Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What Apple Announced & Why You Care

There are a ton of blogs telling you all the ins and outs of the Apple Keynote today.  They're all pretty much 19 pages long, included embedded tweets, and generally just lots of crap you don't care about.  So, for all you "just give me the stuff I need to know" folks, here ya go.  In simple format - What Apple Announced (WAA) and Why You Care (WYC).  On with the show!

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WAA: 2 new phones - iPhone 6 (4.7" diagonal screen) & iPhone 6 Plus (5.5" diagonal screen)
WYC: Your phone will get bigger in height & width.  But slimmer either way.

WAA: Better cameras, iPhone 6 Plus has better stabilization
WYC: If you take blurry photos, the Plus will help.  The iPhone 6 will still be an improvement, but the Plus even more.

WAA: Battery life isn't changing much
WYC: Battery life is important, but virtually no gains on this model.  So expect about the same as you get now, maybe a LITTLE more.

WAA: It has motion/fitness stuff built in.
WYC: You could possibly replace your fitbit/jawbone/fuelband/etc with your new iPhone.  Decent software for tracking everything you do - steps, stairs, running, etc.  Will use more of these features with Apple Watch (keep reading).  Want to know more?  Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake are apparently the new spokespeople in this official Apple video.

WAA: Pricing - iPhone 6 16GB/64GB/128GB is $199/299/399 w/ contract.  iPhone 6 Plus 16GB/64GB/128GB is $299/399/499 w/ contract.  There is no 32GB.
WYC: Why do you care?!  Well duh, we're not all made of money like Tim Cook.

WAA: Old phones pricing - iPhone 5 is $0 w/ contract.  iPhone 5S is $99 w/ contract.
WYC: In case you have an even older phone and don't care about new whizbang features.

WAA: Apple Pay - new mobile wallet from Apple
WYC: It could make some payments a little easier.  Some big names (Walgreens, Whole Foods, Panera Bread), but will take a while to catch on.  Could also create renewed competition/love for NFC from Google Wallet & Android devices.  Claims (and appears) to be very secure.  ONLY works with iPhone 6 & 6 Plus

WAA: Apple Watch (not iWatch)
WYC: The crazy 10-minute video is pretty awesome.  It promises a lot.  It's pretty appealing, smart, and customizeable.  But it's starting at $350 for the base model (of 3).  And it's not available until 2015 so you've got time to learn more and either decide or save for it.

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That's it.   Sure there's more about 2 billion transistors or 1080 resolution and all those other things but really who cares?  You want your phone to do stuff, and do it fast.   And just want to know "Should I upgrade?"

But if you do have another 6 and a half minutes to spare, take a look at the official video  because it's not too bad.

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Upgrades/Contracts - want to know if you're eligible for the upgrade?  Check your carrier below:

AT&T:  Dial (like you're making a phone call) *639# and hit Send/Dial.  It will send you a text message with your eligibility.  FYI the "NEXT" plan is NOT the upgrade.  That's the payment plan option, so don't be fooled.

Verizon:  Dial (like your'e making a phone call) #874 and hit Send/Dial.  It will send you a text message with your eligibility.

T-mobile:  Check with T-mobile.  They've changed their mobile subsidization details.

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Selling your old phone

I'm sure you'd like to unload your old phone and get a little cash for it.  That sure will help when you're shelling out another couple hundred bucks for the new one.  Good news - there are easier (and safer) ways than Craigslist.  I've sold many devices via Gazelle.  They give fair prices, free shipping & packing materials, and quick payment.  Right now they're giving almost $200 for a base iPhone 5.  Plus they buy all sorts of older versions and even Android.  And there's no chance they'll rob you in a parking lot.





Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Thanks a lot, Foursquare

Let me tell you a quick story. I went to a fun, popular Dallas bar. I checked in on foursquare, and not too long after, got a text from a friend asking if I was still there, and that they'd come join me. Thanks, Foursquare!

Let me tell you another quick story. I went out of town to San Jose and found myself looking for a great bar, and found a cool underground speakeasy, using foursquare. Then I saw which drinks were most popular via foursquare's tips and ordered one and it was great. Thanks, Foursquare!

And one last story.  Remember the time Foursquare reunited the cast of The Lil' Rascals?

Great app! All this functionality! I can find places, get suggestions, and share my location with friends or track historical visits, and even get Spanky & Alfalfa back together as best buds!  All through one app. What a great idea! Thanks, Foursquare!

Nevermind. Now I need two separate apps. That look different. And work different. And most of all, provide no additional benefit by being separate.

<sarcasm> Thanks a lot, Foursquare.  </sarcasm>

Okay, so what? We all know this. We've heard it's going to happen and been tricked into trying Swarm for quite some time.  The problem is Foursquare won't admit they're wrong.  Foursquare had plenty of time to look at consumer feedback, their app ratings (for both Swarm and Foursquare) and realize they may not be making the right decision. But they insisted that they know best, not the people using it. Remember when Netflix was going to split their DVD rentals by mail into "Qwikster"? And just a month later, due to consumer feedback they said "whoa, we messed up, we'll keep it like it is". And today they're still (and more) profitable.

I would ask Dennis@Foursquare to read the "I messed up" blog post by Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO.  Read it.  Think about it.  Read it again.  Think about it again.

Because maybe there's still a chance to say one more time, "Thanks, Foursquare"... and actually mean it.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Spanky & Alfalfa reunited.... again

Something amazing happened this weekend thanks to Twitter & Foursquare.

Remember in the Lil Rascals when Alfalfa & Spanky got in a fight and split? Best buds, separated. We were all devastated, especially Spanky...



Spoiler alert (20 years later), they reunite, and end up best buds again. Yay, happy ending! But now, 20 years after the movie was released, it happened again... Spanky (@Airem23) was in NOLA & checked in to the famous Cafe Du Monde on Foursquare...



I bet he didn't expect Alfalfa (@Bug_Hall) to reply....



And just like that, Spanky & Alfalfa were back together again!



Then:



Now:

And everything was right in the world again....