Tuesday’s Apple event proved, once again, that the industry should never underestimate how successfully Apple can break the mold or flaunt conventional wisdom. Everyone knew two new iPhones were coming – and that they would be 4.7” and 5.5” and that they would look nice, and that they would fit neatly into the current buying, stocking, and usage trends for smartphones in the U.S. (as we discussed in our press release last week). But seeing a mock-up, or sketching something out as a model, or examining a pirated photograph is a poor substitute for seeing something in person. And it is impossible to express how slick both new iPhone models are until you see them in person and hold them in your hand.
As I sat with the rest of the world watching Apple's annual Fall product announcement, I could sense in those I connected with on Twitter a feeling of excitement as Tim Cook finished the first part of the program and led into his "one more thing". Apple certainly did not disappoint. If NPD Connected Intelligence's Eddie Hold asked Apple to amaze him and I've asked companies to push the smartwatch beyond what we've seen thus far, then we both got our wish. The Apple Watch fits what a smartwatch should be- a nicely designed fashion accessory and a piece of technology (that does more than relay phone notifications to your wrist).
I’m a believer in wearable tech. I love these devices (and wear them), but very few manage to deliver anything close to my hopes and dreams. The smartwatch segment in particular has dashed my hopes every time. The products still do not wow me. Why? Because the smartwatch doesn’t add any real value: it doesn’t do anything that my smartphone doesn’t already handle with ease. Rather, it’s just another gadget (and a rather bulky one at that) that I need to remember to charge at night.
My TV screen continued to pass on the DVR’s same little message it had been telling me for the past two hours: “Almost there, just a few more minutes.” Sure. I had optimistically believed that for the first 30 minutes, thinking that perhaps the DVR’s definition of a minute was a little longer than mine. But at this point I was beginning to read between the lines… my DVR box was fried.
Wearable fitness devices have come a long way in the past year, moving from being a simple step counter to a device that helps to track calories, heart-rate, and more. But the next “step” forward will be far more exciting - taking these devices from a singular experience to one that pulls in more data from all around us.
My first car was a 10-year old Mazda Miata sportster, bought when I headed to college. I test drove the car, with the top down, and immediately fell in love with it. There’s nothing quite like the wind in your hair to close the sale… and to hide all of the strange noises that the car is making.
It’s official: AT&T plans to plunk down nearly $50 billion to purchase DirecTV in a deal that, on the face of it, is a head-scratcher. Why exactly would AT&T be interested in the satellite TV business when u-Verse delivers a next generation solution? And at a time when the cable companies are seeing most of their growth come from broadband services, not new TV subscribers.
Consumer TV viewing habits continue to shift towards an always-on, streaming-centric solution and the networks are quickly jumping in with a multitude of viewing apps. So is it business as usual for the networks as they attempt to satisfy the mobile-hungry consumer’s appetite? Perhaps not, because the latest apps are being developed for connected TVs, rather than a previous focus on mobile, thanks to major device launches such as Amazon’s Fire TV, Chromecast, and the Xbox One. And more to the point, it’s the networks themselves that are jumping into the game.
Back in the olden days of over-the-top TV (all of four or five years ago), the concept of TV Everywhere (TVE) was led by the pay-TV operators. The goal was to embrace the Web, and the new-fangled “over-the-top” world of Netflix and others, but in a cautious and manageable way.
Just six months after launching its free tablet data (200MB) offer, T-Mobile is back, pushing the boundaries further. Dubbed Tablet Freedom, the new offer gives tablet customers an extra 1GB of 4G LTE data for free until the end of the year. And there’s more: to help boost tablet sales, T-Mobile is subsidizing the price of 4G-enabled tablets, creating price parity with the Wi-Fi only versions (in the case with the iPad Air 16GB, customers will be able to purchase the 4GB version of the tablet for $499 versus the regular price of $629) with a zero-down installment plan. Moreover, customers will be able to trade in their old tablet (including Wi-Fi only tablets) and upgrade to a new tablet. And as a little more icing on the cake, T-Mobile will pay the ETF (Early Termination Fee) for those customers churning their tablet data subscriptions from rival carriers.