Archives for category: Apple

Just for fun, I thought I’d publish my predictions for this year’s WWDC.

It is pretty much a combination of the obvious, pure speculation and a wish list. Some of this I expect Apple will announce at WWDC in June, and some of it I just hope they do.

Don’t take any of it too seriously; Apple will do what Apple will do, and nothing we say here will change that.

Overall, I expect there will be four main areas:

  • Apple Watch updates
  • Pay updates
  • Next version of iOS, Mac OS, Watch OS
  • New TV

Watch

  • New bands: Gold links, other new bands, maybe new watch face(s), but no new models
  • Update to Watch OS (see below)

Pay

  • Expand to new countries (maybe just announcements of future expansion)
  • Integration with web payments. That is, allow web sites to accept Pay for payment. (See below where I talk about TouchID support on the Mac.)

iOS 9

Keep in mind, almost all of the items I list below will also apply to Mac OS X 10.11. They’re in no particular order.

  • Camera/photos filters
  • Group FaceTime
  • Updated Mail, Calendars
  • Reminders to include easy lists (e.g. creation/mark off of shopping list)
  • Motion detector update to include cycling
  • iMessage/Facebook Messenger/Weibo integration
  • Language translations (a la WordLens, which is now integrated into Google’s Translate app). See also Siri below
  • Updated Reminders
  • Better control over Notifications
  • Updated iBooks
  • Integrate HBO, etc into Videos app via in-app purchase/subscription
  • Weather to provide local rain notifications (a la DarkSky)
  • Weather app for iPad
  • More new emojis as part of Unicode 7.0 update (e.g. Reversed Hand With Middle Finger Extended)
  • Two-factor authentication app/solution (maybe integrated with TouchID)
  • Better password management (maybe integrated with TouchID)

Maps

  • Better turn-by-turn directions
  • Choice of overlays: shops, POI, restaurants, etc
  • Integrated public transport

Music

  • Streaming music
  • Beats integration
  • Re-vamped music app

Siri

  • General update for ease of use, display, etc
  • Siri update to provide more services
  • More integration with Apple’s apps
  • Spoken language translation (e.g. “Siri, translate this”, and let a person talk and have the translation appear on the screen)
  • More sports results from around the world (e.g. cricket, rugby, etc)

Health

  • General update for ease of use, display, etc
  • Health app to provide heart-rate input via camera
  • Track other items: workouts, swimming, cycling, water/caffeine consumption, sleep
  • Map walking/running/cycling, etc
  • Track workouts (e.g. running, cycling, skiing, etc): show maps, avg speed, max speed, time between runs, individual runs/laps, etc

Mac OS X 10.11 “El Dorado”

Most items listed above will also apply to Mac OS X, so I won’t repeat them here. But some things will apply just to the Mac:

  • It probably won’t be called El Dorado
  • Fix for wifi/networking issues
  • Add TouchID support via linked iPhone (similar to MacID app), especially from within Safari
  • Updated iTunes app (Please, please, please break it into several apps!)
  • Bring Siri to Mac
  • Add Health tracking app to Mac

WatchOS

  • General update and bug fixes
  • Native apps

TV

  • Completely new interface
  • New Hardware
  • New remote app for iPhone/Apple Watch
  • SDK for developers?
Advertisements

Note: This is part of a multi-part post about advertising. See “All About Advertising” for the start of the series, and for links to the other parts.

Type 2: “Coca-Cola” advertising

“Coca-Cola” advertising shows the brand, typically in a fairly passive way. The idea is not so much to sell to you right now but to influence your buying decision at a later date/later time. The way that they do that is by creating some brand recognition.

Some really good examples are Coca-Cola, Apple, and McDonalds.

In its best form, this kind of advertising persuades you, for example, that you don’t want a drink, you want Coke; you don’t want a phone, you want an iPhone; you don’t want some food, you want McDonald’s.

Then, when you finally get into the purchasing mode, and actually go out and buy this thing that you want, instead of looking at other options you go straight to this product that you have already decided to buy, and all you’ll really be looking for are variations within the product: do you want an iPhone 5S, or an iPhone 5C, or an iPhone 4S; do you want a black one or a white one, and so on?

Another way it works is that it’s there to create brand awareness for things you might buy infrequently. For example, if you have never flown to Warsaw and may not have heard of Baltic Air but if you see ads for them and then you go and search for flights to to Warsaw then Baltic air would come up you would say, “I don’t know any of these others but I recognise this one I’ll go with them.” That’s the second-best form of this advertising working.

The important thing with this is that it’s not trying to persuade you to buy now, so they’re not looking for click-throughs, they’re looking for displays, i.e. Banner advertising, not links. They don’t really expect you to take any action right now.

Some other examples of this type of advertising are: sports-team sponsorships, business-name signs outside premises, logos on clothing, etc.

In the PC era, everyone (except Apple) ran the same operating system (OS) and, therefore, the same software. So PC manufacturers could only differentiate themselves based on one or more of: hardware specs, price, etc.*

This mentality has carried over into the smartphone (and, now, tablet) arena. However, these areas are different from the PC world because these devices don’t all run the same OS, and, therefore, don’t all run the same software. It’s actually the software that people want; it’s the software that allows people to do what they want, whether it’s update their status on Facebook, check their mail, play Angry Birds, or whatever.

This is why app stores are so important, and why attracting developers to write software for a particular OS is so important.

Apple obviously gets it; they should, they’ve been here before. The other phone manufacturers don’t, perhaps because they weren’t competing on software in the “feature phone” era. And the PC manufacturers, such as Dell, HP and Lenovo, that are trying to compete in this area, still seem to be operating as if the OS/software combination was available to all.

Maybe HP, with their acquisition of Palm, gets it too.

As for Microsoft and Google? Google thinks it is in Microsoft’s PC position, and Microsoft thinks it should be, and one day will be.

But no-one is likely to end up with a Microsoft-like share of the smartphone/tablet/ebook/music player market. The general consensus seems to be that three or four OSs will share domination for the foreseeable future.

* Ok, not all PCs ran the same software—there were minimum specs for the newest software at any one time—but you know what I mean.

Some things Apple does that most people don’t notice

  • They don’t have high turnover at a high level – executives are there to stay, not as part of their “career path”
  • They don’t try to be “all things to all people”
  • They don’t offer products for free
  • They don’t offer “loss-leaders”—even iTunes store, OS, etc are better than break-even.
  • They don’t rely on focus groups
  • They don’t pre-announce products
  • They don’t release products that are only “half-baked”
  • They don’t reveal company secrets (in blogs, pre-announcements, etc)

Imagine if Apple went to each of its telco partners (AT&T, O2, T-Mobile, and all the others throughout the world) and said something like, “We’re about to bring out a new product, and we want it to have 3G (or even 4G) data-only access, and we want it to run on your network.”

I’m pretty sure the telco’s reaction would be, “Great! Where do we sign? How soon can we roll this out?”

So Apple continues, “We want to build the SIM card into the product itself, and we’ll activate it for the customer when they connect it to iTunes, as they do now for iPhones and iPads…”

“Ah, we’d really like for it to be one of our SIMs. Why can’t you put one of our SIMs in? That’d be simpler.”

“No, we want to roll this product out world-wide, and don’t want to be mucking around with different SIMs for each telco, just a single SIM built into the device. So we see it as an Apple SIM which would run on your network.”

“Um, this device: it’s not an iPhone, is it?“

“No, this is a new device. It will be data-only device. No voice minutes or SMS.”

“Ok. We’d prefer our SIMs in this device, but it’d be ok if it’s an Apple SIM. How much data would this device use?”

I would expect Apple to have an answer to this question, but I don’t know. It would be a reasonably high amount, possibly more than the 200MB per month that seems to be the world-wide amount most telcos offer as their base for smartphones.

“And how many devices do you expect to sell?”

Again, I would expect Apple to have an answer for this. They could probably have country-specific numbers rather than telco-specific numbers and would allow the telcos to fight each other for market share within the country.

Then Apple drops the bomb: “Given the number of devices we expect to sell, and the amount of data we expect each device to use each month, we’d like to pre-purchase [n]GB of data from you for these devices. At wholesale rates, of course.”

This is the important bit; instead of customers buying minutes or data from the telcos, and therefore being the telcos’ customers, Apple would buy the data at wholesale rates from the telcos, and sell them to Apple’s customers at retail rates along with the devices.

Apple would be making the telcos an offer they would find very hard to refuse—a commitment to buy huge amounts of data each month, from a reliable, cashed-up customer—but it would take away the telcos’ retail customers. They’d be swapping sales of data at retail prices for sales of that same data at wholesale prices.

The device, of course, would be an iPod Touch with a built-in SIM card, which makes it identical to an iPhone. But, instead of using the existing voice and SMS/MMS network, it would use the internet. It would use FaceTime for voice and/or video calls, iMessage for messaging, and the normal data for apps.

If Apple added functionality to FaceTime similar to Skype’s SkypeIn and SkypeOut, these new devices could call any phone in the world, and do it at similar rates to Skype, i.e. at much cheaper rates than the telcos charge, especially for long-distance and international calls. It could do something similar for SMSs.

For customers, it would mean they could buy a device from Apple, either directly or via its many retail channels, and never have to deal with a telco. During the activation process, they could optionally get a phone number (or be given the option of porting their existing number, where that is available). iDevice to iDevice calls would be free (like Skype to Skype calls). They could be made between these new devices and existing iPod Touches, iPhones and iPads, and Macs. All for free!

To receive calls from other phones, or to call them, they would have to buy pre-paid credits via iTunes. Importantly, though, if they don’t need these—if all their friends have iDevices—they don’t need to spend any more. They just need to pay Apple a monthly subscription for world-wide access to data. This would almost certainly be cheaper than their current telco monthly cost.

It would also allow these iDevices to roam anywhere in the world without roaming data charges, as Apple would have agreements with telcos all over the world. In markets like Europe—where travelling a relatively short distance can put you in another country, and expose you to fairly high call/SMS/data costs—this would be a very attractive selling point.

Apple, of course, would only have to pay for data over the telco network; as these iDevices all have wifi built in, and use wifi whenever it is available, use of these devices in places where wifi is available (such as at home and work, for many people) would not cost Apple anything.