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Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

iOS 7 Motion Sickness Complaints Keep Rolling In: Time for Apple to Step In?

8C9208494-130929-health-ios-1155a.blocks_desktop_smallIn the world of tech updates, change is always stressful, but it doesn’t usually make people physically ill; so, while Apple likely expected some complaints regarding the updated look and experience of its iOS 7 software, it probably assumed the naysayers would be a few fuddy-duddies resistant to learning something new, not large numbers of people complaining of motion sickness and headaches.

As someone with a vestibular disorder (Mal de Debarquement Syndrome or “MdDS”), I am always wary of things that may cause false motion sensations (the feeling that one is in motion when actually still). Since I am currently in a remission, I avoid such things at all costs. With this in mind, just moments after my fiancé downloaded and began using the new iOS 7 software on his iPhone, he burst out onto the porch where I was enjoying a cup of tea, and said, with an unusual sense of urgency, “Hun, if you haven’t downloaded iOS 7 yet, don’t! It’s even making me dizzy.”

Only hours later, I received updates from both the MdDS support group to which I belong and the Vestibular Disorders Association, informing me that iOS 7 may worsen symptoms for those prone to motion sickness and vestibular issues. It was at this point I realized Apple may have accidentally alienated people with vestibular problems, but I didn’t think it would turn into any sort of larger issue for the company — I mean, I also can’t see movies in theaters, take long trips, or play video games, so just because it’s a problem for me, doesn’t usually mean it’s a problem for most people.

But then I noticed that the story was being covered by major news organizations, like Time, Forbes, and NBC — regular people were experiencing these problems, and in large numbers. Read more

How to Help Your Brand Connect to LGBT Audiences

Now that the majority of Americans (if not the majority of American states) have accepted same-sex marriage and effectively welcomed the LGBT community into mainstream culture, brand strategists are brainstorming over how to make the most of a large and passionate demographic. Why? Well, gay men and women do “have the largest amount of disposable income of any niche market,” so…money.

That’s according to Community Marketing Inc., a gay-centric research organization that just released its 7th annual LGBT community survey of more than 30,000 consumers in 100 different countries. Their findings should help marketing/PR pros better understand the community.

The fact that LGBT individuals “keep up with online media” isn’t much of a revelation, but here are some more interesting conclusions:

  • “LGBT” is the preferred term for gays, bisexuals and transgender individuals, though gay men are equally receptive to the phrase “gay and lesbian”. Words like “queer”, “rainbow” and “gay-welcoming” are less effective (probably because they’re condescending).
  • Consumers prefer that corporate communications refer to their legal relationships with the terms “spouse” or “husband/wife”, though “partner” also works. Dated terms like “significant other” and “gay couple” don’t test so well.

How Fingerprints Are Putting Brands In Touch with Consumers

The good news about fingerprint technology is that no two fingerprints are the same. So, if a thief wants to steal your iPhone, he’s going to have to steal your hand too. Ouch.

However, there are other capitalistic entities out there interested in taking your money, and with this latest technology, they’ll be able to do it even faster—all with the public’s consent. Cash is becoming less practical in contemporary society—seriously, who can stand being behind someone fumbling for change? Grrrr—as the public increasingly conducts business via digital devices.

Touching a finger to a button is much more convenient than typing in a password, and this revolutionary change—though it only saves mere seconds of time—marks the first time people will have to use an attribute of their DNA, their very own human uniqueness, to interact with the world via their smartphones. This is the closest humans and technology have come to being integrated without surgery. And this connection also creates an opening for those trying to sell us their products.

Not only does purchasing items via our digital devices record our every shopping impulse, habit and financial capacity, but it also complies this information for brands and marketers who wish to exploit that information with the objective of selling the public more of their stuff. Sure, it’s not exactly The Minority Report, but it’s heading in that direction.

Fingerprint technology is at the forefront of the marketing for Apple’s new iPhone 5s, and thus far the public doesn’t seem very impressed. Who cares if our phones are stolen, and along with them so are our fingerprints? We do, after all, give our fingerprints to the government with very little protest, and it has always respected the integrity of our personal affairs. Ahem.

So the public has nothing to worry about, right? Let us know what you think!

Has the Apple Brand Lost Its Edge? (Yes, It Has.)

It’s tough to be a luxury brand—no, really. Just ask Apple, whose “most important thing in the world ever” iPhone rollout seemed designed to appeal to both lower and higher-end consumers but failed to impress either (according to the tech blogs).

There were no surprises today. The products were pretty much what we expected: there was the “cheaper” 5C phone (which is still expensive once you consider monthly data fees, etc.) and the “fancier” 5S phone with “a better camera” and the much-touted “Touch ID” technology that allows you to unlock your phone by touching the screen rather than typing and swiping. The rumored gold phone is real, but it’s not really fabulous. Oh, and there’s yet another new operating system. iTunes Radio could be cool, but again it’s nothing new, and to many this all feels like Apple trying to catch up to its competitors.

What happened?

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First Kit Kat Android Video Subtly Snarks on Apple

Kit Kat and Google Android picked the best possible time to reveal their new partnership: right after Labor Day when news organizations need big stories to turn their content trickles into floods. The Android upgrade’s first video spot is brilliant too, as it subtly but unmistakably snarks on Apple’s reputation as the king of all things “high design”. It’s brand identity in action.

The clip succeeds on more than one level: beyond making fun of tech’s obsession with streamlined products and design-geek details, it also clearly recalls spots starring Jonathan Ive, Apple‘s SVP wunderkind who inspired stories of a company-wide post-Jobs makeover.

Here’s one of his clips in case you missed the resemblance (and yes, it is more than a little over the top):

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Apple’s ‘Keep ‘Em Guessing’ Press Strategy Works Wonders

Oh wait, actually we are.

We’re still a little amazed by how often journalists mention Apple—just do a Google News search and you’ll see what we mean. The company’s PR team doesn’t even really need to pitch anyone for all that  earned media, right? It’s enough to make you jealous.

A great example: no one knows exactly what the company plans to do this fall beyond releasing yet another iPhone, but they’re all still reporting on the brand’s plans to do something. Apple encourages this rampant speculation by toying with journalists’ desire to break a story—any story.

Here’s the famously press-shy company’s latest release, sent out to tech journos by CEO Tim Cook this morning:

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Apple Really Wants to Trademark the Word ‘Startup’

You read that right: Apple wants full ownership of the word “startup”. In Australia. For some reason.

This isn’t the first time, either: the world’s leading fruit-themed brand tried to secure exclusive rights to the word in both Auckland and the great 50 as far back as 2011, when Apple lawyers claimed it was all about securing the rights to a new name for a not-so-secret retail initiative focused on providing tech setup services for new products. (Like a Genius Bar for people who don’t know how to turn their own devices on.)

Oh, now we get it—and it’s further evidence of Apple’s brand identity slipping away. They are no longer the little company favored by tech nerds everywhere; they are now every bit as ubiquitous and annoying as the brands they vanquished.

Yes, this is more a legal issue than a PR issue, but in our eyes it’s just the latest sign that Apple’s perch atop the tech field is no longer as secure as it was back in those halcyon days of 1998. It’s also a really stupid idea, so we’ll choose to blame Ashton Kutcher until we know better.

(Alleged) New Apple iPhone Offers Old-School Pawn Shop Trade-in Deal

It’s hard for the public not to roll its eyes at yet another Apple iPhone upgrade. The juggernaut brand is a PR master of that intersection between human desire and technological promise–a netherworld that offers the chance for elevated social status in the nerd universe of early adopters.

Throughout the years we’ve witnessed long lines of techie geeks, hipsters and wannabes sleeping in tents during sleet storms all for guaranteed access to the latest upgrade, even if the revamped version isn’t that different than the device currently buzzing in the pockets of their skinny jeans.

For outsiders, the upgrade game is wearisome and annoying because after a while it begins to feel less like a capitalistic scheme and more like a corporate scam. Seriously, does Apple expect everyone to simply hand over their current device in exchange for the latest version? Who has that kind of money, and time? Well, apparently, lots of people do. And Apple wants them in their stores. Read more

KIA Hamsters Shape Up for PR Red Carpet

The PR industry has its share of “It” factor sensations just like Hollywood, the music business and television. In today’s public relations, these aren’t compelling and highbrow artistic ideas that transform our culture like Apple’s legendary “1984” commercial or Coca-Cola’s iconic Mean Joe Green commercial.

Technology has changed many aspects of marketing and public relations. Digitally animated spokespeople, or spokesthings, such as the Geico Gecko and, yes, the KIA Hampsters represent a strange blend of marketing cuteness, humor, accessibility–and in this case Lady Gaga star power–that connects with the public. And it works. Read more

Would You ‘Follow’ Your Favorite Brands on Spotify?

And we were just starting to like Spotify.

Thom Yorke‘s least favorite streaming music service wants to partner with brands to create “sponsored playlists” and other sly promotional features that have yet to be revealed. In what might be the world’s most incredible coincidence, this announcement comes two days after Apple announced the coming launch of iTunes radio, which will be supported by such brands as McDonald’s, Pepsi and Nissan.

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