Links of the day | 在网上找到

Azeem’s Exponential View – Revue – great email newsletter

WPP’s Bessie Lee: PR Industry Must Embrace Technology In China | The Holmes Report – calling Blue Focus a PR group is like calling WPP a PR group. PR needs to do technology better, but other disciplines already own that part of the client relationship. China has even faster change going on

Engineering Director Lars Rasmussen Leaving Facebook To Co-Found A Music Startup | TechCrunch – a long time Googler who developed Google Maps and worked in search at Facebook. Interesting move

Yahoo just threw investors a bone: It’s hiring advisors to figure out what to do with Yahoo Japan (YHOO) – the bigger question is what to do with what’s left surely?

Google, Microsoft and Amazon pay to get around ad blocking tool – FT.com – as well as Taboola – the annoying content remarketing network

Audi to Test Plan to Deliver Amazon Packages to Drivers’ Trunks – NYTimes.com – so thieves will know that there is a master key, which will give them an incentive to find it

P&G; Always Mobile App: BackMeApp – really smart application by P&G to market Always sanitary towels

Russian ‘Uber for Boobs’ Start-Up Tittygram Sees Business Boom | Moscow Times – you could not make this up <holds head in hands in despair at industry>

48 hours with the Apple Watch

I decided to experiment with wearables a while ago. My first experiment was with the Casio G-Shock+ series of watches that takes the well-loved brand and drops some rudimentary notification function, BlueTooth LE capability and a companion iPhone app together as a workable but unambitious package.

The Apple Watch is a different experience and has a different ethos to the Casio G-Shock+. The Apple Watch experience starts as soon as you receive the package.

I was surprised to be presented the box by security in reception, mainly because it had roughly the same size and weight as a toner cartridge for the office colour photocopier.
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My immediate reaction was that Apple may have made the packaging look like this to mask the first drop of watches from over-ambitious eBay entrepreneurs in the postal service.
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But it soon became apparent that Apple had built a packing equivalent of a Winnebago RV for the watch.
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Inside a long heavy duty cardboard box is a giant whale of a coffin for the watch and space underneath for the charging cable and plug in charger. All of this seems at odds with Apple’s move over the years towards less wasteful, more environmentally friendly packaging.

At the same time the experience didn’t feel special to me, just slightly perplexing, ok very perplexing. I have been involved in the launch of a new Huawei smartphone over the past few weeks and that packaging provided a more luxurious experience.

An email arrives to my home account letting me know that I can set up a live video call with someone who will help me set up my watch. An alarm bell rings in the back of my head that makes me think that the product might not ‘just work’ which the a core tenet of the Apple experience.

The watch itself has some nice industrial design touches.
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The Apple Watch strap was easy even for a mechanical klutz like me to change, by pushing a button and sliding the strap in or out of a groove on the case.

The case is nicely made (as something the price of a premium Casio or Hugo Boss watch should be). However as a bit of a watch head the case did not blow me away, if I didn’t know about it’s smarts it felt very much like a Fossil watch.

Switching it on and pairing it with my iPhone was very easy, the problems began when the iPhone app schlepped across all my iPhone applications that had Apple Watch capability, without a thought for how often I use them. This means that the home screen is covered in an acne rash of default and third-party applications, 80 per cent of which I don’t regularly use.

Whilst I am in awe of the the way the device hides the process of syncing with the iPhone I am less impressed by the slow speed of glance content loaded from the iPhone more slowly than it would be to just take the iPhone from my pocket and look.
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When glances do appear, they appear in an amazingly high resolution.

The haptic alerts were handy and Accuweather had made the best Watch app. WeChat shamed Twitter with its comparative usefulness. But ultimately I still don’t know a compelling reason to own an Apple Watch beyond trying to understand where it fits in a customer’s digital life.

The Apple Watch is a two-handed device, for instance unlocking the Watch by typing in your PIN. Flashback to a childhood encounter with a friend’s Casio Databank flooded my memory whilst unlocking the watch.

I found that I tended to use the crown when the watch wasn’t on my wrist, probably sounds a bit pointless.

Like the Casio G-Shock+ before it, Apple hadn’t mastered prioritising alerts or putting intelligence behind them. I think that this a major issue, since app developers will try to go for maximum notification real estate as part of the ‘grab’ of the attention economy. I think that this is an Achilles Heel of wearables in general.

Conclusions

The Apple Watch didn’t encourage me to ‘play with it’ to find out its features, the way other Apple products from the original sit-up and beg Mac to the iPod and iPhone did. I can’t say that I have had any real enjoyment out of using one. So much so, that I was quite happy to leave it in its charger most of Sunday, whilst my iPhone is never an arms length away.

Notifications are going to become very tiresome, very fast.

It isn’t particularly friendly to use and at 48 hours in, I still haven’t really got to grips with the device.

This feels like a first step in a long journey needed to fix the human smartwatch interface.

The Apple Watch feels like a solution looking for a problem, just in the same way that the Mac only found its calling with Aldus desktop publishing software and an Adobe powered laser printer, so the Apple Watch is dependent on some clever app development in the future.

I suspect the kind of programmable world that we would need for the device to thrive, for instance your iPhone seeing that you have enough time in your diary, ordering your morning coffee at Starbucks and then the Watch telling you to step in the cafe and pick it up just as you are about to walk past doesn’t exist yet.

The experience did get me to marvel at the engineering that went into the device, but at the moment it feels that all that effort has been largely unrewarding in terms of customer experience. I still wear my collection of G-Shocks or fine Swiss watches on my right wrist. I don’t think that many watchmakers have much to worry about yet, except those targeting the mid-market of big brand, mediocre movements.

More information
On smart watches, I’ve decided to take the plunge
On wearing a smartwatch
On Wearables

Five for Friday | 五日(星期五)

Things that made my day this week….

The Joyous Music School’s  string quartet have been playing together for  four years, they started when the lead cellist was four years old and they are awesome

Frankie Knuckles’ loss continues to be felt. Underworld and the Junior Boys Own people have put together a cover of Baby Wants to Ride in tribute to the iconic DJ

At the time when I got my copy of ‘Baby Wants to Ride’ it came with a tale of intrigue and skulduggery. Did Knuckles copy Principle’s track and then compromise and call it ‘Frankie Knuckles presents Jamie Principle’ or was he hard done by? A quick glance at Discogs shows how Frankie Knuckles is slowly written into the history of Baby Wants to Ride – the original FFRR pressing credits Jamie Principle but by the mid noughties we see it as Frankie Knuckles presents Jamie Principle. Although Knuckles is remembered fondly for being the godfather of house, it makes good sense not to gloss over some of the politicking and infighting that occurred back in the day.

Nike Football have put together a beautifully made movie about football fans in Mexico City. It avoids using stars or technical features of their products to show a grassroots love of the beautiful game. I suspect that the football moves were choreographed but the film is none-the-worse for it

Ogilvy and Mather Singapore have played a blinder with this video highlighting the workload and contribution of domestic helpers in Singapore. The clip looks to get Singaporean parents to give maids their legal minimum one day a week off.

Finally Funny or Die annihilate Dove’s latest campaign, its almost like it was done for a prank by the Axe (Lynx to UK readers) marketing team

And here is the original…

Whilst the Dove programme is interesting because it is trying to ‘deprogramme’ women from the media messages about beauty and the marketing messages put out (including other brands in the Unilever portfolio), it starts to sound like Lake Wobegon (from Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion).

Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average. – Garrison Keillor

The Lake Wobegon Effect is described in Wikipedia

The Lake Wobegon effect, where all or nearly all of a group claim to be above average, has been observed in high school students’ appraisal of their leadership, drivers’ assessments of their driving skill, and cancer patients’ expectations of survival.

Is it wise for brands to replace one kind of delusion with another?

Links of the day | 在网上找到

Android Sales: Guess how many Android devices are available for sale | BGR – 18,000 which is an insane amount of device fragmentation

Regarding Chrome’s Power Efficiency on OS X | The Verge – interesting how Google is falling into the same traps when coding across platforms that Microsoft did

Why China’s economy is slowing and what it means for everything | Quartz – interesting bit of economic analysis via charts

Fascinating chart in HBR (above) on the relative change in valuation of Brands… | Broadstuff – interesting data on the decline of brand value

Hush Technology will block snoring but play your alarm with its smart earplugs | VentureBeat – interesting how noise cancelling technology has shrunk

Moscase Is Like Batman’s Utility Belt For Your iPhone | TechCrunch – the modular nature of the back is quite interesting, I like the e-ink screen

Daring Fireball: The Apple Watch Edition’s Upgrade Dilemma – it won’t be replacing my Swiss watch any time soon

Nokia nears deal to buy Alcatel-Lucent mobile networks unit | Hong Kong Economic Journal Insight – two turkeys won’t make an eagle

GSMA Intelligence – interesting diagram talking about latency and bandwidth requirements of different applications on mobile networks when you scroll down the page

Activist Puts Pressure on Qualcomm – WSJ – inevitable when one looks at the increasing competition in the chip business for them and the move by major players (Apple, Samsung, Huawei)

Samsung Galaxy S6 review: It’s what’s on the outside that counts | Ars Technica – this review is emblematic of the pedestal that Samsung has fallen off

LINE CEO bets on selfies and macho stamps to expand overseas | Japan Times – really interesting insight into app localisation and branding

Twitter Ends its Partnership with DataSift – Datasift Blog – ok this could be interesting

These slides are all you need to make the case for an all-flash data center | SiliconANGLE – that responsive data has to change the economics of cloud as well and not in a good way

Exclusive: Twitter A/B testing a Yahoo style directory for non-logged in users | SiliconANGLE – and Google seems to be supplementing search results with content from DMOZ about links

If Nokia Map Unit Is for Sale, Microsoft, Apple and Yahoo All Might Want a Look | Re/code – it makes sense that Nokia would want to sell this separately from the phones, but who would it go to

I’ve been quiet because…

The past couple of weeks around the launch of the Huawei P8 have been all-consuming