Top Story: iOS8 Update Released. Long Awaited, and Long Installed.
Apple users and enthusiasts flooded their iTunes yesterday to download the long awaited iOS8 update. The installation, which took quite a while, brought on a few noticeable upgrades, and many unnoticeable ones.
One of the most obvious changes was the “Details” tab under group chats, which allows users to name chats, easily access photos shared among the group, share locations, customize “do not disturb” for specific group chats, and leave conversations. (Most of the functionalities available to What’s App users.) Dynamic predictive keyboards, voice messaging, improved video and photo capabilities, a health app, iCloud sharing, interactive push notifications, and a smarter Siri are all examples of some of the new benefits enjoyed by iOS8 users.
Since many of the improvements of this operating system are not as obvious as previous updates, Apple has included a “Tips” app that will help users get the best use out of the new version. Users are encouraged to revisit this whenever they are unsure of certain functions.
Of all the users, the major beneficiaries of the new update seem to be developers. Apple has announced they are allowing third party keyboard integration for the first time, which allows for a myriad of creative add-ins. Furthermore, the photo “Share” function HomeKit integration with Siri, and iCloud Drive support are a couple examples of channels that allow developers to add their own apps.
Furthermore, CEO Tim Cook, in an open letter to customers, affirmed Apple’s commitment to protecting the privacy of all users. Cook confirmed that Apple does not monetize off information that users store in iCloud, and has “never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any [products] or services”. In the wake of the recent celebrity iCloud hack and photo scandal, this letter does a great deal to emphasize Apple’s commitment to privacy and security.
It is likely that most of the major advances of this operating system will be visible within a couple weeks. Developers must surely be intrigued by the flexibility of iOS8, which is the best of its kind to date. Until then, non-technical users, (like myself ) will enjoy its simple conveniences, and hope for no troubleshooting or bugs in the early stages.
Tool of the Week: Twitter’s Audience Manager
This week, Twitter has launched an update to the tailored audiences tool that helps advertisers better engage their online consumers, and manage ad campaigns on ads.twitter.com. The tool has a more comprehensive customizable dashboard, with the capability to see all the details of your target audience, get notifications on the status of those audiences, and manage/delete them easily. An interesting feature of the update is the audience list upload function, which allows the user to easily create new list audiences.
Another unique function of the audience manager tool is the ability for users to target lists based off of mobile phone numbers, and iOS and Android App IDs which allows advertisers to directly access audience members who have installed the advertiser’s apps, or expressed specific interest in products in the app.
The tool also allows “look alike only targeting”, which can reach out to similar audiences while excluding existing customers to better target campaigns.
Twitter announced to users, “This lets you reach users who are most like your best existing customers, and is particularly useful for mobile app promotion campaigns to reach users similar to those who have already installed your app. To enable you to drive more efficient user acquisition, we’ve added the ability to exclude tailored audiences based on website visitors from campaigns using interest, keyword, TV and other tailored audiences.”
While this update is very helpful for advertisers, Twitter has made clear their commitment to respect user privacy. Twitter users can manage their privacy settings to limit advertisers from accessing accounts to tailor advertising. This privacy setting is also available on iOS and Android devices as a “limit ad tracking” setting. The Twitter audience manager insights will surely allow advertisers to more efficiently handle campaigns, and execute more direct and focused strategy.
Under the Radar: FTC’s New Shipping Rules
The FTC just made holiday shopping a lot less stressful. They just issued new rules in their “Business Guide to the FTC’s Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule” requiring merchandisers to ship within a “reasonable” timeframe, or within 30 days if they give no timeframe.
If merchandisers cannot fulfill their statement, they must ask for your approval to delay shipping or must refund your order if they don’t get your approval. The new guidelines take effect on December 8th.
Around the Hub: PARK(ing) Day
One day out of the year (today), parking spots all across Cambridge are transformed into public spaces encouraging residents to hang out with one another.
Launched in 2005 in San Francisco by art and design studio Rebar, PARK(ing) Day is now taking place around the world. For Cambridge, this is the city’s third year of participation.
“Urban inhabitants worldwide recognize the need for new approaches to making cities,” said Rebar principal Matthew Passmore in a statement. “The planning strategies that have led to traffic congestion, pollution and poor health in cities everywhere do not reflect contemporary values, nor are they sustainable. PARK(ing) Day raises these issues and demonstrates that even temporary projects can improve the character and quality of the city.”
This year, 46 parking spots will be turned into mini-parks. Visit City of Cambridge for the full list.