Skip to main content


Showing posts from September, 2012

Launch Of An Empty Wallet

Apple launched iOS6 yesterday, with it's much touted Passbook app , allowing you to aggregate your tickets, boarding basses, loyalty cards, payment cards and more. Except a funny thing happened as part of the launch: there's nothing in the app. When you fire it up, you get a nice looking description of what could be there, and an invitation to hit up the App Store to go get some apps that talk to Passbook. What apps did they launch with? Fandango, Live Nation, Lufthansa, At Bat, Sephora to Go, Ticketmaster, and Walgreens. What this means is that, on the all-important day for Passbook to be unveiled to the world, the only people who could appreciate it happened to be flying to Germany, heading to a baseball game, concert or movie, or getting a gift card from the place that says you care so much, Walgreens. Wow. In all of the demos of Passbook, we saw United Airlines (the US' largest air carrier), Starbucks, and more. The fact that Apple didn't partner up w

Taxi Makes A Splash

San Francisco now joins other major cities with significant waterfront by adding a water taxi, allowing patrons to skirt traffic by riding the waves. One of the many innovations to the waterfront planned for the big America's Cup races, this is one that's long overdue. True, scheduled ferry service runs between San Francisco and destinations like Vallejo, Sausalito, Oakland, Tiburon, and Larkspur, as well as a near-mythical Redwood City run, but still the rest are woefully underserved. This is a good step forward. Pricing is pretty competitive. For a traditional cab from the Metreon to Sausalito's Cavallo Point, it's about $40. That doesn't count the massive traffic on the bridge approach, or on the bridge itself. The new Water Taxi , allows you to walk a few blocks to Pier 1 1/2, and zip away in traffic-free comfort for only $25 more. Not too bad, to ensure you make that table at Murray Circle . They do offer discounts for frequent riders, and, like any cab,

Switching From iPhone: By The Numbers

As I mentioned in my post on the iPhone 5 unveiling , I am underwhelmed by the newest iToy. I wanted innovation, and instead got evolution: good evolution, but nothing like I expected. With the recent strides made by both Android (with the release of Jelly Bean and Project Butter ) and Windows Phone (with the upcoming Windows Phone 8 ), the market finally has some real alternatives. So, much as I did with my exercise years ago when evaluating switching from my venerable Treo to the iPhone , I decided to take a look at the apps I rely upon on an every day basis and see how the competition stacked up. Before I go too deep on this, I want to point out to the iPhone fanboys that I am well aware of just about all of the new features of both the iPhone 5 and iOS6 . I'm also a certified iDevice household: in my home, there are two iPhones (both iPhone 4, not 4S, granted), an iPad, an Apple TV (which I love), a dedicated NAS for my iTunes collection, and yes, a Mac (not really used th

Notes From Today's Apple Event

Listened to the great team at CNet covering today's Apple event. Some notable points: 38% of tablets now belong to non-Apple manufacturers. Whoa. Those are huge inroads against Apple. 91% of tablet web traffic is coming from Apple. So where are the other tablets? Methinks there are some accounting shenanigans, or a lot of disappointed non-iPad owners who've given up. Nice point on the "time shifting" of gaming: able to play against your friends, but not necessarily in real time. For instance, a racing game where you can run your race, then hours later, your friend can race against your race as if it were live. Nice. Good points by the CNet crew: there was a slide on the battery life, but did not mention the impact of 4G on it. 4G is a notorious battery hog; sounds like Apple wasn't able to lick that one. Regarding that "Lightning" connector: Phil Schiller prefaces the intro with this comment: "Many things we do over the wire we now do wir

Editor Needs An Editor

I was following the coverage of last week's Living Social deal for $10 of a Starbucks gift card for $5. One of the more interesting assertions was that Living Social actually paid for the deal, and Starbucks had nothing to do with it. So says a site called, a site that, as they say: "Since 1997, has reported on the important news, events, trends and people in the $23.5 billion fast casual restaurant industry segment." The piece on the LS/Starbucks deal was written by the "editor" of FastCasual, Cherryh Butler. Ms. Butler's bio: "Cherryh Butler has been a reporter for nearly 10 years, writing on a variety of topics ranging from the cable industry and business to health and fitness. Before joining as editor, she wrote for several daily newspapers, magazines and Web sites, including The Kansas City Star and" So, I found Ms. Butler's piece a bit troubling in a few areas: - She make

The New New Things: Kindle Fire HD vs. iPad

Amazon unveiled their newest entry in the tablet wars today, with a new set of Kindle Fires. If you are not familiar with the Fire, Amazon launched this 7", $199 tablet a while ago, taking the Android OS and putting a more pleasing , media focused front end on it. The result? An inexpensive media player with some impressive cloud features that can still take advantage of the Android ecosystem. And it went after Apple where it hurts: the pocketbook. With Amazon's media ecosystem to rival Apple's, and a smaller tablet and a palatable price, looked to be a winner. And in some ways, it was: it became Amazon's top selling product . Win, win, win. Granted, not iPad numbers (or even close), but Amazon will happily take it. Today, the Kindle Fire launches it's new version. And again, on the surface, looks to have the power to hit the iPad where it hurts, as well as aiming squarely and Google's own Nexus 7 tablet. First, there are now multiple Fires: in addition to a

iPhone 5 Bingo

As you may have heard, the iPhone 5 event was announced today . Well, being Apple, they can't actually announce it; instead, they used a clever graphic shadow to indicate something with the number 5 is coming on September 12th's long rumored event. As much as I am feeling iOS is getting long in the tooth, I have to say that it's still the best option out there. Yes, Android is more open, but it's UI is still very messy and feels like a command line mask, instead of a fluid OS (yes, I know Butter is coming, but alas, not to most Android models yet). And I love the grown-up feel of Windows Phone's Metro interface, but the app support is really lacking, as is the basic functionality. So, I find my upgrade cycle pinned on Cupertino once again, and the newest iToy, with the new iOS 6 to make it hum. While the rumors are flying fast and furious, one delightful graphic invites us to play iPhone 5 Bingo on the day of release: Some of these are clever snarks, other