Sam Harrelson

Peak iPhone

Too Many iPhones

From earlier today before Apple’s Q1 Earnings call:

“When CEO Tim Cook reports Tuesday on Apple’s sales for the last three months of 2015, investors will be watching closely for any hints about how Apple’s signature smartphone is faring in the current quarter. Sales usually fall somewhat after the holiday shopping season. But analysts say it appears Apple has cut production orders from key suppliers in recent weeks, suggesting it’s lowered its own forecasts.”

Source: Is Apple Reaching Peak iPhone? | CBS

And from just now after the earnings call regarding the upcoming Q2 2016:

… The company expects to report between $50 and $53 billion in revenue. That would put it below the $58 billion it reported in Q2 2015 and would mark the first year over year decline in revenue for the company in years.The slight decrease can likely be attributed to falling iPhone sales, which have been predicted for some time now. In Q1, Apple reported sales of 74.7 million iPhones, which is just barely better than the 74.5 million it did in the same quarter last year. Apple did not say how many it expects to sell in Q2, but analysts have predicted declines as high as 25 percent.

Source: Have we reached peak iPhone? It’s complicated | The Verge

Apple sold an average of 34,000 phones per hour for 13 consecutive weeks. That’s incredible, but unsustainable, growth. If anything, Wall Street loves growth. With China’s economy on a rapid downturn and the U.S. economy weak due to a number of variables that could lead us into a potentially havoc Spring, Summer, and Fall, Apple is wisely hedging its bets on production. That’s especially wise since carrier subsidies for new devices are now non-existent in the U.S. and each new iteration of the iPhone undergoes a “meh, it’s not that different from my old one” period with potential upgrading users.

If nothing else, we’ve learned today that the media loves using the term “Peak iPhone” (give the term a google if you’d like to see).




Apple’s iOS Home Screen Problem

I flip back-and-forth between iOS and Android, mostly iPhone 6s Plus and a Nexus device, all the time and enjoy both operating systems (though I do enjoy Android more to be honest… much to the chagrin of my family and friends who all use iMessage on iOS and therefore I’m a “green bubble” when on my Nexus device).

However, I’m always curious as to why iOS users who transition or experiment with Android feel the compulsion to stack their home screens full of app icons.

Not that it’s a cumbersome way to navigate your mobile device (I think it is), but it’s a curious hold-over from the vision Steve Jobs and his devs had for the original iPhone in ’07. I’d wager that even he would think it’s time to move past that convention in 2016 (something which you can easily do on Android, but not so much on the aging iOS interface). Maybe Apple in the Cook Era is too deep in the institutional molasses.

Whenever someone wants to play with one of my Android devices who has previously been an iPhone and iPad only user for the last several years, they almost always respond positively and immediately to the widgets on my home screen.

“I like widgets a lot, and wish iOS had something similar.”

Source: A Week With Android — Medium

I do wonder how the masses will respond when / if Apple ever adopts widgets… the “rows and rows of apps” conventions has been successfully turned into a standard way of interacting with mobile devices here in the US.

However, that’s not the case in the Asian markets where Apple really wants to expand in the coming years as it has reached a relative saturation point in North America with devices. Apple is slowly sneaking widgets in via the Notifications shade, but I’m not sure how many users actually know / use / understand that interface.

Of course, I was totally wrong in 2007 about widgets and the iPhone, so what do I know?

Maybe the fear of being a “green bubble” will be enough to keep users on iOS, at least here in the US.

And don’t get me started on how / why the iPad Pro still uses the same “rows of app icons” convention…




Why Are Most Apps Free?

Interesting…

The History of App Pricing, And Why Most Apps Are Free: “Each time we download an app, we reveal a little bit about ourselves. A glance at the apps on your phone can indicate whether you are a fan of sports, gaming, or public radio, and whether you love to hike or cook or travel. But our choices of apps also reveal our individual tolerance for advertising, and how we feel about the trade-off between paying for content directly, or paying indirectly by (implicitly) agreeing to view ads.”




Evernote 5.4 Adds Skitch Support

Evernote is one of those apps I’ve always had an on-and-off relationship with. I’ve used it and quit it more times than I can count, but now that version 5.4 for iOS adds Skitch support, I’ll be using it a whole lot more for annotating images I use here and various other places (client work, etc)…

Neat. I don’t know what I’d do without Skitch on my MacBook and I use it from time to time on the iPhone to annotate screenshots there as well.

Evernote for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store: “Evernote is an easy-to-use, free app that helps you remember everything across all of the devices you use. Stay organized, save your ideas and improve productivity. Evernote lets you take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders–and makes these notes completely searchable, whether you are at home, at work, or on the go. ”




OmniFocus for iPhone Adds Background Syncing

One of my favorite (and indispensable catch-all) apps added background syncing today. Yes, I know that’s not a big deal to most people, but it’s insanely useful because it means I can set up various locations (such as my house) where OmniFocus will automatically sync my to-do items upon leaving. Nifty if you’re like me and forget to sync from time to time and wonder why you’re not getting “Due” alerts, etc (or maybe I’ve been doing it wrong?).

Nonetheless, OmniFocus is one of those apps that has a learning curve (and it’s not for everyone), but once you get it to work your way, it becomes a necessity. It’s not cheap and it’s not easy, but it’s well worth it if you’re ready to get serious about getting things done…

OmniFocus for iPhone for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store: “OmniFocus for iPhone brings task management to your fingertips. Keep track of tasks by project, place, person, or date. With OmniFocus for iPhone, you’ll always have your important information at hand, whether it’s a shopping list, agenda items to discuss at work, things to do at home—whatever you need.”

Sign of the times, I guess.

Original link via MacStories.




IFTTT Comes To iOS

This is huge:

MacStories: IFTTT for iPhone: A Different Kind of iOS Automation: “IFTTT brings a different kind of automation to iOS that doesn’t need URL schemes or bookmarklets, but that instead looks into native pieces of data to connect services together. It’s an innovative approach to monitoring photos, contacts, and reminders that are added or modified on an iPhone, but it should be familiar to users who already rely on IFTTT for their daily web automation tasks.”

After I hooked the service up to various services (WordPress blog, Pinboard, Instagram, et al) last week, I’ve once again fell in love with the idea of automating a few things that I do on the web. It’s a little nerdy and has a learning curve until you get things just the way you want them, but this service is hugely useful for both affiliates and publishers. I like it because it’s an easy way to bring things onto my self-hosted WordPress site (which I’m trying to make my home base for everything) without having much fuss about it because IFTTT works quietly in the background as long as everything is set up right and working.

Now that IFTTT is on iOS as well, there’s so even more potential with iOS7’s new background tracking for apps. The native features that you can use in the iOS app with Photos, Contacts, and Reminders aren’t much to shout about (yet), but the web recipes you can use are immensely powerful. I rely on IFTTT to do a lot of heavy lifting for me in the background and have it plugged in with various channels such as Pinboard, Instagram, foursquare, WordPress, a few RSS feeds, and even SMS. I’m kicking myself for not using the service more earlier because it’s added so many new channels and features in the past year.

Whether you’re an affiliate, a publisher, or just want a web service that does things in the background for you (e.g. back up your Instagram photos to Dropbox, text you the weather every morning, or really just about anything else), go try IFTTT. You’re missing out if you’re not using this service.

Here’s my recipes, btw:

IFTTT / devintonhaeuser’s Shared Recipes




GMail 2.0 and The Decision to Leave iOS?

We’re big fans of Google Apps for Enterprise and use the service for our email, docs, calendaring, telephony (via Google Voice’s integration with Sprint), analytics, feed reading and even backups with Google Drive.

So, we were excited to hear about the new GMail app for our main computing devices these days, the iPhone:

The Gmail app for iPhone and iPad: version 2.0 | Official Gmail Blog: “Six months ago, our team set out to completely rebuild the Gmail app for iPhone and iPad to give you you a faster, sleeker, and easier experience on iOS. The result? Version 2.0. With version 2.0 of the app, you’ll get a totally new look and feel, plus a bunch of improvements like profile pictures in messages, numerous new animations from swivels to transitions and infinite scrolling in the message lists.”

Between the new GMail app and the revised Google search app with its nifty and better-than-Siri response time and quality, we’ve had many internal conversations about whether it’s time to think about Android as a platform.

The iPhone and iPad make for great “Google” computers when paired with the stream of quality apps coming out of Mountain View. Mission critical apps such as Google Analytics are available to us via third party iOS apps like Analytics Pro. Our enduring reliance on RSS for alerts, status messages and a news stream is satiated with Google Reader’s plug into the Reeder app.

However, are we missing anything as a company by not being on the newest flavor of Android? While it’s getting mixed reviews, the Nexus 4 and its installation of 4.2 Jelly Bean looks pretty interesting.

While we go back and forth with this almost-religious decision, we’re constantly developing new apps for both iOS and Android (as well as the open web with HTML 5) and noticing new things popping up in both that point to exciting futures for developers and users on both platforms.

At the moment, in comparison to Android (and I hate to admit it), iOS (especially critical apps like Mail) seems… stale and even clunky.

So… what to do?




Analytics, APIs and Mobiles

We’ve been experimenting with Keen’s API-as-analytics platform (simply drop some code into your existing code) on a few of the apps we’re building for clients and have been mightily impressed so far…

Keen IO – Analytics APIs: “So many of the devices we use everyday are internet connected and could certainly benefit from great user analytics. And we want to be a part of it all. But, in the short-term, we’re spending our time on where we think we can make the biggest impact – mobile. We’ve got SDKs for iOS, Android, JavaScript, and Ruby ready for you today. Python and Windows Mobile are in the queue and coming soon.”

If you’re doing anything with iOS or Android (we haven’t ventured in Windows Mobile development), we can’t recommend poking around Keen enough. It’s not for everyone and doesn’t offer all the options of a custom solution, but definitely does the job if you need to tackle larger windmills in your app development.




Should You Develop iOS or Android Apps?

The short answer is yes, but the long answer is more complicated depending on your audience and where/how you need to be discovered…

iOS Devices Have Been Dominating Mobile Web Traffic For The Past 6 Months [Report] | Cult of Mac: “Android technically sells more smartphones than Apple, but iOS devices continue to dominate mobile web traffic. Chitika Insights has been tracking web traffic on the top mobile platforms, and iOS commands 67% of usage and Android only 33%.”

We generally start clients with iOS and web apps but don’t shy away from Android if the market is there.




Revenge of the Podcast on iOS6?

I, for one, love the sound of this…

Starting In iOS 6, Apple Might Introduce Paid Podcast Subscriptions | Cult of Mac: “With iOS 6 this may all change. The new Podcasts app that Apple has released today contains a strange ‘Redeem’ button, similar to that found in the iTunes and App Stores, present only on devices running iOS 6. Currently, this makes no sense. All iTunes podcasts are free, and don’t require any sort of payment method. The presence of this button in iOS 6 could, however, point to a paid subscription model for podcasts starting with the release of the operating system in fall.”

I’ve downloaded the app on my test iPhone running the iOS6 beta and I’m very happy to say the least. Fantastic app and if these rumors are true, it could mean very big things for the world of performance marketing podcasts.