Tag Archives: Passbook

2015 is The Year of Mobile and 5 other predictions

crystal-ball

Around this time of year, you’re going to be inundated with “resolution” and “prediction” posts, with folks proselytizing on their views of tech trends for the upcoming year.

Your boy is no better.

But unlike these other jokers at Mashable, Techcrunch, Gawker, et al., who spend time researching, interviewing experts and reviewing industry reports, I simply comb through their work, cherry-picking the tastiest tidbits and regurgitating their work as my original thought.

I kid, I kid.

But seriously.

The end of the year provides a great opportunity to review the wins, hits or misses or the previous year and reliably forecast what may happen in the year ahead.

There have been a number of interesting developments over the past year, which give me confidence to say that 2015 will be the year of mobile.

For example, there are more mobile devices than people on the earth.

Let that sink in for a moment.

That’s significant, especially if all of these people are browsing from their mobile devices.

Even if only half of them utilize their mobile devices as the primary means for getting online, brands that aren’t mobile-enabled are going to see their bounce rates increase and revenues decline, as folks abandon them for sites that are mobile optimized.

But rather than talk about how mobile will impact brands generally, here are my top five mobile predictions for 2015.

1. Mobile payments are going to take off. With Apple Pay already being adopted by 220,000 vendors, the mobile payment trend is undoubtedly going to grow. Apply Pay joins other established mobile payment solutions, like Google Wallet and PayPal, and newcomers, like LevelUp and Paydiant, as well as a host of others scoping the mobile payment space, including Square and Swipely. With folks taking privacy and security seriously, e-commerce sites and mobile applications that allow users to avoid the necessity of having to manually input payment details over insecure wifi networks, will undoubtedly be the preferred method for completing online transactions.

This year, I predict mobile payments becoming a standard.

2.  Mobile sites will proliferate this year. As brands start to realize that customers are spending increasing amounts of time on mobile devices, getting in on this action will be a critical strategy to engagement. Last year, the average person spent almost 3 hours a day on their mobile devices. That’s more time than they spend online, and this trend will likely continue. With streaming services offering television-like abilities, mobile may eventually outpace tv. But at a very basic level, this year brands will acknowledge that the failure to have a mobile site (either mobile enabled or fully responsive) is a distinct competitive disadvantage.

I predict the number of mobile sites will invariably grow at a tremendous pace this year.

3. Widespread adoption of auto-fill. Retailers bemoan cart abandonment as the bane of their existence. Over 68% of e-commerce shopping carts are abandoned. The holy grail for online shopping involves seeing shoppers through checkout. But for mobile shoppers, there is nothing more frustrating than having to complete payment and shipping forms on their mobile device. Payment options like PayPal or Amazon One-Click save users from filling out many of the fields required to complete their online purchases, but too few online vendors are set up with streamlined payment processes. And while a fine tuned checkout doesn’t necessarily equate to fewer abandoned carts, it couldn’t hurt!

Auto fill is a simple and easily implemented solution, that can occur at the browser or native (device) level, which will enable users to quickly and securely complete online forms, typically with one click, dramatically reducing the amount of time (and frustration) required to complete payment or shipping information (or forms of any kind). Google Chrome has already implemented the ability to auto fill forms in both full HTML and mobile web browsers, and many of the mobile payment solutions described above, also include the ability to complete non-payment forms as well.

I predict widespread adoption of mobile autofill solutions, as more players enter the space and users become more conversant with these types of platforms.

4. Mobile loyalty programs will grow. Nearly every retailer I frequent has some sort of rewards program. Stores like Anthropologie, Sephora, CVS, Modell’s, Target, and ShopRite all have rewards programs tied to a keychain or wallet-sized reward card that patrons can present at checkout to earn points or qualify for rewards. But 2015 will see an increasing number taking advantage of Passbook or eliminating cards in favor of mobile loyalty or punch cards. Instead of having to present a loyalty card, users will simply whip out their cell phones flash a QR code and transmit their rewards or loyalty account info, similar to how Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts’ mobile rewards work.

I predict that 2015 will see more brands taking advantage of the convenience of mobile loyalty and release Passbook-like offerings of their own.

5. Wearables will change the mobile landscape. In the not-too-distant past, when you thought “wearables” a massive virtual reality helmet was probably all that came to mind. But with Oculus Rift making wearable headsets more like goggles, and less like NFL helmets, the concepts is more palatable. The definition of wearables has extended from virtual reality headsets, to Google Glass to fitness devices like the Nike FuelBand, the Fitbit tracker, the Apple Watch and Android smart watches. Wearables will open a whole host of smart applications, devoted to health and fitness, as well as medical diagnostics.

I predict that wearables will have a breakout year in 2015, driven primarily by the Apple Watch, but supported by advances in Android wearables, the proliferation of 3D and augmented reality applications adding rich virtual layers to users’ real life experiences.

What are your mobile predictions for 2015? Feel free to comment and share!

Happy New Year!

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Six day review. The iPhone 5 is really just okay.

I wanted this post to be an effusive endorsement of the latest iteration of the iPhone.

I would love to be able to deflate Samsung Galaxy SIII users with a glowing review of my most recent gadget acquisition.

To prattle on about this amazing feature or that.

But six days into stepping up to the iPhone 5, my opinion of it is decidedly….nyah.

“Nyah” is the sound you make when asked about something that is neither good, nor bad.

It is typically accompanied by a non-committal shrugging of the shoulders, and perhaps a slight cocking of the head.

It is by no means an endorsement.

But let’s examine the five reasons the iPhone 5 gets a ‘nyah’ from me to date.

1. Maps to nowhere.

There was much ado over the replacement of Google Maps (good) with Apple’s map offering (bad).

In the days immediately after the iOS 6 and iPhone 5 releases, the blog and Twittersphere were ablaze with sharp criticism of the map, which many complained led you effing nowhere.

Not one to take criticism at face value, without testing myself, I didn’t jump into the fray. I hadn’t upgraded nor did I have the 5.

But yesterday, using Apple’s native map to find a Radio Shack on a major roadway, was an absolute fail. Even though the pin drop showed the proper address, where the pin was located AND the directions to the location it subsequently provided, Apple’s map still had me literally driving in circles like an a**hole.

2. That damn microphone button!

I text a lot.  In the past five years since the iPhone’s debut, I’ve used the keyboard thousands of times. I’m familiar with the layout and have long since compensated for the fact that I suffer from ‘fat finger syndrome’.

Imagine my dismay, if you will, the first time I tried to get to the number keys and saw a purple voice recording screen pop up where my keyboard has once been.

Flummoxed, I quickly hit “Done” and watched as three purple dots appeared next to the text I had been typing.

WTF?!

Who designed that? Helen Keller?

I’m not really happy that I’ll need more fat finger typing classes to acclimate myself to the new layout.

3. Longer battery my behind.

I hate longer battery life claims because they’re just not true.

They never are.

Sure, in the lab, with a bunch of geeks staring endlessly at a pristine phone, untouched and unused, you can eke out 250 hours stand-by.

Perhaps, with a passive user making few a calls, sending a few texts and checking emails sporadically, you might get 80 hours talk time.

But in the real world, that’s baloney.

If you’re a power smart phone user, than that 250 hours of stand-by is meaningless because you never put your phone down.

I go hard and when you smoke test the iPhone 5 in real world conditions, that 80 hours of talk time is pure fantasy.

I can’t even make it through the morning without having to re-up and charge this bad boy.

I dare say that I’m recharging the 5 three times more frequently than I did the 4.

You see, boys and girls, significantly reduced battery life is the price we pay for our shiny new phone and all these wonderful features.

4. It’s buggy when charging.

If you’re like me, sometimes you can’t wait for your phone to recharge to use it.

So you work tethered to an outlet.

You just do you thing, while your phone sucks in precious watts with no problems.

Right?

WRONG!!

With the iPhone 5, I’ve experienced dropped calls, inoperable functions, frozen screens, ghost button presses.

You name it, I’ve experienced it.

It’s virtually impossible to use your iPhone 5 while charging at the same time.

It probably has something to do with the new-tangled 8 pin connector.

But whatever the cause, it sucks that I’m losing productivity while (repeatedly) charging my phone.

Massive boo considering how much more often I find myself having to charge the damn thing.

5. Passbook fail.

I think that apps should be purely intuitive.

I think every user application should be – but I digress.

You shouldn’t need to watch a tutorial or ‘read this first’ to use a thing.

It should be designed thoroughly ‘plug n play’.

Apple has always been the embodiment of this principle for me.

So it’s with great chagrin that I talk about Passbook, which is really a huge disappointment.

Intended as a one-stop-shop for one’s loyalty accounts, all Passbook did for me was add a buttload of new apps to my iPhone.

It didn’t consolidate them in one place…in say…oh, maybe the PASSBOOK APP?!

No, it scattered them about.

I was so shook by the sudden appearance of loyalty account apps on my phone after using Passbook, that I Googled “how does Passbook work” to figure out what, if anything, I was doing wrong.

Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one who was bewildered by Passbook’s supposed utility.

It should be called FAILbook.

Summing it all up.

I know I’ve only criticized the 5, but I do expect more from the brand leader in the smart phone space.

Sure, there are some good things about it:

  • It looks beautiful.
  • It’s faster.
  • It’s lighter.
  • Larger screen.

But the rest of the things Apple touted about it: better camera, improved Siri, more microphones, etc, don’t really add value to the average user at the end of the day.

In conclusion children, the iPhone 5 is a bigger, but not necessarily better phone.

If you must have one (Angelou) then buy it because you want it.

Don’t buy it with the expectation that it will change your world, because it won’t.

At the end of the day, it’s just a phone.

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Filed under iPhone, mobile, opinion, technology

Well eff you then! iOS 6 ain’t all that anyway! A review, of sorts

After a much awaited…uh…wait, yesterday, iOS 6 finally arrived.

Everyone in the office with an iPhone broke out their joints and copped the update.

Everyone except your boy, that is.

You see, long ago, I became a Jailbreak disciple.

And the first rule of Jailbreaking is that you never automatically update your OS.

Updating a jail broken phone without first acquiring the secret sauce to preserve your jailbreak, renders it obsolete.

So there was no updating anything until my crew had successfully implemented a jailbreak for it.

Consequently, I watched curiously, from the sidelines, as others eagerly updated their devices.

Like giddy children, they clutched their iPhones and sat through the (painstakingly long) process of getting the update to their devices.

Unblinking, they sat, eyes glued to their screens as slowly (oh so slowly), the progress bar made it’s way across the screen.

Muffled gasps escaped their lips, as the updates completed and they were presented with the shiny new iOS 6 welcome screen.

Wide-eyed, they stepped through the balance of the set up wizard.

Apple Id sign-in. Check.

Location services. Enabled.

Set up complete!

But wait!

What’s this?

There’s more stuff to update?

iBooks, Map, Calendar, Address Book…

Well okay…

More updates.

More wide eyes.

The anticipation was palpable.

And then…

The same old home screen.

No…no…

Wait! What do I spy?

Passbook?

What is this passbook?

Is this the thingamajiggy that lets you store all you loyalty cards and accounts?

Whoa! Somebody’s all fancy schmancy!

Is that a…

A new map!

Stop the presses!

Hmmm…interesting, no navigation dock or buttons on the bottom…it’s all map!

And they’ve re-arranged the buttons behind the map, how nice.

I wonder how turn-by-turn works…

Dude, who’s calling you?

What?!!

There are updates to the phone too!

In addition to “Accept” and “Decline” buttons there’s a little phone icon, that pulls up a bunch of options.

Don’t want to take a call, now you can (politely) tell the caller to piss off!

What will they think of next?

Ummm…you can hit “decline” now.

I’m done with this update.

Was? (“What” indignantly, for my German-challenged)

Is that a slight tint to the color of the status bar I see?

Those sly devils!

Hold on…don’t put it away quite yet…

What are you doing?

I haven’t finished reviewing iOS 6…

There’s no need to get back to work…

The clients can wait…

What about Siri?

And all the other stuff?!

What about all the other stuff!

C’mon! Don’t put your phone away!

Why you gotta be like that?

You’re right.

I shouldn’t be breathing all down your neck.

I didn’t even realize I was drooling.

Don’t worry, it won’t stain…

And you could have just told me I was wolfing…

Anyone got an Altoid?

Seriously, my eleventeen readers need this review!

Well eff you then!

iOS 6 ain’t all that anyway!

And you have dandruff!

Note: What you’ve just read was pure nonsense. If you want a real review (albiet a self-serving one) check out the What’s New in iOS 6 page at Apple. And for a step-by-step walk through to update your iPhone or iPad to iOS 6, check CNET’s insightful article.

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Filed under iPhone, mobile, rant, Smack talking, technology, Uncategorized