To promote its live stream of the recent NBA Finals, ESPN pulled an interesting stunt in Manhattan – Airdropping images with text connecting what people were doing with watching the finals.
Why It’s Hot
I’m not sure it is either real, or hot, but what’s seemingly interesting and clever is the fact that they utilized an overlooked iOS feature and used it to personalized their message on a one-to-one basis.
Apple rolled out transit card integration in China today. The latest update to iPhone and Apple Watch offers users tap-to-ride public transportation access in Beijing and Shanghai. People can refill their transportation cards using the Wallet app on iPhone. Balance of an existing physical card can be transferred to Apple Pay through the recharge mechanism in Wallet.
Why it’s hot: Mobile payment and transaction just became more advanced and is making people’s daily life more convenient.
“Essentially what happens is customers can purchase a jersey for their favorite player and unlock “premium content” about that player via the NikeConnect app. That premium content includes things such as “pregame arrival footage,” highlight reels, music playlists from players, and more. Just so everything comes full circle, the jerseys can unlock boosts for players in NBA 2K18.”
Why It’s Hot:
Everything is now a platform. With AR, NFC, and QR truly becoming mainstream, and mixed reality and AI presumably not long behind them, we’re interacting with things in a whole new way. This is a relatively light example – less utility, more entertainment – but it shows how technology is integrating into everything to provide a new layer of experience to even the clothes we wear.
Quartz News, the digital-focused arm of Atlantic Media, has launched a nifty AR feature in their news stories thanks to the new updates to iOS11. Now in a select number of the daily stories featured in the Quartz News mobile app you will find augmented reality to help illustrate objects featured in a particular story. For instance, its coverage of the demise of the Cassini spacecraft is joined by a 3D model of the ship that users can examine as if it was physically in the same room with them.
Why It’s Hot:
Of all the emerging technologies that companies have their eyes on, augmented reality seems to be the easiest to scale by way of mobile phones with no need for extras like headsets or glasses. Apple CEO, Tim Cook believes that many people will “have AR experiences every day, almost like eating three meals a day. It will become that much a part of you,” Cook predicted at a tech conference last year.
Quartz News sees this as an opportunity to bring news stories to life in ways that users have never experienced before. “In the same way we can use images and emoji and gifs to bring alive the stories we’re sharing, we think we can use AR to help people understand objects in the news,” John Keefe, head of Quartz’s Bot Studio, adding that the tech could also be used to illustrate stories with 3D landscapes, models of landmarks and historic structures, or even data visualizations.
The most popular ad blocker app has been pulled by its developer citing concerns it would hurt Web businesses and publishers. Marco Arment, a Tumblr co-founder and developer of the “Peace” app, said he didn’t feel it was his responsibility to determine what content should be blocked. “Adblockers come with an important asterisk: while they do benefit a ton of people in major ways, they also hurt some, including many who don’t deserve the hit,” Arment wrote (as reported by the NY Times, 9/19/15).
The app was released September 16, 2015, once the new version of the iPhone’s operating system became available. Arment claimed the $2.99 Peace app was the best-selling app over two days. And according to Apptopia Inc, a Boston-based company that tracks app store downloads and revenue, the Peace app generated $113,521 in gross proceeds in the 36 hours it was live.
According to the NY Times, ad-blocking tools are designed to help Web pages load much faster by stripping out so-called scripts and trackers that are used to serve the ads. However, many feel these tools hurt publishers, particularly smaller ones, by forcing them to develop dedicated iPhone apps, rather than relying on mobile-friendly websites.
Why It’s Hot
Studies reported by e-Marketer and others have consistently shown that people do not like mobile ads, which slow page loading times and interfere with customer experience. But Arment has advocated on the side of publishers in seeing the benefit of such ad blockers. Despite the end of Peace, blockers will continue to be popular and will put further pressure on publishers to create ad-related user experiences that complement page viewing rather than hinder it.
Starbucks in Japan has teamed with the a Japanese-based clothing company called Uniform Experiment to create a case for the iPhone 6 that can make mobile payments by nothing more than a tap. The program is called Starbucks Touch.
iPhone-toting loyalists first purchase their Starbucks Touch case (really, it’s not free?). Then they install an accompanying mobile app. After entering their payment information, the case is ready to complete mobile payment at specially designed in-cafe kiosks.
Cases come in two designs:
The primary, meant to look like the iconic Starbucks cup and sleeve
The secondary, a colorful tiled mosaic
No word on if/when the case will make it to more countries (or devices).
Why It’s Hot
With Starbucks Touch, the company has found a way to monetize its brand loyalists even further. First, they’re charging for the case itself. Next, each case is emblazoned with the Starbucks logo… free advertisement that reinforces the brand to loyalists and promotes to those around. And finally, there’s the word-of-mouth effect that will likely ensue from explaining to others what this Starbucks phone case is really all about.
If Starbucks wants to reach a wider audience, perhaps they forgo the charge for a case and instead give it away for essentially the free advertising and proximity to customers. In a grander scheme, Starbucks Touch is away to reach a niche group of customers, and reinforce the brand with them in an even more intimate way. If Starbucks has figured out a way to make even more money off of them, more power to ’em.
The FDA approved a new share platform for a diabetes continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system making it the first on the market to be able to wirelessly transmit (via Bluetooth LE) glucose readings directly to an iPhone.
“The FDA approved a new version of the Dexcom Share platform, which will make the Dexcom G4 continuous glucose monitor (CGM) the first on the market to be able to wirelessly transmit glucose readings directly to an iPhone.”
A wearable device sensor (worn on the body) will transmit CGM through the Dexcom receiver to the Dexcom iPhone app. The iPhone app will then transmit the data through the cloud to share it with up to 5 user-approved followers of the Dexcom Follower app such as caregivers, certified diabetes educators, and spouses.
The push to partner component with third party app and device manufacturers is HUGE . This system is the first time there will be official, live continuous glucose information available on the iPhone and in the Cloud.
Dexcom-approved partner iPhone apps such as Meal Memory and Apple Healthkit would be able to pull live glucose data on demand, without requiring user input.
Secondly, during the FDA approval process, the apps themselves were down-classified to a Class II device exempt from pre-market clearances. Therefore, future “Follower” apps from Dexcom and other companies will not require separate pre-market approval from the FDA, as long as they do not claim to be the primary readout of the data.
Why it’s HOT: The FDA has made a landmark move forward with this “Dexcom Share” platform approval. This approval included Bluetooth-enabled transmission of health data via wearable device sensors to an iPhone app putting health data in the cloud in conjunction with third party apps down-classification by the FDA is making 2015 quite an exciting year for Healthcare Technology Innovation.
A new study conducted by online advertising network Chitika found that states with more college graduates tend to also have higher iPhone sales. Even though Apple’s iPhones are the largest source of smartphone Internet activity in the US, their study finds a relatively high degree of variation of iPhone usage rates on a state-by-state basis. Alaska (66%), Montana and Vermont have the largest percentage of iPhone users. New Mexico (41%), Iowa and Delaware have the lowest share of iPhone sales per capita.
Why It’s Hot
For the iPhone usage rate study, Chitika Insights analyzed a sample of hundreds of millions of U.S.-based iPhone ad impressions accessed via Chitika’s Cidewalk mobile ad platform. The data was collected from December 25 through December 31, 2014, including traffic from devices given as gifts. The data was then organized by state.
The data showed that iPhone usage is positively correlated with level of education and population density at the state-level. The more densely populated the state, the greater the chance that iPhone sales will be higher in that state. The relationship also held across median income as well, however the high correlation in median income and education level resulted in redundancy of this particular variable. iPhone usage rates were calculated based on the percentage of a given state’s total smartphone app traffic that originated from iPhones.
To let you know where the tri-state area falls among the states in iPhone usage: NY has 56.2%; NJ, 55.3%; and Pennsylvania, 49.5%.
Understanding the brand-based smartphone usage rates between different states can assist marketers when creating regional strategies. It can also be a variable in building a profile of the user more likely to use the iPhone to help advertisers define their target audience. Chitika admits that its results “are not comprehensive” and further study of other factors effecting iPhone usage rates will be tested.
More than 42% of U.S. smartphones are iPhones, according to comScore. Runner-up Samsung commands 28% of the U.S. market.
Ever notice how falling cats somehow always land on their feet, and dropped toast will invariably hit the floor buttered-side down? Well what if you could harness that voodoo and install it in your gadgets? In the near future, this may very well become possible. If the technology described in a recent patent filed by Apple ever makes it past the conceptual phase, the next generation of iPhones could potentially be able to control how they hit the ground.
Patent No. 20130257582, otherwise known as “protecting an electronic device,” is basically a broad set of schemes that Apple has devised to keep your phone from landing on its screen or other vulnerable areas. The document outlines a number of different methods that could ostensibly be used to make this happen.
Why It’s Hot
Technology is just ridiculous. This could save people a lot of money on dropped devices.
With something as subjective as art, a viewer’s mood can make or break how (s)he engages with a given piece. But what if that experience ladders up to something that is negative overall? Perceptions and stigmas may brand you beyond that interaction.
Understanding this intricacy, Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum realized that it could curate tours of its collection based on users’ individual disposition. For example, if a visitor indicates they are “sad” within the app, a tour may be created to bypass violent images that might exacerbate that state. The app can also be used to show visitors more of what they “like” such as abstract pieces for people who seek “logic challenges” or calming landscapes for those searching for an escape.
The app also allows users to create their own tours and crowdsource the “mood” of certain galleries to make the app smarter.
The app does raise a philosophical question, however: Does a museum’s classification of art by certain criteria limit how the art is perceived by visitors? Consequently, does this hinder visits and prevent users from opening up to new experiences? And what does an app like Mood mean for art that is meant to stir, upset, frustrate, challenge, or confuse the viewer? Should that be avoided for the sake of “pleasantry” or encouraged for the sake of “growth?”
Why It’s Hot
Mood App is showing a new way that brands and businesses can “get ahead” of their customers and mitigate negative experiences. By helping visitors have better experiences, Stedelijk Museum is taking a more proactive role in shaping perceptions to keep people coming back. These strategies have applicability far beyond art with customer segments that prefer tailored and customized experiences.
Your pants aren’t happy about the new iPhone 6 Plus.
Along with Samsung’s mammoth Galaxy phones, Apple’s phablet mega-sized phone is starting to look like the future of mobile tech.
That’s bad news for your pants. Where do we put our phones? If you’re not prone to carrying a purse, the answer may be to just keep your device in your hand at all times. Although, that hasn’t stopped people from buying the phones like crazy — the 6 Plus was sold out within 24 hours.
For fashion, the opportunity is either a huge headache or a design opportunity. Some brands are considering what this could mean for the future of pants. Though it might seem silly (and quite literally the definition of a first world problem), the reality is that larger pockets could become a necessity if you want to comfortably tuck your phone away.
The influential power that Apple and the iPhone has is a little scary. Phones with larger screens have become more and more popular which will, of course, influence other industries. But why is it a big deal now? Huge phones has been around for years. With the new launch of the iPhone plus, suddenly Jeans companies are changing their designs just so that the new iPhone can fit? It makes sense for companies to adapt to consumer needs but I guess I just find it a little scary how much influence Apple has on industries you would not normally expect to be affected. Everyone’s lives are already molded around their phones so I guess why not their pockets?
With the introduction of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus by Apple, developers are now in a mad dash to optimize their apps for the devices new larger screens. Apple’s ubiquity means that the trends follow their design cues first, even if Android competitors have long offered larger screens (sorry Samsung). So what do these new devices mean for the next era in apps?
1. Controls move to the bottom of the screen: Because of the added screen height, users would need to strain their thumbs to reach controls that were historically placed in the upper corner of apps.
2. Gestures replace buttons: Developers are now looking at gesture-based controls rather than static buttons, which offers designs that scale to screens of all sizes. Swipes and pulls may be more and more important going forward.
3. Split-screen apps proliferate: Traditionally smartphone apps display content in a single pane, while larger devices like tablets display content in two. With the added screen real estate, app developers are expected to begin incorporating more two-pane views within apps on smartphones.
Why It’s Hot
We often think of Apple as trailblazers with their devices, but it’s just as important to consider the implications for developers and businesses that create third-party devices when launching product changes. Apple’s success has come through cultivating a vibrant community of developers and third-party suppliers who re-engineer their products to stay in line with Apple’s latest trends. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus offer new opportunities to the smartphone app market and a lot of potential for shifting how we think of mobile experiences going forward.
Back in early July, Samsung launched a new Galaxy S5 ad calling iPhone users “Wall Huggers” and mocking the iPhone for having a short battery life while touting the battery-saving capabilities of its own newest flagship phone.
This week, Samsung has expanded the “Wall Huggers” campaign to out-of-home advertisements near electrical outlets at major US airports. The ads promotes Samsung’s power-saving feature, an indirect jab at Apple whose iPhone has been widely criticized for having lackluster battery life.
The real power of the marketing message doesn’t just come from that message and its placement near power outlets. The real impact is when consumers are huddled around those outlets in “the wild.” Not only is Samsung’s message found during a period of active problem solving (finding an outlet), consumers are then tethered to their devices while they charge. This tethering exposes individuals to the marketing messages for much longer periods of time than a traditional advertisement.
Samsung has historically been quite aggressive against Apple. Prior campaigns have attacked the growing culture of waiting in line for new product releases, what Samsung calls “Screen Envy,” and more.
Why It’s Hot
The “Wall Huggers” campaign is a great example of how aggressive, guerrilla marketing can make a more meaningful impact than traditional tactics. While the campaign is not heavy into digital, Samsung and their creative agency are showing how the right message can come at the right time by innately understanding consumer behavior. Samsung saw their competitor’s weakness and attacked in an interesting, unexpected way. My question is, will we now begin to see more advertisement opportunities around non-traditional locations/fixtures, such as power outlets, water fountains, and restrooms?
Samsung’s latest installment in it’s “The Next Big Thing Is Here” campaign slams iPhone battery life. The spot shows frazzled, unhappy iPhone-carrying travelers sitting on airport floors, hunched around wall outlets, waiting for their handsets to charge making viewers feel as though they should’ve bought the Samsung Galaxy S5 with ultra power-saving mode and interchangeable battery.
Why It’s Hot
Samsung’s anti-Apple strategy seemed a little condescending at first, but then the scrappy approach began to earn some merit as viewers learned to appreciate the subtle knocks at their competitor without stepping over the line; iPhone users were able to laugh at themselves. As the ads continue, is it getting to a point when Samsung is making viewers feel naive for buying another brand’s products? When focusing an ad campaign on taking hits at a competitors weaknesses it’s imperative brands leave viewers thinking about their product, not feeling patronized.
Leading car manufactures are rolling out with CarPlay, the smarter, safer and more fun way to use iPhone in the car, Apple announced at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show. It is Apple’s first ground up in-car interface designed specifically for iPhone integration.
CarPlay gives iPhone users an intuitive way to make calls, use Maps, listen to music and access messages with just a word or a touch. Users can easily control CarPlay from the car’s native interface or just push-and-hold the voice control button on the steering wheel to activate Siri® without distraction.
The goal with CarPlay is to offer an interface that is more intuitive to use and minimize distracted driving.
Improvements to in-car infotainment: Functionally and aesthetically, the in-car infotainment systems developed by automakers have been dated and full of unresolved issues. One of the reasons is the shorter development cycle mobile technology as compared to the much longer process for vehicles. CarPlay solves for this, acknowledging that people will use their phones while driving and attempting to make it safer and by accommodating a slew of convenient use-cases such as voice-command music, podcasts and audiobooks.
Customer-focused integration and simplification: CarPlay brings together two aspects of consumers lives, their iPhone and their car, and creates a seamless experience around them — optimizing for how people use their phone while allowing them to focus on driving. This shows how a brand can help improve everyday lives by expanding their reach and capabilities.
Brand value for Apple: Apple can now access customers and prospects in new spaces and own a bigger chunk of their consumption activity. First, Apple products may become more appealing to prospects by virtue of the fact that the capability in their car is developed exclusively for iPhone (exposure). Secondly, they can increase iOS usage time among existing iPhone customers. Competitively, this launch sees Apple joining rivals Nokia and Google in looking to take their software into vehicles.