The Pros and Cons of iOS 6

iOS6 Update
iOS6 Update

So it’s that time of year when Apple presented the new iPhone to the world with a unique keynote (others would call it a sales pitch). Aside from mentioning the new iPhone 5 now that everyone is talking about it, let’s focus more on the iOS update. Even though there are camping lines outside Mac stores in Asia and Australia to purchase the iPhone 5 , the rest of the world is updating iOS on their previous iPhone versions.

There are quite a few features that have changed in iOS 6. The thing that has stirred up a few loud opinions is Apple’s move to discard Google Maps and replace them with Apple Maps. Although indeed there is a 3D mode to view these maps, there is no street view and the UI seems a bit more austere when it comes to hybrid view.

Apple Maps vs Google Maps
Apple Maps vs Google Maps

Another move from Apple is to have removed the pre-installed YouTube app. Yet on the other hand, iOS6 now has a native Facebook app; among other things, this allows for you to directly share your media from your camera roll onto Facebook, as opposed to previous iOS versions in which you had to pull your media from the Facebook app. These changes have driven some to believe that there is an alliance between Facebook & Apple to try to keep Google out of the competition. Now if we all remember the part in which the late Steve Jobs vowed to crush Android because of its “stolen” technologies, well, there isn’t much room for doubt.

Another very interesting improvement is that now Siri speaks other languages, including Spanish. You can also include other voice commands, like Tweeting via Siri.

Tweeting with Siri
Tweeting with Siri

The App Store has a whole new UI and even has recommended apps for you to download. It no longer asks for your Apple ID password. There are plenty of other sutil changes you’ll notice as you navigate through your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. If there are any you like or I didn’t mention, please drop me a line and I’ll make sure to include it in this post.

What is your opinion of iOS6? Would you stay with the previous version if you knew beforehand?


Self Improvement Everywhere

Technology has always been there to make our lives easier. Get things done quicker, with less hassle and of course with better quality. But today, with a smartphone being a lot of people’s personal savior, apps do almost everything, everywhere.

However, something that can be noticeable and trending in the last few months is self-improvement. Being apps, or gamification features in certain brands (like Nike +), their ultimate goal is to make you stick to your goals and always be looking for self-improvement. This results in a win-win situation: you get things done in a better, faster way and brands have you engaged.

As mentioned before, Nike + has a very interesting gamification plan. It gets you to buy the appropriate gear to be in the game, or at least download their Nike+ app for iOS (iPod nano, touch and iPhone included). Personally, I’m hooked with this game plan. Not only do I now save Gym money, but I actually use my gear and run 15k a week. What keeps me going? The fact that I can track my progress and share my results with my friends via social networks. It’s nice to see a histogram of your performance and then compare the actual results in your every day life.

Now, as far as self-improvement apps go, there are several start ups with this idea in mind. For example Lift. As described in Venture Beat, Lift is a one-year-old start up in San Francisco that is looking to make people seek self-improvement –guess post it notes on your mirror aren’t cutting it anymore–. You set up alarms and tasks so you know what you have to do, when you have to do it; and of course, it exposes you in front of your friends via social media. Avoiding the judgmental finger perhaps? Well, apparently with this and many other examples, it does help to be in the spotlight, whether you’re doing things right or wrong.

Brands call it engagement, people call it motivation. Whatever the point of view is, in the end, you achieve your goals and thank a brand for it in the process.

Squeezing out your iPhone

A friend of mine recently shared a post with me about the differences between our daily activities back in the 90’s and now. The post was a comic showing several activities like music listening, socializing, sending mail, and other things. Basically, the column on the right kept showing the same drawing for all of those activities, one of a person sitting with their laptops on their desks. It’s true, we can now virtually do most things without having to change position or even leaving the comfort of our homes (offices?).

However, as soon as I finished looking at the comic, I turned to my left and saw my iPhone. How many things have I used this little piece of machinery for? And so I started listing out all of them in my head:

  1. I keep all my social networks there. Thus I interact via my iPhone no matter where I am.
  2. I text message
  3. I use it as a regular phone
  4. I browse the web
  5. I scan documents and send them as attachments via email
  6. I manage three email accounts of mine
  7. I blog (very important)
  8. I play games
  9. I IM with friends, family and coworkers
  10. I use it as a camera

The truth is I could go on with this list forever. It’s not so much the actual gadget anymore, but the apps and the creativity of the people who create them that help the consumer define what they really want to do with their technological tool.

If someone had been worried about the low mobility that having to do everything from a single spot represented, they needn’t be so anymore. Our little phones are now getting empowered more and more every day to behave as super mini computers. If they go wherever we go, then we don’t have to worry about not being  able to complete tasks if we’re away from the mighty computer. The very concept behind the original Wii is now being perpetrated by the smartphone itself. To be technological, you don’t have to be sedentary. On the contrary, technology follows you.

So better yet, you get your entire world in your pocket. Of course, there’s still a long way to go. No matter how practical it may be and from how many so called “emergencies” might the smartphone save you from, the computer screen is still more comfortable to work on. However, it won’t be too long for someone to come up with a practical solution for this. Have you thought about all the things you’ve done with your phone so far? Some of them might be even unbelievable to some of us.

Windows 7 Not An All Star Player

Article first published as Windows Phone 7 Not an All Star Player on Technorati.

There are four definite Smartphone names in the industry that will not let anyone else in. It’s even getting smaller; OVI platform was once a contender, but now it is a thing of the past.

Although Nokia abandoned OVI after it had failed to represent any kind of threat to the big names, it adopted Windows 7 for Smartphones. It seems that perhaps Nokia is regretting that deal today. Why would they rethink their choice (although it seems a little late in the game to do so)? According to PR Newswire, PriceGrabber conducted a survey in which 48% of participants chose iPhone’s iOS platform as their preferred choice and Android coming in as the second favorite with 19%. Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 had only a 7% of the pie.

Just to think that Nokia chose Microsoft’s platform over Google’s earlier this year as published on SmartSoft makes us wonder if perhaps they have an Ace under their sleeve to improve these numbers.

The definite champion to this day is Apple’s iPhone. Nevertheless Android is getting a larger presence as time goes by. At one point the fight was between RIM’s Blackberry and the iPhone as denoted in their viral video campaigns back in the day. Blackberry’s version was that of an apple being destroyed by a blackberry shot at it as a bullet. Apple countered with the same scene in which the blackberry gets destroyed as soon as it touches the fruit. Today Blackberry even falls back to the last spot in that same survey with only 6% of preference.

Will Windows 7 for smartphones bring its A-game to improve its market presence? The iPhone 5 is getting ready to be launched and already people are excited about it. Microsoft should come up with something to get consumers just as thrilled.

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Check Your Google+ Account From Your iPhone

Article first published as Now you can Check Your Google+ Account From Your iPhone on Technorati.

Google is taking one step at a time to bring G+ to more people and devices. The very same day that Google+ was released, the Android App was launched as well. This made the rest of Smartphone users a bit anxious to be able to access their new profiles. But now, the second favored mobile platform is iPhone.

You can now go to the Apple App store and download it (that’s if you haven’t already). However, if you want to download it to your iPad, you’ll have to be patient. G+ has only been released for the iPhone version as mentioned on Techspot.

For BlackBerry or other types of Smartphone users, you’ll have to visit the mobile page, which seems to be a little slow (depending on your carrier) until the app comes out.

Now, as a Google + user, I’ve noticed a lot of comments on the main stream about how many things are still lacking. Yes, it’s true there are still several things that need be done; for example sharing capabilities. If you see a video, picture or webpage you’d like to share, a G+ share button needs to come into place. However, we all need to remember, it is still in its Beta stage; meaning that all these adjustments are being done over time.

Nevertheless people’s response to G+ has been amazing. It has already reached the 10 million user threshold. I have also seen countless new uses that users themselves have found for Google +. Among these avid discoverers is Chris Brogan. In fact he organized a Webinar on these uses.

The point is that Google + is a canvas that can be molded and discovered by each one of us. For me, G+ is an excellent place to follow opinion leaders, discover new theories and share information with people all over the world that share my interests. Let’s see what new advancements bring as tools to this canvas.

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Falling One by One

Article first published as Falling One by One on Technorati.

First Nokia, now it seems it’s RIM turn to be going down the economic slide. The smartphone industry seems to be having only two major contenders now: iPhone vs Android.

Back in the Internet Bubble era, smartphones were a long way from even being mentioned. For that matter, it was the Golden Age for Nokia: it had the best reception, best battery life and most people just picked it right out from the Carrier’s case into use.

As soon as Internet and App based phones dominated the public’s eye, Nokia started falling back. Even though it had developed the OVI platform for its phones, clearly it was no match for BlackBerry and iPhone.

The Android came along with a friendlier platform, one which granted programmers a much easier way to introduce their exclusive code into the Android Market. Features overpowered those of Blackberry and even has been stealing market share away from iPhone as reported on a small graph here on Read, Write, Web.

As you can see on the chart, RIM has been falling back enormously. After being the Lord and Savior of Business People, BlackBerry’s stock value went down 60% on the course of this year as reported on All Things Digital.

However, it is also said that the company is obviously not ready to hit the showers. A Smartphone who has already been mighty still has hope according to its high management.

As far as their tablets go, well, we all know who the King is. Will iPhone and Android let this happen? Their friendly user interface may think differently.

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