Tag Archives: iCloud

Top Tech Trends of 2015. A top 5 list.

homer

As 2015 draws to a close, we’re inundated with lists.

Best of lists.

Epic fails lists.

Prediction lists.

Everyone’s trying to get in on that end of year metrics booster as people search for reports, studies and stats on how well we did this year or how well we’re predicted to do next year.

I am no different.

But I’m not particularly interested in offering any scientific or metrics-based opinions.

I’ve read no studies to support any of what I’m about to say.

No reports inform my perspective.

In fact, I’ve been told by at least one person, that my list is bunk.

Kick rocks.

I know what the fuck I’m talkimbout’.

Anywho, I think we can all agree that 2015 was a banner year for tech.

This year, we saw curved screens, wearables, virtual reality, and streaming music explode.

Everyone had skin in the game and we (consumers) benefited from all of it.

Everywhere you looked, technology was changing the way we did things, the way we saw things and the way we interacted with the world around us.

And that trend is likely to continue unabated.

So here are my top 5 tech trends of 2015 (in no particular order).

Wearables are a thing.

wearables_tech

Without question, 2015 was the year of wearables. Anyone who was anyone wanted to create a wearable device, demonstrating that they ‘got it’ when it came to wearable technology. While brands like Tag Heuer had their head turning high end $1,800 Android watch, one wearable stood out among the rest: The Apple Watch. Heralded as the device that would ‘free people from their phones’ (considering the fact that it’s a tethered device – that’s a bit of an overstatement, but nonetheless) Apple sold more than 4.2 million watches in the second quarter of this year, making it the most successful wearable device ever. I’m not a fan (be on the look out for my expert’s review) of the Apple Watch, but I’ve got to give props where they are due and the Apple set the bar for wearable lifestyle integration.

Every cloud has a silver lining.

the-cloud

2015 was the year that Cloud came into it’s own. Principally, in the form of highly publicized hacks. Who can forget last year’s infamous Apple iCloud hack. Seeing Jennifer Lawrence’s naughty bits brought the issue squarely into – ahem – focus. Ashley Madison’s subsequent hack once again showed the vulnerability of data in the cloud. But where many see problems, cloud providers and security experts see opportunity. The demand for cloud services will invariably increase due to the advantages of high computing power, low costs, high performance, scalability, accessibility and availability, and cloud vendors are reaping the benefits with 50% annual growth rates. Data breaches will continually be the bane of virtual data storage, but cloud is definitely the future and the trend clearly got a foothold this year.

Drones, drones everywhere!

amazon drone

In 2013, when Jeff Bezos introduced the planned delivery drones of Amazon Prime Air on 60 Minutes to the befuddlement of Charlie Rose, it was a fantastic and futuristic moment. Two years later, drones are an every day part of our lives. Whether it’s the small toys for kids, the more advanced camera toting variety or Amazon’s delivery drones, drones have become a defining element of 2015. Drone were so prolific this year they prompted legislators to draft bills prohibiting them and the FAA to issue regulations regarding flight ceilings to prevent their unfettered use in airspace by the general population. Drone technology continues to advance as innovative applications are constantly being developed.

Mobile became a gateway.

mobile gateway

Mobile is the gateway to everything. The explosion in social media, wearables, IoT, streaming, cloud all owe their origin to mobile. Mobile has become one of the largest contributors to retail, providing a cushion to waning brick and mortal sales. The use of mobile in stores, to scan barcodes, search for comparable items, and pay all from the same device has increased the frequency and number of touch points that can be exploited by brands to help influence consumer behavior. The sheer amount of data generated by mobile users is a treasure trove for brands interested in harnessing the value of that data. As users become device agnostic, opting to use the device appropriate for the moment, mobile will become synonymous with ‘mobility’ and not devices.

Social Media

social media

Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Social media has become a disruptive element to virtually every space. From finance to politics to the reporting of world events, social media has helped spread information light years faster than traditional media. Breaking news is no longer coming from news outlets, but from people on-the-ground broadcasting events in real time to online followers and members of their digital social networks. Nowadays media outlets are piggybacking on stories sourced from social media, with the more savvy media outlets devoting entire units to social media listening. Social media has also grown niche audiences, speaking to its power to engage both mainstream and previously less engaged or insular communities.

The items that didn’t make this list (because I was lazy or harangued by my more critical peeps – you know who you are) include: machine to machine, 3D printing, digital pay – I could go on.

Suffice it to say, this is just an entré for a deeper discussion for 2015’s top trends.

What other trend stood out for you in 2015? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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Filed under Apple Watch, iPhone, mobile, social media, technology

Is Google Play the App Store Killer?

Will Google Play unseat the champion?

Google is trying to dethrone Apple for dominance in the app market.

Although Android’s smartphone marketshare far exceeds that of Apple (I think it’s currently approaching 50%), Google’s app store has not seen a commensurate level of success.

The iTunes App Store continues to dwarf the Android App store, and Google is looking to change that.

Yesterday, FierceMobileContent reported that Google is about to scrap the Android app store in favor of Google Play, which is being positioned to compete more effectively with Apple.

Google Play will be a combination of the Android App Market, Google Music and Google’s eBookstore, effectively mirroring Apple’s App Store, iTunes and iBook offerings.

Google Play will give users the ability to access all of their content in the cloud, from any of their connected devices.

Here’s a short video from Google’s blog (obtusely) promoting Google Play.

The video is a well-crafted pitch, but the absence of a real-life demonstration of their offering left me scratching my head.

With iCloud purportedly providing the same level of capability (seamless access to your content across multiple devices, etc.), Google Play is definitely designed to be a head-to-head competitor.

According to Google, current Android App Market customers will be upgraded to Google Play over the course of the next few days.

As an Applephile or Apple purist, I’m simply not convinced that Google Play (or anything Android-related for that matter) can hold a candle to Apple.

Having handled an Android device or two in my day, I can definitively say that the user experience leaves much to be desired.

Perhaps Google Play will create a more seamless experience for Android users –  at least as it relates to accessing and interacting with their content – but I doubt it.

Either way, I’m not sure that this move will really make Google any more competitive in the app market.

As they say, you can lead a horse to water…

…but can you make them download more apps?

Hey, what do I know?

If you’re an Android user, I’d love to hear if this announcement excites you (or not) and how Google Play will (or won’t) impact you.

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Filed under apps, branding, mobile, technology

iCloud? iDontthinkso!

I just got this email from MobileMe, informing me that my MobileMe subscription was about to end, and inviting me to move my account to iCloud.

iDon't want to move to iCloud! And iWon't!

I’ve been avoiding iCloud like the plague, because I, for one, am not really interested in having Big Brother be the keeper of all my information.

iCloud is Apple’s suite of wireless sync and backup services, whose function is to keep all your iOS devices synchronized, regardless of which one you happen to be using at any particular moment.

While most see iCloud as some savior and a panacea for all that ails us, when it comes to synchronizing and backing up your data, I am not among them.

Even while Apple claims that the cloud (and supposedly all of your private data) is ‘secure’, recent events have proven otherwise.

More importantly, I don’t really dig the fact that I don’t have a choice in the matter.

What if I don’t want to move my MobileMe account to the cloud?

What happens with my data?

Is my account locked?

Is my content irretrievably lost?

And what does moving to iCloud really mean?

Apple claims that I’ve got 5Gb of ‘free’ storage.

But my iTunes library alone is over 20Gb.

What happens with the rest of my music library?

And what about my pictures and video?

How will iCloud handle all that?

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

The reality is that there are (some) answers to all many of these questions.

MacWorld published a very comprehensive article on iCloud last summer, which addressed many of the questions I raised above, and then some.

But, if you’re like me, you’re really not trying to read an entire tome just to figure out the costs and benefits associated with trying something new.

Especially if you really don’t have a choice in the matter.

Come June 2012, MobileMe will be gone.

Period.

If you haven’t moved to iCloud before then, you’re screwed.

Period.

Sure, you’ll still have access to some of the functionality currently available on MobileMe.

But the majority of what (I’m sure) most of us use MobileMe for, will be gone – forever.

And what Apple doesn’t say, is that to access some of the advanced features that you’re probably going to want to use, you’re going to have to pay – dearly.

Being a technologist, I’ve already got data synch and back-up happening without iCloud.

Apple has had these features available within it’s ecosystem for years.

But now they’ve got everyone clamoring to get on the ‘cloud’ even though doing so may ultimately be to their detriment.

I’ve had a slew of calls from clients seeking help for the (to borrow a term from a fellow blogger) clusterfuck they’ve gotten themselves into, blindly accepting iCloud’s Ts&Cs only to find themselves incapable of finding their data later.

Luckily for them, they know that my crew and I are Apple guerrilla warriors and un-clusterfucking the clusterfucked is our speciality.

But if you’re a regular Joe, and don’t have a crew of Apple ninja assassins at your beck and call, proceed into the cloud with caution.

As many who have moved to iCloud have found out, all that glitters is not gold.

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Filed under digital advocacy, opinion, rant, Smack talking, technology

Find My iPhone: Tales of a Lost and Found Device

My friend Sanford Biggers just told me a story I have to share about an experience he had with his iPhone.

He looks intense...but he's just looking for his phone.

As an artist, educator and musician, Sanford is constantly on the go.

A member of the Apple nation, his trusty iPhone 4G is constantly on his hip, wherever his travels take him.

On a recent trip, while working on his laptop in the lobby of a high end hotel (the wi-fi in his room was terrible – we won’t go into that), he forgot his iPhone and ten minutes later, when he returned, it was gone.

He asked around of the guests in the lobby, but no one in the lobby or on the hotel staff had seen his iPhone.

Nor had it been turned in.

He had to leave early the following day, and it hadn’t been recovered by the time he left.

Over the course of the next few days, he tracked his phone with Apple’s Find My iPhone feature.

Lojack for your phone!

For the next 72 hours, he watched as his phone traveled from the hotel to a neighborhood a few miles away and back.

Occasionally, he would send a message to the device, asking the individual who had custody of it, to call him, to no avail.

Each time it showed up on Sanford’s iPad as being at the hotel, he would call the hotel and inquire as to whether the device had been returned.

But over those three days, it wasn’t turned in.

Finally, he sent correspondence to the owners, relating the incident and the steps he had taken to recover the device.

In his correspondence, he included the Find My iPhone history, detailing his iPhone’s movements and pinpointing the exact neighborhood of its current custodian.

Based on the pattern of movements, the device was clearly in the possession of someone who either (i) worked at, or (ii) frequented the hotel on a daily basis.

Suffice it to say, a cross-check of employees disclosed the identity of the unscrupulous culprit.

Sanford’s iPhone was recovered and delivered back to him in Manhattan.

As he recounted the story, we chuckled heartily at the shock this individual surely must have felt, as the hotel’s security knocked on his door demanding the iPhone’s return.

But more than that, we were thoroughly impressed with the utility of the Find My iPhone feature.

I realize I’m a geek being excited about the ability to find my iPhone, but if you’ve ever misplaced your device you know how great this little feature is.

The one scare, I had with my iPhone, occurred when I was leaving the Apple Store on 5th Avenue, after I first copped my iPad.

The store was jam packed with folks all trying to get their Apple on, and in my effort to speak to a customer service rep, rifle through my bag for my wallet, and talk about the different options, I laid my phone down.

And completely forgot about it after the sales rep walked me through my purchase.

Gleefully, I left the Apple Store, relishing my latest acquisition…while my iPhone lay abandoned and alone on some counter top.

When I frantically returned to the store, someone on staff had seen the abandoned device and taken it into custody.

I hadn’t even activated the Find My iPhone feature yet, and but for the good people at Apple, I would have been took!

Anyway, Sanford’s story reinforced yet another reason why I am such an evangelist for Apple devices.

They do things that other devices don’t do.

I’ll take being able to find my phone over Flash any day!

If you haven’t yet, make sure Find My Phone is activated on your device now.

Although I may have read something about requiring iCloud to activate this feature, I’ve been able to get by with just my old MobileMe credentials.

But you may have to take a walk on the dark side (i.e. iCloud) to get it popping now.

In any instance, if you used Find My iPhone to recover your device, I’d love to hear your story.

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Filed under digital advocacy, iPad, iPhone, mobile, technology