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Posts Tagged ‘iPad’

Touchscreen Tables: The Newest Restaurant Revolution?

Moneual's touchscreen cafe tableAs food writers/enthusiasts, we know how difficult it can be to make your restaurant stand out–especially in a crowded market. Serving great food in a casual, well-designed atmosphere just isn’t enough anymore (if it ever was). Now, in the tradition of the “Instagram menu“, we bring you news of the latest tech gimmick for restaurants and cafes: the touchscreen table.

The concept is fairly self-explanatory, and it’s not completely new: both Apple and Microsoft have produced table-sized versions of their popular tablets. But Korean electronics company Moneual plans to begin mass-producing its touchscreen cafe table very soon; curious onlookers may get a chance to see this interactive furniture in action at next week’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

We love the concept from a design perspective, and it will make for a great spot to promote other local businesses and events, but we have to ask: Will this newest tech toy become another promo tool for restaurants looking to make a name for themselves? Will it be another short-lived trend? Or will it simply become common practice like the iPad menu/register?

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Oprah Uses Apple iPad to Endorse Microsoft Surface

Oprah WinfreyThe public understands the challenges of brand consistency in the digital age. With so many distractions unfolding so continuously and quickly, it’s easy to go off message or reveal a failure in a brand’s promise or values.

Just as that dangerous mix of human fallibility and technical reliability brought former General David Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell down like the Hindenburg, so online PR campaigns can self-sabotage when technology exposes the contradictory actions of CEOs or employees.

Take Oprah Winfrey, for example, who recently tweeted glowing reviews naming Microsoft’s Surface tablet as one of her Favorite Things 2012, thereby giving the tablet an important and powerful endorsement in an intensely competitive market category.

It’s Oprah, after all, and she’s (still) one of the most important personalities in America. We can only assume that Microsoft was ecstatic about the praise from Ms. Winfrey. The company was also probably just as surprised as everyone else to learn that the tweets were sent from an iPad, the Darth Vader to Microsoft’s young Luke Skywalker.

What was Oprah thinking?

Is this a PR crime on par with BP’s gulf oil spill? Of course not. Is it hilarious? Absolutely. It’s also a PR setback for both Oprah and Microsoft because of the innate “stink test” the public exercises in moments like these.

Read more

Will the Public Tire of Apple’s Endless Product Rollout?

Here we go again. Apple launches yet another highly-anticipated product amid a media whirlwind/ hype machine set to whip up the public like a bowl of meringue. And it works. Every time.

This time, as we’re sure you know, it’s the iPad Mini, released this week to combat the Friday debut of Microsoft’s Surface tablet and its brand-new Windows 8 operating system.

OK, even the most committed technophile reaches a saturation point. Nothing in life can be completely new and revolutionary and hype-worthy all the time, and while Apple’s success is well-deserved, we can’t help but wonder just when the working public will tire of these $500 “upgrades.”

As PR professionals, however, we do know that whenever super-CEO Tim Cook feels the need to apologize for poor decisions like omitting Google Maps from the iPhone 5 and creating a terrible app to replace it, the public takes notice. So the brand must tread carefully with regard to the public’s trust, good will, and willingness to get excited about something “new.” Need we remind you that many Americans are still just scraping by? Read more

Ballmer’s Brilliant Plan: Make Microsoft ‘Cool’

When you try to think of the most groundbreaking “devices and services” company in the world today, the first name that comes to mind is…Microsoft, right?

No? Well, CEO Steve Ballmer wants to change all that, and he’s got a brilliant, semi-secret plan to do it—by making the company “cool” again. See those air quotes? Oh yeah, we’re totally (not) feeling it.

Ballmer’s recent letter to shareholders promises to deliver more products like the Xbox (which is actually pretty cool) and the Surface (which is an iPad with a kickstand) as well as the brand new MS Office and Windows 8, opening on PC screens near you later this month. Ballmer also plans to focus more on omnipresent cloud services, which will be key to any electronics company looking to compete in the market of the future—or the present, come to think of it.

By referring to “a new era”, Ballmer all but concedes that his company has fallen behind a certain fruit-themed competitor—a theory reinforced by Kurt Eichenwald’s Vanity Fair article about Microsoft’s “lost decade” which notes that the iPhone currently “brings in more revenue than the entirety of Microsoft”. The article focuses on bureaucracy inhibiting innovation—and, you know, we haven’t heard about too many ground-breaking products emerging from Microsoft in recent years. Have you?

Read more

Can the ‘iPad Mini’ Make up for Apple Maps?

Thanks to Interbrand and common sense, we now know that Apple is the No. 2 most valuable brand in the world—and its profile is rising faster than that of any other company.

Yet, in the wake of disappointing iPhone 5 sales numbers and the whole Apple Maps debacle, some have begun to wonder whether CEO Tim Cook is strong enough to sustain his company’s incredible upward trajectory.

We may find out soon enough with Apple’s latest product roll-out: the iPad mini. Details about the model are still vague, but if we didn’t know better we might say that Apple is playing the classic “show ‘em the carrot” PR game by leaking news about their newest digital accessory, encouraging rumors to build in the tech world and getting ahead of chief rival Samsung’s mini-Galaxy S III roll-out.

How important will the iPad mini be? Will it distract the public (and the ravenous tech blog community) from Apple’s recent PR stumbles?

Healthcare Not Yet Mobile: PCs Still Dominate the Market

For all the talk of smartphones and tablets, you’d think every American plugs into an iPad after work each day and that millions of PCs currently sit in the corners of our homes gathering dust. Yet a recent survey conducted by Makovsky reveals that most Americans will stick with Old Reliable when it comes to their most significant expenditures: healthcare.

Despite the vast technological advances driving the evolution of healthcare around the world, healthcare communications remains a very traditional field. The message to PR pros operating in the industry is clear: Most patients prefer old-school human interactions—and tech tools will not necessarily win the day.

We have no doubt that, at some point in the relatively near future, medical research conducted via smartphone will be so easy and common that everyone from your little brother to your grandmother will wonder why they didn’t start doing it sooner. But the Americans who spend the most money on healthcare aren’t quite ready to make that leap just yet.

Here are some of the survey’s key findings: Read more

The iPhone 5 and the Horrible Power of Hype

Excitement is what makes life worth living–you know, the kind of joy that you experience when falling in love, having your first child…and getting your grubby little hands on Apple’s iPhone5.

Of course you’ve heard that Apple debuted the latest version of the iPhone this week amid a global carnival of hype. Hype is a very powerful tool in PR strategies; in fact, hype is so formidable that it can make intelligent, normal people delude themselves into believing in a reality that doesn’t exist.

Jimmy Kimmel proved this point by asking pedestrians to evaluate the new iPhone 5 and then handing them an iPhone 4S. Watch the video–It’s hilarious.

To PR professionals, however, this video is a chilling reminder of how desperately consumers want to be part of the Apple experience; to be part of the “cool club.” It’s exciting: the anticipation; the rumors; the art of the tease. We’re going to love the new iPhone, we promise–just give it to us. Now. Read more

Could Samsung’s Loss Be a Win in Disguise?

Generally, we PR professionals expect the loss of a major lawsuit to prove damaging for a company’s reputation and, consequently, its sales. Yet Samsung‘s recent billion-dollar loss to Apple in a patent infringement trial seems to have had the opposite effect.

Since a jury found Samsung guilty of copying the technology used to create the iPhone and iPad in late August, sales of Samsung’s Galaxy S3 have taken a major leap–the model has even sold out in some locations. It would seem that smartphone and tablet users care less about the ethical questions raised by copyright infringement than the fact that Samsung makes toys that are virtually identical to Apple’s but cost significantly less!

In a telling and amusing blog post, Digithrive‘s chief technology officer Enrique Gutierrez recounts conversations he overheard in a coffee shop as customers read about the verdict in the paper. Some typical reactions:

Read more

We Welcome Our New Robot Overlords

The life of a PR professional is demanding: Every client seems to think that he or she is the center of the universe, and the overextended rep often gets a little seasick while being pulled in so many different directions all day every day. It’s enough to make you wish you could be in two places at once, right? Well, now you can with the iPad-powered Double from Double Robotics (didn’t see that coming, did you?). Just plug your tablet in and control your virtual self from a distance:

Now you can sit in on an office brainstorming session and watch your favorite “Everybody Loves Raymond” re-runs…at the same time!

Click here now to pre-order the Double at the unbeatable price of “whatever the hell they want you to pay” and get $500 off!

Apple PR Fail: Tech Giant Scolds New SVP

Hey, how’s Apple doing? Well, their stock just soared to an all-time high in anticipation of new iPhone and iPad models, and they’re currently the most respected company on the planet according to a recent Barron‘s survey. So yeah, no worries there.

But today we bring you news of a rare PR Fail among Apple’s top brass. John Browett joined the company in January as senior vice president of retail, replacing the lamented Ron Johnson after he left to head aging retailer JCPenney–and the new guy found himself in a bit of hot water this week thanks to a few well-placed rumors and some very dedicated bloggers.

Seems like Browett told some insiders at the company that, in his humble opinion, the celebrated Apple Stores were “bloated” with too many employees. He then shared news of his plans to help them run “leaner” by reducing the hours of part-timers and laying off hundreds of recent hires at branches around the world if they insisted on working more than 32 hours a week. This tough talk quickly came back to bite Browett–hard.  Read more

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