May 28th, 2012 — Everything else, Tech
After an 18 month dalliance with Android, I’m back to the iPhone, now on Verizon. Left the Droid X outside during a Texas thunderstorm, and the Verizon folks were kind enough to upgrade me without a penalty.
I’m happy. All my old apps were waiting for me in iTunes. The GPS problems have gone away. And I’m comfortable back in Steve’s sandbox where rogue apps don’t cause the system to crash.
Just one thing… what the f* is this Siri? Does anybody except new users and my 10 year old actually find it an enjoyable and productive feature? Or to expand the question, if there had never been a Star Trek would the idea of instructing a computer with voice commands, rather than just punching a button, have ever seemed like a good idea?
One thing I did struggle with was the lack of security for my Apple account. By default, a user (such as the above mentioned 10 year old) can enter a wrong password 4 times and then be asked if they want to reset it. The reset link is sent to my primary email account, which of course is accessible on the phone.
The solution is to go to Settings>General>Restrictions>Accounts and then check “Don’t Allow Changes”. I can now enter the wrong password as many times as I like and will never be prompted to reset it.
August 8th, 2011 — Marketing, Tech
If your company held a giveaway and said I could enter to win an iPad if I bought a product, that would be illegal. “Consideration” is one of the legal no-nos in a sweepstakes which is why the rules always say in big letters, NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.
Use of images from Apple's website is also prohibited.
If your company had a giveaway and said I could enter to win an iPad with no purchase required, that would be…. prohibited. Say what? By whom? By Apple, according to their new promotional guidelines.
Apple, which will soon be or already is the world’s most valuable company, has decided it has the right to tell people what to do with products they have already purchased. iPads may not be used in promotions of any kind, period. iPod touches are ok if you buy 250 units. And of course everything must follow guidelines provided by Apple and be submitted for Apple approval.
The use of third party trademarks in marketing is a grey area. It’s not the same as my writing about iPads in this blog (there I said it iPad iPad iPad) where the primary purpose is educational so I’m protected by something called “Fair Use”. But what is very clear is that Apple has a lot more money and a lot more lawyers than you do.
I can’t find evidence of any marketer who has actually been dinged by Apple for violating this policy, which was issued earlier this year but is only recently garnering attention. But I do know at least one of my agency clients will no longer use iPad promotions. They are going to instead give away, and give free publicity to, a competing product from HP.
August 28th, 2009 — Marketing, Tech
Consistent and thorough (you might also say obsessive) are words that describe any Apple marketing effort. I got an example when I decided to treat myself today to the just-released Snow Leopard upgrade, speed and various new features for an affordable $29. Was near an Apple store (Knox Street in Dallas) so stopped in.
They had a little VIP line with a delicate white chain set up in the middle of the store. (Which, as Apple stores usually are, was packed. What are all those people doing in there? How many visits does it take to buy a computer or iPhone?) You move quickly through the line and an employee hands you your DVD case, shakes your hand, says “congratulations.” Another employee handles the receipt and puts a little payment confirmation sticker on the case that says “Lucky You”. And the door employee (who introduced herself by name as I entered) repeats the congratulations on the way out.
Compulsive and obsessive are signs of mental imbalance, right? Is that what Steve Jobs means by “insanely great?” But it’s also very effective marketing because it makes customers feel smart and special.
July 1st, 2009 — Everything else, Marketing, Tech
My venerable MacBook died today. (No condolences necessary, it wasn’t Black.*) Which brings to mind the issue of how freelancers should deal with technical glitches when talking to clients.
Should I have called my clients and said “my computer died, so I won’t be able to read any emails you send me till I get a new one”? Um, no. I have webmail for my email so I can check it from any public computer with web access by going to http://webmail.otismaxwell.com . Halfway through 2009, not being able to exchange email with your clients is simply not OK.
Should I have warned those same clients that “since I’ll have to check email on my iPhone till I get a new computer, I won’t be able to download your attachments like the marked up deck or PDF”? Unless they have iPhones themselves, your clients will think this excuse is ridiculous which actually it is. (Steve, are you listening?)
This is why you need a backup account on gmail or yahoo. If you can’t get attachments at your primary email, ask them to forward to your alternate. Awkward, but better than blowing a deadline… or losing a client.
* With the new generation of Mac laptops we seem to have bid farewell to the Black Mac, a laptop which cost $300 more primarily because it had a matte black finish. I only know one person who bought one, a consultant to publishers in South America. He called on a VIP who said, “S__, you say you respect me yet you show up with a white MacBook!” The next visit, S__ had a black one.
March 1st, 2009 — Everything else, Tech
I got my iPhone finally and am happy with all it does. But also surprised at some of the things it does NOT do. Here are a few issues that need to be addressed immediately… I’ll add more as I come up with them:
- Camera needs exposure control and flash. Movies would also be nice.
- Flash player for Safari.
- Global: cut-and-paste between applications.
- Global: a bigger keyboard when you turn the phone on its side, like there now is in Safari.
- Audio directions for the Google Maps directions.
December 16th, 2008 — Marketing, Tech
Trade shows are a bonanza for the tech-focused copywriter. In a couple of frenzied days you can see dozens of presentations, stuff several tote bags full of competitive literature, and eavesdrop to see what makes your target prospect’s face light up when the demo guy presses the hot buttons related to blade servers or email encryption or some similar arcane topic.
Sadly, in person trade shows are getting harder to justify when it’s so easy to just get information online and see demos on YouTube. Comdex was my favorite show but it took a hiatus after 9/11 and never came back. Networld/Interop kept shrinking to smaller and smaller spaces at the Las Vegas Convention Center and eventually moved to the Mandalay… still cool t-shirts, though. And now Apple announces it is pulling out of the Macworld show held annually in San Francisco in January.
Macworld was always an odd duck to me, being a Mac user. Back in the 90s when a guy nicknamed “Der Diesel” ran the company, it was mainly a place to pick up software bargains. (This was before online commerce.) There’s very little sold on the floor in recent years and it has a very cultish feel, with a huge Apple temple that occupies about a third of the space and thousands of people lined up to try the newest laptop or music device which they could just as easily find out about in an Apple store. The sponsor, IDG, says the show will go on without Apple but no way. Stick a fork in it, it’s done.
Meanwhile, I am off to the Consumer Electronics Show in a couple weeks which though down a bit from its peak, has prospered by absorbing castoffs from other shows. Now you can see many of the more businesslike IT vendors alongside the robots, gamers and giant screen TVs.
June 22nd, 2006 — Marketing
The next time you open your iBook, MacBook or WhateverBook, note the orientation of the Apple logo on the top. It’s upside down! Wouldn’t it be more elegant to have it right side up, from the perspective of the user?
In fact, it used to be thus with earlier generations of Mac laptops… until the return of Steve Jobs. He recognized that it’s more important to present the brand to those who have not yet purchased than to current users. THEY see the logo right-side-up now. And it’s maybe a bonus to those who want to be cool that there is no question we are using an Apple rather than some other kind of inverted fruit.
I recently heard an interesting story from an Apple design engineer who happened to be working the night Steve returned to Apple, in 1997. (It was a Sunday.) They showed him a work in progress called the Nancy, an all-in-one computer. They explained how it was a network device in development. No it’s not, said Steve. This is our new consumer PC.
And so was born the iMac….