Transparent Text Messaging

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Photo by Veooz.com

Before anyone introduces transparent text messaging, I would like to see a study that says it’s safe, especially for those of us who are getting on in years. The idea of people crossing a street thinking that it’s okay to text at the same time because they can partially see what’s in front of them, is insane. If your two eyes are not focused on exactly what’s in front of you, then you’re a danger to both you and me.

I am not sure what Apple is thinking but industry sources recently revealed that the company filed a patent to introduce a transparent text message feature for either the iPhone 6 or a future update to iOS 7.

PC Advisor is one of a few publications that covered this new development. As far as they know, Apple will have a live feed feature of whatever the rear camera is focused on and captures. That supposedly should be enough so people can walk and text or even drive and text.

The transparency is viewed on your screen. You can see what’s in front of you on the screen behind the text so that it is almost like seeing through your mobile phone. You will be able to read and respond to your messages.

What a horrible thought. The entire concept, in my opinion, is irrational and impractical. You just can’t do both at once.

Apple’s Digital Playground

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Every time I hear that a child under 10 years of age is going to visit us, I spend hours thinking about entertaining things to do. Years ago, we went to a playground, the Children’s Museum, a musical for kids, or a sporting event. Those days are completely over for me since I visited a few Apple stores recently.

Apple is becoming the new digital playground for children. It has reconfigured the layout of its stores to accommodate children from three to pre-teen, depending on the size of the store. Apple has designated work tables for different age groups. I got a tremendous amount of pleasure watching these kids totally absorbed in the programs they were working on, which only proves that if you give someone something that he or she is interested in, that person can stayed focused for a very long time. This has nothing to do with a high IQ or better education.

While some grandparents feel technology is killing the social structure for the younger set, I believe the opposite. Bring two people together with a common denominator and a love fest will develop on its own. I have had bonding conversations with people 40 years younger than I am because we both liked the same app.

Most of you do not realize that Apple has free workshops for children comprising hardware and software instruction, youth programs, and one-on-one coaching. Did you know about The Apple Camp for kids ages 8 to 12? It teaches the ins and outs of iMovie and how to make your own films. The free three-day session, held at the Apple Store, leads up to an Apple Camp Film Festival where campers debut their masterpieces. I wish I were young again.

Apple also launched a Kids App Store. It’s not a separate mobile application. It’s a brand new section within the Apple App Store itself featuring a “Kids” category where apps are broken down by age range.

This section of the store separates apps into three age ranges: five and under, between six and eight, and between nine and eleven.

It’s wonderful being a youngster today. I hope they take advantage of everything being offered to them.

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Scoop Interview with First New iPhone Customer

Today marks one week and one day since the line started in front of the Apple store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Enthusiasts from near and far wanted to be the first on line to buy the two new iPhone models being offered. That means there are human beings walking around this Earth who have the freedom to stop whatever they are doing on a day-to-day basis to stand in line for 15 days just so they can say they bought the first units sold at that particular location.

“You got that right,” said Brian from Brooklyn, who was actually napping when a group of us strolled by him this past Wednesday night around 11:30 pm. I thought he was sound asleep, but as we approached he quickly got himself assembled for a DigiDame interview.

Brian was very upfront. Part of this whole experience was to get interviewed. Sorry Brian, this interview is only for DigiDame. We are no Huff Post. He didn’t care. “I’m just getting warmed up,” he announced. I asked him every question a mother would want to know. He answered everything as if I were a close friend. As he spoke, I was once again reminded that most young people today are willing to share openly and don’t have the inhibitions of many of us older folks. “Take me like I am,” is his philosophy, even though he was polite as heck. When I asked what his mother thought about his escapade, he gleefully answered, “I am buying two iPhones, one for me and one for her.”

What a smart young man. Brian’s interview is above. Click here for more details on the wait.

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Say Hello to the Apple of the East

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I am so lucky to be writing DigiDame because it forces me to focus on tech subjects that I think you, my 50-plus crowd, would like to know more about. Sometimes I get stories on the job, contacts, research, and even from industry discussion groups.

I learned about the “so called” Steve Jobs of China from a techie girl friend who just returned from a whirlwind Asian tour. She actually met the young, billionaire entrepreneur who consistently wears black turtlenecks and jeans and behaves a lot like the Apple founder. The Chinese media is already calling Lei Jun and his company, Xiaomi, the “Apple of the East.”

We all heard of Chinese knockoffs but this is too much. All kidding aside, Lei Jun is nothing to snicker at. His company is selling millions of mobile phones (some say they look just like iPhones) and the Chinese market is counting on him to put that country on the map in the innovation category.

The reason Xiaomi (pronounced SHAO-mee) is being taken so seriously is because it did actually sell $2 billion in handsets last year. The potential is huge. China is the world’s largest mobile phone market.

Just like Jobs, Lei is highly regarded as a successful startup expert. He has a software company called Kingsoft that he took public in 2007 and walked away with $300 million. He also invests in other successful software and Internet companies, takes them public, and accumulates more and more wealth. His first success was a biggie, Amazon paid $75 million to acquire his e-commerce company Joyo.com. in 2004.

Forbes calls Lei one of China’s wealthiest entrepreneurs, worth $1.7 billion. It’s going to be interesting to see if Lei becomes as popular and beloved as Jobs on a worldwide basis. Can it happen twice in one lifetime?

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I Hate to Make Fun of Samsung, but . . .

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Samsung is not a pioneer. From the minute they reached these shores, all they have done is copy product and marketing plans from American companies they envy.

This guy Brian X. Chen, who wrote the New York Times story that Samsung is going to give Apple some of its own medicine by setting up mini-stores inside Best Buy across the United States this summer, can’t be serious.

First of all, Best Buy is going out of business. There is no way they can sustain themselves, not even with Samsung’s money. And if Samsung becomes financially responsible for them, they, too, will go out of business.

Electronic stores are passé. No one goes into traditional stores to buy anything anymore. People will shop, price compare, and then go online to the biggest discounter to make their purchases. The term they use for that process is called “show-rooming.”

Traditional retailers are so upset about being used for “show-rooming” purposes that many of them refuse to sell brands that sell to exclusive online retailers.

As I mentioned the other day, there isn’t a consistent top Korean executive at Samsung that is smart enough to know that putting a store within a store is not the same thing as the Apple retail environment. The Apple store is a formula that Steve Jobs created. It cannot be replicated unless you have the right product, the right design, the right sales people, the right inventory, and the right set of groupies that are willing to follow you anywhere.

Who wants to bet me right now that Samsung won’t fall flat on its face? Other than the first week when the departments open, I am predicting this concept will have tumbleweed running through it. Ghost City.

By the way, the geniuses at Samsung probably don’t know it, but they tried this concept already 15 years ago in the Miami branch of Comp USA stores. Back then you had to be pretty pathetic not to succeed because everything was selling off the shelves. Yet they failed big time.

The company knows nothing about retail and is not in the service business. If Apple had to start over again at this point in time, I don’t think even they would do as well as they did.

The Times They Are A-Changin’.

Dear Todd, Here is my Apple vs. Yahoo Response to Your Earlier Post

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook

My friend Todd brought up an excellent point this morning after reading my post on Marissa Mayer’s order for all Yahoo employees to report to work.

This is what Todd said, Continue reading

Apple Revolutionizes a New Category

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Both iWatches are a mere speculation.

Notice I didn’t say that Apple was inventing a new category. They don’t necessarily invent anything, but rather make a category more intuitive, user-friendly, extremely productive, and important. Continue reading

Digital Magazines Debut Before Print

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I knew this day would come but I didn’t think this soon. Hearst Magazines just announced that its digital issues will now be available on iPads before the print ones are on newsstands or in the mail to subscribers.

This is huge news considering most magazine publishers were reluctant to go digital just a few years ago. It turns out that magazine readers love when new issues show up on their screens, they don’t have to carry around a lot of weight, and they are saving trees.

Let’s give a round of applause to Apple and Hearst for working together leading the way for a better reading experience.

Hearst titles include Seventeen, Esquire and Popular Mechanics.

Hearst says it is nearing a million online subscribers while also seeing a sharp increase in revenue.