It turns out that flip phones are still popular. Who knew? Actually, I did, as I often run into users with Flip Phones at trade shows where I'm promoting my apps. Nothing shuts down an app developer like "I use a flip phone!" But it turns out that while there are many users who just want a simple phone, without apps or a fragile, exposed touchscreen, there are flip phones that are quite advanced. And they're big in Japan.
Apple's iOS has been playing second fiddle to Google's Android in terms of market share since 2012. While Apple was doing quite well in terms of profits, they had been losing on volume to Android devices which tend to be much cheaper and even free with a contract. But a new report indicates that has changed with the larger iPhone 6 (and more affordable iPhone 5 models.)
My daughter is participating in the American Heart Association Jumprope for Heart program. To prepare, I've had her try the VERT Jump Tracking Device ($124.99). While it's meant for professional and serious athletes, it gave her the feedback and encouragement needed to keep working. The VERT is a belt-clip wearable that's made in the U.S. and if you don't have an outfit that accommodates a belt-clip, they include an elastic belt as an option.
Groucho Marx used to say "Live every day as if it were your last, because one day, you're going to be right." Likewise, Piper Jaffray's Gene Muster is always proclaiming that "this year" is the year Apple will ship its own full-size Apple TV and not just a hockey puck-sized set-top box. He still thinks a full-fledged television is coming from Apple, but in the meantime, an updated Apple TV should ship in 2015. That is a safer bet (and a far safer one than Apple shipping an automobile.)
Whenever Apple releases a new major version of iOS, it sends developers scrambling. They have to make sure their apps are compatible and aren't relying on "deprecated" code that no longer works or will stop working soon. But sometimes Apple changes things just enough in ways that don't break an app, but have an impact nonetheless. Twitter has just found this out the hard way.
Once again, Apple watchers (not to be confused with Apple Watches) are getting giddy about the concept of an Apple car. Every so often this prospect gets some traction, in part because of Steve Jobs and Jony Ive's appreciation for cars. There was some work with Volkswagon, dubbed the iBeetle, but that was more of a branding promotion. The reason people think Apple might be making its own car, now, is that they have been trying to poach employees from Tesla. This is hardly a reason to draw such conclusions, however.
The fitness tracker movement reminds me of that saying about the weather. Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. Pedometers and trackers are helpful, but they are observers. I discovered a cool gadget at CES that actually improves your health. The Valedo is a two-piece wearable that sticks to your chest and lower back using the 100 included disposable stickers. The two lightweight sensors work together to determine your posture and position, while you "play" a 3D interactive game.
We are learning more about the Apple Watch, in part thanks to a conference call Apple CEO Tim Cook had recently with analysts. We already knew that the battery life (about 19 hours with light use) would prohibit sleeping with the watch on. This, and its size, make it less suitable as a sleep tracker. So don't expect the Apple Watch to tell you how you slept. In fact, it looks like the watch will discourage you from being still! There is a mode that beta testers have been using that will remind you to get up and stop being so sedentary.
Apple made a rare move when it publicly announced the Apple Watch many months before it would be available. But this may have been designed to discourage potential customers from purchasing competing smart watches. If so, it worked, as only 720,000 Android Wear devices shipped during the last six months of 2014, the time period when it was available. Users might not want to spend $200 to $350 on a watch, and if they do, they will want to keep it a while, rather than upgrade every year or two. This means it was wiser to wait and see how robust Apple's offering would be.
As Apple hits new sales and revenue records, selling more iPhones than ever, owners of those new iPhones are losing fewer of them to theft. Apple's iPhones have long been a target of thieves. People use their expensive devices in public, listening to music, chatting, texting, etc., and aren't always paying attention to their surroundings. This behavior combined with the high resale value of Apple products, has resulted in a lot of thefts; in some jurisdictions, more iPhones are stolen than any other item.