Hands-Free Tinder Lets Your Heart (Rate) Do The Swiping

At the beginning of this year, we explored in our 2015 Outlook the concept of “Measurable Intimacy” – the idea that mobile devices, powered by the myriad of sensors embedded within, are making user engagement and their emotional responses increasingly measurable. Now, a new Apple Watch app for Tinder taps into the heart rate sensor on the Watch to create a new user experience of the popular mobile dating app.

Developed by U.S. innovation agency T3, the Hands-Free Tinder app monitors Tinder users’ heart rate while they look through pictures of potential matches. Using a baseline measurement, it will swipe right if the pulse goes up by at least 10% and swipe left if there’s minimal change after about 6 seconds of measuring. An ingenious usage of the sensors on wearables, this app finds a fun, innovative way to incorporate biometric data into real-time user experience, truly unleashing the potential of Measureable Intimacy.


Source: Hands-Free Tinder by T3; Header image screen captured from source video.


Apple WWDC Preview Round-up: Apple Watch SDK, Music Streaming Service & More

With next Monday’s Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) just around the corner, more new information, credible or speculative, regarding the impending event is surging up in the press. Here are four handpicked preview items that we believe all brands should be aware of in preparation for Apple’s announcements.

Improved Watch Apps with New SDK
Corresponding to Apple Watch’s planned retail expansion, Apple is set to release a new SDK on Monday that will allow access to the many sensors and “Digital Crown” on the Watch. Already, we are seeing early-adopting brands like Office Depot coming up with their own Apple Watch app, and we expect more brands to take advantage of the new functionality offered by this new SDK to further improve their apps on Apple Watch.

The Double Duty of Apple TV
A new Adobe report on digital video consumption surfaced today, indicating a sharp growth of Apple TV in the past quarter, likely due to the recent price drop and the its previously exclusive support for HBO Now. We reported on Wednesday that Apple TV is set to become the control hub for the connected devices. Although The New York Times reports that there won’t be any new Apple TV hardware debut next Monday, some updates are due on the increasingly crucial role that Apple’ set-top box will play in its ecosystem.

Apple’s Ready to Revolutionize Music, Again
The beta of iOS 8.4 released in April already offered a sneak peak of what Apple’s long-anticipated music streaming service may look like. And now, reports are claiming that Apple is set to take on Spotify with a $10/month subscription service, along with an augmented free, ad-supported Internet radio service. If launched successfully, this could once again change the landscape of the music industry as the iTunes Store did in early 2000s, while also presenting brands with new channels to connect with its listeners.

iOS 9 to Refine the Future of Mobile
In recent years, Apple has made it habit to preview the next OS software at WWDC, and this year should be no difference. The upcoming iOS 9 is reportedly focused on stability and only includes minor upgrades, such as new keyboards, an enhanced Siri, and the haptic Force Touch feature. As the mobile user experience continues to improve as Apple refines its mobile OS, brands need to adapt to a “mobile-first” future that is quickly becoming a reality.

As always, the Lab will be live-tweeting @ipglab during the events, followed by original posts highlighting the brand implications of the new announcements. Check back Monday afternoon to find out more.

Header image taken from Apple’s Live Streaming Site


Are You Ready For The Apple Watch?

Today marks the official ship date for the first batch of Apple Watch pre-orders, but developers and brands have long been preparing for its arrival. With its limited screen space, the Watch might not seem very brand-friendly at first. In order to connect with users of the Watch, brands need to move away from the “interrupt and engage” approach to adding value within the appropriate context. Here’s how three industries are getting ready for Apple Watch:

Mobile Payment and Banking
Equipped with NFC chips, Apple Watch allows users to use Apple Pay without their phones once the devices are linked up. Besides making mobile payment as convenient as a simple lift of wrist, personal banking is also coming to Apple Watch as banks like Citi Bank and CIBC launch apps for Apple Watch. Citi’s Apple Watch app, for example, uses its Glance feature to show clients their financial information quickly, while also subtly notify the users when a purchase is made on their cards.

Another industry embracing the potential changes that Apple Watch might bring is medical healthcare. The use of smartwatches in healthcare communication, in particular, holds great potential to improve the speed and quality of care delivery. While sensors monitoring of activities, sleep cycles, pulse rate, and other biometrics have become standard features on most smartwatches, Apple Watch comes with over a dozen healthcare apps that can not only help people to stay fit, but also lets doctors preemptively recognize potential health risks.

Connected Devices
Thanks to the personal nature of smartwatches, the Apple Watch will be able to understand and anticipate behavioral needs, which makes it the perfect control hub for connected devices. Use cases range from the connected coffee machine that automatically starts brewing as you soon as you get up, to the connected light bulbs that create the perfect bedroom lighting to help you fall asleep. So far, at least 3 smart home brands have added support for Apple Watch, with more expected to follow soon.

So far, the Lab has received three of our pre-ordered Apple Watch, all set up and loaded with great apps. Visit us to try one on in person!


Jawbone to Launch Payments Wearable With Amex

Read original story on: Re/code

Wearable maker Jawbone is making its first entry into the payment market by announcing a deal with American Express to create a payment-enabled fitness tracker, named the Up4. Enabled by NFC technology, Up4 is the first wearable device after Apple Watch to incorporate mobile payment into its functionality. Given the significant competitions in the space, Jawbone certainly needs this to stand out.


Head image taken from Jawbone.com

Apple Watch Pre-Orders Sold Out Within Six Hours

Read original story on: 9to5Mac

Despite lukewarm reviews across the board, Apple Watch still proved it is very much in demand (or just limited supply, depending on your perspective), selling out all its pre-orders within six hours of its launch on Apple’s online store this morning. At the moment, many Apple Watch and Apple Watch Editions are not expected to ship until June, or even later.

To drum up consumer interests, Apple has reportedly spent $38M on its “Watch Reimagined” TV ad campaign since its March 9 event, compared to the $42M it spent over five months for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The Lab has ordered several models as well, so stay tuned for our upcoming hands-on testing and more.


Header image taken from Apple’s Website


Top Five Trends From Today’s Apple Event

There’s no dispute that Apple is a market trendsetter, and today’s “Spring Forward” media event will undoubtedly keep people talking until the new products hit the shelves. Here are the five trends from today’s event that marketers need to know:

Wearables Peak With “Glanceable” Notifications
With the Watch’s official launch set for April 24, the wearables market is poised to hit a historic boom as all wearable makers gear up to capitalize on the forthcoming public attention. And as notifications move from mobile devices to the user’s wrist, it will become more important to provide “glanceable” content that can be easily addressed or ignored. Brands will need to experiment to deliver the right notification at the right moment or risk overwhelming the consumer.

Tech and Fashion Continue To Converge
The Apple Watch has three different collections, each with two finishes and six watch bands made of different materials. Among all these stylistic options, however, the one that stands out is undoubtedly its 18-karat gold edition—priced at $10,000—which marks Apple’s official entry into the luxury goods market. By limiting distribution, Apple is clearly taking a page out of high-fashion brands’ playbook, furthering the convergence of tech and fashion.

Further Integration Across Interfaces
Besides continuity between the Apple Watch and new MacBook, Apple is also making a play for the connected car and smart home. Not only are all major car manufacturers committed to integrating Apple’s CarPlay into new models, Apple also mentioned it is working with leading brands in home automation to expand the reach of its HomeKit platform. During the Watch demo, for example, Apple showcased a remote garage door control powered by alarm.com.

The Quantified Self Connects With Healthcare
Further integrating self-generated health data and healthcare, Apple highlighted a new ResearchKit that could potentially revolutionize the field of medical research. By partnering with several prestigious medical institutions, Apple’s new open-source platform will allow medical researchers to easily create apps that gather medical data. The company is also carefully balancing privacy concerns by making all studies opt-in and hiding results from Apple.

Displays Keep Getting Thinner And Sharper
Apple also stunned the crowd with the thinnest and lightest MacBook to date (13.1mm at the thickest and weighs just 2 pounds), and improving image quality with a 12-inch Retina display. As more and more devices upgrade to retina screens, brands need to make sure they are developing high-resolution content.

Header image taken from Apple.com

Why Apple Watch Returned to Vogue

Read original story on: 9to5Mac

After making its magazine debut on the cover of Vogue China last October, Apple Watch has once again popped up in the fashion publication with a multi-page spread showcasing its various collections. Moreover, the first video ad campaign for the Apple Watch has been released in the corresponding digital version of Vogue. Its first U.S. magazine cover, however, went to the latest issue of SELF, yet another female-centric lifestyle magazine. As we point out last year, tech and fashion industry need to work together to make wearables mainstream, and Apple has been doing exactly that.


Lead image taken from 9to5Channel’s YouTube Video

Can Smartphones Replace Fitness Wearables?

Read original story on: Engagdet

A new study by The University of Pennsylvania shows that smartphone apps’ step counts are reasonably on the mark, whereas fitness wearables are much less reliable, with wide error margins. This, coupled with the news of Fitbit advising users suffering from skin rash to take off its products for a while, raises the question of whether smartphones are adequate substitute for fitness wearables. After all, it’s the data these devices collect that matters, not the devices themselves.

At least for now, the answer is a tentative “no”. First off, smartphone screens are getting bigger and bigger, which makes them inconvenient to carry around, especially while exercising. Moreover, it may take a few more years for smartphone to be equipped with advanced biometric sensors that are currently on some wearables. That being said, wearables are designed to be worn, and brands need to do a better job at making them truly wearable.

What’s Next For Apple

Read original story on: The Verge

Coming off its record-breaking fiscal quarter thanks to massive holiday sales and huge growth in China, Apple is gearing up for its upcoming Apple Watch release. According to CEO Tim Cook, Apple’s much-anticipated smartwatch will start shipping in April. He also commented that Apple is encouraged by the positive response from developers so far.

Besides prepping for the launch of Apple Watch, the Cupertino company is also continuing to push Apple Pay into new territories. Over 200,000 vending machines, kiosks, paid parking, and other self-serve locations nationwide will soon start supporting Apple’s mobile payment system, which marks yet another step in its steady expansion in market coverage.


Getting A Head Start On Apple Watch

Even though Apple Watch won’t come out until March, some brands are gearing up to be ready for the much-anticipated wearable on Day One. Here are some prime examples of the early testers of Apple Watch across the industries.

Advertiser: Last week at CES, TapSense unveiled its plans for building a programmatic ad platform targeting Apple’s upcoming wearable. The mobile marketing company has been reportedly working on getting ads onto the watch using all available options. It’s not yet clear if Apple will allow mobile ads on the Watch at this point, but TapSense seems determined to be prepared just in case.

Retailer: Marsh Supermarkets is working with beacon solution startup InMarket to install iBeacon systems in stores nationwide that will enable interaction with the companion app on the Watch and deliver relevant content like brand messages and contextual coupons to shoppers’ wrists

Publisher: Although Apple Watch does not have enough space for reading, its sophisticated notification system is still valuable for digital publishers. Pipes News is developing an app for Apple Watch, and the company has debuted an in-browser demo to simulate the experience of actually using the watch.