Apple Rumors

Friday Link Dump: Apple rumors, Twitter expands, big ideas and more.

You know the drill folks, its Friday and the fall weather is officially rolling into town here on the East coast of the states so let’s roll into the weekend on the back of a roundup of all of our favorite rumors, developments, and helpful hints from the mobile world this week.

New Possibilities in the Tech World

The days of the cracked screen may be coming to an end and as news this week from the team at LG suggests that a flexible smartphone screen may be closer than we think.

Complain all you want about the dreadful service Comcast provides, but this week thanks to a partnership that will allow users to watch television directly through twitter, Comcast certainly made some waves in the mobile game.

From the Rumor Mill

For the avid followers among you, you know we like to touch upon the many Apple rumors that tend to float around these airwaves each week. Well this week, the folks at Wired did it for us with a roundup of all the Apple rumors ranked from most ridiculous to most plausible.

While Blackberry has been our whipping boy many a time, the company still seems to have plenty of value if only in the software game. That became evident this week as rumors circulated about a potential Blackberry buyout that could run upwards of $4.5 billion.

Big Ideas in Design

Some of the best mobile designs do not come from flash or flare, but rather focus only on experience. We came across a great piece from UX Magazine explaining how to create a better user experience ecosystem.

I don’t know that I’ve ever been more excited for a sequel a decade later than I am for Anchorman 2. This week, the folks at CNet made the case that tech companies might just be able to take some advice from the people at Chrysler who have launched a promotional campaign using our favorite politically incorrect news anchor which focuses on the notion that rattling off specs is not nearly as impressive as creating a great experience.

Disney touchscreen

Disney is taking touch screens to the next level.

How do you change the mobile game when every phone is closing in on becoming capable of virtually the same things in slightly different ways? Well, the folks at Disney may have an answer to that and it appears to be adding an entirely new sense into the interactive experience.

While Apple, Samsung, Nokia and the likes are racing to tweak the screen size of their devices and sharpen the resolution on their displays, the Disney team is busy trying to create a whole new way to feel the things we see on our phones. By using a display that generates electrostatic force at varying voltages, Disney’s touchscreen creates a weak field that simulates different levels of friction. This tricks users’ brains into thinking they are touching dynamic three dimensional objects by simulating the impulses that would naturally be sent to the brain.

So, while smell-o-vision may still be on hold for the foreseeable future, Disney’s touchscreen technology certainly opens plenty of doors for possibility in the mobile space. As the algorithm used by Disney’s researchers relies on a fluid, dynamic relay of information, the technology could theoretically create real-time interactions through mobile devices that allow for a touch-based interaction.

Gone will be the days of sending a text to make a pair of digital underwear vibrate half way around the world I suppose, but so too will be the days of not being able to feel the skin of your newborn grandchild or pet a cheetah at the zoo. By breaking down the barrier of touchscreens only allowing you to touch a screen, we are making the world smaller and far more accessible than ever before.

Of course, this technology is likely a few years away from realistically becoming standard fare in the mobile industry, but when it does, you can be very sure we will be talking about the next big shift in the connected world.

Twitter IPo

Friday Link Dump: Twitter IPO, Google Hummingbird, and much more mobile madness

We couldn’t recap the week without starting with the biggest story in the tech world this week, which of course revolves around the Twitter IPO. The social giant officially filed earlier today, and while it did so with reports of massive streams of value and tremendous growth statistics, there were plenty of red flags such as the lingering presence of fake accounts and spammers.

On To The Rest of The Web

This week Instagram announced that it will soon be featuring ads. Inevitable really, but aside from annoyance for users this opens up plenty of implications in terms of competition with other major players.

For what its worth, Business Insider this week released its latest rankings of the world’s best smartphones. See the winners and losers here.

Sometime symmetry and specs are not a designers golden ticket, as was explained this week in a great article by mobile strategist, architect and interaction designer, Steve Hoober that focuses on the value of designing for imperfection.

What’s Apple Up To?

In a rare case of dagger throwing, Apple’s senior vice president Phillip Schiller took to the twitter-sphere to publicly call out his competitors at Samsung.

In the least shocking news of the week, reports are already swirling that Apple is already in the late stages of production for iOS 7.0.3.

While Apple continue to roll out updates, the current model does have plenty of tricks up its sleeve. Check out some of the coolest things you may not have realized you could do thanks to iOS 7.

The Video Corner

Wait, you still charge your phone with a cord? Ha! Get on board with the future my friends—like the folks at Nokia who are researching the potential of charging your phone with lightning…really:

And finally, I know this has nothing to do with mobile, but robots make me giddy like a school girl at a Bieber concert so anytime the folks at Boston Dynamics release a video of one of their insane and terrifying metal predators, it will find its way onto this blog. That is a promise my friends:

Google Hummingbird

If you’re in the mobile business, you better pay attention to Google’s Hummingbird

Before I even get into this, let me go ahead and say that my title is a little misleading. Hummingbird marks a major shift in how the world will interact with the web, and for those of us that are mobile diehards, this is a long-awaited change. Even if you’re not in the mobile business however, you had better pay attention to Google’s Hummingbird, as this new search algorithm has the potential to dictate how you find, advertise, share, and connect with businesses for the foreseeable future.

So How Will Hummingbird Change the Game?

Well, in the short term, it won’t. Sorry to be anti-climactic off the bat, but the thing about Hummingbird is that rather than set up a new set of rules that immediately renders half the web inefficient, Hummingbird looks to change the basic philosophy behind search and online interaction.

Anyone that has had a cup of coffee in Cafe SEO can tell you the terrors of a web structured around keywords and phrases. While the practice of packing your site with terms the web was telling you to use has begun to fade as Google’s bots have become more sophisticated, the notion of simply creating fresh, original content will become even more important as Hummingbird pushes search in the direction of content-based results. While actual search format will remain the same, Hummingbird will seek to structure results more around the actual intent of the search, rather than simply matching keywords.

But How Does Mobile Fit In?

There are a few major mobile notions that drive Hummingbird. For one, mobile searches tend to be far more action-based. People are on the go or looking to take action quickly rather than sitting at a desk researching (wide-genralizationally speaking). This means that mobile searches are more specific (i.e. “Where is the closest taqueria” vs. “Taqueria X-City, USA”) and users expect more direct results.

Mobile also has given rise to the growing trend of voice search. I’m not sure how you talk, but when I’m asking someone how many pounds their are in a stone, I tend not to say “pounds to stone converter“. Hummingbird is structured to attempt to understand what it is tat the searcher actually wants in a more intelligent way, so voice search is poised to become more of a conversation between users and the web rather than the user shouting three characteristics and having the web trot out a lineup.

So the good news for now is that if you’ve structured your content around keywords, you don’t have to worry about your traffic disappearing all at once. The better news (for the world at least) is that if Hummingbird does what it is supposed to, the web will be a much more convenient place to ask what’s on your mind.


iBeacon Technology is the next big thing

Are iBeacons Ready to Change the Mobile Game?

Imagine walking into a stadium, being guided directly to your seat, being handed a coupon for half off your hot dog when you stop to grab a bite, then being personally told exactly what section your favorite beer vendor happens to be wandering around. Sounds like a pretty decent way to catch a ballgame to me, and that is exactly the notion behind Major League Baseball’s experiment with iBeacon technology—the most recent in what may just be the next true step forward in mobile interactions.

Using geo-locating technology in mobile advertising is certainly nothing new, nor is the practice of pushing messaging and rewards towards users when they are at their most apt to make purchase (see: vulnerable). iBeacon technology takes these practices to the next level by relying on Bluetooth Low Energy to create location-based zones in which vendors can transmit signals to users’ devices indoors.

While many of us were ooing and ahhing over all the bells and whistles of the iOS 7 and licking our lips to get our hands on our shiny new gold iPhones, the built-in iBeacon technology of the iPhone 5S may just have bee the most important new feature to come out of this latest Apple craze. While Google and Samsung have been all-in on NFC technology for some time now, Apple is counting on iBeacons making NFC a thing of the past.

Not only does iBeacon technology have the potential to be far cheaper than NFC, it also opens the doors to much more creativity in terms of mobile advertising. With mobile set to account for 3.7% of all global ad spend this year—making up roughly $6.2 billion—the opportunity to cater to mobile users in more intimate, convenient ways will only continue to be more and more important.

For now, iBeacon is in its early stages of deployment, having found its way into malls and now being rolled out slowly in stadium settings with the MLB. Don’t be surprised however, if in the next few years your experiences with the environments you walk through every day take on a whole new shape thanks to some creative people taking advantage of everything these iBeacons can do.

Mobile News

Friday Link Dump: Mobile News From the Week That Was

Last week our Friday Dump was uber heavy on the Apple madness with the release of the iOS 7 and the new iPhone(s). Well this week we’ll do our best to balance things out a bit, however Apple enthusiasts, fear not as there is plenty more from your favorite (or most hated) mobile powerhouse this week.

 Samsung Biting Some Ankles?

Tough to tell if this is a sincere attempt to connect with an audience, or some sort of passive aggressive wink at the world, but just two weeks after Apple unveiled its gold iPhone 5S, Samsung conveniently just debuted two new gold models themselves.

Finally Facebook…FINALLY!

So anyone that has ever missed an “L” while making a facebook post about sending their kids to public school can attest to just how annoying it is that facebook does not allow you to edit posts. Well folks, those days are over (almost) as this week facebook announced that it will allow users to edit posts on web and android devices, with iOS coming soon.

Let’s Talk About Web Fonts

For the designers among you, I don’t need to tell you about the perils of web fonts destroying your designs. Well this week, Laura Franz of Smashing Magazine put together a great piece detailing the ongoing web font war, and what designers need to calm the waters over time.

And Now, Back to Apple

So, as usual, the early adopters of iOS 7 found plenty of glitches to complain about, including the Maps App driving people onto runways and phones making people sick. Luckily, the updates to the update have already begun.

This has absolutely no purpose, but how about a video of a gold iPhone 5S being shot with a rifle in slow motion?

Okay folks, that’s all for us this week. We’ll be back Monday with more, but in the meantime we want to throw a quick congrats to our friends over at FiddleFly, who have been named among the top 5 mobile movers and shakers in 2013 by Website Magazine.

New Design App Studio

Are new design apps threatening designers’ futures?

Everyone is a photographer these days, am I right. Between mobile devices meaning that everyone now has a (marginally) high-quality camera on-hand at all times and a culture that reassures young people that they are oozing creativity and talent regardless of whether they have worked to develop it, if you need a great picture taken you’ll have plenty of volunteers. So why is it that people are still willing to pay $4000 for a wedding photographer?

The answer is that making artistic endeavors wildly accessible is great — in that it promotes creativity and collaboration — however it does not replace high-level skill. That is why any designers who may be worrying about the growing number of apps and programs that make web design simplified and open-source should take a deep breath and remember that just because we can all scramble an egg doesn’t mean we’re going to stop going to brunch.

The latest in the string of apps that is taking a shot at making web/photo design more collaborative and simplified is Studio. This app allows people to repurpose other people’s photos and designs to build new images and designs that they can then share with others (including websites).

Now to be clear, we actually think this app has a ton of value for skilled designers in that it opens the doors to find better photos and build upon solid ideas that lesser (or simply other) designers may not be able to fully form. But much the way that developers are finding that programs such as Wix or Squarespace are not as big a threat to them as they may have thought, designers will do the same with programs like Studio.

As much as these apps make life easier and more fun for creative people, they just aren’t quite ready to make the need for skilled, web-focused creative professionals diminish. On the contrary, as the web continues to evolve and shift faster than it ever has before, the need for flexible creative minds with the skills to take on rapidly-changing landscapes is only going to grow.

A framework of code can produce plenty of shortcuts, but as soon as those shortcuts lead to a destination that no one wants to go anymore, the world will look to designers and developers to help steer them towards bigger and better things.

iOS 7 iPhone 5S

Friday Link Dump: iOS 7, iPhone Madness, and More Mobile News Taking You Into the Weekend

I suppose we couldn’t call ourselves a mobile news hub if we didn’t take the time to catch you all up on the FLOOD of Apple-related news this week. From iOS 7 to iPhone 5S madness, Apple stole the headlines this week so lets kick this link dump off:

The All-Apple Blitz

The lines for the iPhone 5S have officially begun to form, and people the world over are grabbing their sleeping bags and getting pumped.

The iOS 7 made its debut this week, and the flood gates opened (as anyone who waited 3 hours to  download it can attest). The good news for Apple is that in its short life, iOS 7 has already seen a bigger adoption rate than the previous OS.

While Apple users will finally be able to get their hands on an iPhone 5S, however those of you hoping to come home with the coveted new gold iPhone will have to wait just a little bit longer.

Here’s a video of a kitten using the iPhone 5S fingerprint scanner…because why not?

Now, for the rest of the industry:

While Microsoft is making a major push to catch up in the mobile game, CEO Steve Ballmer this week took the time to acknowledge the shortcomings the company has experienced and the steps they are taking to catch up.

If you know anything about us, you know we love Ubuntu, and word has just surfaced that version 1.0 of Ubuntu touch will be available for mobile on October 17.

Last week, Twitter made a big splash buying mobile ad platform MoPub, and this week Business Insider took a deeper look into the inner workings of Twitter’s newest asset.

For the devs among you (and designers too), here is a new responsive web typography kit, FlowType.JS

YouTube this week announced that it will soon be allowing offline video viewing on its mobile apps…FINALLY!

R.I.P. to a legend.

This week, Nintendo pioneer and president Hiroshi Yamauchi passed away, and gamers and geeks from all corners of the world took to the web to express their tributes.


The new world of advertising and the companies that get it.

Two weeks ago, if you told me about a Korean company named TrueMove, I would probably have assumed you were talking about some sort of hipster dance fitness program. After more than seven million people (and counting) took the time to watch this beautiful short film advertisement for the Korea-based mobile company however, I had no choice but to take them seriously.

Now, whether you are sobbing like a baby thanks to TrueMove or you think this ad is trying a bit too hard (because you are dead inside), its hard to argue with the results from an advertising standpoint.

So why is this a big deal? In the grand scheme of things it very well may not be if TrueMove can’t back up the advertising buzz with quality service, but the reason I find it so interesting is that it is a perfect example of how the advertising industry has changed thanks to the massive amount of channels and consumer control that now exists.

Don Draper can attest that elaborate, well-produced, visually stunning advertising is certainly nothing new, however standing out from the crowd of mobile ads, pre-roll overlays, loading videos, augmented reality app advertisements, in-media product placements, oh yeah and those old boring things we used to watch and listen to called TV and radio, is a bit more challenging nowadays. That is why recently we’ve been seeing companies like TrueMove score major points in the ad world by taking a new route: highly stylized, extremely well-written, purpose-driven short films.

In case you missed it, Chipotle recently just took virtually the same approach  releasing what may be the most beautiful and unique ad of the year. We give you, The Scarecrow:

Chipotle followed this up by creating an app that allows you to play a video game based on the film.

What these ads are both taking advantage of is the understanding that the connectivity of the world has created a user that has an extremely short attention span but is also very open to accessing content that is either highly-entertaining, or massively consumed. They both accomplish this by creating entertainment rather than advertising, taking the company itself largely out of the content and rather focusing on an ideal the company holds. For TrueView, the message is ”Giving is the best communication.” For Chipotle: “Cultivate a better world.” For the advertising industry: a combined 13+ million views in under a week and we’re only getting started.

Mobile News

Friday Link Dump: Mobile news, rumors, and developments from the week that was.

Of course, this week’s big news started with Apple’s unveil of the iPhone 5S, 5C, and iOS 7. Since you probably don’t need us to tell you a whole mess of things you’ve heard time and time again this week, we’ll just sum it up this way: Apple didn’t shock us with anything and while their products look for all intents and purposes to be quite good, it has the whole world throwing stones as usual. If you need proof, look no further than this “hilarious” video:

Tracking TechCrunch Disrupt

This week TechCrunch held its Disrupt event in San Francisco which saw huge names from the tech world gathering to unveil devices, share ideas, and announce a few major shake-ups the industry may be in store for.

One of the best events at Disrupt might just be the Battlefield competition that sees small companies competing for funding for innovative ideas. This year’s winner was Layer, a communications platform that can be easily added to any app.

The Disrupt event perenially sees plenty of familiar faces appear, one of which belonged to Mark Zuckerberg, who talked about some of Facebook’s most important goings-on and unsurprisingly, mobile was a huge focus of the discussion.

Twitter Making Moves in Mobile

Not to be outdone, Twitter has been making some major moves in mobile in anticipation of its big IPO including the acquisition of MoPub.

A Little Fun to Take You Into the Weekend

Just because we love overreactions and under-researched opinions, here’s a little fun that Jimmy Kimmel had at the expense of some unsuspecting iPhone 5S anticipators…