name the new unit, but it's certainly starting to sound like this will be a letter upgrade more so than a number change. Generally, a number change represents a rather major overhaul, while an off-year letter change generally provides a processor upgrade and user experience upgrade. And Bloomberg confirms what others have been reporting for months: Apple's next iPhone user experience upgrade appears to be Force Touch technology, which can tell how much force a user is exerting on the screen.

Furthermore, Bloomberg notes that final assembly is expected to be smooth, as the next phone will be very similar to the current-gen unit. That's dissimilar to big differences, mainly in form factor, between the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 6 or between the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5. In fact, if Bloomberg's reporting is correct, Apple fans may have to bid adieu to smaller-sized iPhones as the iPhone 6 clocks in at 4.7 inches while the iPhone 6 Plus measures 5.5 inches.

While focusing on the inclusion of this new-to-the-iPhone Force Touch technology, as Apple Watch and some Macs already have the functionality, Bloomberg notes that the newest iPhones will be "in the same 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch versions as the current iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices." Considering Apple generally keeps only two generations of its iPhone in inventory, this points to a loss of the smaller 4-inch form factor that Apple last used with the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C.

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iOS 8.4 Introduces 'Apple Music'

Posted by Kirhat | Thursday, July 02, 2015 | | 0 comments »

iOS 8.4 and Apple Music
Very recently, Apple released iOS 8.4 to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch owners and with it comes one of the company’s most anticipated services in year – Apple Music.

‘Apple Music’ is built into iOS 8.4 and it represents Apple’s long awaited debut in the streaming music space and gives Spotify another whale to compete with as Google steps up its own streaming offering ‘Google Music’ (spotting a trend here?). As well as quietly killing Beats Music.

So did Apple Music brings to the table? It may be arriving years later than many expected, but it definitely debuts as a remarkably well rounded service.

Perhaps most importantly it fuses some of the best aspects of Google Music and Spotify in one, namely:
  • A 30M track library from major and independent record labels that matches both rivals
  • The right to upload 25,000 of your own tracks free which will increase to 100k with iOS 9 (Google Music offers 50,000 at present)
  • A manned ‘Beats One’ radio service that steps beyond the automated radio playlisting of Google and Spotify
  • Bespoke, human curated, playlists
  • A US$ 14.99 per month ‘Family Pack’ for up to six people versus the US$ 9.99pm single user rival options
  • A longer 3 month free trial period (with enhanced Taylor Swift smackdown) compared to 1 month on Google Music and 2 months on Spotify
However, it isn’t all a success.

Apple has yet to detail how Apple Music will work offline and audio tracks max out at 256kbps verses the higher quality 320kbps of Spotify and Google Music (Apple uses AAC’s excellent compression, but Spotify and Google use the equally powerful Ogg Vorbis standard – both of which are far ahead of the ageing MP3).

In addition, while Apple Music will break new ground with a Fall release on Android, Google Music and Spotify are already available on iOS with the latter also on Windows Phone.

As such Apple Music isn’t quite the revolutionary knock-out blow many predicted, but it’s a compelling start and, with Apple’s marketing potential behind it, could well become the most high profile streaming music service around.

What would Wow Us? Apple giving Apple Music subscriptions free for two years with the purchase of a new iPhone or iPad (and probably one year with an iPod touch). Google and Spotify simply don’t have the hardware backbone in their business models to compete with that.

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Apple Watch: Let The Marketing Games Begin

Posted by Kirhat | Wednesday, July 01, 2015 | | 0 comments »

Marketing Games
Advertisers know that Apple Watch has marketing potential. However, for now it's more about experimenting with the ultimate goal of pursuing 'micromoments' that could make or break customer experiences.

The Forrester Research brief made it clear on how companies should think about marketing on the Apple Watch.

Now that Apple is allowing native third party apps, the flood gates should open for more innovative approaches. So far, there aren't any killer apps for the Apple Watch and the potential as a content delivery tool remains to be seen.

Forrester's note, which focused on business-to-consumer marketers, said brands will find loyal customers if they can act during "micromoments." Forrester wrote:

"A micromoment is a mobile moment that requires only a glance to identify and deliver quick information that you can consume or act on immediately. Twenty-five percent of US online adults get tired of pulling their phones out of their pockets all the time. Smartwatches are the perfect fit for marketers to deliver value in micromoments when people are travelling, jogging, commuting, or in a meeting. Healthcare companies are working on Apple Watch apps to deliver recommendations based on your individual context (e.g., your unique situation, emotion, and preferences) at a given moment in time. For example, an app could send you a discreet notification to use your asthma inhaler because you're entering a more polluted area based on crowdsourced data on your allergens."
All of that sounds fine and companies like Salesforce are pursuing Apple Watch and wearables as a new customer engagement tool.

But for every positive micromoment, I'd argue there will be at least three or more negative ones. Hit the wrong micromoment and a brand becomes annoying in a hurry. Forrester advised that companies should use ethnographic research and customer journey mapping to identify where smart watches trump smartphones when it comes to notifications and reaching customers.

Forrester's advice is to focus on glances and allow consumers to see notifications and information that help their brands and sales. Some examples---baggage notifications from an airline---are no brainers. The issue is that companies are going to have to narrow down their content, stay disciplined and have the data chops to customize on an individual level.

For now, the Apple Watch and iPhone lacks the advance filtering to allow individuals to curate to a micro level, said Forrester. That reality means that companies are going to have to allow customers to personalize.

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No Curve iPhone, No Problem

Posted by Kirhat | Tuesday, June 30, 2015 | | 0 comments »

Curve iPhone
Millions of iPhone fans waiting for that very first curve smartphone from Apple will have to wait a while before that happens. A new report from South Korea claims that the Cupertino-based company might not come out with such a device for at least three years.

According to a source familiar with the plans of Apple’s display suppliers, the first iPhone to have a flexible display might be released in 2018 – assuming Apple sticks to its current iPhone naming pattern, the iPhone 8 family would get the rumored OLED curved displays.

Apple is apparently “serious” about bringing OLED displays to its smartphones, “as those displays can solve its existing weak points such as color saturation, accuracy and brightness.” The company is already using OLED display technology for the Apple Watch.

Of course, flexible OLED displays would also allow Apple to completely change the look and feel of its iPhone lineup. The Galaxy S6 edge is just one example of the new design possibilities brought about by flexible display panels. Another possibility is the inclusion of actual physical buttons integrated into a display.

"It is very likely that the first flexible iPhone may be introduced in 2018, as Apple’s top-tier display suppliers are working on it," the source told Business Korea, adding that Apple would create a huge market if it’ll release an iPhone with an OLED flexible screen, a technology that hasn’t been used on iPhone yet.

LG Display is reportedly shifting one of its LCD lines into an OLED line, in order to expand its yearly OLED display output. The factory should start mass-production in 2017, right in time for the iPhone 8 family.

A recent report suggested that Apple is also considering removing the Home button in future iPhone models, in order to extend the display. The Touch ID fingerprint sensor would likely be fitted in the display, if this was the case. A second report said this sort of radical iPhone redesign would only arrive in 2017.

Also interesting is that fact that at least one patent reveals Apple might be designing iPhones that lack any physical buttons and have flexible displays.

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iPhone 6 Plus Can't Fit Inside Pip-Boy

Posted by Kirhat | Monday, June 29, 2015 | | 0 comments »

Special Edition Pip-Boy
To iPhone 6 Plus and Fallout video game fans, Gamespot has one bad news for you: all big smartphone variants will not fit Fallout 4 Special Edition Pip-Boy.

The Fallout 4 special edition includes a replica Pip-Boy that can hold your phone, allowing you to run the Fallout 4 companion app as you play. But if you're going to spend US$ 120 on the special edition, you better make sure you have a phone that can fit inside the Pip-Boy first.

A post to the Bethesda Blog confirmed that the replica Pip-Boy will have foam inserts that fit iPhone 6, iPhone 5/5S, iPhone 4/4S, Samsung Galaxy 5, Samsung Galaxy 4, and most smartphones of a similar size. Larger smartphones like the iPhone 6 Plus will still let you run the companion app, but won't fit inside the Pip-Boy.

"As we wanted to stay faithful to the dimensions of the in-game model, any smartphones larger than the models listed will not fit inside the wearable device," Bethesda said. "For these larger devices, our Pip-Boy companion app will still be available."

Fallout 4 launches 10 November 2014 for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. It'll be 1080p and 30 frames per second on consoles, but unrestricted on PC.

Fallout is a series of post-apocalyptic role-playing video games. It was created by Interplay Entertainment. Although the series is set during the 22nd and 23rd centuries, its retro-futuristic setting and artwork are influenced by the post-war culture of 1950s America, and its combination of hope for the promises of technology, and lurking fear of nuclear annihilation.

A forerunner for Fallout is Wasteland, a 1988 video game of which the Fallout series is regarded to be a spiritual successor. Although the game worlds are different, the background story, inhabitants, locations, and characters draw many parallels.

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A 4-Inch Apple iPhone 6C Fits Jobs' Ethos

Posted by Kirhat | Sunday, June 28, 2015 | | 0 comments »

Steve Jobs
An iPhone 6C with a 4-inch screen would seem to make sense for Apple on several different levels.

The affordable marketplace looks to be a growth niche for the cooperation, with Apple’s excellent recent sales figures being at least partly attributed to outstanding sales in China. Samsung Electronics has traditionally been extremely successful in East Asia, but now Apple is seriously rivaling the Korean corporation in this region, and has proved particularly popular in the world’s most populous nation.

It is also thought that the idea of a 4-inch smartphone would appeal to the sadly late founder and CEO of Apple, Steve Bobs. Some years ago, Jobs explicitly stated that he considered the ideal smartphone screen size to be 3.5-inches, and the creation of the iPhone 6C is considered to be very much in line with this vision.

Although Apple has been hugely successful under the tutelage of its new CEO Tim Cook, there have been criticisms of the corporation which have focused on a lack of innovation. The idea of producing a mobile which goes against the cultural zeitgeist of large smartphones would be an interesting concept that would once again distinguish Apple from its competitors.

Apple has also previously promised that it would develop new product niches and revenue streams. This was in response to a plummeting of its share price in early 2014, after the corporation revealed sub-par sales figures to investors and analysts. Although Apple has emphatically recovered from this mishap since then, having posted some extremely impressive sales and revenue figures during 2014, the corporation is still mindful of the fact that it needs to demonstrate new revenue streams in order to stimulate growth.

The Apple Watch and the iPhone 6 Plus were the first two shots fired in this particular battle, and the production of a small iPhone 6C would seem to be the next logical step. This could rack up a large number of sales for Apple, while at the same time being relatively simple in logistical terms to produce, and an affordable production alternative to the existing iPhone models.

With images now being leaked via Reddit, the speculation related to this device will only intensify. Whether everyone will see the iPhone 6C this year or not is debatable, but the existence and release of the handset seems increasingly inevitable.

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