Australian shopper lines up for iPhone 6s with iPad-based telepresence robot

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple fan sends robot to hold place in line for new iPhone.

Amid all the benchmark-testing and feature-dissecting surrounding Apple’s new iPhones going on sale Friday, I’ve come to a conclusion: The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus are the company’s most millennial phones to date. This Australian woman sure knows how to take advantage of the latest technology — by outsourcing her wait in line to a robot outside a local Apple store. When it comes to technology, surveys show that millennials tend to be heavily dependent on mobile devices, use social media far more than other age groups and have short fuses for gadgets that don’t work smoothly, surveys show. Lucy Kelly of Sydney utilized the so-called “telepresence robot” from her job to hold her place in line so she could get her hands on the new iPhone 6s that is being released worldwide on on Sept. 25.

Tents and even an inflatable couch line the side of the George Street building where the first of the new iPhones will be available to the public at 8am on Friday. The robot is made of an iPad attached to a remote-controlled Segway-type stand and was welcomed by others waiting in line and even posed for selfies and pictures with curious and amazed bystanders.

WalletHub, a personal finance website, did the math, and determined that for families, Sprint is the most affordable carrier, but for individuals, T-Mobile can be a compelling buy—as long as you pick a standard plan for your 6S. The researchers described them as “distinctive in how they place themselves at the center of self-created digital networks.” No other generation is inclined to do this, Pew said. Kelly said that she is connected to the robot consistently through an app where she can see through the iPad camera and talk to others in line with the iPad speakers and microphone. While the WalletHub numbers provide an interesting baseline, their results were hotly disputed by other carriers, who argued that if you are, say, a video-streaming aficionado, or conversely, rarely open your mobile browser, these results may not hold as much weight.

Photo: Bloomberg Unlike traditional television, which puts viewers on a slow-drip diet of one or two shows a week, Netflix lets you hit the entertainment heroin as hard and as frequently as you want. The streaming service has crunched the numbers and has come up with a nifty equation that pinpoints the moment audiences commit to watching a show all the way to the end. It surveyed both different carriers and payment methods, such as a subsidized phone with a two-year contract, a leasing plan, buying the phone up front with no contract, or an installment plan from Apple or the carrier. Netflix analysed data from January to July of this year in countries including Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the UK and the US. You’ll get to keep your current user name (as long as it doesn’t contain invalid characters, in which case you’ll have to go through a few extra steps to make the transfer), and all your old comments will eventually (not immediately) migrate with you.

But judging by the time I’ve gotten to spend with the devices ahead of their official release, I see a lot in these devices that fit well with the under-35, always-connected, social-media obsessed smartphone user. (Full disclosure: Born in 1986, I’m one of them.) Posting photos to social media is far easier. The cheapest option for individuals was a T-Mobile leasing plan, which costs $1,881 over two years, and a Sprint leasing plan for families, at $3,401 for a family of four. Like most recreational drugs, different shows have different effects on viewers, and the data on the addiction equation therefore is a little all over the place.

According to the streaming company, Australians — we of discerning tastes — apparently remain eminently more resistant to the binge than our American brothers and sisters. So without further ado, let me point out several features that should make the millennial crowd especially pleased with what Apple has done with its latest phones.

They are being forced to provide better deals for consumers, now that phonemakers such as Apple and soon, maybe Samsung, offer financing plans, regardless of which carrier the buyer chooses. “These plans have come a long way,” said Jill Gonzalez, who assisted in WalletHub’s research. “It used to be a one-size-fits-all-needs world, and it’s not at all anymore. Reading into these plans and what they offer and how much they’ve changed, it’s a big deal.” Perhaps the most notable way to save or splurge from WalletHub’s numbers is to adjust your data usage outside of 3GB. As you probably could guess from the name, 3D Touch adds some depth to the old swipe-and-tap routine, by way of a screen that can tell how hard you’re pressing. Surprisingly, the threshold for Netflix addiction was lowest in Australia for legal drama Suits and thriller The Killing, which took just three episodes to hook viewers into completing the entire series.

Contrary to popular opinion, pilots are not what get viewers hooked, at least not according to Netflix’ numbers. “Given the precious nature of primetime slots on traditional TV, a series pilot is arguably the most important point in the life of the show,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer for Netflix. “However, in our research of more than 20 shows across 16 markets, we found that no one was ever hooked on the pilot. This gives us confidence that giving our members all episodes at once is more aligned with how fans are made.” The data compiled by Netflix has the potential to create new metrics for TV viewing. Apple’s new installment plan includes insurance AppleCare and a new phone every year—which could be a great deal if you tend to do major damage to your devices.

Instead of counting the number of eyeballs on a particular show at a particular time, this data allows Netflix and other streaming services to measure a level of engagement and commitment not given priority in traditional entertainment measurements. Starting on Friday, a Sprint spokesman said, qualified customers can get iPhone 6S for $15 per month and iPhone 6S Plus for $19 per month, or $19 and $22, respectively, if they do not trade in an existing smartphone. Based on past releases, Gazelle, an online service to buy or sell used personal devices, expects to start selling iPhone 6S within three to six months for about $599, CEO Chris Sullivan said. “It’s not just price, it’s whether you can take your phone with you,” John Bergmayer, senior staff attorney of technology and communications issues group Public Knowledge, told WalletHub. “Can you unlock your phone if you break your contract?

The move was similar to one by T-Mobile in past years, though in the WalletHub study, T-Mobile was more cost-effective than Verizon. “Consumers usually tell us they make their decisions on value, not price,” a Verizon spokesman told CNBC. “When you take into account the faster, more reliable performance of our network, and exclusive access services and features such as NFL mobile, customers tell us that’s worth it.” To be sure, WalletHub’s study also fails to take into account factors such as regional coverage, talk and text limits, cheaper phone options and customer service, all of which could sway consumer sentiment. Verizon and TracFone, for instance, scored highest in the 2015 American Customer Satisfaction Index, while AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint scored at or below the industry average.

A June study by Money magazine found carriers like Boost Mobile, Virgin Mobile and Cricket could also be cost-effective for lightweight users. “There are a couple of things that Sprint has going for it,” Gonzalez said. “The unlimited plans end up working a lot better, especially with current promotions,” Gonzalez said. “AT&T does offer the rollover data, so if you’re varying for month-to-month, that would help you out. [Verizon] are focusing on deals for people who have been there for years and remaining with them, where Sprint has done the exact opposite.” Other time savers included getting a preview of my calendar by pressing on a line a message that suggested an event — “dinner at 8 tomorrow,” for example — and as well as links in Safari and in e-mail. Not every implementation is perfect; for instance, pressing on the App Store icon brought up a search bar that I don’t feel is hard to get to without 3D Touch.

It feels like we shouldn’t be impressed with the megapixel wars anymore, particularly since Apple’s 12 MP camera doesn’t even boast the most on the market. Jumping into the camera to start a video took me 5 seconds — I had to tap the camera icon, move the slider at the bottom over to video and then hit record. That’s great for scenic landscapes and family photos on the rear-facing camera, especially if you have kids or pets that don’t properly time their adorableness for your shutter click.

With more finishes and customization options — you can even have Live Photo wallpapers — the company’s also offering up more ways to make your phone more personal. It is not on the level of something like Motorola’s build-your-own-phone designs, but it is still a good and welcome fit for what’s been called the “me me me” generation. Then again, since Americans spend a reported 4.7 hours per day on their smartphones, it makes some sense that everyone would want their iPhone to reflect their personalities. Chief executive Tim Cook has made no secret of the fact that wrapping the iPhone in gold — and now a new and very pink rose-gold — was an appeal to middle-class and wealthy customers in China.

But it also fits into Apple’s broader push to establish itself as the luxury brand of hardware devices — an effort that was seen in the marketing around the Apple Watch (recall that one model was priced at $17,000!).

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