There is already a lot of analysis on new iPhone 5 C (for color) and 5 S (for sensors) including the usual fanboys such as Gruber, Siegler etc,.) and the haters (sarcastically indicating that “Google laughs at the new phone”)
I wanted to analyze it from a Product Manager’s perspective. Wall Street’s initial reaction is pessimism. Apple’s stock is down 5% the day after, but the fact that Apple doesn’t do what the Street wants it to do, gives me optimism.
Observations on the 5C
The creation of 5C is interesting for its positioning and pricing. Apple diverged from its usual play of bumping the price down by $100. It packaged the product differently, added color and has made what is basically the iPhone 5 a “New Product”.
5C is now the “bread and butter” product for Apple. It is the first product featured on the website and the 5S is repeatedly positioned as a cutting edge product, and in many ways seems like a decoy.
5C is meant to “pull up” those who would have otherwise gone for the free product, but also meant to make them feel good about the product they have. (that color!)
If you hate those 5C colors, you are not the target market! Anecdotally, I have heard that there is a lot of excitement about the colors from teens and new grads. Parents can expect to spend on the 5C.
Apple 5C plus the $30 cases (which will be ALL margin) will keep the bottom line happy.
The fact that the 32GB 5C and the 16GB 5S are the same price is a little head-scratching.
I am surprised Apple let “hon” slip through the cracks.
Observations on the 5S
The 5S is very interesting from the perspective of iterative product development. I don’t know if it transpired this way, but I can envision someone doing the “Thai food approach” (aka the Similans approach) to each aspect of how iPhones are used and looking at how that experience can be fixed or improved. The idea is that you categorize / prioritize each area in a chili-meter, much like a Thai restaurant rates their food for spicy-ness. Here is my shot at de-constructing it.
People take a lot of pictures on their iPhones. So, the thinking is “Let’s make the camera amazing”". The iPhone 6c (my name for the next year model when this camera becomes more mainstream) would become be the final nail in the coffin of Point and Shoot cameras, if they aren’t already dead. 3.5 chillies.
People buy a lot of games on their iPhones. It amounts for 40% of the total app store downloads. So, Let’s put a 64-bit processor in there to make it FAST! Nintendo 3DS is a failure, and 2DS is now on notice. Legit gaming consoles (like Kinect/Xbox, Wii, Play Station) will be the DSLRs and handheld gaming consoles will die. (not that you already didnt know it). 4 chillies
Better battery was on everyone’s wishlist: Oh yeah, and we have also added a 64-bit processor to it, which could make matters worse. How about we add a new processor (the M7) for some of the more battery intensive tasks. Oh, that also puts a whole new category of apps on steroids and helps us get into the market with Fitbit, Fuelband etc,.? SWEET! (although it could very well have been the other way around, where M7 was introduced to get into that category and had the benefit of preserving battery life) 5 chillies
People tend to lose their phones and passcodes are a pain (According to Apple, 50% dont have it enabled). Typing complicated password for buying apps is a pain, and we have data that X% of users abandon buying apps (or In app purchases) at the password stage, so Let’s make that easy. Let’s have a fingerprint sensor to unlock the phone AND make it easy to buy apps/music from the phone. This makes our ecosystem even more stronger. Win-win. 3 chillies for painpoint and 5 chillies for upside
There you have it. This post is a bit of a brain dump, but figured I’d get back into the habit and also join in on this conversation. What are your thoughts? Which model are you going to buy?
Paying attention to the little details, the ones that no one might ever notice, is a great way to take pride in your craft. When those details DO get noticed, you will show your customers and users that you care. Plus they are a great way to add character and show some personality in your apps. Through Mike Champion, I found this great tumblr blog called Little Big Details which has a great collection of such details. A great site to get inspired and know that those little big details do get noticed.
Image via legends2k
Check out : Little Big Details
It seems like QR codes are everywhere these days. Yes, literally everywhere, from restaurant tables to Train station to bananas. (Can you believe it? On Bananas!)
While their usage is not quite mainstream (yet), it is growing steadily and I expect the adoption to really take off when iOS joins the other popular mobile platforms (Android and to some Windows Phone) and supports QR Code natively. There are helpful posts on how to create your qrcode in 4 easy steps and how they can be used to generate leads . In this post, I’ll give you some power-user tips to generate Robust QR Codes and increase your chances of conversion.
In many ways a QR Code is like someone casually browsing your website. They start out as a casual onlooker of QR Code and ends up as a lead. If you think of it as a funnel (Like all marketers, I love funnels), here are five tips to make each step of the funnel effective :
1. Make your QR code attractive: Yes, you read that right. You can make QR Codes attractive. For example, you can customize it with your logo, use the same colors as your brand or identity so that it attracts attention. A word of caution though, especially when you are trying fancy things like putting your logo on the QRCode). Anytime you manually do anything with the QRCode, make sure you test it thoroughly, ensure that it can be scanned and ensure that you haven’t accidentally corrupted the code itself). Sticking your logo at the center of the code, with a white border (like in the example below, should usually be good). Here are a couple of examples of customized QRCodes.
2. Make your QR Code easy to scan: Use a URL shortener so that you are encoding lesser information, and consider picking level H (for high level of error correction). A higher level of error correction increases the likelihood that your code will be scanned, even when it is exposed to adverse conditions (like bad weather, or the code is in a banana). Here is an example showing a QRCode with a long URL: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/30678/9-Unique-Ways-to-Generate-Leads-With-QR-Codes.aspx and the same code but now representing a shortened URL: http://hub.am/NKxvQr Any guesses on which will be picked up faster by the phone?
3. Make sure your QR Code takes to a mobile optimized page: All your efforts in making your QRCode attractive will be of no use, if your leads land on a page that is not optimized for mobile. You should also consider content that is mobile friendly (such as a video)
4. Think beyond URLs : Think beyond URLs, make it contextual and make it relevant. For example, A QR code in a business card should be that of a VCF file. Remember that QR Codes are not restricted to just URLs. You can have QR codes for a lot of different categories including YouTube Videos, Google Maps Location, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Telephone Number, SMS Message, Email Address, Email Message, Contact Details (VCARD), Event (VCALENDAR)
5. Try, Measure, Fix, Repeat: QR Codes are a great way to bridge the gap between online and offline marketing. Use utm_campaign codes using a tracking URL builder when encoding your URLs (which gives you one more reason to use a URL shortener). If you use these codes, you can exactly tell how many visits you are getting from the QR Code and how many of those are converting to leads
Have you used QR Codes successfully in your marketing campaigns? How did you make the most out of it?
When talking to your customers and users, it is important to synthesize the information to make sure you are not just “delivering faster horses” (and apparently, there is no evidence that Henry Ford actually said it, but I digress). When you are working onbrand new features, you likely are talking to a lot of power users and early adopters. Given how well they know about your current product, it is quite likely that they will tell you not only the “what” of the feature but also give you insights on the “how”.
So It becomes important to distinguish between what the user says by way of implementation and what the user’s real intent is. There are a couple of cues that can alert you to this:
- Is the user focusing on the feature or are they talking about the benefit they’d derive from the feature? (To continue the faster horse analogy above, are they asking for shinier new wheels with additional spare wheels (which are features), or are they wishing that they get to a place faster (which is a benefit)
- From the blog Scotch and Code, I found another useful way. When the user is talking about the feature/app, are they saying “IT can do this” or are they saying “I can do this”. This subtle shift in perspective is a cue on whether the user is focusing and more importantly give a sense for whether the user thinks of your app as a tool that empowers them to do what they want to accomplish.
And finally, here is a good example of how the focus is on the user’s intent. The Spilt keyboard in the iPad, accounts for the fact that people are going to tap on the empty spaces near the keys along the edge AND it guesses the user’s intent and magically makes those taps in empty spaces to the adjoining letter. Here is an illustration of this nifty trick:
Go ahead, try it out in your iPad. This is a classic example of focusing on the user’s intent, and not on the specifics of a given implementation.
I went to the MassMobile – Mobile Developers Meetup, organized by Localytics, yesterday. There was a very lively discussion, with participants sharing stories of what worked, what didn’t, and what they are trying now. Here are my key takeaways / quick
summary of the meet up:
- Ice Cream Sandwich is not in anyone’s radar right now. Almost everyone is still thinking about 2.2 and 2.3. (Except maybe Google, which seems to be looking ahead. Looks Like Android 5.0 aka jellybean is coming up soon)
- There were not a lot of real-life pain points around Fragmentation (yet?!). There wasn’t anyone that had to resort to device specific builds or anything funky like that.
- Almost everyone is still developing native apps over HTML5 sites. A couple of folks had gone down the path of HTML5 before deciding to go native largely due to poor user experience on HTML 5.
- There was a lot of interest on the so-called “Hybrid apps”. A few people had prototyped using frameworks such as jQuery Mobile, PhoneGap, but nothing in the market yet.
- There were not a lot of folks developing for Multiple platforms (such as Android and iOS).
- There was a lot of discussion on how developing for Android would be different than developing for iOS. Three key themes emerged:
- Actual coding is roughly the same between the two platforms.
- Android has higher demands for testing, due to the varied types of devices and configuration.
- Android has slightly higher UX cost, given the different screen resolutions.
- Windows 7 is still < 5% of the total market share. Apparently, the developer tools are great and development is really easy. Hopefully there will soon be people that actually use it, so we can build some apps for it.
Thanks to Raj and the Localytics team for making it useful and informative.
I guess this one should be filed under “Duh”. The use of personas is pretty common while defining user interfaces and is a valuable tool in defining use cases, usage scenarios.
It is a very logical next step as you move from the what to build (through Customer Development) to the actual building (Product Development). The KissMetrics blog has a an interesting post today on how you can use Personas to define your SEO Keywords. When figuring out which keywords to optimize for (and bid), it is especially important to speak the “user’s tongue”. Use of the right terminology is not only important within your product, but it is even more important to get it right, to make sure you get your positioning right. Personas help refine the SEO key terms and I think are also a great way to figure out which segment works well and which ones don’t.
While I have used some of the underlying techniques here, I have never actively thought of extending personas in the context of SEO. Overall, a great read. Check out the the entire blog post at the KissMetrics blog at How User Personas Can Improve Your SEO Strategy
This blog post (and graphic) drives home the how manufacturers are not updating Android frequently (my Top 10 peeve with the platform). A few of the stats really jump out at me:
- 10 of 18 were at least two major versions behind well within their two year contract period.
- 15 of 18 don’t run Gingerbread, which shipped in December 2010.
Check out Android Orphans blog post to get all the information.
Thank you, Steve for inspiring me to create technology that “just works”
Thank you, Steve for proving to me that technology doesn’t have to be clunky, messy and awkward
Thank you, Steve for helping me appreciate beautiful design
You sure put a ding in the universe. I promise to Stay Hungry and Stay Foolish.
Knowing your users and the context in which they are using your app is a key aspect of developing useful and user-engaged mobile apps. This is especially important in a fragmented market (and a recurring theme in the frustrations of developers). The Hunch Blog has some interesting stats on broad demographics and patterns of iOS and Android users.
Here are a few that I found especially relevant to me:
- Stat: iOS users also travel frequently. (They are 50% more likely to have visited more than five countries and 55% more likely to have used their frequent flyer miles).
Takeaway: Optimize your app for slower data connections and Be sure to test your app in “Airplane mode”.
- Stat: iOS users are 26% more likely to prefer spending their money and Android users are 29% more likely to prefer saving their money .
Takeaway: Charge for your iOS apps even if it is just 99 cents
- Stat: iOS Users are early adopters, 50% more likely to first use the Internet before ’92 and 67% more likely to back up their computer constantly.
Takeaway: This is further confirmation that iCloud is going to have a lot of potential. You start with a user base that backs up constantly and then give them a very easy way for their data to be available everywhere. If you have iOS apps and weren’t already considering iCloud, you should.
Other Interesting stats:
- Android users are 10% more likely to be men and iOS users are 10% more likely to be women.
- iOS users are 50% more likely to text while driving. (Seriously!)
- Android users are 50% more likely to use Yahoo! Mail. (Maybe this bodes well for Yahoo’s upcoming Android phone)
As with any other broad based demographics, analyze it in the context of your users and be sure not to confuse correlation with causation.