The phablet is all the rage. Half smartphone – half tablet, Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus is on fire. According to Carolina Milanesi, of Kantarworldpanel, iPhone 6 Plus gobbled up 44% of the worldwide phablet market during the first quarter of 2015. China is largely responsible for the overall iPhone 6 Plus consumption, but the U.S. and Europe are also playing an important role. Who is buying all these quasi-tablet/smartphone Pluses? Women.
Cultural differences aside, universally women carry purses, and generally speaking, men do not. Additionally, more men are in the workforce, and that makes a difference in device choice. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 69.7% of men are in the workforce, while 57.2% of women are in the labor market. Businessmen do not carry purses, rather, they slip their smartphones into a slacks or jacket pocket. Women, even those in the white collar labor force, often carry business-like purses. Women working retail or working-for-the-family Mom’s carry purses as well. If you have not caught on yet, a large display smartphone works well for purses, not so much for business suites, slacks or jeans.
If you hadn’t noticed, Apple is on what can only be described as a never-ending tear of success, and their enemies seem incapable or inept at stopping them. But this does not mean other tech players aren’t trying to wear their big-boy pants — they just continue to come up short at competing effectively. Perhaps the worst offender is Microsoft. Under former CEO Steve Ballmer, the Redmond software giant became very good at making lofty promises, delivering failures, demonstrating vaporware or throwing an occasional chair. Today’s Microsoft, run by Satya Nadella, is now a softer, gentler software vendor, but has yet to be any more effective at defeating the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and soon to arrive and dominate the wearable market, Apple Watch.
Nadella showed initial promise by downplaying the consumer electronics market, turning his focus on enterprise solutions. Old habits die hard. Microsoft is once again is pulling out their Fisher Price "My First Marketing Playbook" in another attempt at capturing the consumers eye with Surface 3. Will a cheaper Surface, whose best feature is the 5 seconds of switching between a poor tablet and so-so ultrabook, backed with a massive advertising budget, be enough to derail Apple’s best laid plans?
This is Part 2 of 2. Read Part 1 >
6. Watch Faces
First and foremost, these devices are watches, and what type of face is displayed for you and others to see is very important. A watch face conveys the owners personality and what he or she thinks of the watch itself. What individuals like, or do not like, is up to each one’s personal preference. Currently, Android wear has more watch faces to choose from when downloading from Google Play — 57 in all — but that is where customization for Android Wear faces largely ends. Quality of watch faces is up to one’s own opinion. That said, Apple clearly trumps the number of downloadable Android Wear watch faces with the amount of face customization for each watch face.
Apple Watch ships with 9 time keeping faces, but each face is immensely customizable, going several levels deeper than Android Wear’s abilities. Beauty is a subjective thing, but most reviews are pointing to Apple’s more elegant, highly crafted time faces. You be the judge.
It’s almost here... Apple’s Special Event (that we predicted, before anyone else was talking about it back in Janauary). The final date was off by a few weeks, but our understanding that a Special Event was to take place before the launch of Apple Watch was indeed dead on.
Now that the moment is almost upon us, I was thinking the other day, “Will I be able to use Apple Watch to search for things?” In other words, will Apple Watch have a search function? Siri will exist on Apple Watch, but will search be achievable though it?
While Google and Apple’s search engine contract is about to expire, other players stand in line like available bachelorettes, desperate to become Apple’s next choice for Safari’s default search tool. And while it would seem Apple and Google are likely to hammer out another contract together, Apple could use this opportunity to turn the search engine game upside down, selecting little known DuckDuckGo as their default search engine of choice.
Apple’s fiscal second quarter iPhone sales were simply amazing, but the Cupertino company is showcasing the value in diversity more so than any of its competition. Microsoft is simply a decades old franchise, one-hundred-percent dependent on Windows. Google just showed how unsuccessful it is outside of anything but search. Apple’s model of software coupled with various hardware businesses can withstand blows, and expand in ways that continue to defy the odds — and its detractors — alike.
Microsoft, the once mighty and feared software giant, is only a footnote outside of Windows sales. Office is the monster of business workflow, but without Windows and the forced Office bundles, who would value Word or Powerpoint over other solutions available today? Everything Microsoft had, has, and will have, revolves around Windows nothing more. Bing, Xbox and Windows Phone are all long-term financial nightmares for the Redmond, WA techno-giant.
The question that came across my desk this morning is whether Apple’s software is getting better or worse? Thinking back to the initial releases of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, I can not, with a straight face, say that Apple’s software is getting better. I am not talking about features, but rather quality. OS X Yosemite should never have been released into the public’s hands with its myriad of bugs. Only after its first update 10.10.1 is it now safe to put on my wife’s laptop or my parent’s desktop.
You may – or may not – have heard about Google’s latest mobile OS, Android 5.0 Lollipop. If you are one of the rare birds who has actually used Lollipop you may have experienced a few problems, mainly in the area of the OS containing some major screw-ups. The issues are so bad that the few devices that ship, or can support Lollipop, are almost unusable. Think iOS 8.0.1 with more problems and you are on the right track.
Now that iOS 8 is out the door, anticipation is building for the release of OS X Yosemite. The reason this OS X release is so important is due to its tight interdependence on iOS 8, which Apple calls Continuity. Never before have the desktop and the mobile operating systems been so intertwined.
I didn’t think Handshake, which is part of Continuity, was going to be a big deal until I was on a road trip and began to type an email on my iPad while in flight. But I discovered the email needed to be finished on my MacBook Air (due to some files and images that were not on my iPad). At that point I had to do some technical gymnastics. The process was not terribly difficult mind you, but now that I know Handshake is coming the current workflow seems archaic. With Handshake, I would have just opened my MacBook Air and there would have been the email in the same state as it was on the iPad, ready to go.
This weekend I spent some time watching college football and some of the NFL. I always find it fascinating to see who is spending big bucks to advertise in this expensive sports-drama space. In August Microsoft made a big splash about the Surface Pro 2 tablet (modified for exclusive NFL use) being the NFL’s sideline tablet of choice, after paying the NFL $400 million to join in of course. This weekend I saw a few commercials for the Surface Pro 3, going head-head against a Macbook Air. I also observed several Samsung commercials. One Samsung ad explained how the iPhone 6 Plus 5.5" screen is no big deal because Samsung had such a device in 2012. And then there was the Google Now commercial, where Google’s digital personal assistant is asked how long Koala bears sleep (up to 18 hours according to Google Now — if you’re curious).