Apple should allow users to review apps while they are in the app!

In my experience the majority of users do not tend to share their true feelings about apps – because it is not convenient to do so. One of the most popular apps, Clash of Clans, crashes constantly, several times a day. The developers, Super Cell, get 100s of reviews a day, mostly 5-stars and very few 1-star reviews. You really have to dig to find reviews about the crashing.
Unfortunately Apple has set up a horrible peer review system that is severely under utilized. It takes users great effort to write a review, good or bad. It is far easier to say nothing, or simply delete the annoying app. The developers are left completely in the dark. It would be best if Apple provided a way for users to review the app while still in the app! People will only act if they don’t have to leave the situation.
It’s horrible because new users DO read the reviews and decide whether to download or delete your app. Developers have been pleading with Apple to fix this for years. Apple is too busy building data centers or reducing the weight of the next iPhone.

 

Had enough with annoying iOS Notifications?

notificationsIf you’re like us, you (or a younger version) may have installed a Game or app on your device that insists on using Notifications. Often at the most inappropriate times. Notifications are handy for the developers to keep you engaged with their app or game. However there’s nothing worse than being notified that your “Gold storage has been updated!” in the middle of your company presentation.

Admittedly it’s better than it used to be. In previous iOS versions, you had to deal with Alerts!

So with iOS 5, Apple added the Notification center, so users could decide which apps could send them alerts.  However its not clear enough IMO why you still get banner notifications (see next paragraph.) To properly disable the notifications, of choose which will appear, switch off “Badge App Icon“, “Sounds“, “Show in Notification Center“, “Show on Lock Screen” AND set the Alert Style to “None“. (The last part is the one area I keep forgetting. It’s not that obvious).

Once you’ve set most (but maybe not all) of these settings, the app will move to the “Do Not Include” list. However one or more of these items may still be active. Annoying is to light a term IMO. So make sure you make all the settings you need. (maybe Apple should add a “Partial List” of apps.)

All New Mac Pro Available Starting Tomorrow – Dec 19, 2013

MacPro_PFHI_PRINTCUPERTINO, California. December 18, 2013?Apple® today announced the all-new Mac Pro® will be available to order starting Thursday, December 19. Redesigned from the inside out, the all-new Mac Pro features the latest Intel Xeon processors, dual workstation-class GPUs, PCIe-based flash storage and ultra-fast ECC memory.

Designed around an innovative unified thermal core, the all-new Mac Pro packs unprecedented performance into an aluminum enclosure that is just 9.9-inches tall and one-eighth the volume of the previous generation. Mac Pro features 4-core, 6-core, 8-core or 12-core Intel Xeon processors running at Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.9 GHz and two workstation-class AMD FirePro GPUs that deliver up to eight times the graphics performance of the previous generation Mac Pro.* PCIe-based flash storage delivers sequential read speeds up to 10 times faster than conventional desktop hard drives, and ECC DDR3 gives the new Mac Pro up to 60GBps of memory bandwidth for seamlessly editing full-resolution 4K video while simultaneously rendering effects in the background. With an incredible six Thunderbolt 2 ports, each with up to 20Gbps of bandwidth per device, the new Mac Pro completely redefines desktop expandability with support for up to 36 high-performance peripherals, including the latest 4K displays.

Pricing & Availability
The Mac Pro is available with a 3.7 GHz quad-core Intel Xeon E5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.9 GHz, dual AMD FirePro D300 GPUs with 2GB of VRAM each, 12GB of memory, and 256GB of PCIe-based flash storage starting at $2,999 (US); and with a 3.5 GHz 6-core Intel Xeon E5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.9 GHz, dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs with 3GB of VRAM each, 16GB of memory, and 256GB of PCIe-based flash storage starting at $3,999 (US). Configure-to-order options include faster 8-core or 12-core Intel Xeon E5 processors, AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6GB of VRAM, up to 64GB of memory, and up to 1TB of PCIe-based flash storage. Additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options and accessories are available online at www.apple.com/mac-pro.

The all-new Mac Pro will be available to order starting Thursday, December 19 through theApple Online Store (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers.

*Testing conducted by Apple in October 2013 using preproduction Mac Pro 12-core 2.7 GHz units with 1TB flash storage and AMD FirePro D700 graphics, and shipping Mac Pro 12-core 3.06 GHz units with 512GB SSD and ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

Does your business need an app?

About 10 to 15 years ago, it seemed that every company needed a website. A few years later, the growing popularity of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn companies needed to have a presence of those sites as well. Currently nearly every one of your clients has a smartphone using some sort mobile app. For many businesses, having a business app on a smartphone is more and more a necessity. Which begs the question; does your business need an app?


Branding.

Undoubtedly branding is possibly the biggest reason for your business to have an app. Not simply a rehash of your web site but an app that reinforces your brand and your company’s promise. More and more loyal customers are accessing information via a mobile device. They look of your information on web searches, or on an app that aggregates and lists business services; apps such as, Yelp, Apple Maps and Google Maps. Whether you know it or not your customers may be creating reviews  and providing information to future clients through these social network aware apps. Without your knowledge your brand could also be suffering from unfavorable reviews.  Worse it could lose favor through bad online experience for a site that doesn’t fit well on to a smartphone.

By creating your own app you have the opportunity to control your own brand and make sure your marketing message is clear. An app gives you the opportunity to provide a more compelling experience to you clients. Your products and services wouldn’t escape your potential clients notice. It is your opportunity to curate your future clients impression of your brand.


Client Services

Creating a pleasant client experience through an app is a way to provide customer information, and build client loyalty. Many industries have come to create apps to provide extended services to clients. Built in services like Apple’s Passbook allowed Airlines, Movie theatres, Concert promoters to provide ticketing services through easy access for smartphone. Passbook and similar services can also be used to integrate client loyalty rewards.

Starbucks introduced an app that allows users to load up cash online and pay for services by flashing their smart phone. Pizza and fast food companies enable users to build and place orders through an app. Apps and services like Über, have turned the taxi and private car industries on their ear. By allowing taxi cabs and black cars with spare time to respond  to clients and get fares that would otherwise go unused. Cab drivers love it because they know they are going to paid and passengers feel secure as drivers are rated and known by name.

Positive customer engagement though these types of connections are create for retaining existing customer and building relationships with new clients.

Business Process

Every business has some process or industry knowledge that can be transformed into a compelling app. These processes can be developed and even streamlined through the ubiquity of smart phones. Enabling clients to make informed decisions can actually help businesses. The previous example, Über, enables cabs to get fares without centralized dispatch services – cutting out the middle man, so to speak. Actually the Über becomes the middle man. A smart app can enable and empower field agents by giving them tools to use away from the office. Insurance agents and instantly provide client quotes. Service personnel can be dispatched based on knowledge provided through look ups on a smartphone app. There are many new tie-ins to hardware that can report to or be controlled by mobile apps, to expand your business offerings.

Mobile apps can enable staff to monitor services, manage business process and customer support. Tying in back end systems, gives your front line staff access to marketing information, customer support information and other resources. Field agents can download the latest updates on your products and services. They can also create work orders and provide timely service to your clients and prospects. It can be a simple as what’s currently in your restaurant’s wine cellar or as complex as creating an insurance quote.

Getting Feedback

Clearly another benefit is getting feedback from your customers. Knowing how your business is perceived in the market is invaluable to any business. Providing a form or simple buttons could ask the client to provide a review, a star rating or add a fee suggestions. Thanking a client for positive or negative feedback goes a long way. Rewarding a client for there efforts adds kudos to your business. Often new clients are gain through references from past clients.

An app that connects to a back-end service can also provide some metrics about your business. Recently this author was involved in apps that provided localized content. Surprisingly the apps were far better received in European and Asian markets. Rather than relying on online store downloads (the equivalent to measuring a web site’s page hits) the apps provide insights that redirect future marketing efforts. Stories abound on successful companies who were surprised to find that their clients weren’t who they expected. The successful brands adapted to new found knowledge and redirected their product offerings to their new fans.

Getting Started

If you think your ready to get started creating an app, there are a few approaches you can take. Technologies seem to run in 10 year cycles, so that puts us near the middle age of native app development. If you’re the do it yourself type, you can read some books, such as the Big Nerd Ranch Guide – 4th edition for iOS, or their new Android Programming guide. They also offer one week long courses in the US and Europe. This author also teaches iOS courses at Witz Education in Toronto. There are also some great conferences you can attend; Apple’s WWDC, iOS Tech Talks, 360iDev, CocoaConf among many others. They cover the how to’s and the business of apps and app publishing.

There are also plenty of independent development companies who can consult on the viability of your app and even lend their skills to your pursuit of an app.  Look for a local chapter of Cocoaheads, or on Meetup. The bottom line is that the resources are there for you to get started.

 

iPhone 5S

iPhone 5s is the most forward-thinking iPhone yet, with state-of-the-art technologies all engineered into a beautiful thin and light metal design. It features the A7 chip with a 64-bit desktop-class architecture—the first ever on a smartphone—and an operating system built specifically for it; Touch ID—an innovative way to simply and securely unlock iPhone with the touch of a finger; and an 8-megapixel iSight camera with True Tone flash that makes taking photos faster and easier than ever. With support for up to 13 LTE bands, customers can connect to ultrafast networks in more places around the world than ever.

Featuring a thin and light, precision-crafted design, iPhone 5s comes in three elegant metal finishes: Gold, Silver, and Space Gray. An Apple-designed iPhone 5s Case, made of premium leather, is available in six rich colors—Black, Brown, Blue, Beige, Yellow, and (PRODUCT) RED.

Available – September 20, 2013

iPhone 5c

For the first time ever, Apple introduces two new distinct lines of iPhone: iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s. iPhone 5c features an all-new colorful design combined with the amazing technologies that customers love in iPhone 5, including the 4-inch Retina display, the blazing-fast A6 chip, iSight and FaceTime HD cameras, ultrafast LTE wireless, and great battery life—up to 10 hours of talk time and up to 10 hours of browsing on LTE. Its hard-coated polycarbonate enclosure comes in five vibrant colors—Blue, Green, Pink, Yellow, and White. A new Apple-designed case with a soft-touch silicone exterior and microfiber lining complements iPhone 5c perfectly and is available in six gorgeous colors—White, Pink, Yellow, Blue, Green, and Black—for up to 30 fun combinations. iPhone 5c comes with iOS 7. A new iPhone 4s 8GB model will also be available.

Available – September 20, 2013

2life, the app for your most important relationship


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

2life, the app for your most important relationship, now available on the App Store

Toronto, ON – July 17, 2013 – 2 For Life Media Inc. today announced the launch of 2life, the app for your most important relationship, available now for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Designed for two people, 2life is a private, secure network that lets you chat, share, collaborate and coordinate with your partner, all in one place.

“In a hyper-connected world, the relationship that matters most to you can get lost amidst cluttered inboxes and social media newsfeeds,” says 2life founder, Diane Hall. “Once you create a free 2life joint account with your partner, you can easily stay connected and share with the person you care most about in real time.”

Ideal for couples, family members, friends or co-workers, 2life makes it simple, efficient and fun to communicate, coordinate schedules and make plans. 2life is available worldwide in 14 languages.

2life lets you and your partner do the following:

• Chat in a private space
• Create shared calendar events
• Make and manage lists together in real time, from groceries to a bucket list
• Bookmark and share web links in the in-app browser
• Add information your partner may need (e.g., clothing sizes) in your personal profile
• Collect and comment on photos that tell your relationship story or help you accomplish your joint projects
• Write in the journal, individually or together
• Enjoy and share daily lifestyle content and shopping picks from 2life and its partners (i.e., decor, music, news, beauty, fashion, date ideas, gardening and men’s lifestyle)

“More than a communication tool, 2life offers inspiring and carefully curated lifestyle content that will help you get the most out of your relationship,” says Neil Morton, Editorial Director, 2life. “Plus, by downloading the app, you’ll help make a difference for others through our Power of 2 fundraising campaign.”
For every twosome that creates a free 2life joint account with the promo code #powerof2, 2life will donate $1 to Dare to Wear Love in support of the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s commitment to turning the tide of HIV/AIDS in Africa. The goal for this launch campaign is $25,000.

The 2life App is available for free from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or at www.AppStore.com/2life.

Download 2life press images here.

For more info, go to http://2life.io, follow and tweet us on twitter.com/2lifeapp, “Like” us on facebook.com/2life and visit Dare to Wear Love.

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About 2 For Life Media Inc.

2 For Life Media Inc. is a lifestage media company specializing in relationships, lifestyle and weddings. Our properties include apps for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, online, social media channels, blogs and a digital magazine. http://2life.io

Media contacts: Diane Hall and Neil Morton
press@2life.io; 416-469-1429 ext. 223 or 647-267-5741 (mobile)

Customer Service – Fail!

Two words that don’t seem to belong together these days are “Customer” and “Service“. Recently I paid good money to buy a brand new version on Nuance’s diction software – MacSpeech Scribe. Scribe promises to allow you to use the Mac or iPhone’s audio source  to input your verbiage. (Their other apps require a special mike.) Great! So I sent them $80 USD for the digital download and got the software. However when I tried to install the software it asked for a “license.key” file. downloaded the license key from the web site, but the software doesn’t recognize the license. So I open my browser and went to the nuance.com site for support.

After about 15 minutes of thrashing about on circular links I found that there is no way send a simple email to them. Phone support is available Mon – Fri 9 – 5, but in 2012 who needs to call a person to ask a question. Come to think of it, if this company hides behind it’s web site and support forums, what is the likelihood that I would actually end up speaking with someone who works at the company? Since this company seems to like to hide they would most likely use a third party call center. By using a forum to get support, they are probably hoping that the end users would end up supporting each other.

Sure you are trying to keep costs down. That is no excuse for poor customer service. I regularly sell Apple computers to clients and lose money doing it – because it’s the right thing to do. I buy Macs from a distributor who eats up a large percentage of the sales margin and charge shipping to send us the Mac. More often than not my client will pay me by credit card. My credit card merchant supplier takes their percentage and I end up $10 in the hole. BUT my client is happy!!!

Additionally, if a client asks for a product or service that I don’t provide, I often refer them to another supplier who does. I will even help them make the decision about what is the best product to meet their needs. I have even taken clients into a competitors store to help them make the purchase. Apple often has a better deal than I can provide – so I refer the client to buy from Apple directly. Sure you can see that I’m losing money on this engagement, but the client is pleased because they get what the need and deserve.

Recently a client of mine, a expert photographer, referred me to another company where I could buy a “Red” DSLR camera as an Xmas present. The sales rep was helpful and made sure I left with what I needed to make sure that the Xmas day reveal was pleasant. Where the support failed was when I asked the sales rep point blank whether the camera would go on sale before Xmas or during Boxing Week. He told me not to worry, as I was buying the Extended Warranty I would get 30 days price protection. You guessed it! Three days later the camera went on sale for $50 off. Since it was the pre-Xmas week, I figured they would be busy, so I would follow up after Xmas… I had 30 day price protection after all. After Xmas, I contacted the sales rep, who had given me his card, and imagine my surprise when I was told that the price protection was only in effect while the camera was on sale… not before or after but “during”. WTF is the point of the “30 Day price protection” then?

If I tried to evade my clients or provide them with insufficient information I wouldn’t have any clients. In case you’re wondering, I would have called the client and told them to “get in here and get your discount”. I often will tell clients to go to another store, even Apple Retail, if there is a better deal to be had (ask my clients – they will tell you!) Also we don’t hide behind our website. There are several ways to get in touch with us by email, phone, through the Apple Consultant Network site, from Apple (1800 MY APPLE) and our online ticket system. If I don’t answer, leave a message I will get back to you.


Ah! Always read the Fine Print:

If your xxx warrantied product goes on sale at xxx OR any other Canadian retailer and is in stock we will gladly price match the product within 30 days of your purchase. The advertised item must be the same brand and model as the originally purchased product, must be new, factory sealed and subject to manufacturer warranty applicable in Canada. xxx does not price match a competitor’s advertised price for ‘time limited‘ or ‘minimum quantity‘ specials, including Boxing Week prices, nor does it apply to advertising errors,special package prices, restricted offers, manufacturers’ rebates, bonus offers, online auctions or photofinishing.