April 25th & 26th
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Abstract Submission Deadline: January 19th
What does it mean that digital technologies are increasingly a part of...
Seems like a large number of customers are complaining about the iPhone 4s battery life:
Christina Bonnington via Wired.com
Although Apple has not yet officially commented on the issue, according to The Guardian, some of those affected by the issue have been contacted by Apple’s engineers. One individual said that Apple called and, after asking a number of questions about his usage habits, asked him to install a monitoring program so that they could better diagnose the issue.
The iPhone 4S has a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery. It’s supposed to provide up to 8 hours of 3G talk time (14 hours of 2G) and standby time of up to 200 hours. Although it’s a slight larger (capacity-wise) battery than that of the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4 is supposed to get 300 hours of standby time. For more intensive activities like internet use and watching videos, on the iPhone 4S you get 6 hours on 3G and 9 hours on WiFi, and 10 hours, respectively. The iPhone 4S has a beefed up A5 processor and several other hardware upgrades and changes compared to its predecessor. When the iPhone 3GS debuted, it also suffered from battery life complaints.
I bet this will turn out to be an iOS 5 issue, somehow related to apps running in the background.
Update: Oliver Haslam reports that the ‘setting time zone’ function can drain the battery when turned on.
Bijan attributes new feature of iOS Notifications to Siri
Siri plus geofencing is killer. I use Siri in the car. My common use is “remind me to xyz when I get home”.
One example: the other night, Lauren and I were out for dinner on a date. Kids were at home with the babysitter. My daughter called me and told me she lost her tooth. I was in the car when the call came. When I got off the phone, I said to Siri: “remind me to put $5 under ellie’s pillow when I get home”.
After dinner, we saw a movie and I forgot about the tooth (i know, bad dad). The moment I walked into the house, i got a push notification with the reminder. Fucking magical.
But I did that the other day without Siri. I created a notification on iOS 5, to remind me to pick up a torx driver when I was near the hardware store, and the next day I was pinged as I walked by the store. As Bijan says, magical, but not because of Siri. Yes, it’s slightly easier to merely say it instead of typing it, but the magic is iOS 5.
The iOS 5 effect for Twitter. When will Apple buy them, and make Twitter a core protocol of the coming social operating system? iOS 6?
Good summary of new features in iOS 5.
Nick Bilton, Plenty of Chatter About a New iPhone
The new iPhone will come with an eight-megapixel camera, this person said, an upgrade from the five-megapixel camera in the iPhone 4. Earlier this year Howard Stringer, Sony’s chief executive, let it slip that the next iPhone would be updated with an eight-megapixel camera made by Sony. The Apple engineer also said the new phone would have a faster A5 dual-core processor.
Apple patents and recent new hires show that the company plans to add mobile payment functions to a future iPhone too — although it is unclear if that will happen this year.
As I’ve written in the past, two people with knowledge of the inner workings of Apple’s next-generation iPhones say either the iPhone 5 or iPhone 6 will include a new chip that is made by Qualcomm. This chip will include near-field communication technology, known as N.F.C., that can be used to make mobile payments by waving the phone over an N.F.C. reader, just like swiping a credit card at a terminal.
When Apple does introduce a mobile-payment-ready iPhone, the company will immediately have an advantage over its competitors, including Google and Microsoft, which are trying to push payments on mobile devices too. One person familiar with Apple’s plans said the phone’s payment information would be tied to customers’ iTunes accounts, which would make it simple for customers to set up a payment account on the iPhone by simply logging into iTunes.
According to Apple, 200 million people have stored their credit card information on iTunes.
So, the next market that Apple plans to destabilize is retail purchasing: credit cards, point of sales systems, back office financial processing, and everything connected to that. Including banking.
It is hypothesized that Apple will be the first company that will hit a trillion dollar valuation, perhaps this year. I am betting that Apple will also be the first company to hit a two trillion dollar valuation.
My recent brief experience with Google+ (or plus.google, as the URL says in reverse polish) has led me to some observations about how we might be shifting our personal and collective use of tools, and thereby our sense of self in the increasingly media-augmented world we inhabit.
Google+ is a suite of social tools sharing a common core. At the heart of that core is the user’s profile, which acts as a key to open the Google door, on one hand, and on the other as a handle so that others can choose to interact with us. Google+ offers us a collection of user experiences, such a reviewing other folk’s profiles, reading and commenting in streams, and entering into other, more specialized contexts for interaction, like the video-chat Hangouts.
Leaving aside the specifics of whether or not the Hangouts stream fast enough, or the way Google+ does or does not do allow us to share audio or not, one thing is clear: Google+ is designed to support many different tools on top of the basic social framework that underlies the system.
I think Google has taken a giant step forward, in that regard. Although Google+ is currently a browser-based experience, and one that will run in any browser, the company has positioned itself for the world just over the horizon. And what is that world?
The future of computing will not be based on a unitary, all-encompassing user experience, where we use a sprawling, general purpose social context to interact with others. Our online lives will soon be based on using dozens of disparate, highly focused applications, like those that Google+ provides.
Life is a mosaic, not a monolith.
I find myself using more extremely narrow applications instead of general ones.
I enjoy Instagram because it is fun and focused on the social sharing of pictures, and I increasingly use Flickr as a repository. Instagram is a comic book, and Flickr is the Library of Congress.
I like using Path's new With app, where I simply post that I am with someone, and take a picture of them (optionally) wherever it is that we are together. I found that Hashable's elaborate syntax for various sorts of encounters, and its relatively clumsy integration into Twitter, more of a puzzle than a benefit, so I stopped using it.
Even with something like my calendar, I find that I am growing more tolerant of a mosaic instead of a monolith. I long ago switched to Tripit for travel tracking, and their iPhone app is where I go to check details on my travel arrangements, not my general purpose calendar. Likewise, I use Plancast to track conferences I plan to attend. I have subscriptions to these services show up in my Google calendar, but those are secondary, and I often have them unselected.
I am using Simplenote for note keeping, and there is a clever app called NoteTask that allows me to manage a todo list within Simplenote. But I am also managing notes on my contacts within Rapportive, which integrates with Gmail.
I am also testing out a new app called Diacarta, which provides a very ideographic way of thinking about your day, shown above. You pick icons to represent the sort of activity you are going to be involved in, and you attach it to the central watchface to indicate time. Here you see three activities, one which was a webinar, and two meetings involving different sorts of beverages. Diacarta doesn’t sync with other calendars yet, but will be soon, and I imagine I might use Diacarta like an icon-rich wristwatch, rather than the way I use a calendar application. But I am growing more fragmented in tool use, choosing tools for a specific purpose, like ‘Diacarta as a wristwatch’.
[update: Diadarta’s new version, available now, does support syncing with the native iPhone calendar.]
But I don’t want to be sidetracked by the specific reasons for adopting these tools over others, except to make the case that my natural drift — and I think other people’s too, in time — will be away from massive all-in-one tools, and toward a mosaic of highly specialized apps.
Behind this are a pair of twinned trends, major threads in the liquid media theme I have been developing over the past months.
The first is the transition toward connected apps, courtesy of the rise of genius mobile devices (genius = way beyond smart), like the With, Diacarta, and Simplenote apps I mentioned.
The flipside of the rise of apps is the fall of the browser. The browser is a kludge, a way to shoehorn the web onto PCs, made necessary because the operating systems around when the web was invented were inward focused: they were all about applications, files and folders on the hard drive. But we have gone far enough toward always-on that we will have dozens of web-aware and web-dependent apps on our genius devices, and only occasionally open the browser for old-time website browsing.
Apps are the tiles of the new mosaic, our composite life online.
And Google+ is a deft straddle, with one foot in the old world and the other in the new. Google+ is currently a browser based system, but it is relatively easy to imagine the core functionality implemented in a next generation Android, and all the tools — like Circles and Hangouts — accessed as complementary apps, along with dozens or hundreds of others built by Google or a growing ecology of developers.
Of course, Apple will respond in kind, and is perhaps a step or two ahead with its Twitter partnership, and its plan to integrate Twitter into iOS 5. So we can expect a similar flowering of iOS 5 apps that build on a core of social capabilities, and that will allow app developers to leverage profiles, following, streams, and other foundational social componentry at the OS level.
By lowering the core elements of sociality into the infrastructure, Google and Apple will be setting the stage for a new generation of app development, and therefore, user experience. Which will mean an acceleration of the transition for us, as users, from monolith to mosaic.
Google+ shows that Google is going to make that transition, and it will be Apple and Google that will be defining the next ten years of the social revolution, as a result. Facebook and Microsoft may be fated to fall into each others arms, just to catch up, or survive at all.
iOS 5 Allows You to Tap Out Custom Vibration Patterns - Mac Rumors
Quite a few of the 200 new features in iOS 5 are focused on accessibility, to “make it easier for people with mobility, hearing, vision, and cognitive disabilities to get the most from their iOS devices.” Apple has long been a front-runner with making their devices easy-to-use for their more challenged users.
Buried in the Accessibility settings of iOS 5 is a custom vibration creator. Users can choose from several vibration patterns, illustrated above, or create your own by tapping on the screen at the desired tempo. Taps patterns are recorded and can be used for your phone’s vibration.
This is just brilliant. Makes me want to look into the history of vibration alerts as an interface.
[Update: I pulled a section of this out, as I was corrected about iMessage being the next version of Messages:
Project via comments
Actually, iMessage and the SMS app in iOS5 are one and the same thing. If the person you are sending a message to doesn’t have an iOS device, it sends it as an SMS. If the person does, it recognises it in the To field and sends it as an iMessage. In effect, Apple are embracing and extending the SMS protocol with this service. It is a huge move.
I stand corrected.]
Yesterday’s announcements from Apple included the new iMessage: an iOS-only messaging system, which is apparently intended to remove the last rationale that BlackBerry users might have to not adopt iPhones:
Darrell Etherington, iMessage: Biting RIM’s style and sticking it to network operators
BBM is one of the few remaining advantages RIM’s aging platform has over its younger competition in the smartphone market. (Check out this tweet representative of reaction toiMessage’s announcement if you don’t believe me.) People appreciated the way it integrates tightly to your device, and its delivery and read receipts let you know your messages aren’t getting lost in the ether. It’s been a life raft for RIM in the violent sea of the ongoing mobile battle BlackBerry faces with iOS and Android.
However, iMessage brings a lot of what’s good about BBM not only to the iPhone, which just passed RIM in terms of U.S. smartphone ownership trentds, but also to all iOS devices. With iPad and iPod touch users factored in, the potential audience for iMessage is huge, and it should cause at least some BBM-faithful to flee RIM’s platform for greener pastures.
Apple’s move also pushes the mobile carriers down in the stack, allowing iOS users to bypass SMS or proprietary messaging solutions. This is a painful but inevitable evolution.
iMessage is just a tactical play targeting BBM: a old-school pre-social, buddylist-style proprietary messaging system. It’s not strategic, really.
In the long run, it looks like Apple is planning to use Twitter as the platform for social communication, building Twitter into iOS instead of building protocols on which Twitter and other networks could run.
As reported by Marshall Kirkpatrick, Twitter on iOS 5 will be a platform for social apps:
My summary, in a sentence: iOS apps will look like, feel like, read from and publish to Twitter like never before. And they’ll do that in many cases instead of using Facebook.
[Jason] Costa [the newly hired Twitter Developer Relations leader] summarizes thusly."There is single sign-on, which allows you to retrieve a user’s identity, avatar, and other profile data." That sounds like Facebook Connect, but I’m going to guess that Twitter will not prohibit developers from caching that data for time-shifted, aggregate, offline or other interesting types of analysis. Letting users skip having to create an account with every new app they download and instead click to log-in with their Twitter accounts is going to make many users very happy and encourage every iOS owner to get a Twitter account if they don’t have one already. App developers will get more and better populated user accounts, faster.
"There’s also a frictionless core signing service, allowing you to make and sign any call to the Twitter API." To be honest, I’m not really sure what this means. Perhaps it means that parts of the Twitter API that require user authentication will be accessible via the same single sign-on feature discussed above.
"There is follow graph synchronization, which enables you to bootstrap a user’s social graph for your app." In other words, apps will be able to offer users to find their Twitter friends who are also using a new app they’ve installed, and connect with them there too. That’s the kind of solution to the user-level "cold start problem" that Facebook Connect has been so helpful with for web apps.
"Furthermore, there is the tweet sheet feature, giving your app distribution and reach across Twitter." Again, like Facebook Connect, this is a feature that appears to make it easy for apps to publish user activity and promotional messages out into the Twitter streams of a user’s friends. Facebook has a complicated algorithm that determines how often an app is allowed to publish messages out into the Newsfeed of a user’s friends, based on how much interactions messages from that app have received in the past. That’s a spam control mechanism that I’m going to guess Twitter will not replicate, at least at first.
It looks like Apple is going to give Twitter this deep and central role in its social OS plans, and allow the smaller more agile company to manage the building of an ecology of social apps on top of the paired architecture.
If even remotely successful, Apple will want to acquire Twitter, and Twitter will want to be acquired. These two will become as inseparable as NeXT was to Apple, when they regrooved Mac OS to be built upon the Mach Unix kernel. Here though, Apple will be making Twitter — and the open follower model Twitter resides on — the social kernel for iOS going forward.
This is a grand land grab by Apple and Twitter, an effort to block a Google/Facebook coalition on Android, or a Microsoft/Facebook partnership on Windows 8.
What about the competition? I predict Facebook will be too reluctant to partner with anyone, and may be at work on plans to launch its own hardware. Google is too slow on the social network side (the most expensive error of all time?), so they are stuck in the water. Microsoft is making credible efforts with Windows 7 and 8, but have no social network story. Microsoft is far enough behind the curve to possibly cede the social sphere to Facebook, too. RIM is falling like a stone, and would probably like to be bought, and either Google or Microsoft might bite, but that’s just tactics. None of these players has a strategic answer to the Apple move with Twitter.
What I don’t understand, though, is why iMessage isn’t written as a social app on top of Twitter. That would be the right path, and would simplify the Venn diagram tremendously. But Apple is opting to run both worlds — the pre-social and the social — in parallel, at least for a time, instead of doubling down on its social push with Twitter.