Posted tagged ‘iPhone’

How Paying By Mobile Can Work

3 August 2010

AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and others are in a deal with Barclays Bank and Discover Financial Services to allow consumers to buy products and services with a “contactless” swipe of their mobile phones.

A pilot program will begin at retailers in Atlanta and three other selected cities.

I’m glad to see that this is not being done by Visa and Mastercard since those idiots do not know how to make paying-by-mobile work. If it was up to them they would be assessing fees of a dollar or more per transaction, basically killing the whole thing at the start.

Stock at the two largest credit card companies plummeted on the news while at Discover, the fourth-largest credit card processor behind Visa, MasterCard and American Express, shares jumped nearly 3 percent.

If you are a retailer you most likely have no love for Visa or MasterCard because of their constant raising of transaction fees. Congress last month passed restrictions on the fees these vultures can charge to retailers on debit transactions.

Hopefully Discover will do the right thing and charge very small fees for transactions that fall below ten dollars. How many times have we seen retailers put up notes on cash registers that tell us that they require transactions of at least ten dollars to qualify for payment by credit card? After all, who can make money selling a roll of mints for a dollar and incurring fees of more than 50 cents?

I’m not talking about percent transaction fees, usually 1 to 5 percent of the billed amount, I’m talking about the per transaction fees, minimum monthly fees, and other exhorbitant fees that merchant account providers assess. While Visa and Mastercard will gladly suck the blood out of credit card users and retailers, some merchant account providers make Vlad the Impaler look like a boy scout.

For example, some providers may charge 25 to 50 cents per transaction in addition to adding a small percentage fee of their own on top of those of the credit card issuers. Some even charge a minimum monthly transaction fee which requires that the merchant process a set amount of billing each month. These fees are around $15 each month although I have seen much higher.

If this new payment alliance wants to see pay-by-cell succeed not just in replacing the use of credit cards but in small one buck transactions as well then they have to insure that merchant account providers treat small transactions differently.

If they can do this, then we can be on our way to paying for everything with our cellphones. I mean everything: parking meters, candy machines, subway tolls.

But the real deal would be in micropayments, such as paying for reading a news article online or downloading a copyrighted work. I certainly would never pay 2 or 3 bucks a week to read an online newspaper in the UK but I would not hesitate to pay 1/20th of a penny to read a single article from the same source. It wouldn’t bother me if at the end of the month I spend ten or twenty bucks getting information I need from hundreds of sources. There are hundreds of millions of me in the world. Do the math.

Apple Has only Contempt for Its Customers

2 July 2010

I have written often that Apple treats its customers like crap, but the apple-sheep keep coming back for more.

Whenever there is a problem, Apple makes sure to charge their customers.

Here’s how Tech Tring describes the latest problem with the iPhone 4:

The problem which was identified in the iPhone 4 was the dropping of signal strength to very low on touching the left rim of the iPhone 4, and could result in disconnecting of calls or the loss of connectivity. The rims use the new concept of the antenna technology, according to Steve Jobs.

Jobs simply responded – “Just avoid holding it in that way”, reported CNET. This iPhone 4 grip shown by Steve Jobs has been called the “Death Grip” and this grip reduces the contact of the hand of the user with that of the steel band encircling the iPhone 4 edge which contains the antenna. Thus the problem can be solved in this way.

Aside from holding it like a Vulcan from StarTrek, the other solution is to lay out the sum of $29.00 for a Bumper made out of rubber or plastic which may improve wireless performance by keeping your hand from directly touching the affected areas.

A decent company would have given vouchers for those Bumbers for free so that iPhone 4 users could use the phone without using the “Death Grip” and without shelling out money for a problem caused by Apple.

But Apple people are sheep and gratefully bend over to take the abuse.

See the video:

The iPad is Just an iFad

28 January 2010

Apple iPadI don’t get it. How is this product any better than what I already have?

The Kindle 2 gives you a crisp, paper-quality look and feel when you read a page with a pixel density of 167 ppi, while the iPad has a pixel density of 132 ppi. [see more Kindle advantages at marclafountain.com] So the iPad is not the best ebook reader.

Sure one can run all existing iPhone apps on the iPad, but if I already have an iPhone what do I need an iPad for? Just to see an app running in a tiny block on my iPad? Want to make a phone call? Sadly, iPad doesn’t have an APP for that.

So what about its browser capabilities? Sadly there’s no Flash support in the iPad. So how is that better than my PC?

When the iPod came out, it was a better and more convenient way to buy, download, store, and listen to music.

If it was a better way to buy or read books than the Kindle (it’s not), or a better way way to browse the Internet than a laptop (it’s not), or an easier way to get music than the iPod (it’s not), or better at accessing thousands of apps than the iTouch (it’s not), or connect people with phonecalls than the iPhone (it’s not) then perhaps it would be worthy of the hype.

What is the iPad better at?

Hitler is just as unhappy with the iPad, see the video here.

The Viral Marketing Behind Blackra1n

20 October 2009
Apple App Store
Photo: Wiki

One of the problems with Apple’s App Store is that it doesn’t have every application that users desire. Third party software writers have come to the rescue with “jailbreaks” – software that allows iPhone or iPod Touch users to download non-Apple-sanctioned apps.

If you are a dedicated iP-something user then this is not news to you. What is interesting is the method that one jailbreaker used to viral his software.

George Holtz released his latest jailbreaking application, “Blackra1n,” on 11 Oct 2009 by asking thousands of the readers of his blog On The iPhone to tweet the subject “#blackra1n” and if he saw it trending on Twitter, he would post the download link up on blackra1n.com.

Three things accomplished:

  1. iPhone Touch users unfamiliar with Holtz’ blog who happen to pay attention to Twitter trends will google “blackra1n” (the unusual spelling guarantees that blackra1n.com will show up on top) and come upon the application. This brings more users to the site than simply announcing it on his website.
  2. The download is free but there’s a Donate link. A certain percentage of Apple users will want George to continue to supply jailbreaks.
  3. His own readers become referrers to a greater degree than otherwise.

Great move George, and thanks for the jailbreak.