Apple is just getting in to wireless charging, if you consider the Apple Watch's magnetic charger to be wireless. Other technologies, like inductive charging have been around and thanks to the Android's diverse set of manufacturers, this is an area where Apple lags behind.
As if buying accessories for the iPhone wasn't enough, now we need to buy accessories for the Apple Watch, which is itself an accessory. It reminds me of our daughters' American Girl dolls. Even those dolls have "pets" and toys of their own. Still, some of the Apple Watch accessories that have been filling our inboxes at iPhone Life do seem to make sense, and I may end up accessorizing my Apple Watch with them.
Microsoft and Apple have had an interesting relationship. In the early days, the two firms jockeyed for position in the nascent personal computing space. Apple leveraged the user interface and mouse design from Xerox PARC and Microsoft did the same from Apple. Later, when Steve Jobs returned to Apple, Bill Gates "rescued" Apple with a $130-million-plus investment and a promise to support Macs with versions of Office. This wasn't just a gesture of goodwill to keep Apple relevant. Apple was on the ropes and Microsoft needed an adversary to fend off antitrust regulators. Plus Office was a nice little revenue stream.
Ads are one way for developers to make money, as app prices drop to $0.99 or free. And advertisers are always trying to find ways to get in front of people. Advertisers consider devices like the iPhone and iPad the "Second Screen," after television. It looks like smart watches will be the "Third Screen" and may become targets for ads. A new report suggests smartwatch advertising could be a $70 million business by 2019.
Crowdfunding is not just for the independent inventor. Firms as big as Sony have joined the bandwagon and tested market acceptance of new products. Griffin, one of the leading vendors of accessories for Apple and other brands has launched an Indiegogo campaign for the Cove. The Cove is an elegant all-in-one charging station that charged up to five tablets or smartphones, but with a twist. About the size and appearance of a breadbox, the Cove tucks all the wires and devices inside a wood case. Martha Stewart would approve.
As predicted, Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference will be held the week of June 8, 2015 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. Tickets are $1599, not including hotel costs, which can be astronomical, and there are no guarantees of getting a ticket. Interested developers must first apply and then find out on April 20 if they were able to buy a ticket. The developer's credit card on file will be charged automatically. Last year, a developer would be notified that they "won" the raffle and then have a short time period to actually make the purchase. This new policy should cut down on people entering the raffle with multiple ID's or without definite plans to attend.
During Apple's Watch event in March, they dropped the price of the Apple TV from $99 to $69, and introduced HBO NOW, which lets cable customers cut the cord and still get HBO on their Apple devices. The HBO deal was significant because it is Apple exclusive, although just for three months, and users can get a 30 day trial for free. It turns out the deal may be even more significant because it foreshadowed that Apple is slashing the fee it takes from such content providers.
I was able to order an Apple Watch at 3:10 a.m., EST, Friday, and my watch is on the way. But I wanted to try one on to make sure I ordered the right size, etc. After I placed my order, I booked one of the first appointments for a try on. There was just a short line when I arrived at the Apple Store, and quite a few people were there for the new MacBook, not necessarily for the watch. The staff was getting a quick intro to the watch and the process, which includes custom drawers that can be unlocked only by a specially equipped iPhone.
When it comes to operating system updates, a "dot-dot" release is usually reserved for bug fixes, and a "dot" release adds performance enhancements and some minor new functionality. With Apple, a full release, like 7.0 or 8.0 is a major update, often with 1,000-plus new features. True to form, Apple unleashed iOS 8.3 this week and there are just a few features worth mentioning. First, as I covered earlier, depending on your carrier (Sprint and T-Mobile in the U.S., EE in the UK), you can now make phone calls using Wi-Fi, without consuming cellular minutes or requiring a cell tower nearby. That means you could make phone calls from overseas, for free, and still appear to be calling from your cellphone number.
I've been using an app called Hoozetending (free) from Hoozetending, Inc. The idea is to let potential customers and partygoers know which of their favorite bartenders is working where and when, and what deals their favorite establishments have to offer. Of course, users can discover new places and bartenders, too. It's a bit like Pinterest for nightlife.