Tag Archives: iPhone

iBooks – yes it works (or digital books are now main stream)

Another nail in the physical content coffin – books. Back on the commuter trail into London, I’ve been using iBooks on the iPhone (my trusty 4S) for a while now. It’s near perfect for train reading. You can hold it in one hand, navigate through the book with your thumb and one finger and with the right type of books, you couldn’t ask for a better reading (consumption) experience.

The books I’m reading right now are a series of history books – “History In An Hour“. Ok so they do take me, a bit more than an hour – 20 minutes here, 20 minutes there (journey in isn’t one hour) – but they’re very readable and hey I’m learning something. South African history, World Wars One and Two, The Afghan Wars (there have been a few), The Cold War and The American Civil War to name a few.

The huge plus with reading them on the iPhone, is the convenience. The phone’s pretty much always with me and very accessible. No more having to carry books around with me, that take up more shelf space at home. Yes I am a huge fan of printed books and my home office wall resembles a small library. That bit about physical books I love and also reading for the little Nobles, but there is a need now for me for digital books and Apple’s iBooks application is the answer. The genius of Apple usability and customer experience helps big time!

Everything will become mobile – fact

Lots of people are still referring mobile like it’s a different channel these days – be it for computing, retail, consumption, gaming, distribution or anything.  A few years back maybe that was valid but since the birth of the iPhone back in 2007, things have changed and changed radically.  Mobile phones are now everywhere and yes pretty much ubiquitous.  Not just mobile phones but smartphones with technology and computing power in them that we couldn’t have dreamt of back when mobiles first came out.

The slide below says so much.  Think about it.  There’s more – and that’s a lot more – computing power in a mobile phone today (2011/2012) than was needed to send a man to the moon back in 1969.  That’s in my lifetime.  What about the next 40 years?  It’s the first time in a long time, that it’s virtually impossible to say where the next 5, 10, 15, 20 years or longer is going to take us.  Technology is changing so fast and is having a massive impact on our lives!

A nice video showing the evolution of mobile phones up to today…

So what do we do with all this computing power in our hands (quite literally) 24×7?  A lot yes, but no where near as much as we could do.  We listen to music, take photos and videos (and edit them and view and play and distribute them); play games, read books (and magazines and newspapers – if you’re so inclined yet – we’re well and truly getting there now; “It’s official the 6 year olds verdict is that digital magazines are better”), find out where you are and get directions to where you want to go (visual or verbal ones); track a run (or bike ride or swim or any physical activity for that matter) and improve your training times and distances; communicate with friends, family and pretty much anyone else (not just by calling them – yes you can do that as well on smartphones); buy and sell shares; take notes; give and write presentations; write (and publish and sell) a book; buy and sell just about anything to anyone anywhere; send cards (and postcards), control your TV; listen to the news of the hour in any country; make music (with drums, pianos and guitars and lots more); find your away around the tube; figure out which London 2012 Olympic events you want to go to and more!  The list is huge and it’s growing and it’s fast moving away from just consuming content.

Breakthroughs – and they are breakthroughs in how simple (that word again – “How simple should it be?  Insanely simple”) the technology works – like Siri are changing how we use them and what we use them for.  Equally impressive is Microsoft’s Kinect.  Voice control and gesture control are the future!

Apple’s strap line for Siri – above – says it all.  Imagine all technology with this level of intuitive control – it’s coming and soon.

I digress slightly – back to mobile…

Another slide (this one and the one above are from the McKinsey June 2012 web presentation on “Understanding consumer behaviour” – well worth a read) that illustrates the growth of traffic (lets call it data or usage) for mobile and desktop computing over the last 4 years.  So during the time since the iPhone’s been around – and look at the trend, mobile is growing…

Now this is my point – mobile is growing but it’s becoming the normal way we (as consumers and more and more as businesses) interact with content (that word again – and there is a risk that we could over consume it – “Content over consumption coming soon”).  It’s no longer another or a different channel.  More and more of our time with technology and content is spent on our smartphones and yes while mobile – and by that I mean when not at a desk.  We need to think differently about how we embrace a mobile world – both in the workplace and at home – and how we interact with it.

Business strategies need to change and make sure mobile it’s part of the core business – both for your teams and your customers.  Along with mobile comes digital – another word that means so many different things to different people.  But it’s the same – it’s another channel and distribution method that’s fast becoming the norm – and it’s not just marketing.  One for another blog post.

On a similar thread see this post from The Guardian this week…

It asks, why mobile for business and has some good points.  But I think it misses a critical point – mobile is not an option.  This is happening now.  It’s more what strategy should you take to get on-board with mobile and how to best make it an integral part of what you do.

And another post this week by Rene Ritchie…

This one I really like.  Apple brought the computer and the power that brings with it, to the phone.  They fundamentally changed what phones were and how people – consumers (pretty much everyone I know – any age) use their mobiles (and what they now expect from them).  Rene’s last line is poignant and carries a very simple message…

All back to Apple’s drive for simplicity.  Yes I am an Apple fan and love what they’ve done with technology generally, but for mobile they changed the way phones were perceived and used and now everything is becoming about mobile.

The Orange T-Mobile strap line from their merger last year fits very well and this is what mobile is now and the key is understanding consumer behaviour…

Where’s visual voicemail? Come on it’s old technology…

Having been an iPhone fan (user) since 2008 with O2 I’ve been used to the great technology that is visual voicemail.  It makes far more sense than the 15+ year old normal voicemail technology.  It’s visual and you can easily see who’s called, when and then listen to which message you want to, when you want to.  Nice.

I moved to Vodafone through work on another iPhone and they didn’t have it but I was happy with my own set up on O2.  When I then moved from O2 to Vodafone on my personal one, I’d assumed I’d get the same great voicemail service from Vodafone – I mean they provide the best network coverage in the UK, surely they must have the same basic technology services as their competitors – but no, it was back to old fashioned e-mail.  But I put up with it for a few months before moving mobile networks again.

This time to Three – they’re offering an amazingly priced deal for iPhones (me providing the phone and them the service) and these guys invented 3G didn’t they?  Well sort of, I mean it’s in their name and they were the original 3G network providers in UK.

Signal strength from Three not great – particularly when indoors but their service around data must be the best, surely?  And that must include visual voicemail – or so I naively thought.  Their voicemail service isn’t even close to Vodafone’s non-visual one.  You either have a text message from Three telling you you’ve received a voicemail or no notifications.  The text messages I find annoying so don’t want to use them.  But the alternative is nothing.  Rubbish.  And by nothing I mean nothing.  The phone might register a missed call but there’s not even a counter on the voicemail icon to say there’s a message.  Something’s not right there.

I know, I’ll speak to Three and see what they say.  A message to their support team and a phone call back from their very outsourced support team, who try to point me in some direction but end up saying I need to speak to their iPhone experts who then ask me to explain everything from the start again – that sort of service really gets me.  They’ve not listened or they have and chosen to ignore me and their processes – yes that word again – mean they can’t link things up properly.  Rubbish again.  The guy tries to help but eventually just says they don’t support visual voicemail as their customers don’t want it.  Really?  Aren’t I a customer?  I want it and others do as well.  How many have you asked?

A quick Tweet to the Three Twitter account and pretty much the same response – but delayed (which is also a little surprising)…

If the new benchmark has been set by Apple and O2 5 years ago when the iPhone was released why on earth aren’t all the mobile networks keeping up with the technology that consumers (yes that’s us) want?  It’s all down to money and the commercials – which I guess isn’t surprising.  Why aren’t these guys trying to be more innovative and give people useful services that they want?

See a post on Mobile Industry Review by Ewan MacLeod, that very nicely says it like it is…

If you’re interested here’s a very nice how-to guide for how to use visual voicemail on your iPhone – obviously if (and it’s a big if) you’re network supports it…

If not try one of the 3rd party services like HulloMail – that I’ve just downloaded and will be testing – or wait (for how long though we have no idea).

What do you think?  Am I expecting too much?

Why dad needs the new iPad for his 70th birthday

Mum and dad set off for their new life down under 2 weeks ago now and it was dad’s 70th birthday just after they arrived.

Dad’s an Apple fan at home – with a nice big shiny iMac but he’s never made the move to a tablet, preferring his little netbooks for trips away.  But with his 70th on the cards an iPad was looking a nice option – so he can keep up with the technology the grandchildren are using (not that he needs an excuse).  But the recommendation from me was to wait until they’d announced the new one before ordering – and even then we’d have to wait.

So the new iPad is here and it looks good.  One’s definitely on the cards for me as well, to upgrade the original iPad we’ve got.  What problem does it solve for me (to quote Stu)?  None that I know of but I’m a fan-boy and I know I need one.  And it looks great for dad’s 70th present.

What makes it even better for dad is a new app (iBGStar) that our neighbour Gray showed me a link to, that plugs into the iPhone or iPad and takes a real blood reading and then the app measures your blood sugar levels, to help keep tabs on diabetes.  Very very clever – assuming it all works as good as it says on the tin.

Now just need to wait until the shipping times come down a bit for the new iPads!

And this will officially be my first non-running blog entry – a major breakthrough.

QR codes in shoes?

Whatever next?  In the shoe at the back of the in-sole.  Only spotted them when I took the new Brooks shoes off tonight after my run…

Had to scan it as soon as I spotted it but tried to scan it with the QRReader iPhone app with no success – shadows kept getting in the way.  Genius Mrs. Noble – who was busy sorting out the gorgeous roses I’d got her for Valentine’s Day (care of good old M&S) – suggested taking the in-soles out…  kind of obvious really.

In-soles out, app ready, QR code scanned… where does it go to?  Brooks FaceBook page with a “like” button right there and a competition to win an iPad2 – not bad, a clever idea.

Sore-ish feet in the meantime after an 8 mile run in the new shoes – but new shoes so expected.  Longest run in the training so far coming this weekend – 18 miles.

Time for a new playlist

Three runs done this week. With one long one – 15 miles – the longest I’ve done for a while. Went back to running without music this week. Does it make a difference? Difficult to say. Not normally a fan of running with music, I really enjoy the thinking time. But have recently been using the iPhone with music (and the genius that is the Nike+ GPS app) and yes it’s nice to listen to something. You do need a good playlist though – clicking shuffle when you’ve got pretty much your entire music library on your arm, complete with Christmas and children’s music, doesn’t help much (though it does bring a smile you your face).

So what makes a good playlist? Forget the technology – it’s a good assumption these days that we’re all digital fans when it comes to music and creating a playlist from any tracks we want (including new ones we want to buy) is a simple task and literally a few clicks away. Good old Virgin have a nice page on their marathon website that has playlists used by some of the professional athletes and winners from previous years and you can listen to them and buy them with a few more clicks – a very clever touch.

A bit more digging and you can find websites that analyse music by beats per minute (BPM) and show you tracks for the BPM you’re looking for. I’m told 160-180 BPM is good for marathons.

A bit of then seeing what I like that’s on these playlists and buying one or two tracks that I don’t have yet and we’re there. A new playlist ready to use in iTunes and syncing with the iPhone for live testing next week!

Gotta to love this new digital technology…!

Any recommendations or suggestions for good running tracks very welcome!