Apple’s Dictionary

30 12 2013

If you need help about a word iOS doesn’t let you alone and usually there is no need to quit the app, open a language app or Safari to look it up. This can be inconvenient because of the One-Window-Technique on mobiles.

iOS offers a feature called ‘Define’ which is available in the context menu if you mark a word by double-tapping on it.

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History …

Dictionary is an application developed by Apple as a part of OS X. The application provides definitions and synonyms from the New Oxford American Dictionary, 3rd Edition and Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus, 2nd Edition. It a section called ‘Apple’ which includes Apple-related items.

Apple originally implemented a built-in dictionary in iBooks, which was launched as part of iOS 4. Then with the arrival of iOS 5, Apple upgraded it to be available system-wide. Ever since then, even after the arrival of iOS 6, it wasn’t updated. With iOS 7 management of multiple dictionaries was added.

Installation …

iOS comes without any dictionary if the operating system is installed on your device. So you first have to download it for the language of your choice. See the image above.

Usage …

Double tap on a word and select ‘Define’ from the context menu.
An explanation of the word is shown but only if you are lucky and it’s in the dictionary or you didn’t make a typo when it was written by yourself in a text editor or an E-Mail.

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Memory …

If you download e.g. the New Oxford American Dictionary the size of the downloaded database is about 400 MB for all (14) supported languages. The dictionary is stored locally so that you don’t need an active internet connection to use it.

Pros and cons …

  • Within the dictionary you cannot use the COPY-Command.
  • A search history is not available.
  • In addition to the basic information the detailed screen shows also phrases and the origin of the selected word. The offer of phrases is quite poor.

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  • If further information is needed and the user taps on ‘Search Web’ Safari opens with the selected word as the search term. So there is only one way back to the app by using the Multitasking View.
    It would have been an easy task to integrate the browser into the Dictionary dialog.
  • There is no speech output if the feature is used for a foreign language.
    In my case it would be helpful because my native language is German but text is always written in English.
  • In many cases words can only be understood if there are enough example sentences which let users see how terms are used in the foreign language.
  • Dictionary doesn’t allow to set font sizes.

The only pro is the existence of this feature and that it can be used system-wide, that means, wherever you can mark a word the feature ‘Define’ is available.

Related topics …

Writing on an iOS device in the native or a foreign language is supported by several options available in Settings – General – Keyboard.

I myself installed 3 keyboards, English (for writing blogs), German (for writing E-Mails to Germans or German companies), and Emoji (for accessing symbols). Dependent on the actual keyboard (which can be changed within the keyboard by tapping on the globe) iOS checks spelling and displays ‘Define’ in that language which is defined by the keyboard.

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The image shows the system behavior of some settings related to writing text.

Summary …

‘Define’ is a useful feature but should be improved.

Thanks for dropping by.
If you find any typos iOS spelling failed.





Sensitiveness

27 12 2013

If you are a proud owner of an iPhone you have purchased a device which is in someway much more sensitive than any human being ever can be. And it’s not the incredible SIRI I’m talking about. iPhone’s sensors know all about your movements, your finger, the distance between your ear and the device, your actual location, and even the brightness of the environment.
Your iPhone forms a liaison with you but it’s an arranged marriage, it’s a childless marriage, it’s a miscegenation, and Apple hopes that it will not get a broken marriage. And if you are an Apple freak it’s even a same-sex marriage.

The sensors …

Kinetic sensors enable the iPod touch, iPad, or iPhone’s screen to automatically switch from landscape to portrait modes and back again based on whether you’re holding the phone up and down or sideways.
The iPhone 4, 4th gen iPod touch, and iPad 2 adds another sensor: a three-axis gyroscope. When combining the gyroscope with the accelerometer, this gives these devices six axes on which it can operate. This is designed to make them more sensitive, responsive, and powerful for gaming.

Accelerometer

The accelerometer sensor measures linear acceleration along three perpendicular axes, X, Y and Z. The following schematic drawing illustrates the classical single axis mechanical accelerometer which uses a moving mass and springs. The movement of the mass along the double sided arrow measures the acceleration along that axis.
All iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad devices are equipped with a modern accelerometer that can measure acceleration in three perpendicular axes. The measurement also includes the Earth’s gravity.
Modern accelerometers utilize MEMS technology in a tiny electronic package.

Notes


Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) is the technology of very small devices; it merges at the nano-scale into nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) and nanotechnology. MEMS are made up of components between 1 to 100 micrometers in size (i.e. 0.001 to 0.1 mm), and MEMS devices generally range in size from 20 micrometers (20 millionths of a meter) to a millimeter (i.e. 0.02 to 1.0 mm). They usually consist of a central unit that processes data (the microprocessor) and several components that interact with the surroundings such as micro sensors.

Acceleration is the rate at which the velocity of an object changes with time. Rotations are always accelerations because the direction of the velocity changes. If an object falls down because of gravity it’s an acceleration where the velocity increases but the direction remains the same.

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Gyroscope

The gyroscope sensor measures rotational velocity along the Roll, Pitch and Yaw axes. It depends on the property of rotating mass as illustrated in the following schematic drawing of the classical mechanical gyroscope.
Like the accelerometer, gyroscope sensors for mobile devices utilize MEMS technology and may include an accelerometer.

Magnetometer

The magnetometer detects the Earth’s magnetic field along three perpendicular axes. In addition to general rotational information, the magnetometer is crucial for detecting the orientation of the device relative to the Earth’s magnetic north. Electrical appliances that generate magnetic fields disturb the magnetometer.

Linear Acceleration

The linear acceleration sensor measures the acceleration effect of the device movement, excluding the effect of Earth’s gravity on the device. It is a part of the Device-Motion information computed by the iPhone operating system from the main sensors, particularly from the accelerometer and the gyroscope.

Gravity

The gravity sensor measures the Earth’s gravity effect on the device. When the device is placed on a flat surface facing up, all of Earth’s gravity appears on the -Z axis. Tilting the device “spreads” the gravity into the X and Y axes.
The gravity sensor is a part of the Device-Motion information computed by the iPhone Operating System from the main sensors, particularly from the accelerometer and the gyroscope.
Gravity is obtained when the linear acceleration data is subtracted from the raw readings of the accelerometer.

You can compare the gravity sensor and the accelerometer as follows. Hold the device face up and make “up and down” movements. The accelerometer’s raw readings will show Earth’s gravity plus variation on the Z axis due to the movement. The gravity sensor reading will show constant Earth gravity along the Z axis regardless of the movements.

Attitude

The Attitude (rotation) sensor provides the pitch, roll and yaw (azimuth) angles of the device relative to the normal horizon.

Pitch
rotation around the Y-axis (bottom-up)
Roll
rotation Round the X-axis (left-right)
Yaw
rotation around the Z-axis which is perpendicular to the touch screen

It is a part of the Device-Motion information computed by the iPhone Operating System from the main sensors, particularly the gyroscope.
Although the gyroscope provides precise measurements of the angular rates, calculating rotations only from the gyroscope are subject to a noticeable drift due to various inherent physical phenomena like gyro precession. The Device-Motion computation automatically uses measurements from the accelerometer to minimize the drift.

Other sensors …

Proximity

This sensor can determine how close the iPhone is to your face. This sensor is what helps the iPhone turn off its screen automatically whenever you hold the phone up to your ear. This is necessary to prevent accidental button clicks by the side of your head when talking. This sensor is only on the iPhone (since the other devices don’t need it).

Ambient Light

This sensor can determine how much light is available in the area surrounding the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad and automatically adjust the brightness of the screen in order to conserve battery life.

Moisture

The devices also contains a sensor which isn’t related to the interface. The water sensor is a little red tab that appears in the dock connector when the phone has been submerged in water. It can also appear as a red dot in the headphone jack.

Water damage is a common problem with cell phones that can cause a significant drop in value, and can often void any warranties you may have. Most mobile phones, including the iPhone, have some sort of water damage indicator.

The 4S has indicators both in the headphone jack, and on the bottom of the dock-connector housing. The new iPhone 5 features one water damage indicator on the inside of the nano SIM card slot.

The best way to look at the indicator is by aiming a flashlight or lighted magnifying glass into the jack. If the iPhone has been submerged in liquid, or has liquid damage, this circular indicator would be triggered and colored red or pink. If the indicator has been triggered, the repair is most likely not covered by the warranty.

NOTE
What to do if your iPhone gets wet …

Immediately turn off the phone. Do not turn it back on, charge it, or connect it to a computer or other device.
Second, hand dry your phone as best you can with a soft cloth. Remove your SIM card and pat down any excess moisture and wipe out the headphone and charge ports.
Next, quickly place the phone in a bag of uncooked rice and let it sit for 48 hours in a dry place. You can also add silica packages to the rice to help the absorption process. The rice will absorb any moisture that remains in the phone.
After 48 hours have passed remove your phone, re-insert the SIM, and try turning it back on. With a little bit of luck you may have saved your iPhone from a watery fate.

Touch Screen

This is doubtlessly the most important sensor of your device. It should work fast, precise, and even if there are fat deposits.

The iPhone’s processor and operating system interpret the input from the touch screen. The capacitive material sends raw touch-location data to the iPhone’s processor. The processor uses software to interpret the raw data as commands and gestures.

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Here’s what happens:

In the nanosecond between the time you touch the iPhone’s screen and the display reacts, several calculations and signals are sent from the touch screen to the software.

  • 1 Signals travel from the touch screen to the processor as electrical impulses.
  • 2 The processor uses software to analyze the data and determine the features of each touch. This includes size, shape, and location of the affected area on the screen. If necessary, the processor arranges touches with similar features into groups. If you move your finger, the processor calculates the difference between the starting and ending point of your touch.
  • 3 The processor uses its gesture-interpretation software to determine which gesture you made. It combines your physical movement with information about which application you were using and what the application was doing when you touched the screen.
  • 4 The processor relays your instructions to the program in use. If necessary, it also sends commands to the iPhone’s screen (e.g. when pinch-to-zoom is registered) and other hardware components. If the raw data doesn’t match any applicable gestures or commands, the iPhone disregards it as an extraneous touch.

All these steps happen in a nanosecond and you see changes in the screen based on your input almost instantly. This process allows you to access and use all of the iPhone’s applications with your fingers.

The M7 motion processor …

With the release of the iPhone 5S Apple implemented an additional processor, the A7 motion processor.

The M7 is an ARM Cortex-M3 part from NXP running at 180 MHz. The chip allows for low-power collection of motion data drawn from a Bosch Sensortec accelerometer, an STMicroelectronics gyroscope, and an AKM magnetometer.
After collecting information from the accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer, the M7 performs some matrix math processing magic to produce an absolute orientation of the phone relative to the world. This data is then passed to the A7 in a neat package, probably in the form of three headings (roll, pitch, and yaw).

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Using the A7 main processor to monitor this sort of data would be mega-stress, so the M7 was introduced to maintain a constant, low-power watch over these sensors even if the device is asleep.

The M7 is accessible to applications through the Core Motion API in iOS 7, so it will, for example, allow fitness apps that track physical activity and access data from the M7 without constantly engaging the main A7 CPU. It will enable applications to be aware of what type of movement the user is experiencing, such as driving, walking, running or sleeping. Another application could be the ability to do indoor tracking and mapping.

All sensors …

This mind map shows you all sensors implemented in the iPhone 5S.

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The app Sensor Kinetics …

Sensor Kinetics is an advanced viewer and monitor for all the sensors available in your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch device. Written by Dr. David Y. Feinstein, one of the pioneers in the use of accelerometers and gyroscopes within the modern smartphone, the app provides a comprehensive view of the total dynamics of the device’s sensors.

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Sensor Kinetics interacts with the six sensors relating to movement in your device: the Accelerometer, the Gyroscope, the Magnetometer, the Linear Acceleration Sensor, the Gravity Sensor and the Attitude Sensor.
When first activated, Sensor Kinetics: shows you which sensors are available on your device. The main screen captures data from all the sensors and employs graphical windows to illustrate the sensor’s operation.

Summary …

Keep in mind that all these incredible micro machines won’t help you if you have to explain your wife that you again forget her birthday. And don’t try to explain your own failure with a failure of one of the sensors of your iPhone. If she reads this blog she will call you a brazen-faced liar because Apple’s Reminder app doesn’t use any sensor (except you used the option ‘Remind me at a location’). It’s just your brain which was buggy.

Note
Some sensor descriptions are taken from the app Sensor Kinetics.

Thanks for surfing by.





Thanks

25 12 2013

The year 2013 is drawing to the end and we all are looking forward to the next year.
So it’s time to say

Thanks


to all of you visiting my blog.

Whether it was a good year for you or not there is still something which gives us the power to continue:

It’s hope. Hope that the good times will continue or hope that better times will come.

Laughter is a mechanism everyone has; laughter is part of universal human vocabulary. There are thousands of languages, hundreds of thousands of dialects, but everyone speaks laughter in pretty much the same way. It’s healthy and a sense of humour helps in almost all situations.

It’s not possible for me to personally communicate with you. So I decided to present a funny image gallery instead to make you laugh. I hope you like it.

I found these images in blogs and on websites and if you remember my post about the Copyright you might say this is illegal. Well, it’s the fault of the owners/creators not to sign their images. If I’m sentenced to life imprisonment I hope I still can continue with my blog due to Apple’s mobiles.

Let’s start with a mind map which could show the diversification of Microsoft

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and continue with a company focussing on essentials

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and end up with some funny pictures.

Again, thanks to all of you for visiting my blog. Readers are the food for every blogger.





The Post PC era

21 12 2013

Apple offers a sophisticated ecosystem including computers.
Is it possible to just use the mobile devices with some added peripherals and kick off a computer?

Well, this question depends obviously on the requirements of each user. If you are professionally working on software development you cannot kick off your computer because all these mobile devices don’t offer the ability of doing this specific task. But beside your job there are many tasks where it’s fine to use a device which supports many everyday tasks like mailing, connecting to social networks, and banking and additionally it let’s you pursue your hobbies.

Mobile devices …

With the release of the iPad mobile devices reached a new quality because of it’s screen size. They initiated a shift in paradigm of teaching and learning as well and from that time ‘people could hold the internet in their hands‘.

There’s been a lot of recent debate about whether or not we’ve entered the Post PC Era.

Historically the term first originated when Apple‘s founder Steve Jobs discussed the future of personal computing during an interview alongside Bill Gates at the fifth All Things Digital conference in 2007. At that time he described

“a category of devices that aren’t as general purpose, that are really more focused on specific functions, whether they’re phones or iPods or Zunes or what have you. And I think that category of devices is going to continue to be very innovative and we’re going to see lots of them,”

Jobs said.

Ever the visionary, Jobs understood the transformation from the computing experience of the past to a more adaptive and personal one of the future. Wikipedia describes a PC as follows,

A personal computer (PC) is a general-purpose computer, whose size, capabilities, and original sale price makes it useful for individuals, and which is intended to be operated directly by an end-user with no intervening computer operator. This contrasted with the batch processing or time-sharing models which allowed larger, more expensive minicomputer and mainframe systems to be used by many people, usually at the same time. Large data processing systems require a full-time staff to operate efficiently.

This definition of a PC or Personal Computer was first defined more than 40 years ago when computers were giant machines in a large room including a powerful air conditioner and their usage was limited to large corporations with well-trained staff.

The PC brought personal usage of computers to people like a washing machine or any other household appliance. It’s personal in that you could own one, but wasn’t particularly personal otherwise. It still remained a stationary device. The user had to sit in front of the device. The idea of mobility or portability spoke mostly to its form factor, or design, not to its usage.

Steve Jobs did a great job and explained the world that in the future the traditional PC would no longer have to be the center of ones digital life, and that mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones would be

more portable, more personal and dramatically easier to use than any PC has ever been.

This is what Steve Jobs announced on Jan 27, 2010, a device standing between a phone and a laptop.

The most fascinating part of Jobs vision of the future is that it seems that Post PC Era has actually brought us potentially the first truly personal computers, the tablets with a truly personal mobile CPU, a kind of wearable device to augment your life.

The benefits of Apple’s Innovation …

  • Mobility
  • Use it at a time you need it
  • Perfect UI (the user interface)
  • Seamless UX (the user experience)
  • Quietness
  • Size
  • No need of any peripherals

and later added innovative features

  • Syncing via iCloud
  • Sharpness of the display
  • 64-Bit processor
  • Drastically reduced weight

When I go to the office it’s the way to work with hardware I work with since decades. The first IBM PC was released in 1981 and a bit later it got Windows and a mouse. Since that time there were basically no changes regarding this configuration, nothing what you would call innovative. The machine with its peripherals was just for doing the things you have to do. Did the machine ever motivate you to do new things which would have a strong impact on your life? Not for me because I never used a computer at home because even there a work desk would be needed followed by immobility.

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As to the immobility of a PC you have to have your ideas when sitting in front of your desk. But this often doesn’t work. There are ideas coming up just when you do not sit in the office. Even a notebook did not change this none-productive-environment basically.

But the iPad did.
It’s because a touchscreen is much nearer to human activities than any other device. What we do is mostly what we do with our hands. It’s our first approach to new things. Creating artworks, modeling new devices or writing down all the ideas leading to the E=m c c equation on a sheet of paper while walking through the room and reflecting our thoughts is almost always done by hand.

As to limited software capabilities you are forced to find out new ways to organize your work. And these new approaches of modern computing are often easier and more effective. So the machine motivates you to go alternative ways. That’s what we call creativity. And by the way a device must not support what is technically possible. The main CPU is still your brain and it cannot work more effective and creative of lots of hardware components are added.

What do you think?
Would this man have been even more creative with an iPad?

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Creativity has nothing to do with any activity in particular – with painting, poetry, dancing, singing or finding out E=m c c.
Anything can be creative – you bring that quality to the activity. Activity itself is neither creative nor uncreative. You can paint in an uncreative way and you can clean the floor in a creative way.

The iPad supports creativity by forcing you to do things with your hand. That’s what we learned as we grew up and that’s to what we come back using this kind of machine where a mouse is just eating cheese.

My opinion might look highly subjective and younger people growing up with these technical marvels cannot understand me. Then you should know that I grew up without any computer you could afford for private use.
My first PC was a Sharp MZ 80K (1978, based on a Zilog processor) followed by an IBM PC (1981) and everybody thought these machines are made for working while you first think of an iPad as a gadget. Just for fun.

Sometimes I boot the IBM PC still residing in our office (which, you won’t believe it, is still working!) and compare it with the iPad. If you had traced this long way you may understand me.

The great Albert EINSTEIN said …

Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler. The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.

The iPad …

Technology geeks might be interested in an excellent video teardown of the iPad Air launched in 2013.

The iPad Air (20 min)

The configuration …

Here is my suggestion for a suitable configuration without a PC.

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Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

This is a slightly modified version with some annotations and less details about the hardware.

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Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

Some details …

You will find articles here on iNotes4You about the following products.

iThoughts
Mind Mapping
improve personality and knowledge by visualized summarizations with the mind mapping technique
iThoughts for the iPad

Tap Forms
Database
collect information in one place by using a database which can be managed by non-technicians
zBase vs Tap Forms

FileBrowser
File Management
connect to cloud storages of any kind as well as computers within the same network, supports VPN access, WebDAV, well-known cloud providers
Apps for file management

TeamViewer
Remote Control
Seamlessly connect to any remote computer, control it, and transfer files
TeamViewer

Prizmo
Text recognition
transfer images into text by using a text recognition engine
Text Recognition

ByWord, PlainText
Simple editor
write down your ideas with a simple text editor where ever you are, with or without internet connection, and automatic syncing with Dropbox if an internet connection is available
Mystic signs of progress

Qrafter
QR-Code
read and create open and password secured QR-Codea
Mystic signs of progress

Summary …

The above mentioned configuration is suitable for replacing a computer and stats show that people are on the way to move into the post PC era.

Admittedly there are many special tasks where a computer is still required but with some creativity you are able to do many tasks with alternative techniques and learn about new techniques for organizing your life.

Nobody would use a 40t truck to buy a bottle of milk and nobody would try to transport 20 pupils to school with a Smart. So it’s no rigorous YES or NO to a PC or a tablet. Use the device it’s dedicated for at the right time and in the right place. And that’s definitely not a PC for brainstorming in a coffee shop and it’s not a tablet for doing the relevant tasks in the office.
Like in all other parts of our life we are targeted to use a device which fits best for a task. The only requirement which must be fulfilled is the ability of seamless data exchange between both, the PC and the tablet.

Related links …

iPad Attends Meetings

iPad @ Universities

iPad @ School

Apple Wireless Network

The iPad Air (20 min)

Thanks for visiting iNotes4You.
Hope to see you again.





Apple’s Customer Relationships

17 12 2013

On October 5, 2013, we saw hundreds of publications praising Steve Jobs. It was the 2nd anniversary of his death. Why did so many people and publishing media pay deference to this man? Well, he was a visionary, a philosopher, and a great entertainer and the company still is based on his principles.

What are the secrets of building strong customer relationships?

Basics …

Apple has long been recognized as a leader and innovator in customer service. They have created a system, beyond a customer support call and help center, with their Genius Bars, where customers can bring in their products and have Apple’s experts work on their computers, iPhones, etc. How easy is that! Some might even say its genius!

More than leading an organization that delivers great customer service, Jobs was an innovator. He recognized not only what customers want, but also what customers need before they even know they needed it. He literally created industries with this forward thinking kind of innovation. He was first to market with products that were unproven, but quickly turned into staples in the form of needs, not just wants.

Apple is one of the strongest brands in the world, which is due in large part to their army of evangelists. Proof is in the way Mac customers will evangelize their computer and other Apple products.

Most likely you’ll witness an amazing level of brand loyalty.

How did Apple do that?

While entire books written about Apple have answered this question, one of the simple answers is that they understand the customer. They know what customers want, and need. In some cases (iPhone and iPad) Apple already knew what customers want before customers even know they want it.

Apple created industries with this forward thinking type of innovation. Apple was first to market with products that were unproven, but quickly turned into staples in the form of needs, not just wants.

What can you provide your customers that they don’t yet know they want, or more important, need?

If there are products of high quality following the simple principle what customers need you’ll have more than a loyal customer. You’ll have a partner, an evangelist who will give you repeat business and sing your praises to their friends and associates.

See what Tim Cook said in an interview with Bloomberg Busineeweek in Sep 2013:

1 “I think it’s important that we grow, but I don’t measure our success in unit market share. So if there are a lot of $69 tablets sold that you’re just pounding on to get something to work and get some responsiveness, and it’s thick and fat and just a terrible experience.”

2 “We’re not in the JUNK BUSINESS …
What we want to do is make a really great product and provide a great experience. And I’m sure we’ll get enough customers that want to buy that. We want to please them.”

3 “To make the very best products in the world that really deeply enrich people’s lives. That’s what we’re about. And now it’s not to make the most. It’s not to have the highest market cap, but that’s the result of doing the first one well.”

4 “I think that Android is more fragmented than ever and, as a result, when you look at things like customer satisfaction and usage, you see the gap between Android and iOS being huge.
There is a huge difference between market share of units and usage share.
And that’s really important to us because we have never been about selling the most. We’re about selling the best and having the best experience and having the happiest customers.
Happy generally means using more.”

5 “Well, some people define or have sort of redefined innovation. And to them innovation only equals a new category. And I don’t view it that way. I don’t view it that way at all. I mean, if you look at these products, there are many innovative things in these products, from the fingerprint sensor to the flash to the processing power. IOS is filled with innovation. Seven’s innovation overflows the cup.”

… and these principles of Steve Jobs:

1 “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”

2 “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

3 “We’re gambling on our vision, and we would rather do that than make ‘me too’ products. Let some other companies do that. For us, it’s always the next dream.”

4 “But then I thought about it and realized that everybody helped me when I was young, from Bill Hewlett to the guy down the block who worked for HP. So I called him back and said sure.”

5 “The Valley has been very supportive of me. I should do my best to repay.”

Engagement …

Steve Jobs was in direct contact with customers to build up customer relationships and stepped into a role model for his employees. This built up part of Apple’s DNA regarding customer relations and today is continued with the Genius Bar (hands-on technical support from experts for Apple products, using your own device) within Apple Stores.

Among CEOs, Steve Jobs was an outlier. CEOs of public companies are generally hands-on, but Jobs was involved in nearly every detail, from determining which industries Apple should invade to the material used for the iPhone’s screen.

Jobs even got directly involved in customer service, which was a part of Apple’s business for which he exercised a great deal of attention and patience. He fielded e-mails about broken laptops and intervened on support calls.

Unlike other leaders, Jobs was handling an unusual number of his company’s own basic customer service inquiries.

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Long before that, however, Jobs was extraordinarily embedded in handling customer complaints. On October 11, 1999, not long after Jobs returned to a dying company and took on the title of interim CEO (or iCEO), he fielded an inquiry from a customer named David about iBook laptop shortages.
“We are doing the best we can with a limited supply (which is finally now increasing). Please remember that some of the first pre-orders came from CompUSA,” Jobs wrote.

For example, a customer complaining about Apple not honoring its warranty for his computer received the following response from Jobs in 2008:

“This is what happens when your MacBook Pro sustains water damage. They are pro machines and they don’t like water. It sounds like you’re just looking for someone to get mad at other than yourself.”

Jobs didn’t often pick up the phone to go back and forth with customers, but at least one Apple customer, Scott Steckley, recalls a time when an e-mail to Jobs, explaining how there seemed to be no end in sight to his wait for a computer repair, was met with a phone call.
“Hi Scott, this is Steve,” Steckley recalled hearing from the other end of the phone.
“Steve Jobs?” he asked.
“Yeah,” Jobs said. “I just wanted to apologize for your incredibly long wait. It’s really nobody’s fault. It’s just one of those things.”
“Yeah, I understand.”
Then Jobs explained that he expedited the repair. “I also wanted to thank you for your support of Apple,” Jobs said. “I see how much equipment you own. It really makes my day to see someone who enjoys our products so much and who supports us in the good times and bad.”
CNN about Jobs customer service

NPS …

Economists always try to measure business related facts.

Net Promoter Score
is a customer loyalty metric developed by (and a registered trademark of) Fred Reichheld, Bain Company, and Satmetrix. NPS can be as low as −100 (everybody is a detractor) or as high as +100 (everybody is a promoter). An NPS that is positive (i.e., higher than zero) is felt to be good, and an NPS of +50 is excellent.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures the loyalty that exists between a Provider and a consumer. The provider is the entity that is asking the questions on the NPS survey. The Consumer is the customer, employee, or respondent to an NPS survey.
Wikipedia

Alan Deutschman said in the New York Times about Steve Jobs:

“He doesn’t market-test anything. It’s all his own judgment and perfectionism and gut…. Again and again, Mr. Jobs has gambled that he knew what the customer would want, and again and again he has been right.”

Gambling? Instinct? Gut? Not really.

The reality is that Apple listens very closely and systematically to its customers. Apple is one of the premier exponents of the Net Promoter Score for systematically listening to customers and managing its business in response to what they hear.

Apple has been a pioneer in adapting the NPS framework to employees. Apple realized that only employees who were promoters themselves of Apple were likely to be able to turn customers into promoters. So they began surveying their own employees every four months to determine how likely the employees would be to recommend the store as a place to work.

When Apple began measuring NPS in 2007, its 163 stores already had an excellent NPS of 58%. In 2011, its 320 stores worldwide have an outstanding NPS of 72%. The best stores achieve a remarkable 90% NPS.

Is the primary source of customer enthusiasm Apple’s amazing products or cool design?
No. The most common reason for becoming promoters is the way store employees treat them.

It helps everyone to do the right thing, enrich the lives of the customers they touch. Making money is the result, not the goal. The result is of course that Apple makes an awful lot of money. Where a typical electronics store averages $1,200 per square foot in sales, mature Apple stores exceed $6,000 per square foot, the highest productivity in retailing of any kind.
What sometimes confuses people in thinking about Apple is that they see Apple making a lot of money, and they begin to imagine that making money must be Apple’s goal. On the contrary. If making money were ever to become Apple’s goal, the whole approach would collapse back into the failing practices of traditional management. Thus Apple practices radical management, where making money is the result, not the goal of the organization.

The bottom line of Apple’s business is to delight the customer.

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Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

Influence …

Appreciation of a whole company goes along with the grade of innovative power and the intensity of customer relationships.

The impact has been not only economic but also cultural. Apple’s innovations have set off an entire rethinking of how humans interact with machines. It’s not simply that we use our fingers now instead of a mouse. Smartphones, in particular, have become extensions of our brains. They have fundamentally changed the way people receive and process information. Ponder the individual impacts of the book, the newspaper, the telephone, the radio, the tape recorder, the camera, the video camera, the compass, the television, the VCR and the DVD, the personal computer, the cellphone, the video game and the iPod. The smartphone is all those things, and it fits in your pocket. Its technology is changing the way we learn in school, the way doctors treat patients, the way we travel and explore. Entertainment and media are accessed and experienced in entirely new ways.
The New York Times, Oct 4, 2013
And Then Steve Said, ‘Let There Be an iPhone’

Participation …

When navigating Apple’s homepage you will find a link at the bottom on the right side which is named ‘Contact us’. On the site ‘Contacting Apple’ you will find a submenu ‘Feedback’.

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It’s not likely that anybody will get an answer when participating in Apple’s feedback offer. It’s more likely that Apple will react if the collected serious suggestions are likely the public opinion.

Related links …

Apple Feedback

Tim Cook interview, Sep 2013

Lessons learned from 4 Steve Jobs quotes

Summary …

Building up customer relations over years are one of the cornerstones of successful business and forces customers to recommend products. Companies that continually create customer relationships over the long term learn how to ingrain the ability into their corporate makeup; it becomes part of their culture and DNA. Along with all the other strategic considerations the result today is:

Apple is the most valuable brand in the world (Forbes 2012)
Apple is the Best Brand of the world (BCG 2013)
Apple leads all stats regarding customer satisfaction

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SIRI

13 12 2013

SIRI is the implemented femininity on iOS devices although nobody knows how she looks like.
Did she improve her communication skills?

Yes, she now can control your device (without getting control over you).
And she does it even for male users.

Femininity and serving even male users can go together.

All we know about her is that

  • she must be very small to fit into your iPhone with all it high-tech components
  • she is always friendly what doesn’t remind us of a human being
  • speaks an increasing number of languages
  • she only goes to bed if you turn off WiFi and Cellular Data
  • her birthday is the 4th of October
    (Ask SIRI ‘What day is the 4th of October’ and she will answer ‘It’s …,October 4, 2013 (SIRI’s birthday)’.
  • the name is Norwegian, meaning “beautiful woman who leads you to victory”

Apple about it’s new waitress …

Apple describes Siri on it’s website …

Siri lets you use your voice to send messages, schedule meetings, place phone calls, and more. Ask Siri to do things just by talking the way you talk. Siri understands what you say, knows what you mean, and even talks back. Siri is so easy to use and does so much, you’ll keep finding more and more ways to use it.

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SIRI is a speech recognition (SR) feature. There are two different approaches to let people successfully communicate with machines.

Some SR systems use “speaker independent speech recognition” while others use “training” where an individual speaker reads sections of text into the SR system. These systems analyze the person’s specific voice and use it to fine tune the recognition of that person’s speech, resulting in more accurate transcription. Systems that do not use training are called “speaker independent” systems. Systems that use training are called “speaker dependent” systems. SIRI is a speaker independent system so you have to follow the rules for successful communication.

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Siri is different from the dictation feature for iOS devices but it also needs an active internet connection to return a stream of characters.

The problems of speech recognition …

The performance of speech recognition systems is usually evaluated in terms of accuracy and speed. Speech recognition by a machine is a complex problem because vocalizations vary in terms of

  • Accent
  • Pronunciation
  • Articulation
  • Roughness
  • Nasality
  • Pitch
  • Volume
  • Speed

Speech is distorted by background noise, echoes, and electrical and air characteristics. Accuracy of speech recognition is determined by

  • Vocabulary size and confusability
  • Speaker dependence vs. independence
  • Isolated, discontinuous, or continuous speech
  • Task and language constraints
  • Read vs. spontaneous speech

All these disturbances are likely to think that SIRI is a woman beyond nature. Right. That’s the reason why we have still no photo of her, even the NSA is lacking reliable information about her.

Joke apart. It’s not SIRI who does the work, it’s the power of cloud servers deeded with subtle algorithms to interpret what has been said. SIRI is just the mail carrier.

The hard work is done by complex mathematical operations on cloud servers when a human voice packet arrives, going to be interpreted and information sent back to your device where it can be executed e.g. to open an application.

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These basic results of the analysis of human voice have to be considered when retrieving appropriate, machine readable information to give an answer on what the user requested. Don’t ask me how it works in details. To describe all this would mean to post at least some miles of text.

Early beginnings …

Apple had early visions of a voice-assisted future. In the late 1980s, Apple came up with a concept called Knowledge Navigator. The company produced a series of videos that showed people interacting with this fictitious system via a touch screen tablet and natural conversation. Its avatar looked and sounded perfectly human, and it could conduct a flawless conversation with you to help you plan your schedule, communicate with friends and colleagues, and access all sorts of networked information. They haven’t quite reached the level of interaction and sophistication displayed in those videos, but with the release of the revamped version of SIRI Apple has taken the another big step toward this futuristic vision.

Other device manufacturers and software retailers have had speech-recognition applications on the market for a while, as well. Third-party apps like Nuance’s Dragon Dictate and its newer Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice dictation applications have been available since the 1990s. We’ve been talking to automated phone systems for years (primitive ancestors of the more robust dictation and assistant programs of today). Voice-recognition technology is even being used for things like entry of patient information at hospitals. But most of these are still demonstrations of voice-recognition artificial intelligence (AI) in its infancy, able to only perform simple tasks like taking down what you say or responding to a limited number of preset commands.

Siri takes the technology quite a few steps further. It was originally a third-party app called Siri Assistant, released in 2010 and slated for release on other platforms, but Apple bought the company, removed it from the App Store and made it a proprietary feature fully integrated with the iPhone’s operating system (iOS). The integrated app was in beta when it was first released in 2011 as part of iOS 5, but since its upgrades in iOS 6 (released in 2012), it is considered fully functional and improved with iOS 7, mainly with features for controlling the device.

Siri came native on iPhone 4S and later, iPad with Retina Display, iPad Mini and the fifth-generation iPod Touch, but isn’t available for prior models.

Unlike a search engine that returns long raw lists of links related to keywords you select, Siri is designed to interpret your request, hone in on what it thinks you want, and perform actions to give you a more limited but more correct amount of data or services in return. Siri understands context.

Requests are sent to cloud servers to be interpreted and for retrieving answers via third party services.

Anything related to mathematical computation or scientific facts is likely to come from Wolfram Alpha. Information related to businesses like restaurants or retail stores is likely to come from Yelp, although restaurant reservations are through OpenTable. Weather info comes from Apple’s built-in Weather app, powered by Yahoo. And movie time listings, reviews and other movie information would likely come from Rotten Tomatoes. Any request Siri doesn’t understand will cause her to ask you for more information to clarify, or to ask you if you want her to look it up on the Web. She uses your phone’s GPS to retrieve and return information relevant to your current location.

Activating SIRI …

Go to Settings – General – Siri, turn on Siri and choose your language. There is an option called ‘Raise to Speak’ which, if turned on, let’s you communicate with Siri when raising your iPhone to your ear and start speaking. It’s the implemented Proximity Sensor which covers this setting.

Proximity sensor
This sensor can determine how close the iPhone is to your face. This sensor is what helps the iPhone turn off its screen automatically whenever you hold the phone up to your ear. This is necessary to prevent accidental button clicks by the side of your head when talking. This sensor is only on the iPhone (since the other devices don’t need it).

Privacy …

If you go to Settings – General – Siri you will find Apple’s notes about Siri and privacy.

When you use Siri, which includes the dictation feature of your device, the things you say and dictate will be recorded and sent to Apple to process your requests. Your device will also send Apple other information, such as your name and nickname; the names, nicknames, and relationship with you (e.g., “my dad”) of your address book contacts; and song names in your collection (collectively, your “User Data”). All of this data is used to help Siri understand you better and recognize what you say. It is not linked to other data that Apple may have from your use of other Apple services.

If you have Location Services turned on, the location of your device at the time you make a request will also be sent to Apple to help Siri improve the accuracy of its response to your location-based requests (e.g., “what’s the weather like here today?”). You may choose to turn off Location Services for Siri. To do so, open Settings, tap Privacy, tap Location Services, and slide the Siri switch to “off”.

Information collected by Apple will be treated in accordance with Apple’s Privacy Policy, which can be found at http://www.apple.com/privacy.

You may choose to turn off Siri at any time. To do so, open Settings, tap General, tap Siri, and slide the Siri switch to “off”. If you turn off Siri, Apple will delete your User Data, as well as your recent voice input data. Older voice input data that has been disassociated from you may be retained for a period of time to generally improve Siri, Dictation and dictation functionality in other Apple products and services. This voice input data may include audio files and transcripts of what you said and related diagnostic data, such as hardware and operating system specifications and performance statistics.

You can also restrict the ability to use Siri altogether under the Restrictions Setting

According to Apple’s Muller, the company takes steps to ensure that the data is anonymized and only collects the Siri voice clips in order to improve Siri itself. Whenever you speak into Apple’s voice activated personal digital assistant, it ships it off to Apple’s servers for analysis. Apple generates a random number to represent the user and it associates the voice files with that number. This number represents you as far as Siri’s back-end voice analysis system is concerned.

Once the voice recording is six months old, Apple disassociates your user number from the clip, deleting the number from the voice file. But it keeps these disassociated files for up to 18 more months for testing and product improvement purposes.

“Apple may keep anonymized Siri data for up to two years,” Muller says. “If a user turns Siri off, both identifiers are deleted immediately along with any associated data.”

Even if the Siri data is not linked directly to users, people should be careful about what they say to their personal digital assistant. “Think before you speak.” makes sense also in real life.

All supported features …

Here is a mind map with all supported features in iOS 7, some examples how to use SIRI (some rules have to receive attention), and some background imformation.

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Feel free to download this mind map.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

Pros and cons …

Cons …

  • 1 It doesn’t work without an active internet connection.
  • 2 Controlling your phone by talking to it nerves others when doing it in public places.
  • 3 Sometimes SIRI doesn’t understand you or does something you didn’t want her to do.
  • 4 Relevant settings can be accessed much more faster when using the Control Center of iOS 7.
  • 5 In a public environment talking to SIRI disturbs other people.

Pros …

  • 1 SIRI increases security when controlling the iPhone in a car e.g. for starting calls, making a note or a reminder

    Apple on it’s website …
    Apple is working with car manufacturers to integrate Siri into select voice control systems. Through the voice command button on your steering wheel, you’ll be able to ask Siri questions without taking your eyes off the road. To minimize distractions even more, your iOS device’s screen won’t light up. With the Eyes Free feature, ask Siri to call people, select and play music, hear and compose text messages, use Maps and get directions, read your notifications, find calendar information, add reminders, and more. It’s just another way Siri helps you get things done, even when you’re behind the wheel.

  • 2 Opening apps which are actually not in the Multitasking View can be done faster than navigating to the folder which contains the app

Summary …

A big step forward but I see more cons than pros. It seems to me that speech control still is not widely accepted except in a car for increasing security.

Related links …

Apple about SIRI

SIRI in action

Thanks for dropping by.





Designed by Apple in California

8 12 2013

Apple has always been proud of the fact that it’s an American company and more specifically, a major force in the growth of Silicon Valley that for decades has been and still remains the EPICENTER of all things tech. This ad helps reinforce the idea that Silicon Valley is not going away and in fact will continue to be a major tech design center well into the future.

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If you look on the backside of an iPhone you will see

Designed by Apple in California

and it’s not only the design made by Apple’s Industrial Design Group (IDg), it’s everything, hardware, operating systems, software, and services.

Many big companies are diversified and cover lots of completely different markets. Apple doesn’t, the company focusses on a straightforward set of products and services with a clearly defined target: Bring it all together.

Following Steve Jobs and Tim Cooks philosophy to offer the best products it’s obvious that product design also has to be outstanding.

No other company presents it’s products on their websites like Apple.
See these high-resolution images of the new iPhone 5S which show quality, simplicity, durability, and functionality. And btw, other companies shouldn’t do this because of a much lower quality of materials and in many cases a simple product design which lures nobody into the cinemas. The key to high-quality design is a simple shape, the interaction of shape and material, the avoidance of bells and whistles, and a strong focus on functionality to seamlessly use the product.

See this comparison of Apple’s and Samsung’s website both presenting their flagships for the smartphone market.

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A more detailed view on a single product shows the differences between hardware and entity oriented ad. Samsung manufactures hardware but gets the operating system from Google. So it’s ad focusses just on the hardware not mentioning the Android operating system but placing a photo on the screen with no relation to the product.

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A more detailed view on the website of Apple where we can see a choreography of product images with well-worded subtitles.

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And there’s more. Searching for images of Samsung devices as high-resolution images on Samsung’s website was unsuccessful. Maybe it’s why these kind of images would show the lacks in product quality.

What we find when analyzing Apple’s websites are basic principles of web design.
Basically, users’ habits on the Web aren’t that different from customers’ habits in a store. Visitors glance at each new page, scan some of the text, and click on the first link that catches their interest or vaguely resembles the thing they’re looking for. In fact, there are large parts of the page they don’t even look at.

Users don’t read, they scan
Notice how “hot” areas abrupt in the middle of sentences. This is typical for the scanning process.
Web users are impatient and insist on instant gratification. Very simple principle: If a web-site isn’t able to meet users’ expectations, then designer failed to get his job done properly and the company looses money. The higher is the cognitive load and the less intuitive is the navigation, the more willing are users to leave the web-site and search for alternatives. Apple reduces the information load to a minimum and focusses on presenting the product. The surfer’s eye is completely focussed on the product.

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Users don’t make optimal choices
Users don’t search for the quickest way to find the information they’re looking for. They don’t scan websites in a linear way. They choose the first reasonable option. As soon as they find a link that seems like it might lead to the goal, there is a very good chance that it will be immediately clicked. Apple’s website smoothly brings the visitor from eye-catchers to the technical details.

Users follow their intuition
In most cases users muddle through instead of reading the information a designer has provided. According to Steve Krug, the basic reason for that is that users don’t care. “If we find something that works, we stick to it. It doesn’t matter to us if we understand how things work, as long as we can use them.”

ADA …

Apple also supports that their DNA moves over to developers.
The Apple Design Awards is a special event hosted by Apple Inc. at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. The event is meant to recognize the best and most innovative Macintosh and iOS software and hardware produced by independent developers, as well as the best and most creative uses of Apple’s products. The ADAs, as they are commonly known, are awarded in a variety of categories which vary from year to year. The Apple Design Awards have been presented each year since 1996, though for the first two years of their existence they were known as the Human Interface Design Excellence (HIDE) Awards.

Facts …

This mind map summarizes some facts, design highlights, and the engineers standing behind Apple’s design philosophy.

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Feel free to download this mind map.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

Summary …

In September 2013 Andrew Taylor (Boston Consulting Group) summarized:

“Companies that continually create value over the long term—meaning decades or more—learn how to ingrain the ability into their corporate makeup; it becomes part of their culture and DNA.They create value, jobs, and growth because of their ability to institutionalize innovation.”

Apple’s design is fully integrated in the company’s strategy and without bells and whistles. The focus is just on creativity, innovation, and producing cutting-edge technology.

Related links …

Designed by Apple

Apple, a unique company

Apple’s Strategy and Ad

Apple’s Intangible Assets

Thanks for surfing by.








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