Much Anticipated iPhone 5 Announced

As you probably already are aware, the iPhone 5 was announced yesterday. The device has been a long time coming, especially after the 4S release last October that many consumers thought was going to be the 5. Tim Cook kicked off the keynote with an update about Apple’s retail presence. Although Apple’s new Barcelona store looked amazing, I don’t know about you, but I was anxious to hear about the new iPhone. Eventually, Cook went on to describe the new device. The new iPhone will have a display larger than its predecessor. The display is a gorgeous 4-inch retina display with a 16:9 aspect ratio – perfect for watching movies! It is 18% thinner than the iPhone 4s and 20% lighter. iPhone 5 will work on 4G LTE networks, meaning blazing fast download times. Some other notable new features are an improved camera, faster processor, and a new dock connecter named “Lightning”.

The iPhone 5 will be available for pre-order on September 14, and it ships on September 21, the same day the device is available for purchase at retail outlets. It holds the same pricing scheme as the previous model, with the base model starting at $199 for 16 GB. I know I will be pre-ordering the device. Although I know I want one, and it is certainly one of the best smartphones currently on the market, I can’t help but have the same view as Wired’s Mat Honan. The iPhone 5 manages to be both amazing and boring at the same time. All of the updates are what were expected (or similar), and nothing revolutionary was announced. However, I will still be purchasing the device and am super excited about it, and so is one of my co-workers at the digital agency. Is the smartphone market becoming so saturated, that we are no longer thrilled by something that has become so embedded in our daily lives?

Kidney Exchanged for Apple iPad 2

The phrase, “that’s going to cost me an arm and a leg,” typically means something is going to cost a large sum of money. For 17-year-old Zheng, a high school freshman in China, that expression took on a more literal meaning…only a Kidney.

Zheng really wanted an iPad 2, but didn’t have enough money so he did the unthinkable and sold his kidney. I’ll repeat that. He sold his his kidney. The majority of student’s would save up for this kind of purchase but Zheng couldn’t wait. After coming in contact with a kidney-selling agent on the internet he decided that risking his life for 20,000 yen ($3K USD) was a pretty great deal. Zheng had the operation, received his money and returned home with more than one new Apple gadget.

Photo: MyChinaViews.com

His mother became very suspicious and reported her son to authorities, ultimately exposing Zheng’s secret kidney transplant.The hospital Zheng claims to have had his surgery at is denying any connection to the 17-year-old and authorities haven’t been able to contact any one involved in the organ transplant fiasco.

It seems Zheng is getting the last laugh here as he enjoys his new toys. After reading this article I wondered how many illegal organ transplants go unreported? Who are the recipients of these organs? Are the iphone mobile applications worth it? How far would you go to get what you wanted? I just hope Zheng doesn’t find another organ-selling agent online and another part of his body to sell in a year when his Apple gadgets are out of date.

The Next Web: Chinese student reportedly sells his kidney to buy an iPad 2

The iPad 2 is out… and I think I want one.

So I don’t know if you’ve heard or not, it’s been surprisingly quite for an Apple event, but the iPad2 was released today. I was hearing mixed “pre-release” reviews, which, in hindsight, were stupid to even read, since Apple is always able to keep at least some of their new under wraps, and I was in the state of mind that this new iPad was just a basic software update and some new cameras. I guess that’s all it was really, but it is much cooler than they lead me to believe. Anyway, here are all the new features that make this iPad something I’d be interested in paying $500 for.

1. Smaller and Lighter

This is pretty self explanatory. They cut the thickness of the iPad by 30%, and made it a little bit lighter. Not a big deal. What they did do that makes it better is that changed the shape. It no longer has that uncomfortable square edge that the first iPad had. It’s not shaped more like the iPod Touch.

2. Hardware update

They did update all of the “guts” to make it 9x faster and capable of better graphics and higher resolutions. They say it’s supposed to make movies, and games much more enjoyable to play/watch.

3. Dual Facing cameras with Facetime

So this was the main thing people were complaining about with the first iPad, and it was also the thing everyone knew was going to be fixed for this round. They installed two cameras, one on the front and one on the back, which shoots HD video, and paired them with FaceTime, their new video chat program. It looks to be pretty cool, and fairly fluid. Your are also able to use iMovie with this iPad, which is cool. This definitely, in my opinion, takes the iPad from giant iPhone that doesn’t make calls to a small Macbook.

4. Video Mirroring

This is a cool new feature that allows you to plug your iPad into your TV and use it on the larger screen. This is great for watching movies, or TV shows, or playing games from your iPad on your TV, and you can do it all in full 1080p HD.

4. New Smart Covers

This might be my favorite thing about the new iPad. What this is is a cover that magnetically attaches to your iPad to keep the screen safe without adding considerable size and weight to it. It seems kind of ridiculous that this is my favorite, but it is the little extra thing that solves so many of our problems. First, it is magnetic, so it can be removed and attached with little to no effort. Second, it’s lined with microfiber cloth, so it keeps your screen scratch free, and cleans it at the same time. Third, it is segmented so it can fold up and be used as an iPad stand for watching movies or typing. Finally, in a truly Apple touch, it comes in 10 colors! See, I told you it was awesome. This one little thing solves so many problems.

Oh, did I mention that they added all of this stuff without lowering it’s battery life? It still gets 10 hours per charge. Oh and you can get it in white.

I never wanted an iPad before; it was expensive, and didn’t do anything that my iPhone or Macbook Pro couldn’t do better. Now it does things as good, or better than the other two but without the size of the Macbook, and with a much larger screen than my little iPhone. Now I just have to convince my fiancé to let me get one…

Now we wait for the iPhone 5.

Taking a Piece of the Apple Back

Apple announced on Tuesday its new guidelines to App Store for publishers. Applications will be working the same for users, it is the rules for publishers where the changes have been made. There are many apps available that charge subscriptions fees; either weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, semiannually, and annually; therefore these companies (who have created the apps) are consistently making money off of their content. Since creating the platforms (iPhone, iPad, and the iTouch) in which all the information is communicated on, Apple decided that it should be getting a piece of the funds being made by these companies, I mean after all these companies would have subscribers if is wasn’t for Apple…right? The new policy follows these guidelines, as long as users are purchasing the apps from the App Store, Apple will be taking the 30% cut of the purchases being made to the from subscription applications.

image provided by: zedomax.com

The publishers of the content driven apps are 100% free to make the subscription to their applications available on their own site, and this is where Apple cannot take a cut from the information.  However, according to Apples new app policy, unless a users sign up for the app on the publisher’s site, publishers cannot provide in-app links for customers sign up outside of the App Store. Therefore these companies would have to get users to go directly to their site to avoid losing some of their profits to Apple. Many of the people who currently run these apps are worried they won’t be able to survive, and are also unsure as what Apple will do in the future…who’s to say the won’t try taking a bigger cut from profits made by theses content driven subscription applications.  Has this

It is hard to figure out who do side with on this matter, to me it make sense that Apple would be taking a cut, because without having the technology created by them none of the companies would be able to be gaining profits. Although if you are thinking about it from the perspective of the app creators, who are building content for readers to have daily, weekly or monthly, publishers are the ones creating the content for readers to subscribe in the first place. Maybe you’ll think a little differently next time you are purchasing one of your apps for the App Store or directly from the publisher.

New Apple Rumors!

With the recent introduction of the Verizon iPhone weeks old, we are now able to move on to the next set of Apple announcements. Most assume that the next event will bring about the unveiling of the much anticipated iPhone 5, but there have been rumors about other products that might be announced, along rumors about different features that might be included on the iPhone 5. These are some of my favorites

iPhone Nano

According to Mashable, who has talked with someone that is close to Apple, there is a mini iPhone that “he has had his hands on” . This would indicate that not only is it possible, but it would seem to be a fully developed concept. The iPhone Nano is said to be 1/3rd the size of the iPhone 4 and would utilize the Apple MobileMe service for data storage. It’s also said that it would start at $200 w/o a contract, which is about half off the price of a new iPhone. I’m not sure how they would be able to pull of a quality phone that small, but I’m sure I’ll want one.

iPad 2

Another popular rumor floating around is that the second generation iPad will be released this summer. There have rumors that there will be a smaller 7″ version, but most of those have been shot down. The prevailing theories is that they will be the same size, possibly with a shape similar to the iPhone 4, and will have dual cameras and an SD slot. Supposedly there are blueprints floating around that show a new shape, cameras, and the SD slot. It’s also rumored that the new line of devices, iPhone and iPad, will be flash compatible, which would allow you to run the internet properly, and play Farmville, on your device. I hope these rumors are true, because the iPad is a few features away from being a great piece of technology.

The next rumors have to deal with the iPhone and it’s fight with the Android phones for technological domination. There are several rumors flying around about possible iPhone 5 upgrades that would better position it against the Android phones

8-12 MP Camera

Another rumor that Mashable reported on was that the next generation iPhone will boast an 8-12 Megapixel camera. With Android phones offering cameras in the 8 MP range it’s important for Apple to catch up, and pass them if possible. There are cameras in Europe with 12+ MP cameras, so the technology is out there, so it’s not a question of whether or not the technology exists, it’s just whether or not Apple will want it.

Larger Screen

Another area where the Android phones are superior to the iPhone is screen size. Many of the Android phones have 4″ screens, and consequently have been praised for their multimedia capabilities. There are rumors that the iPhone 5 will bump up to a 4″ screen to compete with the other phones. I think that would be great, and would make the iPhone a much more versatile phone that won’t be so difficult to use for surfing the web and playing games.

Physical Keyboard

This rumor is less likely than the other, but it’s worth being mentioned. With the advancements of the touch keyboards on the current phones, it isn’t likely to see this, but if they decide to keep their screen small, or even shrink it, it’s possible that this would be a good idea. We’ll see

This is what I hope for.

I know these might all be totally false, but it’s fun to speculate. Whatever Apple ends up doing this summer, we can be sure that it will be awesome.

Steve Jobs Takes Medical Leave

The day after Steve Jobs announced that he was taking a medical leave, Apple’s stock fell 2.25%. This is the second time in 2 years that he has taken a medical leave, and Apple’s stock has dropped significantly both times. So, what does this mean for Apple? The consequences might not be bad short-term, but this could effect the company in a few years from.

As the anticipated release of the iPad 2 and the new iPhone in a few months, the plans for those new devices are likely developed and ready to go. What about the innovation of new products? It appears that the public has little faith in Apple without the man behind the brand, Steve Jobs.

When new products are announced, many wonder who will present them if Jobs is not in the picture. People are infatuated by his notorious presentations; he is known to hypnotize his audience. Losing the product presentation  aspect of Apple could leave some people uninterested.

Apple is such a large company that it seems hard to believe that losing one person, even if it’s the face of Apple, could impact sales so drastically. Many tech guru’s are certain that the creation of new Apple products will succeed on their own, but it appears that the public likes the security of seeing Steve Jobs take part in all aspects of Apple products.

It’s hard to predict how the absence of Steve Jobs will directly impact the company in the long-run, but it appears that consumers of the brand have consistently little faith in Apple without him.

Who knew Accessories could be so much Fun!

I think we are all used to having accessories for our phones such as cases, car charger, hands free sets etc. but what if there was a way to have fun with all of these accessories. Well it was only a matter of time for someone to create accessories that would go along with the thousands of iPhone applications available on your iPhone and iPod touch. Hopefully for those serious gamers out there this will help you better interact with your iPhone and have a better gaming experience.

The Psyclone Thumbies seemed the most interesting to me they are for people who feel that using the touch screen isn’t quite amping up their gaming experience. The Psyclone Thumbies suction onto the screen of your iPhone where the virtual button are located. This allows gamers an experience related more towards their hand held sets at home.  (Cost $19.99)

image provided by: milo.com

Next is the Mophie Pulse which is similar to when Play Station and Nintendo came out with hand controllers that vibrated during certain actions while playing games, that is what Mophie offers fort he portable gamer. It also boots the audio of the game and makes you the gamer more interactive in the game.  (Cost TBD estimated at $100)

image provided by: gearlog.com

To finish is the iSound GameWheel which can be used for any of the race car apps such as Need for Speed. It is a real wheel which you place your iPhone in the middle of and use it to hit those hard turns while playing your favorite facing apps for iTunes.  (Cost $19.99)

image provided by: daydeal.com

These are all fun interactive accessories to add to you iPhone and use your iTunes apps with it just depends on what your favorite apps are to use and you can get your mobile gaming on.

How the Mac App Store Will Advance the Social Media Agenda

I’m sure you’ve heard by now about the app store that Apple has launched for Macs. It allows you to run your favorites iPhone apps right on your desktop. They have managed to take the brilliant “I always have something to entertain me” mentality of the iPhone, and put it where you want it most, on your computer, where most of us spend our days. Now I personally came up with idea months ago while sitting in my room wishing I could play Angry Birds on my Mac, but I guess that’s beside the point. With the new App store for the Mac you can now spend your free time playing Sudoku, or tweeting about this and that, or even planning your week’s outfits using the Dress Assistant App.

Now, apart from the frivolities offered by the numerous apps available, there is also excitement amongst social media enthusiasts everywhere. This new Apple creation offers the next significant advancement of the social media agenda. They now, or soon will, take all your favorite sites and social media pages, and make them stationary on your desktop. Once there they will come alive and turn your computer into a living organism; constantly updating and breathing all of the social media you love. It will become a friend, that tells you everything you want to know when you want to know it. You will not be able to live without it.

This preposition, from a marketing standpoint, offers advertisers an ideal scenario. Consider this:  You are sitting at your computer at work, it has been a long day, and you have settled into the work/surf-the-web part of your day. You have your work computer set up with all of your favorite pages, in app form, scattered across your desktop. Needing a break, you decide to sit back and watch all of these pages deliver to you any and all information you want to know. You relax as you find comfort in the latest funny tweet from Steve Martin , or a reassuring Facebook post from your mother, and you are once again at peace.

Now, as an advertiser, this presents you with an opportunity to create content for these apps and have them delivered to a curious, and captive audience at all times of the day, and at locations, (like at work for example) that you normally couldn’t reach them. Also, the Mac Apps offer another benefit; they offer the customizability, and specificity of iPhone apps without the limitations that the small phone has. I know, for me personally, I hate the ads on my phone for two reasons: first, they always show up at the most inopportune times, and second, they take up half of my screen. It is for these reasons, along with the fact that the screen is too small to do much meaningful web browsing, that I refuse to follow any of the links in the ads. This shouldn’t be nearly as much of a problem with the Mac Apps, just as long as they don’t make me sit through 20 second, full page, ads for a weight loss drug while I’m waiting for Angry Birds to load.

The Mac App store is truly a genius idea that will, like the apps on the iPhone, change the way we interact with the world, and the way the world interacts with us. It’s still in it’s infancy but I know that it will expand rapidly, and I’m excited to see where it goes from here.