Apple has been trying to increase sales of iPhones at their retail stores, versus third party locations like BestBuy, Sprint, etc. In addition to higher profit margins by selling directly, Apple stores can upsell consumers on the benefits of owning Apple computers in addition to iPhones. One area where other retailers had an advantage was the ability to take in competing phones and offer credit.
Almost five years ago, on April 3, 2010, Steve Jobs introduced the iPad. But it wasn't a universally welcomed gadget. There were snickers about the name. People said it's just a bigger iPhone that doesn't make phone calls. Yet the iPad, and its successors, transformed the computing industry. Tablets had been around before then, but it took the iPad to set a standard for usability. When the original iPhone was introduced, Alan Kay who coined the phrase and concept of the Dynabook, told Steve that if he made it 8 x 5 inches he would "rule the world." That prediction came pretty close.
There are a lot of free weather apps, including the built-in one, so if you're going to download or even buy one, it has to offer something special. I downloaded the Weather : Universal Forecast (free) app, from Moveo and it does have some nice features.
Apple Pay is off to a good start, but it's not always apparent that a retailer accepts it. The other day, I asked if I could pay with Apple Pay at Staples, and they said yes. At my local Panera Bread, two of the three registers are set up to accept it, but one isn't. Apple is trying to address this by making Apple Pay decals available to retailers. There's no catchy phrase like "Follow Us" or "Check In" or even "Access Us," just "Pay" preceded by the Apple Logo. In a way it reminds me of the movie They Live and their subliminal signs like "SUBMIT" and "OBEY," except Apple's command is "PAY!"
If you want a smart watch, but can't wait for the Apple Watch, or don't want to spend $349 or more and still end up with a watch with one day of battery life, the Martian Watch Notifier has always been an attractive option. Today, however, it's available at a blow-out price. Instead of the normal $130, it's almost half off, at $69.99 from BestBuy.com. Martian Watches differ from traditional smart watches by offering an analog face and using a regular watch battery that can last for six months or more. They add a scrolling digital display that notifies you of incoming text messages, caller ID, etc. The guts that power the display capabilities do require charging every few days via USB, but you will always have the correct time. Most people won't even know you have a smart watch, until you start seeing your text messages on your screen!
Bloatware is the term for undesired apps that fill up a brand new computer or device. PC makers have added bloatware for years because they would get compensated by software makers for doing so. As margins on PCs diminished, this became a valuable revenue stream. But it was relatively easy to delete unwanted programs or ignore them on a PC with hundreds of gigabytes of storage.
The iPhone and iPad ushered in the Post-PC era; and when the App Store launched, it created a new economy. As an app developer, I've been able to ride that wave and it has been an incredible journey. If you would like to piggyback on the success of the iPhone, but aren't a programmer, there may be another way.
I had the opportunity to try the Otterbox Defender and Symmetry Series ($39.95 - $59.95). OtterBox gave me a variety of cases to try, in assorted color combinations. They offer a dizzying array of choices and have come a long way since the old days of basic black cases with the rare yellow or white option.
Apple products have always kept their value pretty well and there is a healthy marketplace for used MacBooks, iPhones, and iPads. I don't mind the "Apple Tax" because I'm likely to get a good portion of that value back at trade-in time. My Pebble Watch, which sold a year ago for $150, is only worth $20 on trade but the $349 Apple Watch should do better. Cnet is reporting that Gazelle already has plans to take in, and sell, used Apple Watches.
Steve Jobs was a great salesman. Perhaps too good. He lured John Sculley away from the CEO spot at Pepsico by asking him if he really wanted to be selling sugared water for the rest of his life. Sculley became Apple's CEO and within a year, Steve Jobs was kicked out of Apple. He formed NeXT, which Apple ended up acquiring and Jobs returned to Apple, like Moses returning from the wilderness and the rest is history. But that sales pitch hit home during Apple's Spring Forward keynote. Tim Cook showed a slide of a Coca Cola machine that accepts Apple Pay. The very next day, I saw one of those machines at a college campus, and it occurred to me that Apple is now "selling" sugared water!