Starbucks, purveyor of coffee flavored water, builder of coffee scented corner stores and shelter for no coffee drinking Wi-Fi leeches, has a new shtick: a premium gift card. It’s made of steel! It’s ‘specially etched’! And it’s a super, limited edition that inanely costs 450 bucks.
The gift card itself costs $50 to make, the other $400 will be loaded as Starbucks credit and can only be bought on Gilt. I guess Starbucks people go to Starbucks enough that the $400 will manifest destiny itself in the caffeinated brown liquid but damn if this isn’t some elitist craziness. The card, which will surely make its owners feel good about themselves, comes with “with gold-level Starbucks card membership benefits, such as gifts and freebie refills on brewed coffee and tea.”
Jason Goldberger, executive vice president at Gilt.com, told the USA Today it’s all about exclusivity:
“When you’re waiting in line at Starbucks, the next person in line won’t have it.”
Ugh. [USA Today]
Mobile users are heavily engaged on their devices at the shopping mall, according to a recent report by JiWire, a location-based mobile advertising company.
JiWire’s data flows from its network that serves ads to some 50 million mobile users. Enabled by public Wi-Fi access at thousands of sites, JiWire’s ads allow advertisers to target users at malls, restaurants, retail stores, school campuses, airports, and other sites.
JiWire’s latest data reinforces some commonly held ideas about mobile device use, but challenges others. For example, ad requests were heaviest at shopping malls— more so than at restaurants, for example— revealing how mobile devices have become a valued tool for shopping and leisure.
Other data showed surprising patterns. Ad requests were higher at hotels than at retail stores. And, finally, big-box stores saw more mobile ad requests than specialized retailers like clothing and electronic stores, despite all the hand-wringing over showrooming.
If you’re wondering if the iPad Mini had an effect on its competitors, it did. Just not the one you were thinking. The Kindle Fire HD actually had its biggest day of sales since its launch, the day after the iPad Mini was announced.
In a statement sent to AllThingsD, Amazon said:
“Wednesday was the $199 Kindle Fire HD’s biggest day of sales since launch and up 3x week over week”
The $199 Kindle Fire HD is the 16GB Wi-Fi version with special offers. Seems like instead of killing the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7, the iPad Mini actually legitimized them. Or maybe people were waiting to see what Apple would do with the iPad Mini before they made their decision on buying a smaller tablet (with a lot choosing the cheaper option).
In the bigger picture, we’re not sure exactly what it means since Amazon doesn’t release sales figures but it sure can’t be a bad thing for Amazon. [AllThingsD]
According to The Creative Group’s survey of 500 U.S. advertising and marketing execs, only an incredibly small percent of agencies are on Pinterest.
The results find:
- 7 percent already use it for business
- 10 percent plan to start using Pinterest in the near-ish future
- 44 percent have zero interest in using Pinterest for business purposes
According to the survey, a staggering 18 percent of marketers have never even heard of Pinterest. Considering the social media site’s meteoric rise, you’d have to assume their shops are based out of remote, Wi-Fi-free caves.
Consumers, on the other hand, are loving the social media darling, which grew from from approximately 1 million to 20 million users between July 2011 and July 2012.
Kantar Media Company’s Compete conducted an online shopper intelligence survey suggesting that one in four consumers spend less time on other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter in favor of Pinterest, and 15 percent claim that they don’t use any social media sites except for Pinterest.
Donna Farrugla, executive director of The Creative Group, explained the small agency turnout as follows: “Pinterest has attracted a huge following quickly, but companies may be waiting to see if its popularity will last and what the potential business uses are in order to determine if a presence there makes sense.”
Agencies, what do you think? Do the stats seem right? Why do or don’t you use Pinterest? Explain in comments or email LStampler@businessinsider.com.
The police don’t even need to touch your phone anymore to know how you’ve been using it. A new off-the-shelf forensics tool lets cops retrieve all the data they want from your iPhone by accessing its contents through iCloud.
The software, developed by ElcomSoft, lets investigators retrieve user data associated with iPhones from Apple’s iCloud online backup service, reports The Register. There’s a thorough descripton of how the technology works on ElcomSoft’s website, but from The Register:
“iCloud backups offer a near real-time copy of information stored on iPhones including emails, call logs, text messages and website visits. iCloud backups are incremental. When set up to use the iCloud service, iPhones automatically connect to iCloud network and backup their content every time a docked device gets within reach of a Wi-Fi access point.
“‘While other methods require the presence of the actual iPhone device being analyzed or at least an access to device backups this is not the case with iCloud,’ ElcomSoft chief exec Vladimir Katalov explained. ‘With a valid Apple ID and a password, investigators can not only retrieve backups to seized devices, but access that information in real-time while the phone is still in the hands of a suspect.'”
Of course, the solution does require access to the Apple ID and password of the person who’s being snooped on and they might not be easy to obtain. But, once those details are in place, the data can be swiftly downloaded, unencrypted. Nice. [ElcomSoft via The Register]
Image by Thoma Pajot/Shutterstock
Previously, DirecTV subscribers could use their iPad as some sorta pseudo TV because the app could stream Live TV while you were on your home Wi-Fi network. Now the app’s been updated to be even better: you can watch some content anywhere, even if you’re not at home.
It’s not a huge list of content providers yet but anywhere you get a Wi-Fi or 3G or 4G connection, you can stream content from HBO, Cinemax, Encore, Starz, Sony Movie Channel and DirecTV’s Audience Network. It’s a little interesting since if you were an HBO or Cinemax subscriber, you could just use the HBO GO or MAX GO apps to get their content but hey, any streaming content that’s not tying you to just inside your home for subscribers is always good. [Solid Signal via 9to5Mac]
If Kenneth G. Lieberthal were anything but a China expert at the Brookings institution, his travelling-in-China security procedures would read like the product of a paranoid mind that watched too many spy movies as a kid:
He leaves his cellphone and laptop at home and instead brings “loaner” devices, which he erases before he leaves the United States and wipes clean the minute he returns. In China, he disables Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, never lets his phone out of his sight and, in meetings, not only turns off his phone but also removes the battery, for fear his microphone could be turned on remotely. He connects to the Internet only through an encrypted, password-protected channel, and copies and pastes his password from a USB thumb drive. He never types in a password directly, because, he said, “the Chinese are very good at installing key-logging software on your laptop.”
Talk about overkill, right? Well he’s not alone. The Times reports that these seemingly paranoid precautions are par for the course for just about anyone with valuable information including government officials, researchers, and even normal businessmen who do business in China.
But what about the rest of us? I may not have any valuable state secrets or research that needs protecting but that doesn’t mean I want the Chinese government snooping on my internetting when I visit my grandparents (especially when the consequences can be so severe). In the past, I’ve relied on a combination of VPNs, TOR, and password-protecting everything I can, but now it sounds like even that isn’t enough. Or maybe it’s totally overkill given my general unimportance in the grand scheme of things. Dear readers, I ask you, how much security is enough when it comes to the average person on vacation? [NY Times]
Whether you’re looking for a way to catch the big game this weekend when you’re away from your living room, or you just like to catch live television when you’re trapped somewhere without either cable or a television, you have plenty of options to help you catch a broadcast on your mobile phone or your computer. Here’s a look at five of the best ways to tune in when you’re on the go.
Earlier in the week we asked how you tune into live television that you’re subscribed to on your mobile device or when you’re not in front of the big screen. You responded, and now we’re back to take a look at the top five, based on your nominations.
Photo by IK’s World Trip.
When you need to stream audio or video around the house, to your mobile device, or across the globe when you’re away from home, Orb can certainly deliver. We mentioned Orb several times, and it’s still a great way to stream your media from your computer to other devices in your home, or, if you’re willing to pay for an Orb appliance to connect to your cable box or HTPC, stream live TV or recorded TV to any other device on or off of your home network. Orb supports video up to 720p, and gives you the flexibility to watch live sports, prime time TV shows, or anything else that’s currently airing in your living room on your mobile phone, tablet, or laptop over Wi-Fi, 3G, or 4G when you can’t be in the living room to enjoy it. Pricing varies depending on whether you need hardware (between $79-$99 for the set-top box) to connect to your TV and home network, or you already have a TV tuner in your HTPC (the Orb Live and Orb Caster software are both free, but the mobile apps are $9.99.)
Where other live TV streaming solutions offer complexity, Slingbox offers elegant simplicity. The Slingbox from Sling Media is a set-top box that connects to your TV and your cable or satellite receiver that makes it easy for you to effectively log in to your TV at home and watch live TV on your computer or mobile device as though you were sitting in front of your TV. You can change channels, browse TV listings, and even set your home DVR to record TV that you won’t make it home in time to watch. The Slingbox comes in two flavors, the Slingbox Solo and the Slingbox Pro-HD (which predictably supports HD and additional devices connected to it) and will set you back $179.99 to $299.99 (not including extended support options). You’ll also need to drop $29.99 for the SlingPlayer app to control your Slingbox from your smartphone or tablet, but the price buys you one of the most feature-rich and hassle-free live TV streaming solutions on the market.
Elgato’s EyeTV line of TV tuners and live TV software were, for a long time, the only option for Mac users who were looking for an easy way to use their Macs as TV tuners or HTPCs. They’re not the only options anymore, but they’re certainly one of the best, and if you plug a TV source in to an EyeTV and then the EyeTV into your Mac via USB, you want watch live TV right there on your computer screen. Combine an EyeTV tuner or DVR with the EyeTV app on your mobile device, and you can stream live or pre-recorded TV on your mobile device when you’re out of the house. The EyeTV app will set you back $4.99 in the iTunes App Store for any iOS device, and the tuners vary in price from $99 to $199 depending on whether you need a DTV tuner, a DTV and HD tuner, a tuner with a DVR inside, or a Wi-Fi enabled tuner that can wirelessly stream TV to other devices in your home.
The Vulkano Flow may not be one of the most well known set-top tuners on the market, but it’s definitely one of the most powerful. For $99.99, the Vulkano Flow is an easy to install and set up device that connects to your cable or satellite tuner, supports HD video, and your home network to allow you to wirelessly watch live TV on your iOS or Android device on your home network or when you’re away via 3G or 4G. You get complete control over your home TV, so you can switch channels, browse a built-in programming guide (that you don’t have to pay extra to view), and even connect to other video inputs like a DVR or HTPC and control that as well. Vulkano offers desktop players for Mac OS and Windows (Free), and mobile players for iOS, Android, and BlackBerry ($12.99.)
Hauppage is an old name in TV tuners, and the company is still going strong by offering a range of products to HTPC enthusiasts who want to build their own devices to stream, save, and watch live and recorded television and to people who would rather buy a set-top box to handle the streaming for them. Those of you who nominated the WinTV mentioned that you can easily install a WinTV tuner in your HTPC and download the WinTV application on your HTPC and iOS or Android device to stream TV from your HTPC to your device. Pricing varies depending on which tuner you’d like, whether you want HD video, and whether you want an internal or USB tuner to install at all or you’d just prefer a set-top box like the Hauppage Broadway ($199), but the WinTV Extend app you’ll need to stream from your Tuner will set you back $9.95, and the mobile apps are free (although they only support Wi-Fi.)
Now that you’ve seen the top five, it’s time to put them to an all out vote for the winner.
Honorable mentions this week go out to streaming TV sites like Justin.tv, which many of you said you use to stream your own TV shows to the web so you can catch them when you’re away from home, and to The NFL’s website, which many of you noted is indeed streaming the big game on their own. Finally, since we mentioned that the Department of Homeland Security had shut down FirstRowSports‘ primary domain, many of you made note of the fact that the site is still up and running on a different URL.
Have a favorite method that didn’t get the nominations needed to make the top five? Want to make a case for it, or for your favorite of the nominees above? Sound off in the comments below.
The $500 16GB, Wi-Fi only iPad costs Apple less than half that to build, according to a recent component breakdown from iSuppli. And for the 64GB 3G iPad, Apple clears nearly $500 in profit. Here’s how it breaks down:
Apple iPad Estimated Bill-of-Materials and Manufacturing Cost Analysis:
This will no doubt be updated once iSuppli and others are able to do a teardown of an actual device, but those estimated profit margins are pretty stunning, particularly on the higher-end models. iSuppli also points out that the 32GB versions of the iPad only cost $30 more to make than their 16GB counterparts, yet retail for $100 more—a good indication that that’s where they expect the sweet spot to be in the market.
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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