Apple’s Regent Street store re-opens (lots of empty space)

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Apple head designer Jonathan Ive teamed up with architects Foster + Partners for the redesign. In a presentation to the media, Senior Vice President of Retail Angela Ahrendts explained that the company wanted to maintain the historic nature of the building. The store’s location is near Oxford Circus, one of the busiest shopping areas in the world, and is always crowded… More at Mashable.

Looks lovely, but the only thing that annoys in an Apple store is the crowds which seem to be growing by the month. Maybe it is time for Apple to look at size as well as design in some of the stores which is exemplified in the photo above. I get the ‘showing off’ of products, but feel that the space could be used somewhat more efficiently…

Dashed

You’ll be able to hear a deeper discussion on this between Michael Gartenberg, Serenity Caldwell, special guest James Thomson, and myself on the Apple Talk podcast very soon, but here’s the consensus: Restore the developer account associated with Dash and put Dash back on the App Store. Leave the linked account banned. Monitor Dash going forward the way any other app has been monitored. And that’s it… More at iMore.

You will need to click the link above if you are unaware of the situation with Dash and Apple, but I don’t agree with the consensus reached here. We simply do not have all of the information yet and as one comment quite rightly said-

Try using that logic in any formal, legal setting. Obviously he bears responsibility as to the use of the second account and I suspect that is all Apple wanted him to acknowledge. Had he any sense he would have immediately acknowledged his error in judgement, apologised for any problems caused (however unintentional) and sought to move forward. Denying all responsibility and pointing the finger at Apple was unprofessional, immature and irresponsible.

The woman sporting an iPhone 3 and a 2009 MacBook Pro

No, the only real response – the true techie’s response – is to learn how to make one’s phone last as many years as possible. Instead of buying our way out of obsolescence, we program, adapt, and workaround. What makes a phone great is not how new it is, but how long it lasts.

That’s why the person who wins my admiration at a party or conference is not the guy with the latest model smartphone or laptop, but the woman sporting an iPhone 3 and a 2009 MacBook Pro. And not because she’s a luddite, but because she’s the one with user mojo capable of participating at high efficiency in any essential digital activity with the same technology that less savvy consumers would have to consider obsolete… More at Digital Trends.

Good article. I think I have hit that wall and now realise that keeping a phone working for as long as possible, like I do a desktop computer, is the logical choice on every possible level.

Twitter: too big to fail, too big to buy

Twitter (TWTR.N) shares plunged on Thursday, a day after technology website Recode reported that Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL.O) and Disney (DIS.N) would not bid for the social network and Apple (AAPL.O) was unlikely to be a suitor.

The company has requested binding acquisition bids within the next two weeks, Reuters reported on Wednesday, and hopes to wrap up sale negotiations before the end of the month.

Google was a likely contender for the microblogging service, Recode reported, but those familiar with the deal said the company was not moving forward with an effort to buy Twitter at this time… More at Reuters.

The problem with Twitter is that it is valued at more than $14 billion and for many people the future does not look rosy. It is very important to millions of people and is a superb platform, but monetising it never seems to get going.

Amazon bans ‘incentivised’ reviews

Amazon has banned “incentivised reviews” after evidence suggested writers typically awarded almost half a star extra compared with reviews where the reviewer paid for the product themselves.

Incentivised reviews involved companies giving big discounts to reviewers on products, although the reviews were still meant to be impartial. Amazon operates its own incentivised reviews programme, Vine, which will continue… More at The Guardian.

Good news, but only half a star? I rarely see an incentivised review that isn’t 5 stars.

The Microsoft Band is dead (maybe)

Microsoft gave it two tries, but the company’s wrist-worn Band fitness tracker is seemingly no more. The Band 2 has been removed completely from Microsoft’s online store, signaling that production has ceased. It’s no longer available from Best Buy either, though Amazon is still selling through its remaining inventory. ZDNet reports that the company has no current plans to release a Band 3. The team responsible for the Band was recently dissolved, throwing doubt on Microsoft’s future plans for the product… More at The Verge.

It’s not surprising, but when I go to this link I can still buy it from Microsoft (screenie below)? Best advice though is to probably not buy one at this time.

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When a company thinks the public is stupid

Southern Rail, possibly the worst rail company in the world, yesterday tweeted the following which relates to an ongoing dispute between the company and its staff-

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Not surprisingly, the response was less than favourable-

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It never fails to amaze me at how often this happens and I guess the reason is obvious when you think about it. For a company to offer such an appalling service and to continue to blame everyone else, it must have so little regard for its customers that it believes this kind of stunt will actually works.

It backfired spectacularly and is continuing to do so which will result in two things. It will again show the power of social media and how a company really thinks. It will also make no difference to how the company conducts itself in the future because it is beyond help at this point.

Fun to watch though, unless you actually have to use the service I guess which must be a daily nightmare.

App doctors

One Friday afternoon, I decided to check out a pea-sized lump on my neck that was causing me consternation. I started by calling my GP’s surgery in south London. A recorded message informed me there were no appointments that day; after a few minutes, a receptionist came on the line and said that I could have an appointment on Monday. Not too bad, I thought, until I realised she was not talking about the Monday three days hence, but the one 10 days away. Not so good. I could also try for a walk-in slot or a phone consultation from 8am to 10am on weekday mornings.

At this point, I downloaded the app from Babylon Health, one of the leaders in online doctor consultations, on to my smartphone. The homepage was purple and teal, the writing welcomingly blobby. I tapped on “check a symptom” and after half-a-dozen questions, it suggested that I “book a consultation”. I was offered a choice between a GP, a specialist or a therapist. The appointment could be on the phone or a video call… More at The Guardian.

I tried one of these services once and it was actually very good. Reassurance comes at a cost, but it usually feels low compared to the feeling that you no longer need to worry so much about a symptom.

The article above offers an example of the benefits these services offer, even though it once again feels like an editorial advert, and I believe that there will be a boom in such services in the near future.

Getting a GP appointment can be very difficult these days with waits up to 3 weeks not uncommon and anything that can relieve that cannot be a bad thing. I will always support the NHS and believe it is one of the UK’s finest achievements, but it is underfunded, desperately in need of help and cannot sustain itself at the moment. The more to any kind of privatisation is often seen as a terrible thing, but if someone can afford to use a service like this regularly, let them do it and pay their taxes at the same time.

Chinese Note 7s are different

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV has slammed South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics Co (005930.KS) for what it said was “discrimination” against China consumers in its handling of a global recall of Galaxy Note 7 smartphones to replace batteries.

In a commentary piece posted on its website on Thursday evening, CCTV said Samsung’s behavior in China after the Sept. 2 recall of 2.5 million phones was “full of arrogance”… More at Reuters.

This is interesting because it is something we have seen many times before. Even Apple has treated different countries differently in the past depending on what rules are in place, but this looks like another mis-step from Samsung. China is where the growth will come from, mess with it at your peril…

Very unhappy man smashes up iPhones and Macs in an Apple Store

Wow, he is not happy! Puzzling why the Apple staff just stand there, but I guess there is more than one reason to just leave him to it. According to Mashable he said “Apple is a company that ‘violated’ European consumers’ rights. They refused to reimburse me, I told them: ‘Give me my money back’. They said no. So you know what’s happening? This is happening!” – before wrecking another iPhone.