No Fees For Product Placement at Apple

Apple doesn't pay for play.

How many times have you seen the logo above adorning everything on TV and in movies? I have. A lot. But, according to a MacDailyNews report, Apple doesn’t pay a dime for product placement in Hollywood. Hollywood is just doing them a favor. Just under the thrall of All Things Apple. Apple products were spotted or discussed on TV almost 900 times last year alone. Up from just over 600 in 2010.

iDevices appeared in more than 40 percent of the movies that topped the weekly box office, according to Brandchannel, which tracks product appearances. That’s nearly twice the penetration of the next most common brands in Hollywood — Dell, Chevy, and Ford.

The full report at BusinessWeek.com says that with more people skipping TV ads, it falls to social media and product placement to fill the void that traditional advertising used to fill. And, Apple gets it for nothing. Except some quid pro quo at times, which seems more than fair. Your movie in our TV commercials that no one is watching, for our Apple in your movies that everyone is watching? Is that how it goes? What do you think?

P.S. You guys have seen the Apple’s dropping Google Maps from iOS6 supposedly everyhere and going with their own inhouse maps, right?

Coming to Stores Near You

High Street Store Locator categories

The High Street Store Locator is a a brand new iPhone app. Unfortunately, it is not showing up in any search of the Internet. The best I can do is give you the AppShopper link that can take you to the app itself. Click here to find High Street Store Locator in AppShopper.

High Street Store Locator directions

This app is really quite clever and accurate. It was able to find even the smallest of local art stores that I am already familiar with, and a few that I am not. High Street Store Locator is powered by Foursquare, and it features more than 40 shop categories. The app allows you to check in with Foursquare when you visit any shop. By signing in, you can share on social sites and leave tips and advice for other shoppers.

Search for stores by name, or just look at what it finds near your current location. Read reviews, advice, and tips by other shoppers. This kind of reminds me of Yelp. Except, it is just for shopping.

To get the most out of this app (which is normally going to be $2), you really need a Foursquare account. I don’t have a Foursquare account because I kind of find it a little creepy and 1984ish. But, this app is very helpful in finding independent stores and giving you directions. Instead of just finding the big box stores, High Street Store Locator found all the little local shops that I am familiar with and that I like to support.

When I was searching around the Internet to find the link to this app for you, I found this article instead: Apple Stores to Visit Before You Die. It is a slide show of beautiful Apple Retail Stores around the world, featured by PC Magazine (ironic). Below is a picture of Apple’s Covenant Garden store in London. Click on the slideshow link to see the other stores. They are all quite exceptional.

Covenant Garden Apple Retail Store in London

Do You Back Up to iTunes?

After so easily updating to iOS 5.1.1, I began wondering. How many of you sync your devices with iTunes to back up your data, apps, photos, etc. on a regular basis? Since buying my new iPad, I haven’t ever synced it with iTunes. I decided to live totally post-PC. This does have some shortcomings. If an app gets yanked from the App Store (or any digital content), I risk losing it for good. But, I tired of the constant syncing process awhile ago. Am I missing something important by not doing this?

So, what are your thoughts on syncing with iTunes vs. not syncing? Leave a comment below. Maybe I’ll change my mind.

New iOS Available for Download

This is just a short note to let you know that a new version of iOS is available. iOS 5.1.1 for all Apple mobile devices can be updated by going to your Settings app. From there, click on “General,” and then “Software Update.” The device will take a second to analyze the version of iOS you are currently using and then tell you that a new version is available. You can then just “Download and Install” the update.

This update improves the use of HDR (high dynamic range) photos taken using the Lock Screen shortcut. This means that if you have the default camera app set to take HDR photos, and you access the camera using the Lock Screen button (on the screen when you click to turn on your iPhone, there is a shortcut Photo app button), this update will increase the reliability of this situation working.

Other updates include a bug fix that prevents the 3G iPad from switching between 2G and 3G networks. It also improves the reliability of syncing Safari bookmarks and Reading List items between devices. Finally, it fixes an issue where the App Store or iTunes says “Unable to purchase” after you successfully purchase an app, music, or a book. I know that this last bug has plagued me quite a bit!

This update is only about 50 Mb and so won’t take long to do at all. And, as long as you have iOS 5 already installed, you don’t have to plug into iTunes via a laptop or desktop. Gone are the days of cables, and I for one am thrilled about that! Your device will restart after verifying the update has installed properly. Then you are done.

P.S. I just checked my numbers, and I have had exactly 2,000 page views of my blog since I started on April 1st. I also am very close to having 100 blog followers! I am deeply indebted to all of my dear, loyal readers. Thank you!

How to Read Things Later

Today is supposed to be user tip day and news, but the news inspired reviews.

If you are a fan of longer articles or just need to read things that are online later, but will not have Internet later, this post is just for you.

Up until now, there have been a few choices for saving articles and other things on the Internet to read later. The most popular app by far to do this is Instapaper. Instapaper is one of the great success stories that all apps hope to achieve. For those of you who do not know of it, it takes whatever you are reading and strips it of all layout and ads (basically removes it from the website) and makes it a uniform font and reading style and puts it in the Instapaper app so that you can read it later at your convenience. I like reading this format even if I have Internet, just because of how it looks.

The other big name in reading it later was called Read It Later (easy to remember). Last night, Read It Later was renamed Pocket. It is the same app, different name. But, more than that, it has added a few things. You are now able to not only save text to read later, you can now save video or audio or really anything to enjoy later (stored in your pocket, hence the name). This is quite a step. I wonder if Instapaper will make the same step. People who already have Read It Later Pro accounts can simply use their current log-in credentials (user name and password) to access Pocket. Another bonus in this feat is that Pocket is completely free to use!

Instapaper and Pocket are really the two big names in saving things for later. There is a third app that has had an interesting history in the App Store called Readability, but it only made its reappearance in the App Store about a month ago and is not accepted by even a fraction of the apps that currently accept the first two apps. Readability also is free, but it does ask for a $5 donation for it’s developers. That is about the same price as Instapaper as well.

I do not have Instapaper, opened a Pocket account today, and just started using Readability when it came out a month ago, but of the three, I really like the style and formatting of Readability the most. But, that is really just a matter of personal preference.

The great thing about all three of these apps is that they allow you to save articles (or anything, I guess, in Pocket’s case) for later, which is especially useful if you have a wifi-only iPad or are traveling by subway or somewhere else where signal strength may be too weak to get the Internet. The other fabulous treat that these apps offer is a clean, uninterrupted reading experience. No ads, no layout, same font (you often get to choose which one), same background, same everything. And, all the articles are kept neatly in one easy-to-access app. It’s also an easy way to save those articles you want to hang onto for later to reread.

So, if you do not have one of these services yet, I highly recommend downloading Pocket and Readability today to compare. Readability seems to be easier to get stuff into from Safari, but Pocket is definitely easier to get stuff into through apps. And as to the look, you’ll just have to see and compare. I’m sorry that I can’t offer first-hand knowledge of Instapaper. I’m sure that their quality is just as good as the others, but it has never been on sale. If anyone wants to share their Instapaper experience below, it would be greatly appreciated. Personally, I would try the free apps first and see what you like best.

See you tomorrow!

Easy Ways to Take Shortcuts

Lots of tidbits today. Sit back and read the summaries. I did the heavy reading for you.

Today in Headlines
Some Apple iOS users are reporting that they are being required to set up three back-up questions and enable a better security password when they try to download anything from iTunes. I personally had no trouble downloading anything today, but Sophos, a trusted security site, says that many others have had to go through this process. It’s really a good idea, but the problem is that it was not announced by Apple prior to this. And, it apparently looks and feels a lot like those security phishing emails and pop-ups some of you may have been unfortunate enough to experience. But, in this case, Apple did fess up. So, do the deed, and set up a strong password and back-up security. You can store all the passwords and questions in an e-wallet or a password manager app. I’m sure I’ll get to reviewing them before too long.

In better news, the iPad may be having a baby. A little replica of itself. But, a little bigger than the iPhone. A Chinese site is reporting that an approximately 7″ iPad will be arriving in stores in late summer or early fall and will retail for about $250. This would make it timely enough to face off against the first Windows 8 tablets and cheap enough to compete head-on with Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which they sell at a loss hoping to make money more in long-term gain of customers.

How to Use Shortcut Keys to Make Short Work of Using Your Device
So, wouldn’t it be great to type in “cul,” hit “Space,” and have it say “See you later”? Well, you can! You can actually say anything as simple or complex as you would like with any shortcut you would like, all for free. It takes a bit of work on the front end, typing them all in once, but you will never have to type your email address in again on your iPhone. How great is that?

Go to the Settings app and under “General,” scroll toward the bottom of the list and hit “Keyboard,” then “Shortcuts.” Then all you do is hit the “+” sign and think up things you’re sick of typing in. You add the exact words you want the message to say under “Phrase,” and then type in what you actually want to type in instead under “Shortcut.”

For example, instead of asking my son to let the dog outside by screaming across the house, I type in “culp.” Shortcuts turns it into a very polite “Can you let Jasper outside please?” Much more civilized. It lists the second part as optional because this is also a good way to enter a word into your device’s dictionary without it having to learn over a bunch of times of you typing it in. You just enter the correct word and leave the second part blank. That is a good way to enter in a name your iPhone perpetually wants to spell wrong.

Typing “em” instead of my email address makes the process worth it infinitely. If you really do want to say em and not your email address in the future, type in those letters and then hit the “X” on the bubble that pops up. Hitting space after typing in the letters is what triggers the shortcut. Oh, and this does not work for passwords. You cannot type in a short way to enter passwords correctly. But, an e-wallet or password manager will do that for you too.

New Blog Schedule
I am now blogging daily, so I can bring you reviews, news, and tips, all in one tiny blog. Basically, every other day I will review things, and on the off days, I will be writing blogs like today’s, where I cover news and iOS usage tips. Same iOS Affairs, better daily schedule for writing, and hopefully, for reading.

And if any of this just doesn’t make sense to you or you don’t even know what iOS really is, leave a comment, anonymous or otherwise. You can even leave a comment and ask me not to publish the comment and I will still answer your question. Whatever works for you guys. I don’t know if I have become too wrapped up in iOS-land to know when I’m glossing over the basics too quickly, or just the opposite. The only way you get a vote though is to leave a comment below. See you tomorrow!

Hello world!

I was going to write a book about apps for my friends, who are well aware of my addiction. Instead I’ve decided to write a blog. As I was writing, I realized how I often download up to 20 apps a day (although I discard many quickly). So, by the time I finished a book, I’d need to rewrite it immediately, making a blog much more sensical. Hope you enjoy my thoughts on apps, iOS, and all things Apple (and probably wildly different ideas at the same time). I was a philosophy major as an undergrd 15 years ago, so expect some waxing on at times as well. So, I better get to writing.