I Hate to Make Fun of Samsung, but . . .

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Samsung is not a pioneer. From the minute they reached these shores, all they have done is copy product and marketing plans from American companies they envy.

This guy Brian X. Chen, who wrote the New York Times story that Samsung is going to give Apple some of its own medicine by setting up mini-stores inside Best Buy across the United States this summer, can’t be serious.

First of all, Best Buy is going out of business. There is no way they can sustain themselves, not even with Samsung’s money. And if Samsung becomes financially responsible for them, they, too, will go out of business.

Electronic stores are passé. No one goes into traditional stores to buy anything anymore. People will shop, price compare, and then go online to the biggest discounter to make their purchases. The term they use for that process is called “show-rooming.”

Traditional retailers are so upset about being used for “show-rooming” purposes that many of them refuse to sell brands that sell to exclusive online retailers.

As I mentioned the other day, there isn’t a consistent top Korean executive at Samsung that is smart enough to know that putting a store within a store is not the same thing as the Apple retail environment. The Apple store is a formula that Steve Jobs created. It cannot be replicated unless you have the right product, the right design, the right sales people, the right inventory, and the right set of groupies that are willing to follow you anywhere.

Who wants to bet me right now that Samsung won’t fall flat on its face? Other than the first week when the departments open, I am predicting this concept will have tumbleweed running through it. Ghost City.

By the way, the geniuses at Samsung probably don’t know it, but they tried this concept already 15 years ago in the Miami branch of Comp USA stores. Back then you had to be pretty pathetic not to succeed because everything was selling off the shelves. Yet they failed big time.

The company knows nothing about retail and is not in the service business. If Apple had to start over again at this point in time, I don’t think even they would do as well as they did.

The Times They Are A-Changin’.

Apple Revolutionizes a New Category

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Both iWatches are a mere speculation.

Notice I didn’t say that Apple was inventing a new category. They don’t necessarily invent anything, but rather make a category more intuitive, user-friendly, extremely productive, and important. Continue reading

Digital Magazines Debut Before Print

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I knew this day would come but I didn’t think this soon. Hearst Magazines just announced that its digital issues will now be available on iPads before the print ones are on newsstands or in the mail to subscribers.

This is huge news considering most magazine publishers were reluctant to go digital just a few years ago. It turns out that magazine readers love when new issues show up on their screens, they don’t have to carry around a lot of weight, and they are saving trees.

Let’s give a round of applause to Apple and Hearst for working together leading the way for a better reading experience.

Hearst titles include Seventeen, Esquire and Popular Mechanics.

Hearst says it is nearing a million online subscribers while also seeing a sharp increase in revenue.

A Bigger Apple

I hate when friends want to hold my iPhone to see a photo or a video. They usually want to get closer to the screen. Unfortunately, they sometimes lose my photos when they try to enlarge the image or they displace videos when they want to switch from one to another. I have been known to grab my iPhone after I see them trying to manipulate the screen. “Get your sticky fingers off my screen,” I sometimes say out loud or mumble to myself

Recently I found a solution to my dilemma that I want to share with you. It’s the new ultra-sleek 3M Projector Sleeve for the iPhone 4/4S. All you do is slip your iPhone into the case. The case allows you to project pictures and videos everywhere and anywhere. All of a sudden everyone can share together. While it hasn’t been publicly announced, 3M is going to shortly introduce a projector sleeve for the iPhone 5. 3M calls the sleeve “dock and go.” I love that because it is small and thin enough to go with you everywhere. You can slip it in the pocket of your jeans, your purse, or the pocket on your shirt.

The makers of the 3M Projector Sleeve claim that users are getting a kick out sharing their new favorite viral video from YouTube® or streaming the newest films from Netflix® on the wall, on the ceiling or on the side of a tent. Others are creating photo sharing nights with family and friends with special slide shows. The 3M Projector Sleeve allows for 100 minutes of projection time. It also has a rechargeable battery. It’s very simple to use. Just project, share and enjoy. It even works as a back-up charger for your phone with the press of a button.

I plan to use the 3M Projector Sleeve for client presentations, to review photos on my camera roll, and to show off interesting videos I took at concerts, musicals, and plays. I may also start my own human interest channel on YouTube and share the videos with friends when we all gather together.

Amazon has the 3M Projector Sleeve on sale for $165.98 through November. It usually sells for $229.00.

Below is a video demonstration.

Be Prepared To Lose Your Apps If You Expose Your iPhone, iPod or iPad

It was all over the news yesterday. Apple products are the most desired items to steal in The Big Apple. No more grabbing chains, purses and boobs, now thieves want an Apple. Bloomberg News reported that many of the stolen Apple products are being shipped overseas where they are securing double, triple the price. iPhones, iPods and iPads actually outpaced overall crime with a 40 percent increase over the exact same period last year (Jan 1, 2012 to September 23, 2012). Apple beat out seven major crimes, including murder, rape and robbery which had a four percent rise. This trend is expected to spread to other cities as well, so watch out!

Did this warning scare New Yorkers who travel the subway? Not at all! From what I can see, on my daily trips to work, most people under 50 are still using their smartphones right out in the open. The folks closer to my age however, hold briefcases and handbags close to their chests with their arms wrapped around them. Pretty obvious what is inside. It is funny to see the separation between the younger and older riders.

The most dangerous thing on the subways as far as I’m concerned, are the people who hop on overly-crowded cars with their coffee. Do you know how lethal that is? What are they thinking? The liquids are sloshing around like tidal waves and one day soon they are going to land on someone, or me. Just this morning, I had to duck as one gal slipped when the train suddenly stopped. I could see the liquid through the paper cup just edging to the top ready to spread its wings. Luckily, the gal regained her balance quickly and saved me from screaming at her.

No more coffee on the subways please.

When I learned about the high theft in Apple products, I immediately thought of all those industry analysts on TV yesterday who wanted to make a name for themselves by questioning the health of Apple. Did you hear about the scratches on some of the backs of the iPhone 5’s? Must have been the two year olds they hire for the assembly lines. Did you hear that iPhone 5 owners are unhappy with the new Apple maps? Wrong streets, addresses and tavern locations. I can’t remember a time that Google Maps didn’t take me one or two miles out of the way to get to my destination.

Of course there are going to be glitches. That is what technology is all about. In the last two months, Eliot and I had to lay out $1,200 to repair our Sub Zero Refrigerators in Miami and New York. I think they both agreed to break down at the same time. One had a compressor problem, the other had a fan control malfunction. Service free and parts, about $600 each. Now our Décor gas range in Manhattan is tick, tick, ticking away. We called repair and they told Eliot to clean the ignition flint. I have no idea what a flint is and I don’t want to know.

Yesterday, I had to spend time at the Apple store on 59th and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan because the wireless stopped working on my iPhone 4S. 3G to the rescue. I have been to many Apple stores since their inception. Yesterday was no different. All I could think of was that Best Buy, Circuit City and Sharper Image never had one hour of the masses that are drawn to each and every Apple store, 24/7, 365 days a year.

What is this phenomenon and will it last forever? Can it last forever? It has never happened before. Will it ever happen again?

Please watch the video and catch the circular staircase where people come and go.

The Insanity Of The iPhone 5

First person in line for the iPhone 5 talking to a neighborhood diva

I think everyone has lost their marbles. Eliot and I went to the Apple store on 59th Street and Fifth Avenue last night to see how many people were in line for the iPhone 5 that was set to go on sale this morning at 8am. We were walking home from Broadway where we saw the play “Grace” starring Paul Rudd, Michael Shannon and Ed Asner. Excellent, go see it. The story unfolds backwards. Anyway, we had the opportunity to witness all of the commotion first hand.

At first we thought no one showed up. There were rows of barricades that looked empty. Not so. When we got closer we saw that everyone was lying down on the floor with their pillows, blankets, folding chairs, knapsacks, and of course, electronic paraphernalia. Everyone was under 40. No one over 50 would ever be insane enough to camp out for nine days to buy a piece of tech equipment. I know a few women who would stand in line that long if Hermes was discounting some of their handbags, but that’s about it.

Apple had the entire glass cube draped in black you couldn’t see inside. I can really understand why many Apple customers enjoyed the wait because it like a Woodstock happening. They get to tell everyone from now on that they were the first of a few hundred to buy the iPhone 5 and recount all of the experiences they had, and who they met. The entire concourse of the Apple store was crowded with print and broadcast press. Everyone who was camped out got interviewed at one point.

When we arrived, a bunch of ladies who lunch were talking to the first few guys on line. I thought that was a bit peculiar but I guess they were as curious as we were. Both 59th Street and Fifth Avenue had FOX, NBC, CBS and ABC satellite TV trucks lined up ready to do interviews for the 11PM news and then again when the doors opened at 8am. I overheard one of the women asking the first few in line what they were going to do with the iPhone 5’s once they got them and the best answer they had was, “show it off to others.”

I took a video of the scene but it was very dark, so you are going to have to focus to see what was going on. I have to admit the backdrop of the lights from the Plaza Hotel and Bergdorf Goodman did provide for an exciting and energized ambiance. I hope the iPhone 5 was worth the wait.

Don’t Forget To Upgrade Your iPhone To iOS 6

Don’t cry if you can’t buy the iPhone 5 yet. You can get many of the features if you just download the new iOS 6 software.

You must have an iPhone 3GS, 4 or 4S. iOS 6 is pre-installed in the iPhone 5. Warning: Siri does not work on the 3GS but you will get many of the other iOS 6 features.

iOS 6 features are also available to users of the iPad 2, New iPad and the 4th and 5th generation iPod Touch.

The Wall Street Journal ran a detailed story on the upgrades you get on your current Apple device if you download the iOS 6 software.

I have included the link to the story. I also copied and pasted the story for those of you who do not subscribe to the online version of the WSJ. You have to pay to read the digital version.

To download the iOS 6 on your device, click on Settings, General, Software Update. You should download the update when you are connected to Wi-Fi and have a full charge on your device, since it is a large download and will take some time to download and install.

Not Ready for iPhone 5? Upgrade Has Tricks
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444450004578004330637758200.html

The good news for plenty of current iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users pondering buying the new iPhone 5 is that they’ll get many of the 200 new features in Apple’s free update for mobile software, iOS 6, available on Wednesday. I’ve compiled a handful of the most significant features you’ll get with the iOS software update, which I tested on the iPhone 5 and the newest iPad. Some older devices won’t be able to use all of these features and one feature will work only on the iPhone 5: taking a still photo while recording a video. Here are some highlights of the new features. There are many more features too numerous to mention.

Do Not Disturb

Finally, the iPhone can let its owners sleep at night—with options. Until now, the iPhone’s silencing switch turned off all sounds with no alternatives. This meant that people who wanted to turn off alert sounds for Facebook notifications and incoming emails while they slept had to give up receiving phone calls in the middle of the night from, say, a relative having an emergency. The Do Not Disturb feature (turned on in Settings and adjusted in Settings, Notifications) turns off all sounds but can make exceptions. If you want to be notified whenever one of your favorite contacts calls you, the phone will ring. Another optional feature of Do Not Disturb lets calls ring through if a person calls twice in a row within three minutes. Do Not Disturb can be set to work on a daily schedule, like from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., so you don’t have to remember to turn it on. People who are trying to maintain separate work and personal lives may even set this to work after they leave the office, only allowing calls from certain groups (like family and close friends) to ring between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. If your phone’s silent switch is on, the phone won’t make noise no matter how Do Not Disturb is set.

Panorama

In iOS 6, Apple (as it often does) took a feature that’s already available in many smartphones and made it a lot simpler to use: capturing panoramic photos. In Camera, select Options at the top center of the screen and choose Panorama. A small on-screen diagram will appear to guide you as you click the shutter button once and pan the phone from left to right, following an on-screen arrow along a center line. Panorama works on the iPhone 4S and 5, as well as the newest iPod touch.

Better Sharing

IOS 6 has improved sharing in two significant ways: It’s now integrated with Facebook and enables sharing directly from the places where people think about sharing. You can share to Facebook using various tools such as the Notification Center screen (pull this down from the top of the screen and select Tap to Post in Facebook); using Siri (tap and hold the Home button before saying, “Post to Facebook”); or by clicking a share button (a square with an arrow) on nearly any screen—including photos.

Until now, iOS forced people to open Facebook, select Photo in the app and then choose an image to share. Now, people can tap the share button while looking at a specific photo and send that photo out to Facebook. Likewise, you can now add photos or videos to emails as you’re composing them—not by starting with photos. This is something people naturally do on their desktops as they add photos or videos to emails. Do this by tapping anywhere on the screen in the body of the email to see the Select, Select All, Paste options appear. Then tap on the right arrow and select Insert Photo or Video.

App Store

While Apple’s App Store now holds 700,000 apps, the revamped App Store app for iOS doesn’t look overcrowded thanks to a more organized layout. Search results appear in card format, one per screen. By swiping one app to the left, another appears. Developer information, reviews from other users and screen shots of the app appear in a helpful, methodical format. While the old App Store forced people to scroll down a lot, this App Store makes better use of the horizontal plane. It does a better job of displaying Genius, a feature that suggests apps you might like according to those you’ve purchased.

Maps

Apple is now shipping its own Maps app, replacing Google’s Maps app on devices receiving the update. This app takes some getting used to, and its maps appear a bit more zoomed in, overall. But its turn-by-turn directions (available on the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPad 2 or later) will be a big help for people who want a hands-free option for driving: Just plug in your destination address, pick a route and tap start to hear navigation instructions announced out loud as you drive. The text of the directions still appears on the device’s lock screen, in case you put it down and it locks and you need to quickly glance at the next step.

Siri

Apple’s voice assistant, Siri, has been updated to do more and now works on the latest-model iPad and iPod touch as well as the iPhone 4S and 5. Siri can now open apps and do more with them; I composed a Facebook message and never touched any keys. But it still has its inaccuracies: In a quiet office, I said, “Launch Google Plus,” which Siri interpreted as “Lunch Google Plus,” and then said, “I found 15 lunch restaurants, 11 are fairly close to you.” This is a failed experience that happens all too often.

Freedom from Wi-Fi

Now, the FaceTime video chats you make on iOS can be conducted over cellular, not just WiFi. This works on the iPhone 4S and 5, as well as the newest iPad, so long as it has cellular data capability.