Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’

October 19, 2010-

This last week a number of well-respected analysts and research centers released reports discussing the pervasive dominance of “post-PC devices.” Specifically the discussion is revolving around mobile phones, smartphones, tablets and e-readers. The Pew Research Center released its report on “gadget ownership” which demonstrated the overall dominance of cell phones in the U.S. Technology market. Pew surveyed 3,001 American adults and decided upon the “key appliances of the Information Age.” Those which came out on top were cellphones, PCs, e-readers, and Mp3 players.

Gartner and Forrester also threw their hat into the “buzz” ring. Gartner released its own report Friday which proclaims tablets the new cellphone. In the study Gartner reports that tablet sales have reached 19.5 million units this year and estimated that tablet sals would increase to 150 million units by 2013. In fact, Carolina Milanesi, a research vice president at Gartner, claims mini notebook computers “will suffer a “strong cannibalization” as the price of media tablets” drops nearer to the $300 mark.

In their report, Forrester chose to address head-on the new era security concerns that companies and consumers will experience as society continues to adopt these post-PC devices. In its report, Forrester discusses the additional security companies will have to implement for mobile devices commonly now used both at work and at play.

Yet as these respected analysts hail the new post-PC era, tablets and e-readers are still exploring the new hazards of a post-PC world. Just this week the New York Times posted an article which discusses the temperature control problems for Apple’s iPads and compares it to Amazon’s Kindle. Or, as the New York Times wrote it, “It seems that some iPads do not like direct sunlight, saunas or long walks on the beach.” And with the iPhone 4G’s antenna challenges earlier this summer, it’s clear that we’re nowhere near having worked out all of the kinks even as the mobile device market continues to innovate and we adopt their emerging products.


August 30, 2010-

At the beginning of this year Mark Zuckerberg famously announced that privacy was dead, stirring the pot and increasing concerns among the majority of internet users that their identities and personal information were being appropriated for capital gain.

Arguably, 2010 has been the year of “location aware technology,” whether the location is two dimensional or three dimensional. These days your computer knows where you’ve been online, where you’re going, and why you buy things there, and your phone can tell any satellite where you physically are on the globe and what advertising you’re passing at that very moment. Clearly, marketers are doing their best to collect as much of that information as possible and to use it.

One of the main issues in the ongoing debate about whether location aware technology and geotagging are net-positive or net-negative developments (or somewhere in between) centers on the concession that advertising and marketing are not going away any time soon. Advertising is an institutionalized facet of American life, especially in major urban centers. That being said, marketers like to argue that with more information they can better speak to a consumer’s interests and needs, as opposed to leading a consumer to buy something he or she doesn’t need.

Leaving that argument for a minute, the real concern here is over privacy, and educating the masses on how to protect their own privacy. A recent article in the New York Times cautioned readers against geotagging photos at their homes, and cited the example of Adam Savage, one half of the “MythBusters” team who had geotagged a Twitter photo of his car in front of his personal residence in the Bay Area. The Times pointed out that by doing Adam Savage had just informed all of his Twitter followers of his personal address, the make and model of his car, and that he was leaving for work at that very moment, “geotags… are embedded in photos and videos taken with GPS-equipped smartphones and digital cameras. Because the location data is not visible to the casual viewer, the concern is that many people may not realize it is there; and they could be compromising their privacy, if not their safety, when they post geotagged media online.”

Now with Facebook Places, a new feature which allows its users to tag their locations in their status updates, and the increasing use of Twitter and FourSquare, organizations such as the ACLU are concerned that the spread of technology is one again outpacing usage education and awareness of the risks of information abuse, “The organization highlighted the element of the new service that allows users to “tag” an accompanying friend and post his or her location to Facebook – even if the friend does not have an iPhone, which is currently the only platform on which the application is available.”

The other side of this coin involves how browsers and advertisers track our movements online. After all, this is a huge market that Facebook plans to tap, 50 percent of Facebook’s over 400 million users log in to the site at least once a day, and more than a quarter of that overall number access the service from mobile devices. However, despite all of the hype, new research shows that most users still decline to announce their location publicly.

According to a recent Forrester Research report, “Just 4 percent of Americans have tried location-based services, and 1 percent use them weekly…Eighty percent of those who have tried them are men, and 70 percent are between 19 and 35.”

Returning to the modern marketer’s argument that the more information they can gather on a person’s interests, habits and locations, the more applicable an ad will be for a consumer, there is strong evidence to support this. Personalized ad retargeting, where ads for specific products that consumers have perused online follow them around while they continue to browse the web, are becoming more pervasive. And marketers are big believers, “‘The overwhelming response has been positive,’ said Aaron Magness, senior director for brand marketing and business development at Zappos, a unit of”

Still, consumer sentiment about being monitored, whether online or off, reflects overall concern and creepy feelings. Ongoing education about how browsers and advertisers collect behavioral information both online and off might serve to eliminate the two-way mirror feeling that many consumers experience. However, it has not yet proven to completely allay consumer fears and concerns about a potentially serious breach of privacy.

In other words, while consumers feel uncertain as to where all of this leaves their privacy, advertisers are increasingly certain of where consumers stand. Literally.

July 28, 2010-

On Monday July 26 the U.S. Library of Congress reached a groundbreaking decision concerning modern copyright laws and thrilling open source advocates the world over. The decision ruled that it was now legal to “jailbreak” a mobile phone. Or, in more vernacularized terminology, it is now legal to open up a phone’s controls to accommodate software that the phone maker had not previously authorized.

The ruling is the result of lobbying by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit digital rights group who had argued for these “exemptions” to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for several years. Enacted in 1998, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act is a law which specifically extends copyright laws in the US to protect intellectual property and prevent copyright infringement on the Internet.

But what are the implications of the ruling? This decision opens up a huge debate about the differences between hardware and software and the way modern users will approach each as they apply to smartphones. As smartphone adoption and the numbers of application developers continue to rise, it is highly possible that users may begin to regard smartphone services and applications as they regard wifi, music and computer software: as something that should be free, and something that should be easy to share. Could it be that in the future hardware will continue to be something that you buy and invest in, but that software is destined to be free?

The ruling has been widely projected on Apple and its dominantly successful iPhone. As the New York Times wrote in its July 26th article covering the decision, “The issue has been a topic of debate between Apple, which says it has the right to control the software on its devices, and technically adept users who want to customize their phones as they see fit.” Apparently, Apple’s arguments with the US Copyright Office in the past claimed that jailbreaking phones would infringe on Apple’s copyrights by using an altered version of Apple’s OS.

However, hackers should be forewarned that this may not prove to be the complete ‘get out of jail free’ card that they are envisioning. Some mobile phone manufacturers, such as Apple, have countered by threatening that phone warranties will not be honored once a phone has been “jailbroken.”

What do you think of the ruling? Is this the newest banner issue for the open source movement? Do you think of hardware and software separately in this regard?