Tag Archives: Apple

Apple, bring back Nokia LifeBlog

Way back in 2014 when Apple introduced iCloud Photo library I have been a very happy bunny.  An in-house and integrated way to backup my photos and have access across all my apple devices.

It may seem like an odd feature to be so happy about however many moons ago my house was broken into and my old Black MacBook was stolen; fortunately, the USB hard drive that contained my library of over 50,000 photos was left behind. At the time that bad feeling of thinking that I had lost such a massive collection of memories of my single life, meeting my wife, my two kids and everything in between was gut-wrenching. I didn’t have a back up of my digital life at the time just the odd badly organised collection of DVD containing a month or two of Photos, one of music and a stack of software that was either illegally obtained or obsolete. I was onboard with iCloud Photo Library the day after launch.

My library has currently expanded to 76,478 Photos and 4,101 Videos and my family has increased by 1 child and 3 goldfish. Having the off site back up that is so simply integrated with my iPhone, iPad, Mac and the addition of my wife’s iPhone link to the same family plan for me is amazing. I now also back up to Google Drive and Google Photo just to be sure so that I don’t have that panic feeling ever again.

I have always felt that a digital log of memories is important to help with reliving them life experiences as I get older. I look back to my childhood and the memories that I have are amazing but they are limited; even when talking to my parents, I have always wanted a more detailed way to look back into the journey me and my family are on.

Something, however, was still missing. I look back to around 2002 when I first had this idea of being able to have these triggers to look back at my life. At the time I had not long had my first digital camera and was already starting the build my memory box of life, I also got my first “Smartphone” that incorporated a camera. It was the Nokia 7650 and it ran Symbian OS. It’s
almost comical now to say this but it was a powerhouse of a phone at the time. More importantly for me, it had a great trick up its sleeve in the form of a desktop application, Nokia LifeBlog.

The idea of RSS feeds and blogs at the time were for me very exciting. The collection of information from different sources pulled together into one place and your own easy way to add to this collection with your own blog. Nokia Lifeblog was this, but for your own personal memory box. It pulled information from your phone and displayed a time log of your life, day by day, week by week. It listed text messages, calls made and missed, alongside the photos you had taken all in time order and in a calendar view. Looking back at it you could follow a night out from the calls to the boys and the “Almost in town now” message followed by the drunken photos and the hangover comedown the next day. It was for me almost perfect way to look back at what was happening in my life at the time.

The only problem was it didn’t take long before my phone was changed for something better and then Symbian OS started to fade away Nokia LifeBlog became useless. I switch to Windows Mobile then Apple came along and I settled into the closed garden and happily handed them all my money. I have over the years ran multiple handsets with Android running side by side with my iPhone, however, every time the integration with my iPhone and Mac (and the happiness of not having to use a Windows PC) iPhoto and later Photos was just to good for me to want to ever switch again (ok may Huawei could tempt me).

Apple has just released messages in iCloud and that reassurance of not having to worry about losing photos anymore now also includes my messages. There is, however, a more exciting development; I feel I am now one step closer to being able to have the Lifeblog days back. Over the years I have often looked back at messages received and sent to my girlfriend and now wife and mother of my children. It an extension to the memory box I have from my photos. Like my photo, I have been hoarding message since 2008… almost every one of them. Transferred from phone to phone in one way or another; I couldn’t even comprehend how many messages that is over the years (4.9GB according to my iCloud storage) but more importantly just about every message gives meaning to the photos taken over the years.

Photos already offer Memories with additional improvements due later this year but it only offers memories from Photos. What I’m looking for next from Apple is to integrate these two collections into one LifeLog so that not only can I look back over the images in my memory box but also the context of what was happening from the communications in my life even if it is just how many time me and my wife have messaged each other to pass the toilet roll.

 

Apple Watch – On it’s feet

I personally find the Apple watch my goto bit a tech on a daily basis. I actually own two. Now before you start thinking “what a show off” I actually didn’t buy them myself, (although I did buy my wife one) one was a gift from work colleagues and the other was given to me by Apple.

Apple Watch

I work in retail, mobile phone retail to be more precise and having the watch is such a good tool in my day to day. Being able to leave my phone “out back” but still being connected to all my notifications is invaluable. I also use it to run test calls and texts when dealing with service queries. The activity rings are always my goto benchmark to see if I have been doing enough at work. Basically if I sit down for more than five minutes I know I’m not working hard enough or motive enough to be in the right frame of mind for my customers (motion creates emotion).

I honestly wouldn’t be without one. I thought that it was just my particular job and my Apple Fan boy approach to the tech that made the device so appealing; not according to Quartz.

“Many service-industry jobs where employees have to be on their feet all day don’t allow workers to check their phones while they’re on the clock. But that rule doesn’t necessarily apply to a piece of unobtrusive jewelry that happens to let you text your friends and check the weather.”

They have rightly pointed out that although the marketing for Apple Watch is currently focused on health it may be better focused on the more basic functions of the watch like notifications and communications for people that work in retail or any job where they are on their feet.

News link: Quartz

iPhone 4.1/5

I’m not going to say that I I’m some kind of super reliable authority on the crazy world of Apple rumors however I have made an observation over the last week that may have some merit on the pending and imminent release of the iPhone 5/4.1.

I work in retail for a major Mobile phone company and have done so for some time. 11 years to be exact. Part of my job involves managing stock allocation with in own little domain. If I work back to 6 June 2010; the day that the iPhone 4 was announced by apple the stock situation for the iPhone 3Gs 16GB was already falling off the edge. What I mean by this is that around 3 months before there was a noticeable drop in stock allocations for the 3GS combined with a push on offers on the older 3g model.

Apple don’t normally communicate stock level allocations. Basically you don’t get much of a chance to see what stock you are going to get from apple until you actually have it. You place your order for units and then you get what your given. Often you get exactly what you have asked for; but not all the time. Over the last 3 weeks the stock situation on the iPhone 4 and 3Gs 8GB has been a nightmare.

Offer around the iPhone 3Gs 8GB have been running in force across most UK networks for the last month and I have seen about a 80% drop in iPhone stock on last allocation.

yesterday all Pre-pay stock of all iPhones models was reallocated for contract stock. Stock rooms across UK mobile retailer are emptying of iPhone stock.

This could have been just the retailer that I work for. No. I have spoken to contacts within all of the major high street mobile retailers and they are give or take a little in the same situation.

The pressure is building; a storm is about to be unleashed.

We all know this already unless you have been sleeping under a rock or just don’t give a crap. The overall consensus however is that we are looking at a new iPhone 5 and that we are looking at a “fall” release along with iOS 5.

l think we are going to see something else happen.

Based on the current stock levels and and the beta stage for iOS 5. Its clear that something new is in the pipe lines. One issues is however that we have not seen any massive reliable information regarding new bodywork for the iPhone. Something that would be hard for apple to hide. The nightmare Apple had with the great iPhone leak of 2010 when an employee lost his iPhone in a bar will make apple extra careful this time around but with the current storm building people will be looking for the leaks.

With nothing solid going on in that department it would suggest that something else is happening. They are going to be using most of the same parts they have now. An easy update on the camera, a quick switch on the glass on the back of the iPhone 4 and finish it off with a iPad 2 processor. They could update the screen without any information leaking out as most display manufactures are spitting out small high end screen like they are going out if fashion without any idea who the hell they are making them for. Smaller memory chip would allow for an easy storage update and you are done. A new, but not so new iPhone 4.1

discontinuation of the iPhone 3Gs 8GB; a new iPhone 4 8GB and the release of a new iPhone 4.1 32GB and 64GB.

The 2 best things about the iOS4 update

So the update is out.

Apple’s servers have managed to cope with the massive influx of people downloading and updating there iPhone’s.  As well and the larger volume of App updates to ready for multitasking.

Here is what I think are the best two things about the new update.

1. Everyone that is not getting an iPhone 4 will feel like that have just got a new phone out of their iPhone 3Gs running iOS4.

2. iBooks with PDF’s, a little bit of software called Calibre and torrent sites.

Well the best things so far.

The Great iPhone Shortage of 2010

Following on from my post yesterday – iPhone 4 out of stock from the 24th

It seems that the stock levels for the iPhone 4 on O2 are going to be a big fail…. Maybe they shouldn’t have bothered with all them pre orders they have been taking.

UK iPhone 4 Stock “Extremely Limited” – O2 Reserve Handsets for Existing Customers Only

However it also seems that I may have got it wrong on Apple’s large supplies of the handset.

Tech World reports that the handset has already sold out in the whole of the UK and the US till 2nd July before it even hit the shelf.

Unlucky.

In other news I will get my hands on the new device to play with before the 24th release!

I ROCK!

iPhone 4 out of stock from the 24th

7 days to go till the launch of the iPhone 4 and people are clocking up a large wedge of pre orders.  Apple reported 600,000 pre orders for the new iPhone, the largest number of pre orders ever. This is great news for the success of Apple’s newly designed iPhone however can they actually deal with the kind of volume customers are asking for in such a short time?

Apple is going to release the handset in five countries on June 24th.  That’s going to be a fuck load of iPhone’s.  In the UK O2, Vodafone, “3” and Orange are going to be selling the handset from day one.  The first three networks have all been taking pre orders left, right and centre; however the largest mobile company in the UK “Everything, Everywhere” (E2) that controls both Orange and T-Mobile are not, but why not?

E2 are in a position to release the iPhone 4 on the T-Mobile and Orange networks however there is no sign of doing so on T-Mobile from launch day.  They have been jumping up and down about getting the handset out on Orange, they ever email customer to let them know pre orders were going to start; then took a step back.

This could be the craziest marketing ploy ever, it could just be one big fuck up or it could be something else.

I think that Apple’s iPhone warehouses are as empty as my wallet the day before payday. 

Orange have a choice; they could take a large volume of pre orders then try to get the handsets out of door as quick as they can. The only issue with this is none of the people with pre orders are going to give a crap about any of the other handsets Orange sell while customers wait for there number to get called.  The other manufacturers start to get pissed off that the network is not shifting their products.  If the wait is a long one customers also started to get pissed off. 

The real reason that Orange isn’t taking any pre orders?  Apple is sending them 6 handsets in the first month, one for each region of the UK. If you not getting the stock then you need to make sure its business as usual then you just sell them as you get them.  They would still get bogged down with customers asking for the stock but by not pretending that you are able to supply every man and his dog you don’t piss off every man, just his dog.  Wouldn’t they just loose loads of customers?  Not if the other networks are in the same situation.  They can only sell the stock they get. 

When the stock does start to hit the stock rooms and warehouses the customers that have been waiting for ages for their networks to “Fulfil my fucking pre order” they have already started to look around.   That would be when Orange takes the deal.

Clever but risky move from Orange, Apple however are the true winner. 

I think that Apple’s iPhone warehouses are as empty as my wallet the day before payday, except the triple storey super warehouse that stocks the Apple Stores.

My guess is there stockrooms are going to be bursting to the seams with nice, shiny new iPhone 4’s to buy.  It maybe at a premium but with the middleman cut out of the mix it’s going to be a big fat wedge of profit through the tills of Apple stores all over the UK.  Also during the “great iPhone 4 shortage of 2010” a chance for them to get each and every person that walks into a Apple Store…  

“would you like a [insert iProduct] with that!”

New OS Install? What’s your first Apps?

Today I treated myself to the Snow Leopard OS X upgrade.  Since I was upgrading I thought I may as well just so with a fresh installation.

The first thing to do was to back up my documents, music and Photos.  Two hours later and it was time to complete a fresh installation of Leopard followed by the Snow Leopard upgrade.   Another three hours later; move everything back (+ two hours of software updates) then for the next step I got thinking….

What are the first Applications you install on a fresh OS install?

I’m guessing most people start with there Web Browser of choice (I use Firefox) then staring running through your own chose of apps.

I was wondering what are the first apps you would install in a new system?

Answers in the comments below.

Not Going for Apple

When you work in retail and you are is passionate about Apple’s product there is no greater prestige than getting the opportunity to work for Apple retail.  With only 20 stores in the UK jobs for the Retailer are few and far between and when living in the North East you have no opportunity’s available to you at all.  Well that was until now.  The only problem is that it doesn’t feel very “Apple”.
When you think about buying an Apple product you want to make sure you are getting the best advise available to you and heading in to an Apple store is always the place to get it.  When you live in the North East of England you have to make do with the resellers; John Lewis, Fenwick of Newcastle, Carphone Warehouse, Currys and PC World to name a few.  When you buy from a reseller you don’t get the same passion in the products that you would get from individuals that work in the Apple stores.  Their product knowledge is reasonable but its diluted by the volume of other products that they have to focus on.  Apple staff basically, live and breathe Apple.  The Apple Stores surrounding environment match the company’s passion for great design and this rubs off on every person that walks through the doors of these stores.
My own passion for Apple products is so great that when a friend decided that when a job with Apple was not for them they thought of me for the role.  I live in the North East of England, so with no Apple Stores to be seen; what was the job position?

Design for the planned Apple Concessions at PC World
Design for the planned Apple Concessions at PC World

PC World are going to be rolling out Apple Concessions into their stores that are in locations outside of the catchment area of Apples own stores.  The difference in this compared to PC World’s normal Apple product displays is that they are going to be manned by Apple employees instead of PC World staff.  These “Lone Rangers” are going to be masters of their own space within the PC World stores.  Their role  “bring new customers to the Apple brand and increase the sale of computers to users who currently do not own a Macintosh computer and first time personal computer buyers”.
I do think that this is a good move for Apple.  Driving revenue and Brand awareness come hand in hand.  Having a higher profile for the Apple brand can be nothing more than a good thing for Apple.  These concessions will improve Brand awareness to people that may have not considered buying an Apple product.
So what about my application for the job?  Well, I won’t be applying.
My reason for not applying despite Apple being one of the only retailers that I would consider leaving my current employer for?  As one of my friends pointed out “would you take a job trying to sell fine wines in Lager World” The answer is no!  Apple does have a need to increase their outlet locations but I don’t believe that this is the way to do it.  People that shop at PC World, shop there because they want a bargain not quality.  Apple is quality and although I see a need to encourage new people to buy the Apple brand and these concessions will help towards that; if you’re the person on the front line being paid a commission on selling a brand that you love, to a customer base that is focused on budget; it just doesn’t work.
In time I do hope that this changes the PC World customer base and open their eyes to the same passion I have for Apple and its products but for now I will continue to sell Apple products the same way I always have.  Sharing my passion and excitement for Apple products to encourage my friends and family to make the switch.

Do you think I’m right in not applying?

Would you buy an Apple product from a PC World conssesion?

Apple going to change the UK mobile market

Apple have been technology trend setters for a number of years; notable so since the launch of the iPod.  Now with the launch of the iPhone in the US and its imminent release across Europe Apple are not only setting trends but are also going to chance the Mobile Market Place in the UK.

The mobile market in the UK is very competitive with 6 main mobile network (Virgin, 3, Vodafone, O2, Orange and T-Mobile) and many other virtual networks (Tesco, Asda and Fresh).  You also don’t have to walk very far to find  mobile phone retailer on the high street. The main 6 operators sign customers up to a 18 months contracts and pay a commission to the retailer.  This commission allows the retailer to discount the cost of handsets normally reduced to free, this means deals can look very attractive for the customer.  The problem is the profit that retailer are making is reduced more and more as the price of handsets go up.  The networks are pushing for longer contract lengths so they can give higher commissions to the retailers allowing them to discount better handsets, contract lengths used to be 12 months.  The biggest problem with this is handset manufacturers are making bigger and better phone that all cost more money.  Mobile plans are not getting any cheaper because customer expect the get their phones for free and this means that the networks all keep there prices at a level where they can cover the cost of the handsets (commission to the retailer) and make as much profit as they can.

Now along comes Apple and the iPhone.  Apple are pushing a geniuses proposal to the networks that wants to sell its phone.  Like Apple do with their other electronics they keep the price set; most Apple product are the same price no matter where you buy them and they want it to be the same for the iPhone.  This means that you will buy the iPhone at the set Apple price,  About £250.

Dose that means is the retailer are going to make a much larger profit from selling a iPhone? Wrong!  Apple know that their products are very sort after and thus the network that gets the exclusive deal to sell the iPhone will also get a bucket full of new customers.  Apple are making sure they get some of the extra money the networks are going to make.  The agreement with the network (probably O2) is that Apple will get about 10% of the revenue from every customer that buys a iPhone, they will also make a profit from the purchase price of the phone itself.  They are not going to allow the retailer/networks to discount the phone in anyway!  Apple, as always have negotiated themselves into a tremendous deal and the fact that customers will have to pay for the phone probably won’t hurt there sales either.

Like it or not but this could be the best thing to happen to the mobile industry in the UK.

Even with the 10% of the customers revenue going to Apple, the networks are still going to make a lot more money from selling the iPhone.  The average mobile handset costs about £250 and commission to the retailer is around £350.  Networks profit for a 18 months contract is about £370 after paying the retailer their commission.  When the retailer is no longer discounting the phone the network can easily reduce the commission they pay down from £350 to about £70.  This won’t hurt the retailer that much as they should make a small profit from the handset sale itself, about £30.  So the retailer will make about £100, round the same as they were before.  The network will make about £585 profit after paying Apple there 10% that’s a extra £215 ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) and lets be honest a customer that buys a iPhone are not going to be average, their is a much higher chance of making more money from a customer with a high end handset; additional data based applications on the phone will drive up customers use.  It is with all this is mind that triggers the change to the mobile industry.

When the other handset manufactures see how Apple are selling their phone and when it inevitably turn out to be very profitable for them, things are going to change.

The number of very high end handset in the market place is not known to the majority of customers due to the fact that they have to pay to get these handsets.  Due to the costs involved with these high end phones, few retailers focus on selling them, this is due to the “I want it for Free” mentality of the customer, from the retailers point of view “Why try to push the high end handsets that customers would have to pay for, when we can simply push the low end phones that we can discount to free”.

This has meant that most high end phone are geared towards the business customers (Nokia Communicator, HTC Exec, XDA etc) with very little features for the “Fun loving” customers with plenty of money.  Most of these handset are very much based on productivity with email, Spreadsheets, Word Processing and Organisation; however the trend for most of the “Fun loving” customers is a mix of these “Microsoft Gray” features with web applications, music, video and games.  The iPhone is a step in the right direction for these customers but if more manufactures focused on combining all of this with good design and the Apple pricing method there would be able to push peoples to take higher end devices and allowing them to build a better handset without cutting corners when it comes to quality.  Also in this age of technology more and more people are wanting “Hi Tech” for personnel use. Again the network could support the handsets with a better multi media tariffs, giving the customer more of a reason to pay the higher cost for the handset.  With the handset manufacturers on board and the networks support the mobile market could move forward to the next step; based on quality handsets and better pricing for the customer.  I am a big believer in the impact that Apple are going to have on the mobile phone industry in the UK with the introduction of the iPhone and the “Apple method” of selling its phones; however I also believe that a number of other thing are going to change over the next year.

My predictions for the change in the industry are:

1 – More high end handset sold using the “Apple Method”.

  • There is no reason why this should not happen, it may not occur across all phones but almost certainly with Key high end devices.

2 – More SIM only contract with little or no contract tie ins.

  • People have a much shorter fuss when it come to dealing with bad service or high bills.  Normally the high bills are due to the customer not fully understanding how tariffs work (i.e. high line rental=lower bills) so they connect to low line rent tariff thinking it will make their bills lower.  When a customer gets bad service or high bill they want to jump ship to another network quickly. SIM only deal with pick up the jumpers that will still have there handset.  Also there are a number of customer that just want the best handset available and don’t want to wait to get it, they buy direct from the manufactories then want a good deal but the mainstream offers include a handset that they just don’t want.
  • Mid to High end Pre Pay customers have a phone but don’t like “Toping up” all the time. Cheap SIM deals with help them make the switch.

3 – Converged Services

  • Multi service tie ins.  Broadband, Mobile, Landline, Petrol, Banking, Shopping, Insurance, Mortgages.  With more and more companies with fingers in every dirty little pie they can get there 25 fingered hands on,  Multi service can mean a overall big discount for the customer and more money for the Network / Company.  Virgin Media (Mobile, Land Line, Broadband and T.V. for £40) are the first to do this well and I’m sure we will see a number of other companies doing similar using the mobile services as the anchor with the aim being people as less likely to go to another provider when they are getting discounts on multiple service..

4 – The End of GSM

  • WiFi enable devices will take over the standard mobile market place, another reason why manufactures should move away from the low cost subsidised GSM / 3G handsets.Apple going to change the UK mobile market