Me and my laptop, strolling down the avenue

I like my laptop. I mean, I REALLY like my laptop. I was recently asked what is the one thing I couldn’t live without and I said, yes, “My laptop.” I wasn’t entirely kidding. I rely on it quite a bit in addition to things like, oh, food, water, oxygen, shelter, and clothing.

Image: freedigitalphotos.net

It’s hard to believe I didn’t own a laptop until about five years ago. “Are you crazy?” a friend asked me in my pre-laptop days. “Why don’t you have one? You seriously need one! It’s awesome!” I didn’t understand what she meant then, but I do now.

My laptop is my “all in one” device. I use it for practically everything related to creating and consuming media — Internet browsing, sending/receiving
e-mail, writing copy, editing video, watching DVDs, listening to music, etc.

Then, there’s the portability. I use my laptop at the digital marketing firm where I work, at home, the library, the coffee shop, etc. The fact that I can take it wherever aids in productivity — a change in location will usually reinvigorate me if I’m working on a project and I start to lose focus.

My first laptop was a Dell. I used it for a few years before buying a MacBook Pro. It was a huge upgrade! The difference is in the hardware — the screen is much clearer and brighter, the speakers are superior, the trackpad is easier to maneuver, there’s a built in memory card slot, etc. I’ve always liked Apple products, but I have so much more regard for them now.

It’s interesting how we form attachments to products. I take note when Apple introduces new merchandise and people wait outside the company’s stores for days to buy it. I can’t see myself doing that, but I do have some understanding why the company inspires such loyalty and even fanaticism. I spend so much time on my laptop doing so many different things that it’s hard not to feel at least some connection to both Apple products and the Apple brand.

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?

Google Purchases Motorola Mobility for $12.5 Billion

Google

About 8 months ago, Motorola split into two companies, Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions. Motorola Solutions offers communication solutions for enterprises and governments while Motorola Mobility focuses on consumers and manufacturing mobile devices, including those with the Droid brand.

Google has acquired Motorola Mobility for $40.00 per share in cash, or approximately $12.5 billion, a 63% premium to the closing price of Motorola Mobility on Friday, August 12, 2011.

While it is unusual for Google to purchase a hardware company, Andy Rubin, Senior Vice President of Mobile at Google, said in a statement released early Monday morning, “We expect that this combination will enable us to break new ground for the Android ecosystem. However, our vision for Android is unchanged and Google remains firmly committed to Android as an open platform and a vibrant open source community. We will continue to work with all of our valued Android partners to develop and distribute innovative Android-powered devices.”

CEO of Motorola Mobility, Sanjay Jha, said, “This transaction offers significant value for Motorola Mobility’s stockholders and provides compelling new opportunities for our employees, customers, and partners around the world.”

While Motorola is only one of many manufacturers that use Google’s Android software, other companies such as Samsung and HTC, will still be allowed to release phones with the Android software.

Google will now be in direct competition with Apple and Blackberry.

Google anticipates the transaction will close at the end of 2011 or beginning of 2012, and Motorola Mobility will run as a separate business.

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

iPad App Deja Revealed Today

iPad’s are awesome and the applications are even better. I read about Deja, a new and highly anticipated iPad application last night that released today. I woke up excited because Deja is said to be similar to one of my favorite and most used apps, Flipboard. Flipboard is an app that beautifully arranges a completely customizable database of a users favorite websites, Twitter, Flickr, magazines and other online publications into a newspaper or magazine like layout. Then allows you to “flip” through different pages and view organized content seamlessly within the app. It is said that Deja does for videos what Fliboard does for photos and text and that is something to be excited about, after all Flipboard was named, “App of the Year,” in 2010.

I downloaded the app this morning and was instantly attracted. Videos are extracted from my Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google and RSS accounts, then compiled into a sleek and user-friendly design. Videos are updated accordingly and the sharing option is easier than ever. Users can share content on Twitter, Facebook or to email. Deja is what an iPad app should look and feel like. The interface displays tiles you can swipe threw zoom in on, and watch. Deja has a feature called ‘fling,’ where you can take whatever video you’re watching via Deja on the iPad, and view it on a TV connected to Apple TV.

You can search and view video’s, easily make playlists, view related videos, save and share in one place. It is beautiful and innovative but also very new. There are a lot of bugs and Deja crashed on me almost every time I used the app. I usually get very frustrated when something doesn’t work but I think Deja has serious potential and I can put up with it for now. A lot of time, effort and $200K of funding went into the Apps development and I really don’t think it’s going to fail. I’m hoping that the iPad 2’s video recording capabilities will help provoke the development of an option to upload videos directly to Deja. I want more customizable options for account preferences and I am also wondering if there are any privacy concerns. Deja has the potential to be a great social media marketing tool and I am interested to see how the iPad application evolves.

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.

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.

The Verizon iPhone: Will it be worth it?

There is plenty of buzz around the web about the announcement of the iPhone coming to Verizon. Along with those articles are numerous predictions of the immediate demise of AT&T at the hands of Verizon. Everyone, me included, has been rather impatiently waiting for the day when we would have an iPhone alternative to AT&T’s horrible network. Well that time is now, and I find myself asking whether my immediate departure from my current plan is the best solution.

I have been reading up on this whole Verizon iPhone and the best article I’ve seen so far was on Mashable called “Why the Verizon iPhone Doesn’t Spell Distaster For AT&T”, by Ben Parr. It outlined the several reasons why switching to Verizon, while most likely the best option, should be considered more carefully. He pointed out that there are several factors that you might want to consider before making the switch. First, Apple has increased their early termination fee to try to dissuade customers from jumping ship early. Second, the iPhone that you have now will not work on Verizon’s network; so you will need to buy a new one. Third, Verizon may have better coverage, but they have a much slower 3G network, so you won’t have all of the capabilities that your iPhone does now. Finally, when has Apple ever launched something that hasn’t had major problems at the beginning?

I was reading through this article on my iPhone, and wondering if there were a more logical alternative for this problem. Is it wise to switch immediately out of spite for the network that has let me down so many times? Or would it be a better idea to wait for Verizon to catch up with their technology and work out the kinks with Apple? It’s definitely something I would recommend you think about before you make the switch.

Of course, as I was reading this article, and thinking about this decision, my iPhone lost service and kicked me off the web… maybe it’s not quite as tough a decision as I thought.