Apple’s Retail Self-Checkout Doing Well, Strong Promotion Coming at Grand Central
Apple has an iPhone app called Apple Store that’s grown to not only help you locate the nearest Apple store and schedule a genius appointment but it also allows iPhone 4 and 4S users to easily buy things in any Apple store using “Easy Pay” which allows the scanning of barcodes of Apple Store merchandise, paying and leaving the store without having to talk an Apple Store employee. Nothing wrong with talking to them, most of them take happy pills and are very nice, but this new system helps you get in and out of a usually mobbed Apple store with the goods you want quickly.
This is brilliant and reminds me of robots building robots except in this case it’s iPhones buying iPhones.
B&H Photo has a free iPhone app that’s quite good and if nothing else allows you to check out your wish list(s) while browsing around the store, instead of printing them out as I usually do.
Tip: consider making wish lists of things you buy often, like ink and paper for for your printer. That way you’re not searching all the time for things. I have four wishlists:
Stuff I want (camera gear)
Stuff I have (camera gear
Ink and Paper
Other stuff (other electronics)
I now have access to these lists on my iPhone. Useful and no doubt useful for B&H too.
B&H Photo app in iTunes
The excellent radio show This American Life is available as an excellent iPad app for browsing and listening to shows both online and off: This American Life iPad app.
I recently returned from Los Angeles, to Connecticut by plane. The routing was LAX to JFK. I was chatting with my friend Gary the morning I left and he wanted my flight number so he could track the flight (UAL 431).
I gave him the flight number and he searched and found the free FlightView app, downloaded it, installed it, and liked it. I noticed it has Apple’s iAds on the bottom of its screens and I’d pay the $0.99 to get the version sans-ads. For $3.99 there’s FlightView elite that notifies you of boarding times with push notifications as well as gives you maps and driving directions to airports on your trip. A competing app is FlightTrack which has a FlightTrack Pro version as well.
These apps go well beyond flight tracking and are general purpose travel apps that allow the storage of many of the details of a trip in a convenient form with those details updated automatically if times change. This got me thinking, why don’t I use an app like this?
I’ve been using both the OSX Dashboard widget Flight Tracker to check flight status but it doesn’t allow any trip information to be stored. So, I use Simplenote to keep track of this kind of stuff but my process is crude by comparison: I enter all the information and it’s not connected to anything; if flight times change I get notified by United via email and have to edit my travel list by hand. My guess is using an app for travel will make this process easier. Both of these apps can pull travel information right out of a confirmation email you get from an airline (in theory).
This is great stuff, I’m looking forward to messing with one or more of these on my next trip to LA in June.
One of my favorite political cartoonists Lloyd Dangle is on flickr. Here’s his iPhone app collection.
Turf War at the New York Times: Who Will Control the iPad?
The New York Times has never gotten it right, ever. They have the best news in the business and the best brand and they cannot seem to figure out how to get money out of users.
It’s simple: do what Salon does. Charge a yearly subscription and paying it gives you an ad-free reading experience. Simple. Salon charges $3 a month and the New York Times could easily charge a bit more (but not much more).
[via Daring Fireball]