Tag Archives: iPhone

Keep Calm…

… And try not to lose your shit over the potential partnership between two of your favorite things: Apple and U2.

Or so I’m telling myself in the wee hours of the night before 1) I teach three classes, and 2) a big iPhone announcement that maybe-possibly-hopefully-prettypleasewithsugarontopI’lldoalmostanythingtomaketheserumorstrue involves U2. Much to my surprise, however, many U2 fans don’t share my enthusiasm. Here’s why this collaboration is good for both parties:

For Apple, it’s a product announcement involving the company’s cash cow: the iPhone. This event would get media coverage even if U2 wasn’t involved. But more than that, teaming up with U2 brings some added pizzazz to what promises to be an already big day for the tech goliath. Of late, Apple keynotes, while still the gold standard for tech announcements, have been a bit dry, due in no small part to the absence of Steve Jobs’ charisma and presence in front of an audience. Samsung (grr) paired up with Jay-Z last year. How much the hip hop mogul actually boosted sales numbers is irrelevant; what’s important is that it the event lent a bit of “cred” to Samsung’s image and created additional buzz for its newest flagship phone. No offense to Jay-Z, but U2 is in a whole other league when it comes to global visibility and marketability. Regardless of what anyone says about relevancy, the relatively “disappointing” sales figures of 2009’s No Line On The Horizon, or a lack of an album in more than five years, U2 is still the biggest band on the planet. I can tell you from firsthand experience that Apple doesn’t like to be outdone. Getting U2 involved with the new iPhone (and potentially the Beats music service) outdoes anyone, anywhere, for years to come.

For U2, it gets the band back into the public consciousness immediately. It’s an instant marketing campaign that will help promote the new album and (eventually) the accompanying tour. I can recall going to the an early 360 show and seeing the Blackberry ads all over the stadium and being sorely disappointed in that joint venture. Besides the signs at concerts and logos on merchandise, what did BlackBerry (then called RIM) do to help the band generate buzz? Nothing. In 2009, RIM was already on the verge of technological irrelevance, to say nothing of its social cache. A partnership with Apple would also assuage the second Bono’s two fears: U2 not making good music and not being culturally relevant. The first should have been allayed earlier this year when “Ordinary Love” was nominated for Oscar and “Invisible” launched on Super Bowl Sunday (which I think, despite lukewarm critical and chart success, is a great song; I wrote about the song for @U2). Not only is Apple technological relevant, but the company also occupies a front-and-center public profile thanks in large part to the ubiquity of iPhones and iPods.

Additionally, teaming with Apple shows that the band has (once again) embraced the latest trends in digital media. In the early 1990’s, that was the whole ethos behind the groundbreaking Zoo TV tour, albeit with an ironic twist. A decade ago, U2 and Apple worked together when the latter was the undisputed king of mobile digital music. Before the iPhone, the iPod was Apple’s moneymaker, and U2 was in on it. There were several iPod commercials and products featuring the band: silhouette campaign (here’s the extended version),  video iPod, and the special edition U2 iPod. Still need further proof that the Apple/U2 relationship is deep? Open up the Music app on in iOS and look at the “Artists” option at the bottom of the screen. Look familiar? Even through all the software updates and upgrades, it’s been Bono’s silhouette for years.

Bono:iTunes

 As for the issue of how the band will be involved tomorrow… well that’s a whole other discussion. In a nutshell, here’s what I envision for the partnership:

U2 is this announcement’s “one last thing.” Tim Cook announces a collaboration with U2 that includes a redemption code for the iTunes store. This code allows the new iPhone owner to download the band’s newest album (whenever that drops; I think October) that will feature digital content like music videos, interviews, and live performances. This would help boost sales figures, which would make both the band and the record company happy. Accompanying the new record be a new official U2 app that will be linked to a newly redesigned website that focuses on fan interaction. Behind the scenes footage, exclusive interviews and photos, unreleased tracks, digital wallpapers, along with a one-year subscription to the fan club, which will offer more goodies. The announcement ends with U2 playing a short set.

I’m trying not to get ahead of myself here, but the sheer excitement is making me thing crazy things. This is all “pie in the sky” speculation, of course, but it’s going on six years since the band’s last full-length studio record, so I think U2 fans will can be forgiven for getting a little giddy. All this conjecture does set us up for some massive disappointment, but such is the life of a die-hard fan.

This arrangement is a good thing, folks. It has the potential to be a game-changer. Odds are it won’t be the earth-shattering event my imagination has vividly outlined, but with these two global icons in cahoots, it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Both Apple and U2 have been game-changers for their respective fields. Who’s to say it can’t happen again tomorrow?

Where’s Wilfred?

At the store meeting last night, these were the wireless network detected by my iPhone:

Yes, you read that correctly.  DIABEETUS.  Initially, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cringe, but eventually decided to laugh out loud about it, as did everyone else at my table.  The way I see it, someone spelled the name of the network like that intentionally.  Right?

Oh well.  Either way, it’s hilarious.

(Stiff) Competition

Allow me to start by stating, for the record, that I’m an Apple fan.  I may even go so far as to say that I’m an Apple fanboy.  I like the products, the way they’re designed, and most of the ways the company conducts business.  My computers are great.  And I love my iPhone: I use it for everything, from emailing and texting to Facebook updates, from game playing to bill paying.  It’s the best phone on the market right now.  That being said…

WTF, Windows Phone 7?!?

I’m cheering for WP7 (and Android, for that matter) because good products from competitors only make Apple products better.  It’s like elite sports: good competition makes for better products.  Excellent WP7 and Android OSes will make iOS even better, just like the slew of really good smartphones released in the past 18 months has pushed the engineers at Apple to make the iPhone even better than it already is.

The same goes for the seemingly countless tablets being released this year.  I really do hope that several of them bring some heat to the iPad, in terms of both hardware and software.  Not that I mind seeing the iPad dominate the market, but the way I see it, healthy competition is good for everyone, challengers and champion alike.

Timekeeping Utility

So, there I am, in my office at school, doing my morning online routine and I come across an article on Gizmodo.com with the headline “Make Your Wristwatch Useful Again.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa.

Since when are wristwatches NOT useful?  Are they non-utilitarian because they “only” tell the time?  What, not multitasking?  Ugh, that’s soooo last-century!

Sorry Adrian, but I must respectfully disagree with your opinion that a watch on your wrist is redundant thanks to the clock on your phone.  See, the thing about a watch is that it’s about more than “just” telling the time.  It’s a reflection of several aspects of the wearer’s personality: fashion sense and style (or lack thereof), utility, pragmatism, ostentatiousness, attention to detail, and an eye for quality.

In compu-speak, it’s like the difference between computer users who regularly use keyboard shortcuts and those who don’t.  Sure, the mouse is easy to use and convenient and right there on your desktop next to the keyboard.  But when I’m in the throes of writing a paper or a blog entry, the last thing I want to do is stop writing, for whatever reason.  I want the least amount of distraction and the maximum amount of efficiency in my workspace.  Using keyboard shortcuts for simple commands like bolding text or saving or printing can help keep me in my writing flow, leaving my hands on the keyboard where the belong instead of shuffling back and forth to a peripheral.  The same can be said for using a wristwatch instead of a phone for timekeeping.  In one motion, it’s easy for me to tell the time with minimum effort.  I don’t have to reach into my pocket, pull out a device, and push a button when the time of day is already on my wrist, ready to be viewed at a moment’s notice.

Of course, it could just be that I’m just a traditional kind of guy when it comes to stuff like wristwatches.  The way I see it, my watch is more than just a part of my wardrobe.  My watch silently speaks volumes about me.  There have been several occasions that I have left the house without a watch on and felt totally out of my element, just like I do when I accidentally leave my phone at home.  So, I guess what I’m saying is that my “old-school” wristwatch is useful.  It always has been and it always will be.  I don’t need it to tell me the weather or control my iPod or change slides on a Keynote presentation.  I need it to tell me the time, quickly and accurately.  I have my phone for everything else.

July 2009 12 of 12

9:07 a.m. - Good morning, blogosphere.
9:07 a.m. - Good morning, blogosphere.
9:31 a.m. - My earring fell out the other night and I only just found it this morning.
9:31 a.m. - My earring fell out the other night and I only just found it this morning.
9:36 a.m. - Pre-shave, mid-haircut, and lookin' rough!  (Man, my hair grows a lot in one week.)
9:36 a.m. - Pre-shave, mid-haircut, and lookin' rough! (Man, my hair grows a lot in one week.)
10:15 a.m. - Post-haircut/shower/shave.  Note the "reinstalled" earring.
10:15 a.m. - Post-haircut/shower/shave. Note the "reinstalled" earring.
10:55 a.m. - A little DD coffee (OK, a large one) helped get me to campus before 11 to grade and lesson plan for tomorrow.
10:55 a.m. - A little DD coffee (OK, a large one) helped get me to campus before 11 to grade and lesson plan for tomorrow.
11:43 a.m. - The new-and-improved office desktop.  Dual monitors is the only way to go.
11:43 a.m. - The new-and-improved office desktop. Dual monitors is the only way to go.
5:20 p.m. - I returned the Pre (pictured earlier) and got a new iPhone 3GS.  (Thanks for the photobomb, Mike!)
5:20 p.m. - I returned the Pre (pictured earlier) and got a new iPhone 3GS. (Thanks for the photobomb, Mike!)
8:24 p.m. - New phone, meet the old phone.
8:24 p.m. - New phone, meet the old phone.
8:55 p.m. - Mike brought over another electronic peripheral that should help launch our rockstardom.
8:55 p.m. - Mike brought over another electronic peripheral that should help launch our rockstardom.
10:31 p.m. - The Cubs' Sean Marshall pitched to one batter, played right field for one batter, then pitched to another batter.  All the switching around gave some needed excitement in an otherwise uneventful game.
10:31 p.m. - The Cubs' Sean Marshall pitched to one batter, played right field for one batter, then pitched to another batter. All the switching around gave some needed excitement in an otherwise uneventful game.
10:40 p.m. - The Cubs' Reed Johnson makes a great catch in left field--while stumbling--to keep the Cards' lead to 2 (although replays showed he may have trapped the ball.)  The effort was all for naught, however, as the Cubs went on to lose 4-2.
10:40 p.m. - The Cubs' Reed Johnson makes a great catch in left field--while stumbling--to keep the Cards' lead to 2 (although replays showed he may have trapped the ball.) The effort was all for naught, however, as the Cubs went on to lose 4-2.
10:50 p.m.  The obligatory Oreo pic.
10:50 p.m. The obligatory Oreo pic.