I thought Deadpool was meh

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I wasnt into Deadpool. If this starts a trend of superhero movies breaking the fourth wall. i wont be a happy camper. I liked the Christopher Nolan Batman trend of dark and gritty superhero movies.

Please Deadpool, despite your massive box office success. Don’t start a Hollywood trend.

 

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Amazon Surprises by Launching an Unconventional Invention

In technology news, seemingly out of nowhere, Amazon has launched a new device called the Echo.  It’s priced at $199 but for a short time is available for $99 for Select Prime customers who receive an invitation.

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What is the Echo?  It’s a small black cylindrical device that you put in your room.  The Echo can tell you the weather when you are getting ready for work.  It can play music according to your instructions.  You can ask it questions and it will respond to you on Wikipedia and Google news.

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Basically it is like the Siri digital personal assistant, but uses sensors and a beam forming technology that can detect sounds from 360 degrees around the room.  It plays music from popular streaming services including Amazon Prime Music, iHeartRadio, Spotify and Pandora.

It even has a name — Alexa.

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I always use my Siri personal digital assistant to set wake up alarms for me on my iPhone, so the idea of an “Echo” is absolutely intriguing.  I have already signed up for an invite, and have read some of the early reviews for it, and watched demonstrations.  It looks great!!

The Echo got so much media attention it even inspired a hilarious parody video which received well over 3 million YouTube views.

Whether the Echo is a success or not remains to be seen but I give to Amazon for thinking out of the box and introducing some unconventional ingenuity to the marketplace.

Apple Success Forces Samsung Woes

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Samsung third quarter results came in and they were not pretty at all.  Profits tumbled 74 percent year over year.  Samsung also reported a 60 percent drop in operating profit.  And a 20 percent decline in revenue in September.

Ugly statistics.

For the past couple years there have been two clear frontrunners for the best selling handsets — Apple’s Iphones  and the Samsung Galaxy S5 line.

According to the Financial Times, the reason for the dramatic dip in Samsung profits was because consumers held off buying Samsung phones in anticipation of Apples launch of the Iphone 6 and Iphone 6 plus.  These two Apple phones were directly competing with the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the phablet sized Samsung Galaxy Note 4. I was definitely one of those people who held off buying the Samsung Galaxy s5 for one of the new Iphones.

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I actually loved my Samsung Galaxy S4.  And the idea of switching from android to IoS made me uncomfortable.

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But…I loved the idea that Apple was launching the AppleWatch early next year. And I knew that the AppleWatch would only be compatible with the Iphone.  So I jumped off the Samsung bandwagon and joined the Apple Bandwagon.

According to the Apple Website, sales of the Iphone 6 exceeded 10 million just three days after its launch on September 19, setting a record for phone sales.

Just to show how successful the Apple Iphone 6 launch was – supply for the new iphones was so much less than demand, that people were turning to ebay scalpers to buy their iphones without having to wait. People were paying $3050 on ebay for two of them!

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I definitely wasn’t willing to pay scalper prices for my Iphone 6 Plus. So ended up waiting a month before i was able to get mine, even though I pre-ordered my Iphone to get an early place in line.

But just out of curiosity, while I was waiting for my IPhone to get to me, I wanted to see just how hard it really was to get the Iphone 6 Plus.  So I walked into the Apple Store and was promptly told there were no Iphone 6 or 6 pluses in stock.  I then went to my local TMobile store, and was told with some slight compassion, ‘Sorry, No’.  Anywhere else I went asking for an Iphone 6, I was met mostly with laughs or with answers like we haven’t gotten any new Iphone 6s since our first batch sold out.

Getting back to Samsung.  Well, they tried their best to stifle the demand for the new iphones, releasing a series of ads mocking Apples new plus sized phone and the announcement of AppleWatch.

Samsung also created an ad referencing a Steve Jobs quote about how the iphone was the perfect size because you could use it with only one hand, while boasting that Apple was merely copying what they had already done.

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Samsung also mocked the Apple Watch by claiming it had already released its own range of smart wearables, with the Galaxy Note 4 and Gear S smartwatch

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WELL these ads, CLEARLY haven’t been working well. According to CNET, Apple has been churning out 140,000 Iphone 6 pluses a DAY and 400,000 Iphone 6s a DAY.  And still, supply has not been able to meet demand.

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And now back to the issue at hand.  Samsungs profits have tumbled and are snowballing downward.  Apple has forced change withing Samsung’s smartphone strategy and business model.  This came in an announcement this week in which Samsung would be releasing two new phones The Samsung Galaxy A3 and the Samsung Galaxy A5.

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What’s different about these phones is that they are most likely going to be aggressively priced.  Their specs are more midranged.  Although they are still solid quality.  But basically with the announcement of these two new phones, Samsung is saying they cannot compete with Apple in the high end range game and so they are going after the mid range market.   They will have to compete by lowering prices and without sacrificing quality.   They will continue to sell their flagship Samsung Galaxy s5 and Galaxy Note 4 but they will likely rely less on those models and more on the lower priced models.

Meanwhile, the amazing sales of the IPhone 6 guarantee a happy holiday season for Apple.

Will Apple Pay Succeed or Not?

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Will Apple Pay become a success?  The service which launched on Monday has clearly benefited from a great deal of hoopla online.  The service is relatively easy to use.  You just add your credit cards and then at check out, you can simply tap your card on the Apple Pay reader machine and it will spit out a receipt.  Will this change the future of how we pay for products at the store?  Will it render the credit card obsolete?  It’s important to realize that prior attempts to do mobile wallet have failed, and that includes google wallet, as well as ISIS payments which was a a joint venture between the carrier networks ATT, Verizon and TMobile.

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Currently Apple Pay works only in certain locations.  Its been unrolled in both Walgreens as well as McDonalds.  Naturally, knowing that I would be doing a post on this topic, I went to both Walgreens and McDonalds to try out exactly how easy it was.  The result?

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It was really easy. In fact, I would even say it was fun.  To get my applepay set up, I was asked to input information from my credit cards. After that, my credit cards were automatically added into my passbook app.  When I went to Walgreens, I purchased a couple bags of snacksized potato chips and a diet Snapple.  The person working the register seemed relatively aware of ApplePay and told me to put my phone over the ApplePay censor, while holding my thumb on the thumprint scanner. A few seconds later, a receipt was spit out and my purchase was completed.  This actually saved many minutes at my Walgreens checkout and I had no difficulties with the service. I tried it out again at McDonalds. I was slightly worried that McDonalds would not have smooth Apple Pay system given some stories I’ve read in the past, including a post that went viral across the internet about how awkward it was to use Apple Pay throughout McDonalds drive thrus

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But to my happy surprise, I found the process of ordering a double cheeseburger and small fries at the Golden Arches to be relative smooth and easy, just as it was in Walgreens.  I did however have to get my receipt and wait for my order, so it was as smooth as I would have liked it to be.

Apple Pay has gotten a lot of press recently about whether it will be a success or not. And how much Apple stands to gain from Apple Pay.  If Apple gets a percentage of every transaction that people purchase using Apple Pay, then Apple wins big, with increasing revenues.  Apple Pay definitely has gotten a lot of press in the news, and the backing of giant that understands how to launch new services.  But will it catch on? Or will go the way of ISIS and Google Wallet which were not successes because of the fact that they were easy to use.

In my opinion I think Apple Pay will catch. I have used Google Wallet and from my experience Apple Pay is a much easier checkout experience. In fact, I find myself wanting more stores to carry Apple Pay to reduce my time at the check out cashier.

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But ApplePay clearly is having some difficulties getting retailers to come on board.  For example, CVS which began testing Apple Pay earlier in the week, began rejecting transaction this week.  Internet rumors suggest this is a result of business considerations. Do they feel they are giving away to much of a percentage of purchase transactions to Apple?  There are also rumors that Rite Aid and other retailers are developing a rival wallet application to Apple Pay.  The rival wallet could be backed by retailing giants like Best Buy, Walmart and Target.

That certainly does not bode well for the future of Apple Wallet.

So while Apple Pay, from my personal perspective was a seemless, simple and even fun way to purchase items.  The future of whether Apple Pay may not be on whether it can offer consumers a great experience, but whether it can gain the support of large retailers.  Clearly if retailers begin disabling Apple Pay, it simply will not survive.

Only time will tell.