Interview with Felix Thea from Shopify Masters

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A few weeks back I was asked by Felix Thea if he could interview me for his podcast Shopify Masters. Being a big fan of his podcast of course I said yes!

You can listen to me ramble on about how we generated so many good reviews, trademarks, patents and all that type of jazz here > http://shopifymasters.org/quadlockcase

You can also subscribe to Felix’s podcast on iTunes here > http://shopifymasters.org/itunes

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Initial Reactions after a week with an Apple Watch

If you’ve read this before and want to jump to my conclusion click here.

There’s been a lot of hype about the Apple Watch and being in the business of making accessories for the iPhone a lot of people has been asking me if it will have an impact on what we do. My answer to that question is yes, it will have a positive impact. My reasoning being that the Apple Watch relies so heavily on the iPhone that if anything it should increase iPhone sales and hence build a bigger market for our accessories.

Before I get into my thoughts on using an Apple Watch I want to make two things clear.

1) I’m not a watch person. I have never worn one and don’t like having anything attached to my body. My wife insisted I wear a wedding ring and that is the only object that has remained on my body for more than a month. I have tried fitness trackers and they usually get about a week before I stop wearing them. It will be interesting to see if I am still wearing my Apple Watch this time next week.

2) I am an industrial designer and I love Apple products. I grey imported the very first model of the iPhone from the US way before they were available in Australia. Using it is where I came up with the idea for Quad Lock so I am always pretty keen to try out new Apple products to see if they generate any new ideas.

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The Chronograph Watch Face

Day 1

Unboxing

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Seriously Apple? Does a watch really require this much packaging?

The packaging is typical of Apple, a long white box with nothing but the Apple Watch logo embossed on the top.  I was surprised with the large size and weight of the box. It seemed excessive. Considering Apple ships millions of these things around the globe it seemed very wasteful having so much excess ‘air’. You could easily package them in a thin box allowing four watches be shipped in the same volume as one in the current packaging.

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Did you really have to mention that the tiny pin on the band is 316 Stainless Steel? Guess So…

Inside the white box you will find a high gloss injection molded capsule. I assume Apple provided this as something you could store your watch in but seriously I don’t think anyone will. It would make a pretty nice pencil or storage case but when you remove the form fitting tray from the box the lid has nothing to locate with so that rules our that idea. No other Apple products come packaged with this type of storage case and again its excessive. It would add a fair chunk of cost to the product and I don’t think it adds much value.

First reactions

When I finally get the box apart my first reaction to the watch is that it’s tiny! Its a lot smaller than I thought it would be. I ordered the 38mm sports watch as I have small wrists but still, its smaller than I thought it would be. The design and quality is amazing but you’d expect nothing less from Apple and would be disappointed if it wasn’t. The material used in the sports watch strap feels awesome, its kind of like a cross between rubber and leather. It’s also very light. I haven’t compared it with the stainless steel version but when its on you barely notice it.

Putting it on for the first time it feels pretty good. The strap is easy to use and fits my wrist really well. Comparing it to the 42mm I am glad I went with the 38mm. Syncing with the iPhone is super easy and is done so using the iPhone camera. Once it see’s a trippy video on the Watch screen it’s synced. This must be how it recognize which watch to sync to if there are multiple watches close by. Navigating through the various screens takes a little getting used to. Its very different to the iPhone and I found I was pushing the button to go back when I should have been pressing the crown.

Force touch is very cool and I can see this being added to the next iPhone. Sending drawings as text messages is cool but the screen is so small you can’t really draw much except for dick picks. Sending your heart rate is cool but a novelty which will wear off quickly, but it does the vibration from a heart beat does feel pretty cool. Taking phone calls from your wrist makes you look and feel  like a dick but its handy if someone is calling you and you can’t find your phone.

The fitness tracking features of the watch are killer and this is one of the main applications I see people using the Apple Watch. It easily stomps on all other fitness trackers I have tried. It gives you live updates of pace, distance, calories and heart rate and is super easy to use. I’ve only used it while walking home from work but it did a pretty good job of it. So far I really like it. Apart from feeling a little sweaty under the band I don’t mind wearing it as much as I thought I would, but time will tell (pardon the pun).

Day 2

Still got it on my wrist! Liking it so far. The integration with Apple TV and the remote App is pretty handy as I hate it when I can’t find the remote. Being able to control Apple TV from my wrist is pretty cool.

Day 3

Went for a drive using the Apple Maps navigation and discovered that the Apple Watch sync’s with the turn by turn direction giving you 3 clicks for left, 3 different clicks for right and one click to go straight. Nice touch Apple.

Day 4

I am looking at and using my iPhone a lot less since strapping on the Apple Watch. Main behavioural change is from viewing text messages that don’t need to be replied to from the Apple Watch. I’ve also turned off a lot of the notifications from other Apps as they were getting annoying.

Day 5

The novelty factor has started to wear off. The main reason I am using the watch for now is checking the time (duh!). The watch face I am using has room for 3 different time zones “complications” which has been handy when organising Skype calls with people in the US and UK. Besides time, I am also using it for tracking activity and viewing text messages but apart from that not much else…. How long will it last on my wrist is anyones guess.

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The Modular watch face that after a few days both Joel and I settled on using.

Day 6

I’m starting to forget I have the Watch on which is a credit to how comfortable it is on the wrist but also an indicator that the excitement level is no longer there and I am not using as much as I thought I would. Again the main uses are checking time, viewing text messages and as a remote for Apple TV/Netflix.

Day 7

I forgot to put on my Apple Watch this morning but I didn’t notice until later afternoon. Uh oh…

Conclusion

After seven days with an Apple Watch yes I’m still wearing it, but I don’t know if I will continue too… At least not every day. I am in no way near attached to it like I was my original iPhone. I went to the extend of importing an iPhone from the USA as they weren’t available in Australia when first release. I recall spending ever spare second I had playing with it for almost two weeks. It was a serious game changer and was the spark that ignited the idea for Quad Lock. Alas, unfortunately for me, the Apple Watch has not had the same effect.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the product and think the engineers and designers at Apple have done an amazing job fitting so much technology into such a small, beautifully designed package, but I am just not using it as much as I thought I would.

As I have said before, I am not a watch person so it was always going to be an uphill battle to get me just to wear the damn thing. Unfortunately the limited functionality it provides isn’t enough to convince me to strap the device to my wrist everyday. Keep in mind we don’t have Apple Pay in Australia, which is one of the Apple Watches core features, but when we do it may be enough to change my mind. However if I could completely replace my phone with an Apple Watch I would do so in a second. Why?

Because the best part about the Watch, and I might sound a bit contradictory here, is that you wear it. Unlike a phone its very unlikely that you will lose it or accidently leave it somewhere like in the back seat of a taxi. It’s strapped to you, not in your pocket so you never miss a call or a text message. And you spend a lot less time wondering where the remote for the Apple TV is because you can use your watch!

I will not be the first to admit that taking a phone call on the wrist makes you feel like a wanker but if there was a small bluetooth ear piece or even head phones which paired with the phone I would be more than happy to ditch my iPhone completely and run with just a watch. Sure the screen is too small for email and browsing the web but I can do that on my iPad or my Laptop and hey, if more people had watches instead of phones there might be more social interaction instead of people staring blankly at their smartphones!

So should you buy an Apple Watch? If you’re a watch person, can handle the price and don’t mind charging it daily (which is pretty effortless using the magnetic inductive charger) then sure go for it. But if your hoping the Apple Watch will change your life… maybe hold off for version two…

 

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The humanising factor

Quirky recently released a product in collaboration with GE called Aros. It’s a smart air-conditioner which can be controlled by a smartphone. If you’re not familiar with Quirky, they are a company who manufacture products which are dreamnt up by people like you and me. In fact anyone can submit an idea to Quirky. But if you can’t think of a good idea you can contribute to (or ‘influence’ as Quirky says) someone else’s idea. If the idea gets enough traction Quirky put it into production and give back a small percentage of profits to the person who came up with the original idea as well as the key influencers.

Quirky’s latest marketing campaign for the Aros is built around a video show casing the manufacturing process of the Aros. The video shows factory workers at various stages of production assembling tooling, painting parts, screwing in components, braising tubing, testing, packing and eventually shipping the products out of the factory. The focus is on people making the products, not machines or robots. There are very few shots that don’t feature a person doing some of the work. It’s a very well put together video however the focus on people left we with a very different feeling when compared to watching the making of the Apple iPhone 5C.


Making of the Aros Air-conditioner

Being a designer I love seeing how things are made. I find the manufacturing process more interesting than the product in some cases. If I have witnessed how something is made I get to see all the effort and technology that goes into a product and I am more likely to want to own it. This was definitely the case when Apple released the video showing how the iPhone 5C was made. The technology and precision involved in making that handset was up their with fine watch crafting.


Making of the iPhone 5C – The manufacturing component is from 1:35 – 2:20

The big difference between the videos is that Apple does not show a single factory worker. Sure there is more robotics and automation involved when assembling an iPhone compared to an air-condition but I guarantee there are lot of other steps which involve actual real people assembling iPhones that are just not shown.

The two videos left me with very different feelings. The Aros video made me feel for all the factory workers assembling products all day long getting paid very little for their efforts. Where as the Apple video still makes we want to buy an iPhone 5C and I don’t even think about the factory workers because I don’t see them in the video.

I respect Quirky for showing it how it is, however I wonder if the humanising factor will have a negative effect on their marketing campaign.

How did the videos make you feel?

 

 

 

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Go-Pro resolution tips for use with Phantom 2

I was trying to find out what the best setting were to use a Go-Pro with a Phantom 2 quad rotor and I came across some great information at the following link –

http://abekislevitz.com/understanding-your-new-gopro/

Its also worth watching this video which shows you the benefits of each mode when filming with a Phantom 2.

I ended up going with 1440 mode as you can crop the top of the footage off hiding the front rotors which sometimes get in frame when flying forward quickly.

Great cheat sheet to the different GoPro resolutions and what they are best suited for.
go pro resolution guide

My first test shoot in 1440 mode with the top section cropped off in Final Cut

Gardiners Creek flybys with a Phantom 2 and GoPro from Chris Peters on Vimeo.

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Consistency is key, so why doesn’t Apple follow suit?

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I was reading an article the other day about building a strong brand and the one message that they harped on about was to be consistent. If you want more followers on Instagram then keep posting the images of the same stuff, if you want more follows on Twitter then keep tweeting about similar things. This really only applies if what your doing is actually working and engaging your audience but it got me thinking about consistency. I for one don’t mind a bit of change but my wife is not a fan.

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However a few nights ago while I was sitting in bed browsing the internet on my iPad I hit the play button on a video and then instinctively went to hit the volume button to turn the sound down so as to not wake the misses. Being half awake and also being used to the location of the volume buttons on my iPhone, as I use that a lot more than my iPad, I slid my hand up the left hand side of the iPad expecting to feel the volume buttons and quickly realized they were not there. A sharp jam to my ribs from the misses quickly sparked my memory to recall that Apple put them on the right hand side of the iPad, not the left. This is not the first time this had happened to me while using my iPad, yes both the volume and the rib jabbing, and it got me thinking. Why would a company who seems to do their absolute best to create a seamless experience between all their devices put the buttons in different locations on different devices. You don’t have to be a genius to figure out why they are on the right hand side of the iPad (if you haven’t figured it out, its because the iPad cover hinges from the left like a book so Apple put the buttons on the right) and its also makes sense that the iPhone volume buttons are on the left as you can hit them with you thumb when you hold the device with your left hand. I assume most people would hold the phone with their left hand as this keeps their right hand free for other uses such as hanging on to the rail while on a tram etc. Steve Jobs right handed yeah? So, if the buttons are on the left on an iPhone wouldn’t it make a more consistent experience to put the iPad buttons on the left as well. If this was the case the smart cover would have to hinge from the right which would be the opposite of what more people expect, except if your from Japan as their books have the spine on the right hand side… If only Apple had taken more influence from Japan I would not have any problem locating the volume buttons.

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BRD Motorcycles

I love to see a start up producing a product. And when I say product I mean a real physical, something you can touch, can hold, can ride and can become very passionate about. BRD Motorcycles are a start up based in the San Francisco Valley and are producing one mean looking electric motorbike. Their innovative chassis design also allows them to manufacture the bike in San Fran too!

I have never owned a motorbike (through the fear instilled in my by my mother that if I ever owned a bike she would kill me if the bike didn’t first) but after checking out what goes into this thing… I wanna one…

Here’s a great talk by Marc Fenigstein, COO and co-founder of BRD talking about why they built the BRD and where they see the market for it.

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