theSync: An Apple a Day Brings the Customers Our Way

A couple of weeks back, Samsung dazzled the world with its GS6 and GS6 Edge phones. These are probably Sammy’s sleekest and most attractive devices to date and the obvious styling cues from the House of Ive are easily seen. But will it be enough to dethrone you know who. This week on theSync, the Apple Strikes Back!

While I was on writing assignment, the little fruit company in Cupertino announced a golden MacBook that’s not called an Air that’s as thin as an iPad, an exclusive deal with HBO to deliver HBONow on Apple TV, and of course Apple’s new time piece available in three trim levels. The Apple Watch comes in at 349$ for the cheapest model and tops out at a whopping 10k for a blinged out solid gold model.

Apple captures the hearts and minds of fanboys and enemies alike because they invest a lot of time and effort into design and experience. Y’all already know this, and so does Samsung. It’s this combination of form and function that makes their products compelling. The Apple Watch can accept calls, send text messages, and pay for your groceries helping you look good while doing it. This is critical and every business owner and product developer should take note. In a world of lower barriers to entry, cheap electronics, and canned software aesthetics and experience will be the X-factors you’ll need to set your products apart. There are other phones, other streaming devices, and other smart watches, but none except for Apple plays to our wants and desires. Design is going to be key as we closes out the tens and roll into the 20s. Google has already announced changes to Android wear to make it more aesthetically pleasing and Tag Heuer has announced plans to craft their own smart watch.

Small business owners and product developers shouldn’t be poo-pooing Apple because they strive to make tech more human. Instead, Apple should be seen as a role model and example to push us to build products with better human experiences.

Let me know what you think about Apple’s leadership in human experience. Leave a comment on my site at willmapp3.com. You can also download theSync for Android in the Google Play store or subscribe to theSync using your Podcasts app on iOS.

I’ll be at ModevUX 2015 for the next couple of days if you’re at the Artisphere don’t forget to look me up.

Thanks for reading, and listening.

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theSync: My Week with iOS 8

Last week, Apple showed off some new updates for Mac OS X and iOS 8. Like every good Apple fanboy, I promptly downloaded iOS 8 on my trusted iPad to try it out. This week on theSync, my week with iOS 8.

1. A Snappier iOS7

iOS 8 is more responsive and quicker than its predecessor. I did notice some lag when starting applications, it seems as if each app had to rev itself up to get going. But, once apps did get moving they were much snappier than iOS 7. Games and apps requiring lots of drawing like Molecules just plain performed better.

2. Double Duty for the Double Tap

Apple made much hay out of showing your contacts in addition to showing running apps when you double tap the home button. When I watched the WWDC keynote, I thought the feature was nice, but not very useful like I do now. Being able to quickly call without waiting for Siri or having navigate through contacts was a small but significant change.

3. Drafting Emails is Possible

Much of the goodies in iOS 8 reside under the hood, but Apple spent a lot of time tweaking apps like Calendar and Mail. One of those tweaks is the ability to compose an email, then change your mind and save it as a draft by swiping in the lower bar. Another small but good change.

4. Safari is More Useful

Face it, most people on tablets spend their time browsing. Apple also recognized this and dedicated significant resources to improving the Safari experience. The biggest of which is placing bookmarks in their own panel while continuing to give you the ability to browse. You can flip through bookmarks quickly and also navigate to your heart’s content in the other panel. Nice.

5. A Smarter Siri

I am a big Shazam user. This go around, Apple partnered with Shazam and integrated it directly into Siri’s cognizance. I pitted Siri against my iPhone 5 with Shazam proper. Siri lost out in the 2 to 3 match, but I’m sure she’ll be up to the task come release time. I have not been a Siri user before, but now that she has Shazam, I’m definitely going to use her.

Please share what you think about iOS 8 in the comments on my site at innovationisin.me. Please subscribe to theSync in iTunes, and if download our app on Google Play.

I’m Will Mapp, thanks for listening, and reading.

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theSync: 5 Things Apple Better not Announce at WWDC

Today is the first day of the annual gathering of the Apple faithful, WWDC. For the last couple of weeks bloggers, pundits, and have waxed romantic about what features and specs Apple should announce in their next flagship phone in order to stay relevant. I thought that was too easy; this week on theSync, 5 things Apple better not announce at WWDC.

1. A UI/UX Merge of iOS and OS X

Apples are apples and oranges are oranges. I want my computers to be powerful, open, and have a click user experience. I want my mobile phones to be reliable, flexible, and respond well to touch. A mashup of desktop and mobile operating systems is one thing that is plaguing Microsoft’s efforts now. Apple doesn’t need to make a similar mistake.

2. An iPhablet

Apple needs to play to its strengths, building beautiful, high end, and ergonomically friendly consumer electronics. Apple bowed to pressure in building a cheap iPhone and the market and tech press punished them because it wasn’t high end enough. Apple shouldn’t fall into the trap of building a super large phone just because people can’t see. The size and clarity of the iPhone 5S is perfect. If people want a tablet, let them buy tablets. A phone tablet thing is just…weird.

3. An iWatch with Shitty Battery Life

Apple has been telegraphing its movements into wearable tech pretty flamboyantly. That’s great, but Apple isn’t Samsung and won’t be given a pass for releasing crappy hardware. If Apple announces an iWatch today, it better last for a couple of days. Like other Apple products, it’ll probably ‘just work’, but it better function as a watch.

4. An iPhone with an 8MP Shooter

iPhone pictures have been getting better every release, but they have not increased the overall size of images in two releases. The picture sizes just need to get bigger and Apple will get a thumbs down from me if an 8MP camera ships on the next iPhone.

5. A Base Device with 16GB of Storage

People take more photos and listen to more music with an iPhone than any other camera or music platform in the world. That’s great and all, but 16 GB ain’t nothin’ when you have 3000 images and 1000 mp3s. The iPhone 6 needs to start with 32 GB and top out with 128 GB. Preferably 256.

These are the mistakes Apple needs to avoid in today’s WWDC. Please share your expectations for the iPhone 6 in the comments.

Please subscribe to this podcast in iTunes, and please share theSync with your friends.

Thanks for reading, and listening.

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theSync: 5 Features the iPhone 6 Should Have

In just two short weeks, Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference will kick off on June 2nd. And like all Apple fanboys sync’ers are ready for an update for their beloved iPhones. This week on theSync 5 big updates I’d like to see in the iPhone 6.

1. A Beefier Camera

The iPhone has been stuck with an 8 megapixel shooter for the last 2 iterations. Newer smartphones have shipped with 10, 12, and 15 MP, but megapixels don’t tell the whole story. Apple has always prided itself on shipping cameras with better megapixels, but if they don’t beat Nokia, I’ll be disappointed.

2. Wireless Charging

I know Apple will ship the iPhone 6 with another one of its cheap ass sync cables, but I can dream right. A wireless charging dongle or pad would be cheap to implement and cheap to ship to customers. An added bonus would be the ability to perform wireless sync without the need for iCloud.

3. Rear Indicator Display

There have been plenty of concept photos showing iPhones with wrap around screens. The tech is possible, but that’s highly improbable. What they could implement would be a small indicator screen on the back showing charge, message count, and missed calls.

4. Fingerprint to Purchase

A lot of hay has been made about Apple-ID and the fingerprint scanner. Mainly because it works. I’d like to see Apple open up the fingerprint scanner to be used by developers to confirm payments. We sell physical products through our apps, and using the fingerprint scanner remove the need for thumb tap username and password security.

5. A Bigger Screen

I’m not interested in this new feature for myself. I think the iPhone 5’s screen is the perfect size, it fits neatly in the little front pocket in your jeans. 9to5 mac has broken a story stating that the new iPhone’s resolution will be 1704×960, adding another multiple up from the 16:9 aspect ratio. Apple needs a bigger screen to compete with Android phones. No doubt the screen will look awesome.

Please share what features you think should be in the next iPhone at my site, innovationisin.me. Don’t be an ass, share this podcast. Please subscribe to theSync using Apple’s Podcasts app or iTunes. Android users, please download theSync from the Google Play store.

Thank for listening, and reading.

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theSync: The Most Powerful Smartphone: The iPhone5S Defended

After all of the Android coverage, talk about developing Android apps, and analysis about cool ass Android phones such as the Moto X; I was labeled, no, I was admonished by the twitterverse for being an Apple fan boy. Because of this tweet:
“Back down y’all playa haters. The iPhone5S is the most powerfully computing smartphone on the market.”

So this week, I’m having to defend myself on the Interwebs about why I think the iPhone 5S is the most powerful smartphone on the planet. I feel no need to defend a multi-national corporation that makes billions of dollars every month, but dammit I’ve been doing this for a long time and I know what I’m talking about. So playa haters, the iPhone 5S IS the powerful smartphone on the market. Deep down inside you know it’s true and here’s why.

1. 64 Bits

Last time I checked the number 64 > 32, that’s ’64 is greater than 32′. Sure, a 64-bit processor may not mean much for the black apple-processor-techbroiler-64-bit-534x528turtleneck or Facebook set, but a 64-bit processor opens a wave of opportunities in everything from imaging, video, and of course gaming. Servers use 64-bit processors, and if you were to buy an iPhone5S, you have that power on your phone. So what does a 64-bit processor mean, it means more realistic animations in so-called high-end games. The Unreal guys showcased the next version of Infinity Blade and the level of detail was amazing. It also means that the particle effects in Candy Crush Saga can be that more sugary. Long term, the opportunities in augmented reality, voice search, query/answer processing open up a huge way because more data can be crunched on-device in fewer operations.

2. A Motion Coprocessor

apple_m7_motion_coprocessor_event_hero_4x3I’ve been wearing a computer 24/7 since early July. And quite frankly I love it. If we are to believe some trends, wearable tech is in our future. Your phone having on-device motion technology doesn’t just open up fitness tech, but it paves the way for more human computer interaction. One of the reasons why we can’t have Jarvis in our real life is because the motion piece of human-computer interaction is missing. Hackers are using XBox Kinects to provide the motion and activity tracking, but basic positioning and knowledge can help in home automation efforts. Right now, you’re reading this and according to Google Analytics most of you on a mobile device, and if you’re not using a mobile, your phone is with you. Relaying motion information from your phone to your home automation systems will make the lights turn on, A/C or heat start, and brew your coffee without requiring the added expense of dedicated motion sensors. Think about that for a second.

3. A Camera with f/2.2 F-Stop

I may be the only person that cares about this since I’m an avid iPhoneographer. The iPhone has always taken great pictures and it’seba9_olloclip_iphone_camera_lens not MP count, but pixel quality that matters. The iPhone camera is no Lumia 1020 shooter, but at f/2.2 I wouldn’t be surprised that the iPhone takes the best low-light photography now. I will always want more megapixels, but after thinking about the iPhone’s user base, I can understand why more MPs weren’t added. Right now, I have 3,468 images and videos on my 16GB iPhone 5. The device is full and I’m at my limit. Increasing the MP count would mean I can only fit half that many pictures on the device. An Android user will cajole, “your camera is only 8MP!” And at the same time, they’ll have 15 TOTAL images on their device and barely anything else including music. Before you call me a hater, if you have an Android device tell me how many apps, videos, and photos you have on your device, according to the data analysis for Snapperific the average iPhone user has between 40 and 60 apps, 8 hours of music, and 1000 photos on their device. The iPhone is the most frequently used digital camera on the planet. Blindly increasing the megapixel count would significantly reduce the extra space needed for apps and everything else. So I like the fact they shrunk the megapixel spacing thereby increasing image clarity.

4. 10 Hours Talk

Much to my wife’s chagrin, I don’t plug my iPhone in every day and I heavily use it. My Android breathren can’t drive from DC to Baltimore without using up 50% of their battery. (This will no longer be true once the Moto X hits general circulation) You have to give Apple credit in maintaining superior battery life and increasing processing power and imaging performance simultaneously.

5. iBeacon

ibeaconsOne of the frequent refrains I received after the announcement was, “…there’s no NFC! Apple ain’t thinking about the future. I can go to Wegmans and pay with my phone, see!”

Yep, Apple dumped NFC in support of something that I think is even more impressive, and that technology is called Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). In Apple speak, iBeacon. Apple announced iBeacon at their iOS7 event and have been keeping quiet on the tech since then. Basically, if a store or shop has BLE sensors and you’ve activated iBeacon on your iPhone, you can make your Minority Report dreams come true. A store that has BLE sensors installed will know that you’ve entered their shop because your phone is telling them through iBeacon. All sorts of personal information can be shared with the shop or personalized deals can be sent to you. And…you can also pay through iBeacon. “Well, Apple’s just copying off of Android NFC with iBeacon.” No idiot, NFC has a maximum range of centimeters, BLE has a range of 50 feet in controlled environments. 20 feet in the wild.

Also, our company still works with RFID technology and NFC is cool but doesn’t make general-use sense. The technology costs more which is why it’s only in the higher end phones. Personally, I think Starbucks’ app makes more sense. The Starbucks App generates a custom QR code that can be scanned by their POS systems barcode reader. Barcode reader attachments for a POS are cheaper than RFID (NFC) combo card readers which means that any shop can cheaply create mobile payment applications that actually work.

Also, if you look on the horizon and we accomplish an Internet of things, iBeacon will be the kickoff technology.

6. Applications

I’ve developed lots of applications on both of today’s major smartphone platforms for government, commercial, and consumers. In this regard, I can actually make commentary about the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of programming on iOS and Android. In the end it’s all going to come down to applications. From my observations, the market research we’ve performed for Snapperific, and asking Android users, “whatcha got on your device”, despite having a billion customers and device installs, most Android users browse, text, and make phone calls. With that being said:

  • You and I both know that all Android apps virtually look the same.
  • You and I both know that the higher quality applications are released on Apple’s platforms because of their review process.
  • You and I both know that applications burn up an obscene amount of battery power on Android.
  • You and I both know that there are more colors than black and white available.
  • You and I both know that Android users don’t pay for anything.
  • You and I both know that Google’s apps are the most stable on the platform.
  • You and I both know that Swipe-to-Unlock, Facial Unlock, and “Phone Sex” (tap to share) are gimmicks.
  • You and I both know that you want iOS to be on another manufacturers platform.
  • You and I both know that the tablet version of Android still stinks.
  • You and I both know that Windows RT and Windows Phone are better mobile operating systems.

Sure, the fingerprint sensor is a hokie feature and you still can’t have iPhone sex to share contacts, but with a 64-bit processor, built-in motion tracking, and a better shooter, Apple has delivered a very powerful device in only a minor revision. People, and haters, that follow Apple should know that you get one major and one minor revision of their phones, and Apple made a major processor upgrade in a minor release!

Haters!

I’d love to know what you think about Apple’s latest and greatest iHotness. Please let me know what you think in the comments.

Happy iChampagne Wishes and App Store Dreams!

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theSync: 5 Hopes for Apple’s September 10th Announcement

As promised we are back on Apple this week and if you’ve been following the news, Apple has a big announcement going down on September 10th. My oh my, what could it be, a new iPhone with a champagne back, a new iOS, or just an announcement about Mavericks?

This week on theSync, 5 things I hope, and pray, Apple announces next week.

iphone6_concept13

1. An iPhone 6

At a BBQ over the weekend I was speaking with one of my friends about a need to seriously update the iPhone in order to compete. Like most people she is expected an iPhone5s to be announced and I said that Apple really needs to release an iPhone 6. I have to admit with the Moto X, HTC One mini, and new small sized phones, an iPhone 5S will get a big yawn from me. Android is a serious contender now and people need a new phone so they can stop being made fun of

2. A Dual Processor iPhone 6

dualprocessorSamsung and Moto are making and announcing devices with not just multiple cores, but multiple processors. Apple needs to push it and ship a dual-proc phone. I get it. We’re quickly approaching a point where battery performance needs to improve so that we can support grown up processors, but with the Octa- and Moto shipping multiple processor handsets, this is the next evolutionary step.

3. A New Macbook Pro

This is a purely selfish one for me. My current iMac and MacBook Pro are showing their age and I need to upgrade. I’m in the market for a new machine and need the older stuff to go on sale. We all know Apple equipment is way overpriced. I’m just not ashamed to admit it out loud.

4. A 14-Megapixel Shooter

005Nokia_Lumia_1020_35822762_610x436Starting with the 4, Apple had been leading smartphone manufacturers in the picture quality department until Nokia unveiled its Windows Phone powered Lumia series. The Lumia takes awesome, awesome photos. Being an iPhoneographer, I’ve been wanting double digit megapix for the iPhone for a while and Nokia’s 41 megapixel beast looks mighty good right now. Nokia’s new 1020 doesn’t give a full 41MP image, but the sensor just sports enough pixels to deliver superior image quality. I’d love for Apple to announce a new large megapixel shooter.

5. The Death of iTunes

I know it’s not going to happen. Really, I do. But iTunes is one of the most poorly written pieces of software on the planet. It doesn’t track individual devices, it doesn’t really sync, and I lost all of my music and pictures on one of our iOS7 test devices. iTunes stinks and I know I’m asking for a lot, but an iTunes that actually works well would suit me fine.

I’d love to know what you’re expecting during Apple’s September 10th announcement, please let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading, and listening.

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theSync: 5 Great Back to School Apps

I feel bad for kids these days. Back in the day, we didn’t start school until the day after Labor Day. Now, they’re missing out on 2 weeks of vacation with a mid-August start.

This week on theSync, 5 Back-to-School apps to keep your kids sharp

1. My Gradebook

My Gradebook is a fully customizable app that tracks your dedicated student’s grades and assignments with the ability to sync your data with DropBox. It’s a great tool for students that want to keep on top of their schedule of activities in addition to their grades. My Gradebook is a value at 99 cents.

2. The Cozi Family Organizer

There’s a mountain of homework, after school practices, recitals, plays, and a crap load of kiddie parties coming up. Cozi helps you make sense of it all and sync with all your iDevice carrying family members. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I’m so busy, the kids are just running around in circles. If you have a busy family and your kids are participating in lots of activities, Cozi is the right app for you.

3. Kick Your Studies into Overdrive

Books are hella expensive, and most college students would rather invest in pizza than hardcopy. Download the Overdrive Media Console and get access to over 18,000 audiobooks and even more textbooks, novels, and papers that can be checked out from your public library. That’s right! This means you have access to materials at virtually no cost. Just remember to check them back in or you’ll be fined.

4. Studious for Android

Listen, I was once in college, and I know that Syllabus day can make or break this semester’s social plans. The key to being a good student and a socialite is getting in control of your schedule. Download Studious for your Android device to lock in project due dates, test schedules, and the 3 weekly parties you’ll attend.

5. Pocket for Android

The amount of research today’s third grader has to conduct is Earth shattering. Get Pocket to organize your research, marshal your thoughts, and building upon your discoveries. Now you can carry videos, articles, web pages, documents, texts, and pictures with you, everywhere in your pocket.

Kids are already back, so I’d love to know how you’re incorporating digital into your back-to-school plans.

Please share your ideas in the comments.

I’m Will Mapp, thanks for listening and you’ve been synced.

theSync: The Business of the App Business

Hi Everyone,

I’m posting this a little late and hasty because this week was the show for BizTechInsider.

We talked about apps last night on the show, and people love calling in about apps and their ideas.

We talked about marketing, Facebook offers, mobile ads, and more.

A link to the show will be up soon, but I’ve presented the highlights here.

Thanks for listening.

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theSync: Mother’s Day Gifts for Your Baby Mama

In about two weeks, it will be Mother’s Day. Last week I suggested 5 gadgets that sure to please your mom. This week on theSync, 5 gadget gifts to please the mother of your children.

1. An iPad Mini

ipadminiI DID NOT recommend getting your mom the Mini and instead suggested the Nook and Kindle HD.  The cool kids still carry iPads and if you didn’t get your baby mama one for Christmas, now’s the time to get her some electronic hotness.  If you’re anti-Apple, the Nexus 7 is a sleek and well built device that she will enjoy.

 

2. An iPhone Lens Kit

You will not believe the number of iPhoneographers out there and if your special lady is a smartphone shutterbug, a lens kit may test-product-page-2933_600.0000001340999139be just the thing to push her creative talents to the next level.  Lens kits ship with a mounting case to give your smartphone optical zoom. Some kits even have fisheye and luma effects.  And there are affordable gifts.  Check out this hotness from Photojojo.

 

3. An Electric Corkscrew

Peugeot-Elis-Rechargeable-Electric-Corkscrew-MC-GadgetGuru-medium-newAll the friends in my circle have kids now, and the one thing their wives have in common is wine.  Filtering out the ‘waaaa’ and shuttling kids to three different camps in a Saturday will drive anyone to drinking.  Some days you just can’t get the cork out fast enough and an electric corkscrew will help her unstopper the mommy juice quicker.

 

 

 

 

4. Storage

As much as we luv’em our smartphone cameras sometimes can’t get the job done.  Many moms carry a number of different sdcardcameras and sometimes the point and shoot just makes sense.  SD Cards are cheap. Get your sweetheart 10 of them so she can have some in the purse, 1 in the wallet, and a couple in her junk drawer.

 

5. A Nike+Sport Band

Admittedly, I’ve never included accessories like this on my gift blogs, but you overhear lots of talk while hanging out with child Nike-Plus-SportBand-MC-GadgetGuru-fbladen couples.  Everyone is trying to lose weight no matter how thin they are.  The Nike+Sport Band may be the gift to encourage her to go the extra mile.  And then go to sleep.

Thanks for listening, and reading.  You’ve been synced.

theSync: Mother’s Day Gifts for Your Mum

Hi Everyone,

Mother’s Day will be here in a couple of weeks, and if you’re like me, finding the perfect gift for mom is hard job. So what do you give the woman that gave life to you? This week on theSync, 5 gadget gifts mom is sure to love.  Now I know what you’re saying, tech gifts are expensive.  Not necessarily.  Nothing on this page costs more than $250.  And since you gave mom roses last Mother’s Day, a card for Valentine’s Day, and perfume for Christmas, you can stand to invest a little more dough in a Mother’s Day gift.

1. Snapperific

snapplogoMy shameless plug. If you have kids, there’s no reason why you should get mom pictures of the grandkids using Snapperific. Order pictures straight from your phone and mail them to her. Snapperific is great for expats and families that live a continent apart from one another. Order high quality pictures from your phone and mom will get them in 5 days.

Hey, it’s my show!

 

2. The Nest Learning Themostat

nest thermoYou all know that one of my all time favorite gifts is the Nest learning thermostat. If your mum’s bum get’s too hot or too cold, Nest will learn her preferences and keep her home nice and cozy. Nest is very stylish and expensive for what it does.

 

3. An AppleTV

Why? Netflix. Get your mom an ATV plus a Netflix account and she can watch Hawaii 5-0 and other old ass shows and movies until the end of time. Netflix may not do well with recent releases but their old catalog is great. The Apple TV is a super affordable gadget at $99 and is easy to setup and use.

4. A Keurig Brewing System

abkeurig-b70Yeah I know. Brewing System. Keurig makes coffee makers in a number of sizes and configurations. Many moms drink coffee and you can choose a system that is as simplistic or sophisticated as your mom’s barista.

 

 

5. A Nook or Kindle HD

Tablets are more or less on the higher end, but they really do make great gifts. Especially if your mom isn’t a computer person, but wants access to the Internet, email, music, and movies. Tablets are very powerful and simple to use gadgets. I got my mother a Nook last Christmas and she really enjoys it. It has enough features for her to be dangerous, but simple so she’s not intimidated.

Those are my 5 gadget gifts for your mom on Mother’s Day. Married guys, stay tuned next week for Mother’s Day gadget gifts for your sweet. It’s time to move beyond earrings and necklaces and get the mother of your children some gifts she can actually use.

Thanks for reading, and listening. You’ve been synced.