Tag Archives: ios

Apple Lays Framework for GravyPort

Apple’s GravyPort requires a new infrastructure to be laid to accommodate this new data transition medium. Researchers at MIT discovered the incredible data transfer properties of the late Steve Job’s grandmother’s traditional gravy in 2010 and have been diligently working on a new specification to use this new medium to its fullest extent.

OK, so GravyPort doesn’t exist, but during its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday, Apple basically bet the farm on mobile with some standout points covered by Utterly Orange contributing blogger Susan Hallinan yesterday (check out her post here).

Plus, Siri opened for Tim Cook in true Apple style.

At the core of the WWDC event were glimpses of the future of computing from Apple’s perspective. With killer MacBook Pros, updated MacBook Airs, and iOS6 updates that will push mobile computing forward, Apple clearly still has innovation as its focus, at least for the foreseeable future. Consider the insane 30 billion (that is 30 followed by nine zeros) app downloads––the Apple App Store continues to prove its supremacy in the market. All that being said, WWDC emphasizes the third letter in the acronym, the D for Developers. The event offers insight into the next generation of features that the legions of iOS and Mac OS developers can leverage to prompt new app downloads or improve their market share for a given piece of software. The symbiotic relationship between developers and the hardware/software giant is at the heart of “bet the farm on mobile.”

WWDC didn’t expose anything earth-shattering (big surprise). The event simply reinforced the  Cupertino darling’s trickle-style feature release to keep Apple followers around the planet happy. The fine balance between just enough to keep things fresh and just far enough ahead of the competition to stay on top was ever present. If Apple’s bet on mobile pans out, this blogger/Apple fan/lover of innovation sees a desktop-less world with powerful tablets and stellar smartphones in the five-year outlook.

So, now more than ever before, ask this of yourself, your brand, and your company: Are you ready for mobile to dominate your experience with consumers? Build a strategy where a strong and long-term mobile presence is one of your top three objectives and learn how your consumers/customers/clients are––or are not––interacting with your company (or competitors) in the mobile arena. The BlackBerrys and Treos of the late 1990s and early 2000s were ahead of their time, and Apple came into the market with a new user experience that exploded into the mobile-centric ecosystem that we live in today. One has to trust Apple’s innovation (and luck) and see that mobile (tablets and smartphones) will be a significant part of our future. Are you ready?

Author: John Carew

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The LinkedIn iPad App – A New Connection to Your Connections

I am a longtime user of LinkedIn. My number is 210,856, meaning that I joined when there were only a couple of hundred thousand users. (According to Wikipedia, there are now over 150 million users.) With its new iPad app, I am a bigger advocate of LinkedIn than ever. For me, LinkedIn is steadily becoming a morning must-read along with the Wall Street Journal, The Daily, and Flipboard (which aggregates social-network content in a magazine-like format).

The elegance of the Flipboard experience has transformed how we consume content on the iPad. The LinkedIn Updates section provides an experience similar to Flipboard in that it allows you to view content from your connections. I still use LinkedIn through Flipboard, but now I get better Profile and Inbox sections in the LinkedIn app.

There should never be complacency in the digital space, so I look forward to more enhancements to the LinkedIn app that help me to stay on top of my business game.

Author: Dana Farbo

Three Mobile and Social Apps That Should Be on Your Radar

Our online associations basically represent relationships that exist in real life, relationships that we document by adding people to particular social networks. In today’s world, the act of researching someone’s online presence before (or after) a meeting, date, or social interaction might be a requirement. LinkedIn can give you an idea of a person’s professional résumé, a Twitter profile might reveal his or her publicized interests or influence, and if a Facebook profile exists, well, you can learn possibly far too much about an individual depending on what he or she shares and how open the profile is to an outsider. Putting account settings and user preferences aside, apps that make connections to our physical social networks and marry those networks with our location via a mobile device are very interesting. These apps can show users how their social networks connect with strangers they pass on the street, but they can also teach users the value of real-life networks that are stored, structured, and validated online. Let’s look at three apps and how their features redefine our online social networks, showing the power that mobile, social, and location-based apps can have on our everyday life.

Sonar

Foursquare + Facebook + Twitter = invisible connections around you. Next time you check in on Foursquare to one of the busier spots in your area, an app like Sonar would display a screen indicating how you are linked to people in your immediate location. Sonar can tell you that you share three Twitter interests or two Facebook friends and enable you to see those specific connections and those users’ photos. You can then introduce yourself in person, if you want. Don’t fret about security, either––you opt in, so all Sonar users have chosen to associate their Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts in order to see their relationships.

Path

As Path advertises, Path is “the smart journal that helps you share life with ones you love.” It’s Facebook boiled down your real friends and not the extended network of acquaintances and familiar faces that Facebook has become just to see the friend-count edge higher. The app has a fresh way of displaying important content with a beautiful user interface. Path has the same sharing and “journal” status-type features that are found on the other social networks, but the platform enables smaller circles to interact with pertinent content more easily.

Localmind

As its tagline reads, “Know. Now.” Localmind is seeking to build “a real-time, location-based Q&A platform that sits on top of existing check-in services.” Localmind uses location-based check-in services likes Foursquare to allow users to send a question about a physical location and receive answers from users who are currently checked in to that location. It lets users contact someone outside their network or circles to determine what is happening at a particular check-in spot.

All three apps provide very different services, but all are based on mobile technology and how it can augment our interaction with our traditional, terrestrial social networks and our location on terra firma.

Bottom line: Use these apps, learn what they do, and be aware that these features will be the next thing to come baked in to our mobile devices. Jumping on the edge of the wave can increase the position of your company or application earlier.

Author: John Carew

Facebook to Die Under the Knife of Magazines and Newspapers? Your Crystal Ball Is Malfunctioning.

Who doesn’t want a piece of the multibillion dollar US advertising pie? No one! According to a Kantar Media report, 2010 US ad spending topped $130 billion. Outspoken marketing and publishing veteran Bob Sacks, aka BoSacks, is “prepared to predict the death of Facebook. It’s lost its way … Over-commercialism and abuse will kill it.” That is why Facebook is moving toward what some are calling “the dark side,” abandoning its user-centric methodology for one where it can cash out and exploit its relationship with users to sell the most advertising.

Newspapers and magazines have struggled for over a decade to determine which strategy will bring them some, if any, long-term success. Between pay wall construction and destruction and various implementations of paid content, which future strategy will win: the gated newsstand (e.g., Apple or Amazon) or the app model (The Daily) or, better yet, some other combination with social integration?

The first big-league tablet experiment was News Corp.’s The Daily, with daily news delivery to mobile technology, i.e., the iPad. The Daily is an experiment in applying a news model to mobile technology with a subscription-based service. Rupert Murdoch claims that The Daily, first launched on the iPad in early 2011, needs 500,000 subscribers paying $0.99 per week to be profitable. As of October 3, The Daily publisher Greg Clayman reported only 80,000 subscribers. Murdoch’s experiment was on one hand a massive win for tablet proponents, who see this path as the future, but on the other a strategic failure. Applying broad-reaching, mass media to what is essentially a hyper-local online ecosystem where the social level drives the most relevant content is a fundamentally flawed approach. Staci Kramer of paidContent.org covered the basic accounting associated with The Daily and figured that, based on the first year’s figures with the current circulation, it cost a whopping $375 per subscriber to produce. It is not uncommon for a magazine title to take several years to mature to profitability, yet this venture sets an intriguing (and cost-prohibitive) precedent. More recently Courtney Boyd Myers of TheNextWeb.com reported that the app has been downloaded 800,000 times but has brought a loss to News Corp. to the tune of $10,000,000. On a side note to be filed in the “DUH” record books, UK online trade pub MarketingWeek reports that a recent qualitative analysis by Ipsos Mori of UK’s biggest women’s weeklies suggests that titles that reply to readers via social media gain more long-term interaction. While studying the business model and its successes and failures is interesting on an academic level for understanding how the news is evolving, the indicators for the advertising world and its link to new technology should be of more interest.

John Mehl covered the strengths and weaknesses of digital editions earlier on Utterly Orange. The bottom line is this: As long as competitive forces––like print magazines and social networks––exist in the marketplace, the print-gone-digital model for news and magazines is going to be a hard sell. The market was splintered with the entry of the i-era: the iPad and iPhone, the mobile and smart devices.

In August 2011, Utterly Orange discussed the technical challenges that Condé Nast experienced in its ventures into digital publishing formats. Applying a traditional, editorial business model to an electronic workflow is fundamentally flawed. NYU Professor Scott Galloway sees magazines “on the verge of a massive double dip.” Galloway points out that brands like Burberry, Gucci, and Chanel have positioned themselves as “innovative” front-runners in the world of social media. Facebook competes for eyeballs and more importantly lets anyone introduce content that can trump the magazines any day. Which model will win? Not sure, but you can bet on this: Social media is critical to the future, and Facebook probably won’t be the long-term winner.

Author: John Carew

It Wasn’t an iPhone 5 (Whatever You Wanted That to Be)––Get Over It!

On Thursday, the world learned of the passing of Steve Jobs. Jobs will be remembered as “among the greatest of American innovators” stated President Obama Thursday. “The Edison” of our modern age, a man who pushed the envelope on the very means which we communicate and consume information, he will be remembered as a rebel and an entrepreneur who never settled for “OK” always pushing for perfection. “Here’s to the Crazy Ones” commercial from 1997 narrated by Steve Jobs speaks to the impact of his career and insight into our technological future.

Apple just introduced the iPhone 4S, not the 5 or 4GS as speculated. Packed in an iPhone body but with some adjustments, the new device was so underwhelming that it temporarily brought down the value of Apple’s stock. It packs a faster A5 processor (same as the iPad2), an 8-megapixel camera with HDR support and full 1080p HD video capture. The device will be a world phone, supporting CDMA and GSM protocols with two radios, which Apple claims will increase download speeds to 14.4 megabytes per second via HSPA+. The 4S will launch iOS 5 with such golden nuggets as Siri, Apple’s much-coveted voice-recognition software (and DARPA military veteran), which will power what appear to be many of the features of the OS. The other software change comes in the form of notifications matching what has been present on Android for some time now. For more coverage of iOS features, check out our coverage of the Apple WWDC Recap. But if you didn’t believe us before, Twitter is now fully backed into the iOS goodness and will let the Apple biters out there share content via Twitter with even less effort.

As the New York Times’s Bits blog points out, Apple has to compete with Google and its wide array of phone offerings, ranging from free to $400. The question must be asked, though: Which came first, the strategy or the surplus? Verizon didn’t move as many of the iPhone 4 as expected, and neither did AT&T when it came to moving the 3GS (as judged by the $0 cost for the 3GS with a new contract). All three big boys are in the game now. AT&T started strong but lost its edge after partying too hard with its stockpiles of Jacksons, Grants, and Franklins. Verizon came as the second string to push the opposition to the boards and burn down more of the clock, but––wait––third-string Sprint rushed the floor? Coach Apple, what is going on? Sprint is hedging an awful lot on its moving 30 million handsets.

We learned from the laptop and desktop PC model wars that speed is not everything. Users want function and compare relatively similar devices by what bells and whistles they offer. Analysts have slammed Apple for not releasing a device that can compete with Samsung and HTC models, but why would Apple want to compete spec for spec with those devices? The reality is that the pipes can’t support “4G” speeds (whatever the actual speeds may be). Instead Apple has released a phone that competes in some areas, like camera and video capture, and excels in others, like the software with Siri and the 500,000 apps for iOS devices. Let’s remember that voice recognition hasn’t been easy or successful in the history of computing, but as ThisIsMyNext points out, Apple and Siri have a few things going for them, including context, logic, and clarification.

The future will include mobile technology, mobile technology that will be smart and help us accomplish daily tasks. The technology that will succeed will be designed first and foremost with user experience as the main objective. Apple’s success in the marketplace cannot be overlooked, as it consistently introduces devices with design first. It just so happens that its designs are bigger than the boxes that house the devices, and the company sometimes has to wait for the world to catch up to its concepts.

Last thought: Early fans of Apple may remember back to 1987 (others may still have been teething) and the Knowledge Navigator. Check out the video below to see how it stacks up––pretty cool all these years later.

Author: John Carew

Hurricane Googorola

Breakwater Light
Just like high school jock envy, those who fall short of Apple’s greatness want a piece of the pie. On Monday, Google announced its bid to purchase Motorola Mobility for a mere $12.5 billion, merging the search-engine giant with a leading handset manufacturer. Apple’s exclusivity with AT&T for the first few iPhone generations created a unique relationship between “distributor” and manufacturer. As the legend goes, AT&T and Apple negotiated to create a unit that would function on the existing network, but the exclusivity made a boatload of cash for both parties and propelled the iPhone into the market. Others were left building competitive devices that would be measured against the functionality of the iPhone. The current leader over the past 12 months has been Android, trailed by some other strong contenders that have entered the market. The common factor for all is that a software developer––be it Apple, Google, or Microsoft––is handcuffed by the negotiations with both handset manufacturers and the carriers who will distribute the millions of phones.

Let’s cut to the chase––Google wants patents. The hurricane of patent lawsuits over the last few months points directly at the problem. Google’s potential purchase of Motorola Mobility has created excitement since it already manufactures smartphones and has been doing so for some time with debatable success (depending on what measure one uses). The proverbial R&D and patent drag race has bumped the ante up considerably. As Gizmodo pointed out on Tuesday, there are losers everywhere. Innovation is what drove us to where we are, and these patent wars combined with the dismal economy worldwide and bleak future predications could stymie the very momentum that got us to this mobile-enabled, always-connected place, for better or for worse.

If the techie masses rose up in revolt, forming a Wi-Fi-enabled, smartphone-wielding protesting mob, lighting their way by the glow of the Zippo lighter app, there would be little media coverage. Chants of “free our patents, free innovation” would not ring throughout the nation. Protest signs adorned with words written in courier and those archaic, round shiny disks our parents call CDs would not attract TV cameras in droves. Would Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert side with the byte-obsessed nerds and join their ranks on the National Mall or dispatch a senior correspondent to compile a sequence of geek- and social ineptitude–based jokes? Let’s go with, umm, doubtful.

With the market left to its own devices, what may happen? If Google sinks its teeth into Motorola Mobility, maybe we will see the tide turn in the smartphone sea. The good news is that Apple gave the market a huge, delicious taste of an intuitive user interface and higher-quality handsets, and since we like the taste, the competitors are fighting tooth and nail over the tech/patents that will help them stir up some new waves. Those same waves that foster innovation are destroyed as they smash into the breakwater that is the patent lawsuit disaster. At least the Verizon, HTC, and Samsung ships have all given safe passage to the deal since it may reduce the choppy waters caused by the incoming patent hurricane.

Future predictions on the horizon…
Apple buys RIM. Yes, we feel faint as well, but would the scent of BlackBerry destroy the feng shui of Apple’s proposed new Cupertino digs? The keyboard clicking would be a disturbance, at any rate. Microsoft buys Nokia. We agree––it’s like your friends who shared an apartment for 10 years finally getting married. HP splinters webOS to accelerate Palm OS–like separation. RIM refused to get off the recliner and answer the doorbell as the chimes incessantly rang with innovation calling again and again. Now it is faced with a declining market share and what some consider grim expectations of acquisition.)

Author: John Carew
Photo credit: Diver227

Rules of Mobile Mayhem: Things to Remember as You Plan a Mobile Presence

I recently came across a video of poet and storyteller Rives presenting his poem “If I Controlled the Internet” at TEDSalon 2006.

My, how things have changed in 5 years. 2006 was pre-iPhone, back when the likes of RIM were still on top and Apple was clambering for market share while expanding its retail presence. With the recent news of RIM’s planned layoffs to “reshape” into a company better fitted to handle the upcoming release of new BlackBerry handhelds, changes in the marketplace over the last 5 years have muddied the waters for organizations hoping to market their products or services.

Utterly Orange has previously covered the difficulties associated with mobile marketing or application development due to the complicated marketplace, and there are some lessons to be learned. Consider these concepts as your plan your mobile presence:

#1 Innovation Wins
RIM is dying, slowly losing market share point by point, and it has no one else to blame but itself. It provided a functional product with marginal innovation. RIM geared its product toward business use, ignoring consumer-side impulses.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg, or in this case, the smartphone or the mobile functions? Mobile functions cover a broad range of features, from mobile applications to mobile-friendly websites to carrier-side, location-aware services that tie in with SMS. We know that the analysts and cell carriers planned the growth of the mobile market, and the proof was in the ramp up to the bigger and faster mobile data connections we sort of have today, but was it the smartphone or the pipes that came first? Answer: iPhone. Yeah, yeah. We hear you––the iPhone isn’t the answer to every question, but user understanding and subsequent adoption is a tremendously large part of the success of a new product. Add some level of innovation to the mix, and you have a recipe for massive growth––or at least it has looked that way over the last 5 years with the iPhone and iPad. Now both devices were and are not perfect by any means. Both have critical features that are still missing, and some design and user interface choices give the edge to some of their competitors.

Twitter and Foursquare had no competitors before each started as a tiny start-up. A creative idea coupled with a powerful, functional mobile device helped expand the adoption of both applications. Regardless, the bar was raised with the release of iOS and its intuitive features. Innovation won and keeps winning as judged by Android’s taking top seat as the leading mobile operating system.
Keep innovation in mind as you consider the right mix of mobile functions for your marketing (and communications) efforts. Providing something new or innovative captures attention and stands out from the tumultuous sea of marketing attempts that users deal with every day via multiple mediums.

#2 Do It Right
Google “failed mobile marketing.” You will find hundreds of examples from the blogosphere, media, and trade journals of failures in mobile marketing. From the ever present QR that points to a company’s non-mobile-friendly homepage to “follow us” with the bird and blue F slapped below all new advertising and marketing collateral, failed use of new mobile functions is prevalent.

Do it right, meaning hire the right people or look at the leaders and users of these mobile functions inside your organization to help you get oriented. None of these mobile functions are inherently complicated. Once you begin to hone your ideas, you may want to bring in stronger firepower, but leverage your resources––whether they be inside or outside––to get the key people up to speed on what constitutes the successful use of these powerful mobile features and avoid what could be an #epicfail.

The disadvantage of waiting to enter the mobile arena this late is that so many have already created mobile functions that are totally awesome. Users know what to expect and can sniff out amateur efforts quickly. Missing the mark on the execution of a mobile effort can spell long-term negative effects for your brand.

#3 Follow the Data
Good news: the Internet gives you a lot of data about your customers. A well-set up website can give you insight into how your customers interact with your existing web presence. Dive deep into the areas of your analytic platform that provide details on mobile traffic, network properties, and browser capabilities. For example, mobile traffic can give you an idea of the percentage of users who access your website via mobile browsers.

Additionally, use existing contact points to determine how existing users interact with your web presence. Ask them their preferences. Remember, users with mobile devices are looking for an intuitive, easy-to-use mobile function that makes their lives easier or simplifies an existing process that they complete with your organization. If you are considering developing a mobile app and can’t decide between iOS, Android, BlackBerry, or some flavor of Windows for smartphones, spend some time in your analytic platform and look at the device types used. Follow your data to make an innovative mobile function and do it right.

One more thing. Take a risk. Twitter was a risk, as was Foursquare, but the risk was taken and now they both are successful products. The overhead required to make a mobile function will vary dramatically, and the recession doesn’t help when scouring for some extra cash, but it’s still the Wild West in many ways. The risk could be wildly successful and bring your product or company to the forefront of the market.

What is your first step (or next step) in expanding your company’s mobile presence? Let us know your thoughts or questions via a comment and join the conversation.

Author: John Carew