Apple Event, eBay’s Curated Collections, Vine’s New Features, Halloween Begins in Boston

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Top Story: Apple Event

ht_apple_invitation_ll_131015_16x9_992Apple teased the industry with invitations to their event that read, “We still have a lot to cover.” However, this past Tuesday, the Apple Event ended without the wow-factor it usually presents.

 

The event lacked the usual gusto for surprise and delight as the iPad took center stage. The company debuted the new “iPad Air” and the “iPad Mini with Retina Display,” but there was nothing game-changing in sight.

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Instead, the company just modified their laptop offerings for the iPad. With a sleeker design, lighter build, faster processing, better wi-fi and same pricing structure, the iPad Air is a solid upgrade in the iPad lineup. The iPad Mini with Retina Display has the same technical specs with a sharper display.

 

Crimson Hexagon looked at the sentiment data behind tweets about the Apple event and found that 73% of the more than 1.5 million tweets in the 24 hours following the event were neutral, meaning people were merely passing along news without expressing opinion.

 

Do you think Apple is losing its ability to dazzle?

 

Tool of the Week: eBay’s Curated Collections

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With Amazon racing ahead in the e-commerce race, eBay has been falling behind. This past Wednesday, eBay debuted its newest attempt to get back into the game. In the effort to make your shopping experience more streamlined, eBay is taking cues from sites like Pinterest that fuel content discovery and sharing.

 

eBay has integrated curated collections where guest curators search eBay for products they like and organize them into collections. Essentially, these curators are weaving through the clutter to find the good stuff for you.

 

In a press release eBay describes these curators as ” top trendsetters across a variety of interest areas, who create beautiful collections on eBay to help easily connect you with items you’ll love.” In the first wave of this initiative, Ebay has recruited some big name celebrities among its list of “expert curators” including Solange Knowles, Pharrell Williams, and Todd Selby.

 

“Shopping on eBay is unlike shopping anywhere else – it’s a place to discover things you love and things you never knew you needed,” said Pharrell Williams on being an eBay curator. “Now, anyone can create their own collection on eBay and fill it with all their dream items.”

 

You can choose to follow collections, curators, other eBay users and interests that inspire you. Each user will also have a profile page where they can share their own collections, interests, people they follow, etc. On top of that, eBay has launched eBay today, a new page where eBay’s Chief Curator and Editorial Director Michael Phillips Moskowitz selects the best collections of items every day so you have easy access not just to the interesting items themselves, but the stories behind them as well.

 

Will you use eBay more?

 

Under the Radar: Vine plays Catch-Up with New Features

Vine released two new features in its most recent update: Sessions and Time Travel:

  • Sessions lets you save any video post as a draft and return to it later. This means that you can work on multiple Vine projects at once, without having to finish one before moving on to the next.

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  • Time Travel lets you edit videos by removing, reorganizing, and replacing video clips. This means that you are no longer constrained to shooting continuously without mistake, but rather you can go back and make the changes you want.

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Instagram Video already has both of these features. What Vine still lacks that Instavid offers is the ability to import video clips from your gallery, but we bet that’s not too far off.

 

Around the Hub: Halloween Happenings in Boo-ston

There are so many Halloween events happening this weekend. Here are just a few:

 

Friday, October 25:

Halloween Night Walk

No flashlights allowed! Be led through the spooky forest, explore the old stone ruins, and hike over hill & dale under the moonlight.

  • Where: Franklin Park
  • When: 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Price: Free

 

Halloween on the Harbor

Sponsored by The Seaport Hotel, this event begins at TOMA Bar where adult trick-or-treaters will be picked up by duck boats and be shuttled to nine different Halloween-themed parties in the Seaport District.

  • Where: Seaport District, Starts at TAMO Bar at the Seaport Hotel
  • When: 7-10 p.m.
  • Price: $5

 

BeWicked Halloween Bash

Sponsored by the Boston Ski and Sports Club, this event is held at Lir on Boylston Street complete with a costume contest with cash prizes, tarot card readings, Halloween-themed apps and drinks, and goodie bags.

  • Where: Lir, 903 Boylston St
  • When: 9 p.m. – 1 a.m.
  • Price: $25

 

Saturday, October 26:

Halloween Pet Parade

Show off your pup in his or her Halloween best, then celebrate with Dick’s special “Master & Me” cocktail, pumpkin carving contest, and more.

  • Where: Faneuil Hall
  • When: 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Price: Free

 

5th Annual Superhero 5K

Come dressed as a superhero, leave feeling like one.

  • Where: Pacific St. Park, Central Square, Cambridge
  • When: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Price: $40 for Individual, $80 for Heroes vs Villains, $130 for Fantastic Four, $220 for Magnificent Seven
  • Registration: Saturday at the Asgard in Central Square and Sunday at Pacific St Park

 

11th Annual Mayhem and Madness Halloween Bash

Sold out the past ten years, this party includes five drinks, cash prize costume contest, psychics, apps, candy, and a DJ.

  • Where: McGann’s
  • When: 8 p.m. – 2 a.m.
  • Price: $40 in advance, $50 at the door, Tickets here.

 

Zoo Howl (Saturday and Sunday)

This annual event includes trick-or-treat among the animals, candy, crafts, games, costume contests, hayride and even a haunted maze!

  • Where: Franklin Park Zoo, One Franklin Park Road
  • When: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Price: $11-17

 

Sunday, October 27:

Market of the Living Dead

The last outdoor SoWa Sunday of the season will have Halloween-themed products, a costume contest with cash prizes, and more.

  • Where: 460 Harrison Ave
  • When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Price: Free

 

Pru Boo!

Bring your kids out for store-to-store trick-or-treating, face painting, magic tricks, and more.

  • Where: The Shops at the Prudential Center
  • When: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Price: $4 donation

 

Where will you be getting into the Halloween spirit this weekend?

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The New iPad & Gronking the Madden Cover Curse

 

Top Story: The New iPad

The iPad is coming. What? You thought it was already here? Well, technically we’ve had a couple versions. But as was unveiled this week, the new iPad 3 will simply be called iPad. Clever. But was the simplistic new name the biggest surprised about the brand new iPad? While there are some pretty cool features coming with the new version, it may not be enough to get you standing in line or waking up early to jump on the computer.

 

So, what’s different? The new iPad will have a 9.7-inch display screen with a “retina display” of 2047 by 1536 pixels, compared with the current model’s 1024 by 768 pixels. This gives the new iPad a higher resolution than any other tablet or laptop on the market and will not only look snazzy, but will also be pretty great for gamers.  Another awesome upgrade on this new version is the 5-megapixel camera. Of course, unless you’re the type who carries your iPad around to snap photos, this probably doesn’t mean much to you. Isn’t that what your iPhone is for? It will also be the first iPad to run on 4G wireless networks, if you’re willing to pay a bit more.

 

Will you be trading your old iPad in for the new version when they hit stores on Friday? The good news is, the new iPad will is selling for the same price as iPad 2 (of course, you can likely get the iPad 2 for a whole lot less now). The bad news is, the third-generation iPad is already sold out for pre-orders, so you’ll have to wait a little bit. As for me, I still have the first edition iPad and think I’ll be waiting for the next one to be announced before I take the plunge again.

 

Under the Radar: Facebook Timeline for Brands

As of March 30th, the way that brand fan pages will appear on Facebook with change dramatically. Similar to personal pages, brands will now be shown in the new Timeline format featuring a prominent cover photo, enhanced and customizable tabs displayed at the top of the page, the addition of milestones allowing for an interactive display of the brand’s history, and the ability to privately message fans, effectively taking the conversation ‘offline.’

 

 

Want more information about the changes to Facebook for brands?  Check out last week’s Labs post or contact a 451 Marketing social media specialist for more information.

 

Tool of the Week: Getting Loopt into Green Dot

Before SXSW began this weekend, Loopt was already causing a buzz in the LBS world by getting acquired by Green Dot – a U.S. provider of prepaid debit cards. If this news doesn’t shock you, you are certainly in the minority. There are two major reasons this has come as shocking news to most:

 

Green Dot Who? If all of a sudden one of the tech giants (Google, Microsoft, Twitter, or even Yahoo) had swept in and bought up the nearly seven year-old location-based service, people may not have been quite as taken back. But instead a little known debit card provider has made the acquisition.

 

How Can Green Dot Use It? Tech acquisitions are not uncommon, but most have more obvious motives than Green Dot’s purchase of Loopt. How can the debit card provider leverage technology like Loopt?

 

With a slightly deeper look though, it looks like it could make sense. With Google Wallet and similar mobile wallet services becoming popular, Green Dot may be looking to strengthen it’s play at the world of prepaid mobile debit cards in the near future. And because Loopt was one of the original location-based services, it holds a number of important mobile marketing patents that could be used as an advantage, particularly in developing customer retention programs that are already built in to Loopt.

 

While acquiring Loopt does not transform Green Dot into a game changer by any means, it shows a forward thinking attitude when it comes to the future of mobile payments. Look out for how they may use the location-based service in the next few years, especially since they are retaining core employees on the Loopt team.

 

Around the Hub: Gronking the Madden Cover Curse

If you are unfamiliar with the “Madden Cover Curse” then it may sound somewhat silly – why would a pro-football player NOT want to be on the cover of one of the most popular video games of all time? Because almost every single player who has graced the cover of the franchise that has generated over $3 billion in sales has had some bad fortune the following year. From season ending injuries to career-worst years, players seem unable to escape the curse.

 

And here is where it gets really interesting. The player on the cover is decided by an online vote, meaning players can campaign for themselves to win. The curse has stopped most players from going out of their way to get put on the cover, but fortunately for Pats fans, Gronk is not like most players. He spikes a football that hits the ground with force of 650 pounds. He runs over defenders like they are bowling balls. He also campaigns himself to get onto the Madden cover with a hilarious video featuring his brothers (one of which is also a professional football player).

 

The beauty of his video is it is as low value as it gets. All he uses is a using a flip cam, his parents living room and his brothers. They didn’t even bother to get real props, just his crutch and some plastic bags – all of this makes it even better.

 

We certainly hope this gets him onto the cover just so he can defy the curse!

 

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Let us know what you think about this week’s 451Labs post – tweet to us @451Heat.

bing vs. Google

Alhough Google has defined and become synonymous with search – most people say they are “googling” something when they use any kind of search engine – bing is proving to be a serious contender in the fight to be the search engine of the people.  bing is slowly insinuating its way into our lives through these examples:

Through these channels, I predict that bing will “own” approximately 25-35% share of the search market by sometime in 2011.  In other words, 25-35% of us will probably be using bing, if not on purpose, then by default.  I’ve found it to be a very functional platform and it almost seems as though it’s “hipper” than Google, which has recently been embroiled in privacy concerns.  (Of course bing is a Microsoft product, which many view as monopolizing technology in general) What are your thoughts?

-Mary Smucker-Priest

A College Student’s Reflection on the Kno Tablet

As a college student, I am constantly trying to find more efficient ways of studying and note taking. I value the importance of a quality education, but I also value time spent with family and friends. Our time in school is limited to four short years and I want to be spend as little of that precious time confined in the solitude of the library preparing for exams as possible.

Thankfully, there is a new device on the market which promises to help me do just that. The Kno tablet, produced by a company called Kno, Inc., is essentially an electronic textbook consisting of two 14 inch touchscreens joined by a center hinge. Unlike the increasingly popular iPad produced by Apple, the Kno supports Adobe Flash and has double the viewable screen space, giving users even more of what they want.

Kno CEO Osman Rashid remarked that the tablet will soon be all you need to bring with you to the class or office, especially since the frontman is said to be teaming up with textbook providers around the country. Compared to a traditional textbook, the Kno tablet will allow students to write and organize notes in one place, as well as surf the internet, watch videos and basically concentrate on everything but their studies.

Now, I fully support the wonderful direction in which technology pushes us, but I think this is a tad ridiculous. While the tablet may allow you to access all of your textbook information in one succinct device, don’t we have enough distractions in school without our books being able to access Facebook and Twitter as well as our lap tops? Not to mention the fact that after a frustrating night of studying, a traditional textbook will withstand a stress relieving throw to the wall, whereas the Kno tablet most likely will not.

The Kno tablet creators may be trying to jump on the latest technology fad and capitalize on the iPad consumer market, but to expect to render real books obsolete is more than a lofty ambition for the new device. With technology and social media outlets beginning to occupy previously untouched areas of school, work and home life, how far is too far? Do you think the tablet is worth the close to $1,000 price tag or would you be content reading a traditional textbook? –Christina Cherel

The iPad Ban: Does it mean anything for Apple?

The iPad is the latest, and possibly, greatest creation by Apple. It is advertised as the product that can go everywhere. But can it really go everywhere? Think again, because Yankee Stadium recently banned this device!

The stadium confirmed this through Yahoo Sports saying, “the iPad falls under its no laptops security policy.”  Many users are outraged that they are not allowed to bring their iPads into the stadium.

It seems a little strange that a fan would want to bring an iPad into the game. It is especially odd because Wi-Fi is available throughout the complex.

Despite how you feel about this iPad ban, it doesn’t look like it will be reversed anytime soon. What do you think of this new security policy?  Do you think it affects the “revolution,” that is iPad? Does it even matter to Apple?  And, do you think future technologies will meet resistance? Let us know!

– Becky Greenwood