iPhone 5, Boston Time Lapse, iOS6, & FB for History Lessons


Top Story: iPhone 5 Preorders Reach 2 million in 24 hours

Apple’s iPhone 5 was announced last Wednesday, with preorders set to begin on Friday, September 14th. Within 24 hours, pre-orders had hit 2 million units. This makes the iPhone 5 the fastest selling device in Apple history – and they haven’t even hit stores yet.

AT&T reported that their customers ordered more iPhones from AT&T than any previous model – shattering the record of the previous iPhone 4S by almost double. The Apple website sold out of their iPhone 5 stock within the first hour of availability, and the shipping times were quickly changed from the original September 21st ship date to later dates in September and October. This delay is projected to create higher demand in-store, which means longer lines and more tents outside your local Apple store on the 21st.

Technology analysts are reporting that the iPhone 5 will not only be the fastest-selling Apple product, the fastest-selling gadget of all time. It is projected that 58 million units – $36.2 billion in revenue – will be sold. This factor doesn’t account for all of the extra accessories that are required for the new phone. New cases will need to be purchased, as well as new speakers, chargers, etc. that fit the new “Lightening” connector.

What do you think about all of the iPhone 5 hype? Is the new gadget really worth what the numbers are conveying?


Under the Radar: School’s Use Facebook Timeline for History Lessons

Teachers are always looking for innovative ways to teach their students. As our society becomes faster paced, students’ attention spans for textbooks and lectures are rapidly decreasing. An Amsterdam-based school has found a way to use social media as a tool for learning.

Facebook’s timeline allows the user to see the events of a person’s life in chronological order – as if we are recording our own histories. As a class project, students were asked to create a timeline of 4 different historical events – Magellan’s voyages, 20th century inventions, Fashion history from 1950-present and the rise and fall of the Soviet Union. The benefit of using a social network for this activity? The versatility. Students can post text, photos, audio, and videos to describe the events in the timeline. They can also comment and ask questions about the material presented – allowing for a more interactive experience.


This sounds like an awesome way to learn history to me – what do you think?


Around the Hub: Boston Time Lapse

Sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of city life that we forget to stop and look around at the beautiful city we call home. This time lapse video gives us a little bit of reminder.



Tool of the Week: iOS6


Decided not to upgrade your iPhone? Well, you can at least update your software. iOS6 will be available to iPhone 3GS, 4, and 4S users on Wednesday. This upgrade comes with a range of new features and much needed updates.

What update am I most looking forward to? Definitely Maps. Turn by turn navigation for the iPhone has been long awaited – and patience is paying off! Powered by Tom Tom, Maps is now equipped with spoken navigation and a new “flyover” feature so you can see your favorite cities and landmarks from the air. With a crisper and clearer picture, panning and zooming will have a clearer response.

A brand new App, called Passbook, will also be joining the iPhone family. This app will certainly be loved by your wallet – as it gives you the ability to store boarding passes, coupons, loyalty cards, movie tickets, etc virtually. Just scan your phone and discard them after use – how convenient!

Updates to Phone allow you to choose how you answer your calls (if at all). You can choose the people who can contact  you when you’re in a meeting or taking a nap, and can reply with a text in one click. Also, FaceTime will have the ability to work over cellular networks – so you’ll never miss another call!

Updates to Siri, Mail, Photos, and Safari are also included, as well as an integration with Facebook throughout the software.

I’ll definitely be downloading iOS6 on Wednesday, will you?


The Much-Anticipated iPhone 5 is Right Around the Corner

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the new iPhone 5 at 1pm EST today. Speculations have been developing over the past few months about this new iPhone, and many were right on target. The biggest news is that the new device will run on LTE. This single chip is an amazing technology that has the ability to switch between networks. It also provides ultrafast wireless service. This technology also allows us to use FaceTime via cellular service, though many are curious how cellular providers will charge for use of this technology. iPhone 5 will also be equipped with the brand new Apple A6 chip, which means twice the speed in CPU and graphics.


Although the design has not changed dramatically, the new iPhone 5 will be slightly taller than the current iPhone 4S, allowing for a 5th row of icons on the display. It is also significantly thinner and 20% lighter than the current model. The touch centers for the new device are integrated into the display, rather than the layer on top that is in the current models. This allows for a more sensitive touch screen for more accurate clicking. iPhone 5 has done away with the 30-pin connector and has replaced it with what they call the “Lightening” connector. This connector is 80% smaller, more durable, and reversible – so no more flipping the charger over six time in the dark just to plug in your phone!


iPhone 5 will be equipped with an updated camera which captures 40% faster, has a better retina display, and even has a new “panorama” feature that will stitch your pictures together to create a massive panorama shot. Photos can be automatically shared with family and friends using iSight as well.


The new battery gives iPhone 5 up to 8 hours of battery life on LTE, and up to 10 hours on WiFi. Finally – we can get through a whole work day without our charger! It also has enhanced microphones and a noise cancelling ear piece for better voice calling.


The software update, known as iOS6, gives our favorite apps a much needed update. Siri will now be able to direct you to good movies, post your Facebook status, and tell you who won the big football game. Turn-by-turn directions powered by Tom Tom enhances Maps, and a new “3D mode” allows you to view areas via satellite.


iPhone 5 will begin preorders this Friday – September 14th, and will begin shipping on the 21st. iOS6 will be available to iPhone 3GS, 4, and 4S users on September 19th. No surprise with the prices, which start at $199 for a 16GB iPhone 5.


Facebook Updates, Uber Ice Cream Truck, New Chrome App & the New Plan for Digg

Top Story: Facebook Makes Updates to Events, Pages, and Groups

Last week was filled with Facebook updates; some big and some minor. The most exciting update has to do with the way you view events on Facebook. While previously you could only view your events in a list form, you now have the option of seeing them in an actual calendar. This not only makes it much easier for you to see what’s coming up in your schedule, but it allows you to see whose birthdays are coming up far into the future. The new view is useful, but how many Facebook events do most of us attend each month? I’m guessing not enough to make this calendar an essential part of your life.  I’m actually surprised Facebook doesn’t give you the option to create your own private calendar events, so you could, essentially, use Facebook’s calendar as your only calendar (watch out, Google?). Perhaps this is coming in the future.


Another change Facebook made last week more directly correlates to business pages. Pages now have the option to tag their location on posts and photos.  I’m interested to see how this plays out and how many business pages actually take advantage of geo-tagging updates and photos , especially businesses that already had permanent locations. Of course, it could be a great way for businesses to partner with other businesses and to show their support.

And in one more Facebook update, group members now have the ability to see if other group members have seen their posts. While I totally get the functionality in this, I’m wondering how users of groups are going to feel about this in terms of privacy. After all, just because a post has come across on your feed or you opened the group page, doesn’t necessarily means you’ve read it. And furthermore, what if  Why does Facebook think group members need to see if posts are being read? They claim, “…in your soccer group you can post the new practice time and then see who got the update.” But why is it the group’s responsibility to make sure their posts are being read? I’m in a couple groups in which I’m constantly being asked to vote for something or for some kind of advice and I’d prefer the poster not to know the second I’m seen the post. But maybe that’s just me?

So, will these updates affect your Facebook experience? And will they play a part in the engagements businesses see on Facebook? According to this recent article from CNN Money, even the smallest changes on Facebook can create a huge impact. Do you agree?


Under the Radar: Digg #FAIL. Betaworks #WIN.

Just when you completely forgot about the then social giant, Digg, we find out that the seven year-old bookmarking site was bought out by Betaworks Network for the unimpressive sum of $500,000. Betaworks has plans to revamp Digg, once valued at $164 million, by combining the platform with News.me, a Betaworks company with an iPad app, iPhone app, and daily email that delivers the best stories shared by your friends from Facebook and Twitter. This concept has been designed to improve the way people find and talk about the news (because clearly Facebook and Twitter just aren’t enough!)

Social media enthusiasts suggest this takeover was because of Digg’s lack of attention and detail to its customers and community. Digg CEO, Matt Williams, insists the purchase was “a way to take Digg back to its startup roots.” Betaworks has a high ladder to climb, but thinks that Digg’s reputation as a great brand known for pioneering the concept of community-driven news will remain an asset to the internet world.

Do you currently use Digg? Do you think these changes will increase the number of users?


Around the Hub: #OMGUBERIceCream – Awesome Marketing Idea; Disappointed Ice Cream Lovers

When Uber announced that users would be able to harness their Uber app to request an ice cream truck on a hot summer Friday, excited was an understatement. The deal? For $12, Uber would send a truck and ice for five with an option to purchase more between noon and 6:00pm on Friday. Oh yeah – they also had neon tank tops with the Uber logo. Neon!


Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwDTAUN1EBU&feature=player_embedded


We were thrilled. So, we promptly ordered a truck and patiently waited for our frozen treats to arrive. And waited. And waited. And, are sadly still waiting. Because, when our in-office Uber users requested the truck on Friday, we received a message saying there were no trucks available. Sad!


You have to admit, this is an excellent idea on Uber’s end. We all love ice cream. We all like feeling exclusive. We all could use as many neon tank tops as we can get our hands on. And it must have been a popular promotion  – or, so the pictures from our friends across the city who were lucky enough to get Uber ice cream would lead us to believe. And while we’re disappointed that the ice cream didn’t quite make it to our office (Friday 13th, go figure), we’ll definitely be putting our $15 coupon (thanks to Uber’s great customer service)


Tool of the Week: Chrome App for iOS Stirs Up Controversy

Google debuted its iOS Chrome app at the end of June – answering the prayers of many iOS users, including myself. Similar to the desktop browser, the app is clean especially easy to use. It also boasts a simple to use sync with other devises that you use Chrome on to save favorite sites and bookmarks.

While this is exciting news in itself for many – the launch has caused some mixed feelings at Apple, as well as a lawsuit from EMG Tech (who has sued both Apple and Microsoft before).

The issue Apple is having is with Google being a big competitor in the mobile device space, and Chrome being a threat to the native Safari, they were less than thrilled to see the huge success of the Chrome app. It has been so successful so far, that it is the second most downloaded free app on iPad and most downloaded utility app on iPhone. To counter the huge success, Apple has been promoting other free apps heavily to try to supplant Chrome, but have been unable to so far.

Chrome made news against in the last week when EMG Technology claimed that the Chrome app violates their “simplified navigation system” for smartphones and tablets. EMG also sued Apple in 2008 for infringing on a patent for navigating the web on cell phones – which sounds quite similar to the current suit. Not long after the Apple suit was filed, they targeted Microsoft as well for very similar patents pertaining to using a mobile device.

It seems the Chrome app is causing controversy everywhere with its popularity. Do you use it on iOS or Android?


Who “Owns” Your Followers & Instagram’s Facebook Integration


Top Story: Instagram Gets Deeper Facebook Integration

From the start, we haven’t had very many complaints about photo-sharing and social network app Instagram. Not only have we had the ability to share our photos with our Instagram network, but we’ve also been able to send our self-filtered photos to various social networks, like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and more. But this week, Instagram’s Facebook integration got a little deeper, making photo viewing and interacting much easier through the Facebook platform. Previously, when you sent an Instagram photo to Facebook, it would show up as a small thumbnail hosted on Instagram’s servers. If one of your friends clicked on the thumbnail, they would be taken to the external Instagram website to view the photo. Now, when you send an Instagram photo to Facebook, it shows up full-size and high resolution. If a friend clicks on the photo, it enlarges within the Facebook page, just like any other photo on Facebook does.

Going a step further, Instagram photos can now easily be shared, tagged, and commented on, just like any other Facebook photo. This means Facebook users will likely be seeing Instagram photos in their newsfeeds much more than in the past. Which also leads us to believe that more and more users will be signing up for Instagram in the near future.

We’re thrilled by this development as it means we can now use Instagram as our main photo-sharing application, without worrying about sending photos to Facebook that our friends wouldn’t be able to interact with or be tagged in. In case you didn’t hear, Instagram was just named the largest mobile social network– and this is only going to help it grow even larger!


Under the Radar: Who Owns Your Company’s Twitter Followers

We came across an interesting story this week about Twitter followers and “ownership.”  The story goes that Noah Kravitz, an employee at mobile app and device review site PhoneDog, began cultivating a Twitter following for the company in 2006.  Then, when he left the company in 2010, he changed the handle name and “took” the company’s 17,000 followers with him.  In July of the following year, PhoneDog sued Kravitz for $340,000  – $2.50/month/follower for 18 months.

There are a lot of arguments to consider in this ground-breaking case.  How do you calculate the value of a follower on Twitter ie how did PhoneDog decide $2.50/month was the value for them?  Who was the real value-add for the followers – PhoneDog or Kravitz? Also, the fundamental idea of having a fool-proof (is there such a thing?) social media policy in place at your company comes in to play – if it is clearly stated from the get-go that corporate Twitter handle followers “belong” to the company and not the individual user behind the handle, can a company prevent follower “theft?”

It will be interesting to see how this plays out –  a hearing in the case is scheduled for January 26 in San Francisco.


Around the Hub: MBTA, MassDOT Blow Opportunity for Good Press (Shocker)

A Tufts Graduate student has created a unique promotion to get the city of Boston involved with the design of the new train station at Gilman Square in Somerville that crowdsources to get ideas to improve the station design. The student has created an impressive kit to get you started as well, including creating a virtual tour of what the station is purposed to look like – to give everyone a chance to visualize and imagine more improvements.

As you would expect, the MBTA, MassDOT and any other government run organization has nothing to do with this. It would have made sense for these organizations to do so, especially with the large amount of bad press and social media chatter is always surrounding them. Simply approving of the contest and donating a 3 month pass (or something more exciting, like a years worth) would have got them a serious amount of positive press.

They are currently perceived as organizations that do not listen to customer feedback, have a record mechanical failures, and have trains in very poor shape. They hay be underfunded, but they also don’t do themselves any favors with their overall forward facing image.

By not embracing this creative use of the existing talent in Boston – the MBTA in particular – has demonstrated that even when presented with a no-effort-needed opportunity, they will not pursue it even when it would have been a large boost to reputation. If there was a good reason they decided not to affiliate themselves I would be interested to hear it.


Event of the Week: 2012 International CES (CES)

Today marks the beginning of the world’s largest consumer technology trade show, CES, held over four days in Las Vegas. The list of brands in attendance is a veritable who’s who when it comes to consumer brands: Microsoft, Ford, Verizon, AT&T, Unilever, Intel, Ericsson – and the list goes on.  For those who can’t be there, Spike TV is covering the trade show on television and online.

Some cool things happening at this year’s event:

  • Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s Keynote Address (Monday, 6:30 PM PST): Microsoft has used the CES keynote stage in previous years to unveil innovative new products, including the original Xbox and Avatar Kinect.
  • PMDA Awards (Monday, 7:30PM PST): While the The PhotoImaging Manufacturers and Distributors Association Awards may be a mouthful, there is an impressive line-up of honorees – the CEOs of Sony and Shutterfly, a Pullitzer Prize Winner, and a Nobel Prize Winner will all be recognized.
  • Last Gadget Standing (Thursday, 10:30 AM PST): Last Gadget Standing challenges contenders to give the product demo of their lives. At stake: bragging rights as the product “most likely to change the face of technology.” See all the winners strut their stuff in this inventive, fast-paced competition. Guest emcees Gary Dell’Abate and Jon Hein from the Howard Stern Show will host the event.
  • Mobile Apps Showdown (Thursday, 12:30 PM PST): Apps producers will have two minutes to demo their app, and an applause-o-meter will measure audience enthusiasm to determine the winners. Guest emcees Gary Dell’Abate and Jon Hein from the Howard Stern Show will host the event.

We’re excited to hear about the new, innovative ideas that surface from this year’s event.  How can you experience CES from your cubicle?  You can follow their handle, @intlces, or use the hashtag #CES


What are the top Social Media/PR stories on your radar this week?  Let us know in the comments section below or via Twitter at @451heat.


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Has M-Commerce Finally Arrived? Consumers, Technology and What the Digital Wallet Means for You


During #FutureM week, Karyn Martin (@karynmartin) and I attended a session on the future of mobile commerce as part of the week-long conference here in Boston. The panel featured representatives from major players in the mobile landscape, such as John Caron (@jcaron2) of  Modiv Media, David Chang, (@changds) of WHERE, Ron Elwell (@ronelwell) of Shopximity, and Chris Mahl (@chrismahlny) from SCVNGR and Level Up. Needless to say, we were excited to see what their predictions were for this new frontier.

The major theme that started to surface was the tremendous amount of opportunity that retailers have with mobile commerce. They are able to gain insights about their customers’ behaviors, build loyalty and ultimately strengthen the depth of relationships with consumers. However – we are still years away from major adoption and have merely scratched the surface of what’s possible with mobile commerce.

We’re slowly getting there, though.  John Caron gave the examples that 22 percent of purchases from major internet retailer Rue La La are mobile and that high frequency retailers who have adopted mobile have seen a 10 to 15 percent increase in sales. Japan has had mobile payments for five years. However, retailers are still attempting to figure out what will help the technology cross the threshold into major adoption. Consumers don’t want something that will replace credit cards – those are easy enough to use. So what will mobile commerce offer us that credit cards won’t?

The key is the following concept: mobile commerce isn’t here to totally replace existing brick and mortar shopping experiences, but to enhance them. Adding targeted advertisements and personalized experiences to shoppers is how mobile commerce be able to burst onto the retail scene.

The panel also discussed the three stages of mobile technology:

  • Cute: A mobile app that is easy and fun to use but doesn’t add any value to the retailer. An example of this would be a Foursquare check-in. Cute – but does it translate to more check outs? Not yet.
  • Cool: A mobile app such as QR codes or Square; something that replaces using a credit card but doesn’t have any game changing potential yet.
  • Critical:  A game changer. Examples of this would be what companies like Apple and Lowes are doing – creating technology and habits that will change how consumers behave.

Most of mobile technology lives in the “cool” category for now. However, that’s not to say that some brands aren’t crossing over to “critical.” I wanted to share the following video that was shown during the presentation to give some insight into crossing into that elusive “critical” stage and what’s possible with mobile commerce. This particular video shows how an innovative supermarket in Korea has used mobile commerce to enhance and simplify shoppers’ experiences.

What do you think? How long do you think it will take mobile commerce to cross the threshold and change consumer behavior? How could it improve how you shop? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.