Tagged: Apple

A Field Review of the OneSimCard

Note: There’s an update to this post. More information for 2014 is here!

I recently traveled to Europe for business, and wanted to stay connected with my family and friends in the US while I was over there. And since I have a smartphone, I also wanted to have affordable data access at good speeds. After a little research, I stumbled upon the OneSimCard as a possible solution. It’s a SIM card solution that gives you a Estonian phone number and utilizes roaming arrangements to keep costs down in a lot of different countries (according to their site, they cover more than 200!). It was a great solution to my needs, but watch that meter closely!
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Compromises and 2012 (or why I love my MacBook Air)

A profile shot of the MacBook Air, rev. late 2010.
Image courtesy of CNET Asia.

An article on TUAW about the history of the MacBook Air prompted me to think back in early 2010, when I was comparison shopping for a lightweight laptop. My search had come down to four choices:

  • the Toshiba Portégé M800,
  • the Panasonic Y5,
  • the Lenovo ThinkPad X301, and
  • the MacBook Air.

At the time, these light-weight machines were premium-priced products that were selling between $2000 and $3000. So only after painfully extended deliberation did I order the Lenovo X301 because of its inclusion of the DVD drive. However, Lenovo cancelled my order in the spring of 2010. And that has made all the difference.
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A Legacy for 2011

This year has been a sad one for technology. First, it was Ken Olsen in February, the founder of DEC. Then just today, it was Steve Jobs. Both men played their role in pioneering advances in technology, but the thing I take away from these two is that they sought to make things both simpler and better. Thank you both, Ken and Steve, for having made this world a better place through your vision.

How PayPal and Google are laying out the red carpet for Apple

Image courtesy of ontask.caFrom Mike Issac at Wired, PayPal and Google have been making waves this year with the combination of NFC technology and innovations in the payments space. And to Mike’s point, “Silicon Valley wants you to do away with your old, beat-up leather wallet”. However, all of this tech is still reliant on your credit card as an intermediary to payment. This is where Apple comes in.
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Apple’s iOS subscription plan: nothing to do with subscriptions

From this Reuters article:

“We don’t want to lose our direct relationship with our subscribers. It’s at the core of our business model,” Rob Grimshaw told Reuters in an interview on Monday.

To give you, fair reader, some context: Apple’s 30% cut of subscription revenues is a decoy statement, not the real deal like John Gruber states. In fact, it masks the real reason why Apple’s instituting this policy (from this article):

“Customer data for in-app subscribers will remain with Apple, generally speaking, but customers will have the option to send their name, email address, and zip code to publishers. (Opt-in, not opt-out.)”

And the reason why this is important: it’s estimated that 35% of a high-quality content publisher’s revenues come from subscriptions, whereas 65% of revenues come from advertisers.1,2 If advertisers can’t rely on publishers for reliable demographic/ethnographic data, they won’t justify paying premiums to the publishers. Publishers in turn will get their 65% of revenues knocked down. And who wins? Definitely not the publishers.

Bottom line: Know your business model, quality publishers, because even the pundits get it wrong! Apple is threatening the very survival of curated content on their platform with this approach.

The App Store “Gatekeeper” – Arbiter or Observer?

Before we explore this idea further, I’d like to point out that Apple’s App Store is unique as an entity, but hardly any different from Handango or BPlay. These portals which supported many mobile devices and PDAs aggregated downloadable software offerings for users to load onto their (sometimes, at the time) connected devices. With this context, it is interesting that this Wall Street Journal article discusses two distinct issues that the interactive community has faced for a while: What is the line that moderators/gatekeepers/administrators must adhere to, and who determines that line?
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The Design of User Interfaces and Scaling to Content

Apple is a fantastic case study for a topic like this and I would start off by comparing the new Shuffle (3G) versus the prior version.

Controls The 2G Shuffle The 3G Shuffle
Primary Input 5 buttons (press or press-hold variations) 3 buttons (click, hold, or multiple click variations)
Feedback Method Visual (LEDs) Visual (LEDs), Audio

Scaling the controls to the content is extraordinarily important and the problem here is that for 10 functions, one product uses 5 buttons and the other uses 3. Continue reading