Tag Archives: iPhone

The Samsung Galaxy Gear ad seems a bit too familiar

Yesterday Samsung unveiled the first ad for their pointless Galaxy Gear.

I think that I’ve seen something like this before. Where was it? Oh, yes! Of course!

Since there was no hardware to copy, all they were left with was copying the campaign, right?

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Kit Kat: in bed with Android, but still using the iPhone

This has become quite a common story. Celebrities get some money in exchange for a stealth spontaneous post praising an Apple competitor, despite them having iPhones and iPads as their real personal devices. Jessica Alba, OprahDavid Ferrer and Dani Calabresa (who?) are a few examples of this sort of situation.

However, this is the first time that a brand does the exact same thing. Early last September, Kit Kat and Google announced a partnership to name the next version of Android as Android Kit Kat. The chocolate brand is also making a world-wide sweepstake that places the little green robot on their packages and tout at the chance to win hundreds of tablets.

But none of that was enough to stop the Brazilian branch of the brand from making a Facebook post suggesting that the perfect kit for a night out includes your wallet, your car keys, your Kit Kat, and… your iPhone, of course!

KitPhone

In the post comments (it’s in Portuguese) some people pointed out the irony, which prompted the brand to make a new post (in Portuguese again) featuring an Android phone, and saying “Oh, yeah, iPhone users were being left out since our partnership, so this was an homage to them”. Sure.

I don’t get how this sort of thing happens after a world-wide really expensive deal is announced. But I also don’t get how such a poor Photoshop job to remove the car brand in the car key gets approved as well, so…

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Jony Ive, simplicity, and the inevitability of Beethoven by Leonard Bernstein

USA Today released today a really interesting interview with Jony Ive and Craig Federighi. Despite the new products being brought up at a certain point, the interview focuses much more on Apple’s culture and their motivations. At a certain point, Ive says the following regarding the simplicity of his design:

“Simplicity is, well, it goes back to …you’re trying to define the essence of something and come up with a solution that seems utterly inevitable and obvious. I think a lot of people see simplicity as the lack of clutter. And that’s not the case at all. True simplicity is, well, you just keep on going and going until you get to the point where you go, ‘Yeah, well, of course.’ Where there’s no rational alternative.”

This reminded me of a 1954 video where Leonard Bernstein talks about this exact same thing, while he explores the drafts with parts that ended up getting left out of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. It is an amazing video and I strongly encourage you to dedicate 6 minutes of your day to it. But the part that i was reminded of is exactly that where Bernstein talks about the inevitability of the right note:

“The composer has to have an inner roadmap. He has got to know what the next note has to be. A sense that whatever note succeeds the last is the only possible note that can rightly happen at that instant. (…) Imagine a lifetime of this struggle, movement after movement, always this constant dedication to perfection, to the concept of inevitability.”

What I find particularly interesting about this video is that it shows that even the things that to us seem perfectly natural, as the notes sequence in Beethoven’s 5th, didn’t happen by sheer chance. A lot of work was put into it and several paths and alternatives were explored.

Beethoven rewrote some passages up to 20 times until he reached that result that seems so perfect to us, so natural and inevitable, that it actually hides the countless abandoned paths and endlessly re-written sequences. That’s exactly what Ive promotes with his constant exercise in simplicity. Look at your iPhone again. Does it seem different to you now?

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iOS 7, 64-bits and TouchID. This is the beginning of a very cool evolution

iPhone 5s

I am truly excited with the iPhone 5s. The term “Forward thinking” seems like a perfect fit, regardless of what aspect of the device you pick to analyze. From the technical point of view, the 64-bit A7 chip is the best example, of course. Although the iPhone 5s will not carry 4gb of RAM, the A7 is the first step to allow the phone to keep evolving in a pace that up until a week ago we didn’t even think was possible.

The TouchID is another really exciting addition. It has opened the door to countless possibilities not only regarding the way we will interact with the phone, but it could change the way we relate to the whole Web – imagine an integration between TouchID and iCloud Keychain, for instance.

Apple has been extremely careful with the way they intend to store and use the information collected by the TouchID sensor. They’ve already explained that it’s not even your fingerprint that is stored, but little coded pieces of information that come from under your skin. They’ve also promised that this information will never leave the phone, and will be stored in an area of the processor that not even the phone or the rest of the processor itself will be able to access.

I don’t think, however, that this is the whole story. Apple didn’t spend millions of dollars buying a company and developing an entirely new piece of hardware just so you can unlock your phone and buy content faster, did they? I don’t think so. I suspect that these first few months will work as a big test to find out how well the information is really kept. Starting this week, millions and millions of phones will be put to this test every day all throughout the world.

I wonder if it’s possible (and if it is, how long it’ll take) for Jailbreakers to figure out a way to extract this information from the chip. Not that a jailbroken phone would automatically become vulnerable to this sort of data theft, but if the user manages to extract this information from his own phone, this will mean that Apple’s security team will be in for long nights ahead of them, until they manage to add a few more security layers to the whole thing.

It’s a very safe and smart (and obvious) idea to limit the TouchID functionalities to somewhat less harmful activities while the whole thing is put to the test in the real world, before making APIs available for developers so you can start linking TouchID to your bank account, for instance.

Anyhow, I see TouchID as the first step for a level of personalization that has been anticipated and expected for ages by iOS users, and that now can finally be implemented in a perfectly seamless way.

Imagine creating profiles for different users in an iPhone or iPad: one profile for you, one for your kid, etc. The kid picks up the iPad, taps the fingerprint sensor, and it’s done. Only the kids apps show up, along with their wallpaper, songs, movies, and so on. Even parental restrictions are already in place. Now imagine locking the iPad, and right after that you wake it up, touch the sensor, and boom®. You’re holding your iPad. All of your apps and contents are there, but your kids games are gone, and so are all the notifications, iMessage texts, etc.

This is something that has been in people’s wishlist for a while now, especially with people who share their iPads with the rest of the family. Of course that Apple would just love if everyone just got themselves their own iPads, and maybe this is why such a big feature has never been really prioritized up until today in Cupertino. But I also believe that they know that something like this is a bit far from the reality that most of us live in.

Obviously it would be great if iOS 7 and the new iPhones had already brought all of that to us. Thinking about this sort of thing just makes me want to flash forward and see what iOS 8, 9 or 10 will look like. If the iPhone 5s is an iPhone with “forward thinking“, it certainly fulfills its purpose: it makes it clear that this is just the first step of a pretty cool and exciting evolution process, and at the same time it goes back to being one step ahead of everybody else in the smartphone business. Samsung has already announced that they’ll be putting 64-bit chips in their next smartphones. They just left out the part that they’ll be adopting the fingerprint sensor as well.

While everybody else will play catch yet again so they can me-too the features that Apple unveiled last week, the folks from Cupertino on the other hand have already laid out the terrain to implement the features of tomorrow. And I really look forward to them.

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Throw Me To Heaven: An app rejected by Apple, for the sake of your iPhone

So how about this app? You throw your iPhone as high as you can, and as soon as it lands perfectly safe in your hands you check out how high it went, and enter a highscore ranking.

Send Me To Heaven

If the mere idea was enough to give you chills, you’re not alone. Apple naturally rejected the app because it would encourage activities that could damage the device. Shocking.

Do you know however where you can find this app? At Google Play, of course. If this isn’t a perfect example of how much each company cares for their users, I don’t know what is.

Via Kotaku

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Tim Cook doesn’t seem too worried about the Russian carriers boycott

Yesterday durint the Q3 2013 conference call, Tim Cook commented on the whole situation involving Russian carriers and the iPhone:

“If you look at Russian market, over 80% of smartphones are sold in retail outside of carrier stores. We sell through a number of national chains there. (…)Our activations in Russia for iPhone set a record last quarter; our highest quarter ever. We are really happy.”

Translation: Want to boycott us? Go ahead. We’ll sell just as much.

Too bad for Russians, who end up having no other option than to buy their iPhones at full price. The good news for them is that a full price iPhone there goes for about 25.000 Rubles, or U$775, which isn’t that much more expensive than the prices of unlocked full-price phones in the US.

It is true that for this price you could get a 32gb iPhone 5, but hey, when you compare it with the U$1080 Brazilians pay for a subsidized 16gb model, I’d say that Russians are still in a pretty good situation.

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Thief steals iPhones, forgets his Galaxy at the crime scene and gets arrested

It’s confirmed: owning a Samsung Galaxy can get you arrested.

Via Washington Post

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Vivo Tour: A Vivo app with, let’s say, peculiar screenshots

Context: Vivo is one of the main mobile carriers in Brazil, the other 2 being Claro and Tim.

So picture the situation: After the longest time developing layouts, programming, testing and adjusting one of your new official apps, you ask for that sleepy intern to gather a few screenshots of the app in action so you can finally upload it to the App Store, and…

Vivo Tim Tour

… after the app goes live, you realize that the screenshots were taken using a phone from the rival carrier!

That’s exactly what happened with Vivo Tour, an app that apparently was released on June 27th, but has already been pulled from the App Store, I’m guessing to avoid making the PR department work extra hours. It should be back up at the App Store soon, hopefully with less… compromising screenshots.

I don’t think I had ever seen a carrier take action so quickly for anything. It’s refreshing to see they are able to do that.

Image by @gabrielramoos, via @alexandrehrosa

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The hard choice between the iPhone and the Nokia N95

Remember back in the day when you spent nights awake thinking long and hard, but just couldn’t decide if you were going to buy an iPhone or a Nokia N95?

Wait, you don’t remember? Well, me neither.

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Taking a closer look at all the genius of the Samsung Galaxy S4 ad

Yesterday BGR posted a story with the following title:

“The genius of Samsung ads: Even the most gimmicky features look like must-haves”.

Ok. Last week I watched the Galaxy S4 ad and a week later I can still remember thinking “Again? Did they really need to show yet again that little trick of transferring files by rubbing phones? Haven’t they done that enough with all the other 10 videos promoting the feature? Even Microsoft mocked them by calling out ‘one-trick-pony’ when proud Galaxy users did their little bumping trick in the Lumia 920 ad.”

The BGR post goes on:

“Samsung isn’t doing anything new with this ad but is rather sticking to its very winning formula of showing how the Galaxy S4 makes life more enjoyable in real-world situations while using the right dose of humor to rib chief rival Apple. This new ad is particularly effective because it overwhelms us with new features whose cumulative effect is to make the iPhone 5 look out of date by comparison.”

I decided to watch the ad once again, paying close attention to all the features it presents.

Here we go:

00:23 – Answer the phone by waving over the device
00:36 – Transferring files by proximity
00:42 – Sequence shots in the same photo
01:00 – Keep pointing at the device to read a text message
01:13 – Remote control (with the tiny disclaimer Initial set-up required)

Next I looked up apps in the AppStore that brought the same features displayed in the ad. Before saying that the comparison isn’t fair, afterall not all of them are native iPhone apps, here’s a reminder that what we’re exploring here is the premise that iPhones are obsolete because they can’t do what the Galaxy S4 does.

00:23 - Answer the phone by waving over the device
Score! We start with an exclusive Galaxy S4 feature (although I’m convinced that Jaibroken devices can do the same thing).

To be perfectly honest, even if I had a Galaxy, I wouldn’t use this feature to answer the phone. First, I’m never in an environment that makes me use speakerphone. I actually think that it’s rude to use speakerphone in a public place. It’s like when people decide to listen to loud music in the bus. Nobody should have to listen to what you’re listening to. Same thing with calls. Now, could this be a nice feature to maybe use when you’re driving? Maybe. But does the Galaxy S4 come with the feature that pays your traffic tickets?

Second, when the phone rings and I can’t answer it, I just don’t. The possibility to wave at the phone wouldn’t change that.

In the end, I just don’t think this is a very practical feature. What demands less work? Answering the phone like this, or the way iPhone users are used to? And what caused more surprise (since what’s being discussed here is the capability to innovate, surprise and shift the paradigm?) when presented? Here’s the video for a quick comparison.

00:36 - Transferring files by proximity
There’s an app for that. For free. Since 2009. Bump is the 21st most downloaded free app for iPhone of all time, according to a list by Apple that’s at most a week old.

00:42 - Sequence shots in the same photo
There’s an app for that. That’s all.

01:00 - Keep pointing at the device to read a text message
Pretty much like the feature that answers the phone with the little wave over it, I just don’t think this is practical. Besides, in the ad everything always works. However we’ve seen that in real life things are… uhm… different.

01:13 – Remote control (Initial set-up required)
Initial set-up required? Oh, great. In that case the iPhone/AppleTV ecossystem sounds like the best option by far. There are so many ways to explore the interaction between the two that it’d demand a new article just for that. Not to mention that depending on your needs, you know, there’s an app for that.

Bottom line:
Except for the no-touch phone interactions, all (three) innovations that make the iPhone “seem obsolete by comparison” are not only available to iPhone users, but they’ve actually been around since before the Galaxy S4 existed.

I don’t know exactly what is the winning formula that the BGR post referred to. What I see here is infact another old formula. The one that adds existing features to the Galaxy. And, you know, the one that says that you’ll be cool if you transfer a photo by rubbing phones.

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