Independence From Smartphones

As an electronics laggard, I just bought my first smartphone a little over three months ago. The world has become so much more accessible since becoming a part of the iPhone family. I know the weather, find out how my friends are doing, go shopping, text, and more all before getting out of bed in the morning. However, over the Fourth of July holiday, I went “Up North” to Hale, Mich. for five days. While you are suppose to enjoy nature and get away from society for a few days when on vacation, I found myself constantly checking up with everything I left behind because Grandma and Grandpa Conrad decided to get WiFi. For the first time since getting my smartphone, I wished that I left it at home.

Photo Credit: Mike Licht Via: Flickr Creative Commons

Is my smartphone taking over my life? It has been reported that smartphone owners check their devices over 150 times during the average 16 hours people are awake during the day. This constant need to check on what everyone else is doing, posting and saying distracted me from enjoying the beautiful lake house I was staying in. Apparently, 84% of people worldwide say they cannot go a single day without their phones and sadly I have become part of this statistic.

My questions is, why couldn’t I put my phone down or turn it off? According to Judson Brewer of Yale’s Therapeutic Neuroscience Clinic, people are addicted to their phones for the same reason many are addicted to gambling. Cellular Devices comply with the associative learning pathway of human brains, and this makes us feel good or bad depending on the situation. When gambling, people do not know when they are going to win and this makes winning even more fun when it happens. When using smartphones, we don’t know when we are going to get a notification or what it is going to say. This triggers excitement within us, causing addiction to our devices.

I love having a smartphone because it connects me with the rest of society. Entertainment and information combined make having a smartphone so convenient and enjoyable. However, the addiction we have with our smartphones need to be controlled. Next year, I plan on leaving my phone at home while I enjoy what the physical world has to offer.

News flash for your smartphone!

More and more photos are being taken every day since the majority of smartphones have become our digital cameras. Many cameras have great pixel qualities; you can edit it and with Instagram even add effects to make your photo unique. However, there is still one problem with dark photos – the lack of a good flash. The evening is one of the times people socialize and interact the most and if you there isn’t good lighting around, your photos won’t turn out great.

Well, the problem might be over. The iblazr mobile phone flash is developing a product to be compatible with iOS and Android devices that gives the ability to take higher quality pictures at night. Another great aspect of this product is that it works effectively for both photos and videos.

As soon as people start using this product, we should be seeing a lot more pictures and videos in social networks taken in the evening. This new feature comes at a great time for Vine, as well as Instagram, who has launched video sharing capabilities.

by iblazr

by iblazr

People will be able to take more pictures during music concerts, inside a movie theater, and during special occasions like evening fireworks during the fourth of July and New Years.

This external accessory is connected in the audio jack of your smartphone and it also has its own battery so it won’t consume your smartphone’s power. The iblzar flash is only 10mm thick. It would be perfect for digital marketing agencies especially those that might be on a budget and are still looking to give their employees the ability to take quality photos and videos with their smartphone.

There is no official date set for the release of this product or of the price of this product, but this is something people can look forward to. Do you think you would use this new accessory? If so, share your thoughts below!

 

Google Maps for iOS is already a success

In case you missed it (and I doubt you did, but anyway), according to a Google+ post from Jeff Huber, he SVP of Geo and Commerce at Google, the Google Maps app for iOS was downloaded more than 10 million times in the first 48 hours of its launch, making it a huge success already! In fact, it became the top free app in the App Store just hours after debuting. I’m not going to lie, I downloaded it as soon as I found out.

“We’re excited for the positive reception of Google Maps for iPhone around the world. Congratulations to the Maps Team on the recognition for the passion and hard work they poured into it, for this release and over the last 7+ years.”

The Google Maps app made its debut after several months of rumors about a forthcoming app after it was removed from iOS 6 and replaced by an Apple-made mapping program that was not popular with users. Personally, I had no issues with it aside from the lack of public transportation integration, but Google’s app seems just as polished as the Apple-integrated one. What do you think? Have you downloaded the new Google Maps on your iPhone already? I know everybody at this particular social media agency has.

Marketing via Instagram

Personally, I love reading how brands interact with their customers, and there’s tons of ways to do so with all of the social networks people are on these days, but one I never would have thought of?

You probably know what Instagram is, but if not, it is a photo-sharing mobile app that allows you to put vintage filters and effects on your photos. You can follow others, gain followers, “like” photos, and even hashtag them, making them searchable, just like hashtagging tweets. There are a few companies that are capitalizing on the uniqueness and flexibility of Instagram and using it for their marketing and branding, but letting users make it their own.

Tiffany & Co.
Last year, Tiffany’s launched an Instagram campaign that has the bonus of gaining three new filters for following them – Tiffany’s blue, peach, and black and white. This campaign also calls for users to post pictures of themselves with their significant other, tagged with the hashtag #TrueLovePictures.  Tiffany & Co has also set up a website that gives a live-updating website called True Love in Pictures that shows a selection of pictures from Instagram. Not only is this allowing Tiffany & Co. fans to take part in the experience, but it always gives them relevant content.

Comodo
A Latin American restaurant in NYC’s Soho, Comodo, has made the dining experience a social one, too, by inviting diners to take photos of their meals (as Instagrammers are wont to do) and tag it with #ComodoMenu, allowing their guests to “see” dishes and help them decide what they want, and seeing what their friends recommend.

There are a few other companies taking the relatively untouched marketing territory of Instagram, but a social media agency could do a lot to engage fans of a brand by making it interactive and letting fans engage creatively like this.

iPhone 5: iOS 6 Changes Worth it?

On September 19th, Apple pushed its new iOS 6 software live. With iOS 6, came five big changes: Maps, Siri, Camera, Mail, and Passbook. Out of these changes, the changes with iOS Maps App is by far the one that has the most controversy. Google Maps, which was a pre-loaded feature, has been completely taken off the home screen of the iPhone. Once re-downloaded, the iOS Maps, now controlled by Apple and not Google, is missing points of interest feature, Google transit directions and street images. To say that’s not enough change, the Maps gives inaccurate and incorrect destinations, for instance saying that a farm in Dublin was in fact an airport, which can cause major miscommunication dilemmas for pilots.

Though iOS Maps seems to have the most controversy, the other changes have a more positive note to them. Siri can now tweet, facebook, and make reservations for you. The new Camera feature is by far the most fun to play around with. Now, users can take panoramic shots of different places they visit to the people they are with.

The Mail App now allows you to attach photos and videos straight through the app, which was not possible before. Lastly, a new pre-loaded feature on the iOS 6 software is Passbook, which allows users to be more organized when it comes to storing, boarding passes, tickets, store cards, and coupons. But the Passbook app does not automatically transfer tickets and coupons into its app, users have to download the ticket vendor’s app, the airline company’s app, or the store’s app before they can start storing their information in this app.

The biggest changes to iOS 6, to say the least, give users a mixed feeling about them. Only users can judge themselves, if they like these new features are beneficial to them. It will be interesting to see how these new features affect internet marketing’s fast-paced life.

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?