Could iBeacons be coming for hoime use?

Recone-Electro-Voice-Speakers-_22890-480x360

Apple could make a killing with this little-known device
[Via MacDailyNews]

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“Unless consumers start carrying around two iPhones, investors are still waiting for Apple to come up with the next profit-driving monster,” Dan Newman writes for The Motley Fool.

“Many think this might be a role for the rumored iWatch. However, at an estimated selling price at half of an iPhone, around $300, and a consumer interest yet to be confirmed,” Newman writes. “But, one device that links up with iThings anywhere just might give Apple an iPhone-sized financial boost: an iBeacon transmitter for every home and business.”

“Imagine walking past the grocery store and receiving a notification of a sale on your favorite brand of cereal. Or, after sitting at a bar for an hour, receiving a coupon for your next round of drinks. Or, leaving a clothing store and automatically being charged for the items that you ordered to fit. iBeacon can do these things with low-energy Bluetooth technology, or BLE,” Newman writes. “Apple introduced iBeacon in 2013, and recently came out with standards needed to earn consent for use of the trademark. There are many variations of iBeacons that third-party manufacturers have designed, like Estimote’s rock-shaped transmitter, or the more utilitarian AIRcable USB dongle. However, a more Apple-esque design might come from the company. According to FCC filings, Apple has tested an iBeacon transmitter that it would manufacture itself.”

[More]

We keep hearing about all these business uses for iBeacons -“Have coupons sent to your iPhone as you walk around.”

People will only use this if it is useful FOR THEM, not if it makes life easier for businesses. I’ve already written about how this technology could be useful for people – like making paying for meals at restaurants so much easier.

What happens at home when you have iBeacons from Apple available? First, combine them with Apple’s HomeKit. So your computer/iOS device knows where you are.

HomeKit will be designed to connect apps and home devices. Add some iBeacons and these devices will turn on or off depending on where you are.

So, as you walk around the house, it can do things, like turn on the light or open the garage door when you need it.

Or a home speaker system that not only plays music you want to hear as you move through the house but plays different music on different speakers depending on where people are in the house.

I’ll bet there are more.

Uselss app finds usefulness in warning Israelis of rocket attacks

 Bomb Shelter in the Golan Heights, Israel

Pointless Yo app now alerts Israelis to rocket attacks
[Via Ars Technica]

An app that became infamous for its astounding lack of utility has found a purpose: warning Israeli citizens about rocket strikes. As reported by the Times of Israel (via Valleywag), Israelis have been using the app Yo to subscribe to alerts from Red Alert: Israel about incoming attacks during the Hamas-Israel conflict.

Yo was roundly mocked when it secured $1.2 million in funding and again when it was shown to have gaping security holes. It does almost nothing; tapping a contact’s name within the app sends a push notification to that person’s phone and makes it say “yo.” That’s… it.

Now Yo has partnered with Red Alert: Israel, an app that shows users “where the rockets fired at Israel by Gaza terrorists are aimed,” according to the Times of Israel. Red Alert: Israel’s app sounds an alarm during attacks, and it’s meant to work as a backup for the sirens that sound to alert residents. Users who so choose can now receive a “yo” when rockets have been launched.

[More]

I love this.  The developers of Yo are nothing if not adaptable. Eight hours of work to create an app that could save lives. From a totally useless app to a reasonably valuable one. Who is laughing now?

Distributed approaches again succeed over hierarchical.

Unbelievable, Google Wear bug prevents paid apps to be used. QA fail?

 Fossil's concept watches (next to a Nexus S phone)

Google DRM bug blocks paid Android Wear apps
[Via Ars Technica]

With smartwatches running Android Wear slowly starting to trickle out into the world, developers are coming to grips with Google’s new wearable platform. In doing so, they have found one of its first big bugs: paid apps don’t work.

Currently, there’s no such thing as a “standalone Wear app.” Watch apps must be downloaded by a phone using the Play Store and include an Android Wear component. After installing the phone app locally, the phone sends the Wear component to the watch over a Bluetooth connection.

Paid Android apps are encrypted, with the encryption key obtained from the Play Store and passed to the phone. But according to a report from Android Police, the key does not currently get passed to the watch. With no way to decrypt the packages, the watch fails to install encrypted wearable apps. The only current workaround is not to charge for the app, which removes the Play Store’s encryption.

[More]

So, you pay for an app. install it as expected and it refuses to work.

How was this missed in any sort of quality control? Google encourages developers to make paid apps but then only allows free apps on their wearable stuff.

How in the world did this get out?

The company has to destroy itself, in order to save itself

Mac Keyboard 

Apple: Lessons in Self-Destruction. Richard Gutjahr’s blog
[Via asymco]

My thanks to Richard Gutjahr for taking time to talk about self-disruption. I met Richard as the Master of Ceremonies at the Censhare FutureDays event in Munich. He interviewed me for his blog and posted the results as a video and sound file. Richard is a journalist (Berliner Tagesspiegel, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) and TV personality (news presenter for Rundschau night).

Horace and I have met at a conference in Germany a few weeks ago. During a break, we were talking about the future of Apple. Horace made a statement, which I found quite intriguing: In order to remain innovative, it is not enough to reinvent yourself again and again. Apple must be the one to destroy its own business.

Hour-long conversation including audio and video: Apple: Lessons in Self-Destruction.

[More]

“In order to remain innovative, it is not enough to reinvent yourself again and again. Apple must be the one to destroy its own business.”

That is what a 21st century company has to do. Google keeps re-inventing itself. Apple tries to destroy itself. The Mac destroyed the Apple II. The iPod destroyed the Mac. The iPhone destroyed the iPod.

What will destroy the iPhone?

(And by destroy, I don’t mean make vanish. Just toppled as the company’s lead money maker.)

Your iPhone will make a better, more secure wallet than your wallet

 iPhone 5S

Mobile money services on the rise worldwide as Apple eyes Touch ID payment system
[Via AppleInsider]

If Apple is able to drive adoption of its rumored iTunes-backed mobile payment system among wealthy consumers at the same pace as similar systems in the developing world, it could be one of the company’s most important — and profitable — strategic moves.

[More]

I’ve written about the effect the iPhone will have on credit cards before. I think this will be a key aspect of the new iPhone coming out (Apple will have had over a year to work out all the needed aspects of TouchId).

You iPhone will be more secure than the wallet you have. Only Apple will have the secure enclave that protects your data. Even losing your iPhone will not allow anyone access to the credit card numbers, like losing your wallet.

Combine this with iBeacons and Apple will control it all. I would not be surprised to see Google and the DOJ  go after Apple in a few years for their emerging monopoly in this area ;-)

Even a two year old can use an iPhone to save a life

Emergency

Siri may have helped this 2-year-old girl save her mother’s life
[Via Cult of Mac]

Siri. For many of us, Siri is a novelty at best, and an inconvenience at worst: the annoying voice who starts asking you what you want from your back pocket when you accidentally sit on your iPhone. But for those who love Siri, she can be a lifesaver … literally. Because Siri may have just helped a 2-year-old save her mother’s life.

Liz Neaton of Montrose, Minnesota, has a nervous disorder that causes her to have fainting spells on occasion when she stands up. She’s also the mother of Eve, a smart 2-year-old girl who Liz trained to use Siri to call 911 in case of emergency.

[More]

How technology changes things. Using Siri and simple voice commands allows a two year old to get emergency help.

Amazon using Walmart tactics

Books 

Amazon said to be ‘increasingly ruthless’ in negotiations with UK publishers
[Via AppleInsider]

Hachette is not the only imprint to find itself under Amazon’s thumb as the online retailing giant has begun turning the heat up on smaller publishers in the U.K., demanding terms that one publishing executive likened to a “form of assisted suicide for the industry.”

[More]

WalMart has been famous for squeezing its suppliers to the bone. Abusing a monopsony (where there is only 1 buyer) is not illegal because it keeps prices lower for the customer.

Abuse of a monopoly (where there is only 1 seller) is illegal but both WalMart and Amazon do not run afoul of this. 

The reason Apple lost against the DOJ was because of this – it is not illegal to abuse a monopsony but it is illegal to collude to keep prices high.

I think this can only end with the destruction of the current business models of book publishers, which will have a large impact on authors.

But this is just a continuing change in many creative industries. Before, the filtering to identify commercial works took place BEFORE publication, resulting in book  and music publishers providing editorial oversight.

Now, this editorial oversight will happen AFTER publication. It may not be pretty.

How to get money in the app economy

IMGP3962 

[Via Dave Winer's linkblog feed]

The Inside Story Of Yo: There Isn’t Actually $1 Million In The Bank.

[More]

An example of the app economy.Two guys, less than 4 hours of work, over $1 million in investment.

And perhaps a future.

Would an iPhone have prevented PF Chang’s problem?

 Wallet and some money on a wooden table

 

P.F. Chang’s Security Update
[Via PF Changs]

STATEMENT FROM RICK FEDERICO CEO OF P.F. CHANG’S JUNE 12, 2014

Scottsdale, Ariz. (June 12, 2014) — On Tuesday, June 10, P.F. Chang’s learned of a security compromise that involves credit and debit card data reportedly stolen from some of our restaurants. Immediately, we initiated an investigation with the United States Secret Service and a team of third-party forensics experts to understand the nature and scope of the incident, and while the investigation is still ongoing, we have concluded that data has been compromised.

At P.F. Chang’s, the safety and security of our guests’ payment information is a top priority. Therefore, we have moved to a manual credit card imprinting system for all P.F. Chang’s China Bistro branded restaurants located in the continental United States. This ensures our guests can still use their credit and debit cards safely in our restaurants as our investigation continues.

[More]

Maybe something I wrote about  last year will provide a path to a solution that we can use on our own. It involves an iPhone, Touch ID, and iBeacons.

The attack on PF Chang’s looks very similar to what happened at Michael’s and Target – a store employee at some point put specific malware on a store’s computerized computer terminal, hidden from view.

This software collected unencrypted card information and sent it to the hackers. It is a simple variety of a sort of man-in-the-middle hack. They sit in the middle of all the communications between the store’s computer terminal and the credit card companies.

It can be hard to prevent this with thousands of people having access to the terminals. It is really little different from our viewpoint than the old days when a dishonest clerk would run the card twice in order to get  a copy of the relevant information.

Just safer today for the dishonest employee. Let the computer do all the work.

One easy around this is to use encrypted smart cards. The credit card companies have been slow to do this in the US on their own. 

But here is what I said Apple may be able to do, using the security of the newest iPhones to create a digital wallet:

Imagine you are at a restaurant and read to leave. You take your iPhone and hit the home button. The restaurant uses an iBeacon to send the bill to your iPhone. You hit pay and the credit card transaction is completed – assuming proper security can be created here.

No need to wait for the waiter.

All the pieces are in place for this. Apple has spent a year making sure of this, especially the security issues.

In particular, I would bet there will be an additional need to provide a fingerprint to pay the bill. Much better than any other sort of validation currently used for credit card transactions.

All transactions will be encrypted end-to-end and totally in our control. Much, much harder for hackers to get anything.

Can you imagine the selling point for any restaurant on this? Secure transactions. They never see the actual transactions, just confirmation it happened. 

And Apple’s digital wallet will be much safer than carrying credit cards in our pockets, where they can easily be stolen. We only find out someone has the cards when mysterious transactions appear.

We all now pretty fast when an iPhone is gone. With TouchID, there is little chance anyone will be able to even get into the iPhone at all, much less the credit card numbers, which are encrypted in a secure enclave on the iPhone.

Even if somehow in the future they figure out a way, it will take time. We can easily inactivate the phone in the meantime,

It is coming. Just not soon enough for PF Chang’s

Apple doing their own ads and they are great

Videos: Apple’s new in-house ad team struts its stuff
[Via Brainstorm Tech: Technology blogs, news and analysis from Fortune Magazine » Apple 2.0]

Apple’s long-time ad agency, TBWA\Chiat\Day, is now competing for Apple’s business with a new in-house team made up in part by talent poached from Chiat\Day.

Peter Burrows had the story Wednesday afternoon in Bloomberg Businessweek. A few hours later, as if to strut its stuff, team Apple fielded a new TV ad and four YouTube videos.

What’s interesting about the TV spot is that it highlighted Apple’s foray into health monitoring several months before its newly announced HealthKit app is scheduled to appear. It featured eight third-party products that take advantage of the motion detector built into the iPhone 5S and said nothing about the Apple wrist band that’s rumored to be in the works.

“iWatch?” wrote Shawn King on The Loop. “Who needs an iWatch?”

[More]

Go take a look. These are pretty nice.

The Cloud – Apple v. Google

 

 Clouds

Digesting WWDC: Cloudy
[Via Daring Fireball]

Benedict Evans:

So edit a photo and the edits are on all your devices, run out of room and your photos stay on the cloud but all but the previews are cleared off your phone, tap a phone number on a web page on your Mac and your phone dials it. But none of this says ‘CLOUD™’ and none of it is done in a web browser. Web browsers are for web pages, not for apps. Hence one could suggest that Apple loves the cloud, just not the web (or, not URLs). This is obviously a contrast with Google, which has pretty much the opposite approach. For Google, devices are dumb glass and the intelligence is in the cloud, but for Apple the cloud is just dumb storage and the device is the place for intelligence.

[More]

“For Google, devices are dumb glass and the intelligence is in the cloud, but for Apple the cloud is just dumb storage and the device is the place for intelligence.” Very apt.

Coolest new feature on iOS8 no one heard about – In Case of Emergency

iPhone

5 incredible iOS 8 features Apple didn’t mention
[Via Cult of Mac]

Apple added a ton of new features to iOS 8 today and more are surely on the way once new iPhones and iPads are announced. But while Photos, Messaging and Notification Center stole most of the spotlight during the WWDC keynote, there were a bunch of smaller features Apple didn’t cover.

[More]

You will be able to set up an In Case of Emergency health information on your lockscreen. Just another reason to always have your phone with you.

Why you keep your mouth shut when doing a deal with Apple

 Apple & Beats

Why the Apple-Beats deal may be dead
[Via MacDailyNews]

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“The basic problem with evaluating Beats as an investment for Apple is that it’s not a publicly traded company, so we on the outside have very little to go on,” Mark Hibben writes for Seeking Alpha. “The information about Beats as a business investment is pretty sketchy. There’s the report from July 2013 that Beats might hit $1.4 billion in revenue that year, but no confirmation of whether they hit that number or even got close, let alone turned a profit. The Carlyle Group’s (CG) reported investment of $500 million provides some vote of confidence. In their announcement of the deal, Carlyle also made note of Beats’ better than 60% market share for over $100 headphones.”

“I’m absolutely certain that the meeting took place as reported. Probably Adrian Perica, Apple’s M&A chief, and Eddy Cue were there,” Hibben writes. “There is one piece of information that Apple would consider covered by the NDA: the fact that the meeting took place. The NDAs have the force of a contract, but I’ve never heard of Apple suing anyone for violating an NDA. Apple doesn’t need to. Apple’s big stick to enforce the NDA is that violating it jeopardizes the prospective acquisition. Under the circumstances, most candidates for acquisition keep a low profile until the deal is done. That didn’t happen with Beats, and that’s the big red flag that calls the acquisition into question. It’s not clear what happened, but based on the now infamous Dr. Dre video, the leak probably came from inside Beats. Perhaps the people at Beats assumed on the basis of the meeting that it was a done deal. If so, they shouldn’t have.”

“By violating the NDA, the Beats management marked themselves as not fitting in with the Apple culture of secrecy. Beyond that, Apple probably has no choice but to pull the plug on the deal, if only to ensure that future NDAs would be respected,” Hibben writes. “Is it possible that the deal might still happen? I can’t completely rule it out, but given that I don’t think Apple was that strongly motivated in the first place, I’m not holding my breath.”

[More]

There is a long history of Jobs and Apple severely punishing anyone or any company that leaked information like this. That Beats was so brazen in this leak is not good for them.

Wonder what sort of leverage there is now? Only Apple would scuttle a $3 billion deal over something like this.

And rightly so. Apple maintains a tremendous need for secrecy as we can see what happens with just rumors about new products.  Beats does not look like it has a culture that could support that, especially if they were hoping to bring the Beats founders into the Apple fold.I wonder if this deal will even get done at all.

Fragmentation on Android – which way is North?

 Compass

Android Fragmentation, Gyroscope Edition
[Via Daring Fireball]

Game Oven, announcing the postponement of the Android version of a new game:

In the Vine above are 7 devices all running the same compass app (ironically named Steady Compass) on Android. Yet, all compasses indicate that North is somewhere else. Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with electromagnetic fields confusing the compass; it has everything to do with the diversity of hardware inside these devices.

We have been developing Bounden for Android alongside its development on iOS, and have tested the game on a number of devices. It was only a week ago that we started expanding our list of test devices, after we quickly discovered that:

(a) some devices had ‘broken’ gyroscopes that didn’t work on all axis,
(b) that some devices were faking gyroscopes by mixing and matching the accelerometer data with compass data, or
(c) that some devices did not have a gyroscope at all.

Curious, I grabbed a handful of iOS devices laying around my house — iPad Mini and iPad Mini with Retina Display; iPhones 3GS, 4, 4S, 5, and 5S — and tried a similar comparison.

[More]

The Android devices differed by up to 120 ª. Goos thing no one really uses them as a compass. But it sure doe make thiem difficult to develop for,since every brand gives different results.

Meanwhile, all the iOS devices gave the same results. You could use an iPhone to navigate. And the developers make more money on iOS. At least if you hope to sell a $4 game.

A bandaid, an app and an iPhone – healthy heart

 

HealthPatch biosensor bandage brings clinical-grade monitoring to iOS
[Via The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)]

It’s the ultimate in connected wearables — a small and inexpensive, clinical-grade biometric sensor system that can continually monitor your vital signs. Vital Connect has developed the HealthPatch, which is a system that uses disposable adhesive bandages and a reusable wireless module to replace chest strap and wristband type fitness trackers, as well as expensive medical monitors. Now the company and developer SweetWater Health are announcing the first commercially available app to work with the HealthPatch: SweetBeatLife (US$9.99).

[More]

We will see more of this sort of thing. And mining your own data will reveal lots of things.

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