Weekly Roundup: September 7th

Observations September 8, 2014 8:58 am



All Eyes on September 9th

  • Apple Rumor Mill on Overdrive: What will Apple reveal on September 9th? All indications point to two new iPhones and the long-anticipated “iWatch.” The iPhones will feature larger screens, and both the phones and the iWatch will include a NFC chip, enabling mobile payments. Apple has reportedly partnered with MasterCard, Visa, and American Express, as well as retailers like Nordstrom on the payment platform. With these partnerships, Apple is poised to usher in a new era of mobile payments; until now, mobile payments haven’t taken off due to lack of support from issuers and retailers. But the biggest rumor of all? What is in the mystery white building? A mock home to demo HomeKit or a gym to show off the fitness tracking capabilities of the new iWatch?
  • Samsung Gets out Ahead: Samsung put pressure on Apple with the announcement of two new phones as well as a VR headset this week. The Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge are both phablets, and the Edge is earning press for its uniquely wraparound display. But the biggest buzz was reserved for the Gear VR, which is an accessory for the Galaxy Note 4. Samsung partnered with Oculus for the design, and the headset is powered by the Note 4 (which is similar in design to Google Cardboard). The Gear VR is rumored to be priced at $199, which compared to the Oculus Rift development kit, is a much more accessible price point. The fact that the Gear VR doesn’t need to be plugged into a wall is also a plus for Samsung.
  • On Trust and Data-Breach Fatigue: There’s been a lot of discussion this week about why Apple’s mobile payment system might work. One of the strongest reasons is trust; 800 million consumers have already given Apple their payment information via iTunes. But Apple came under criticism this week when hackers leaked hundreds of celebrity photos. Apple has denied a breach of iCloud in the hack, but the event raised larger questions about our payment system standards.

New York Fashion Week Kicks Off

  • Wearable Tech Is In: If September’s 2014 Fashion Week is a forecast of what’s going to be trending in Spring 2015, then wearable tech is in. Opening Ceremony unveiled the MICA tech watch powered by Intel, a stylish smart bracelet that can display notifications. Rebecca Minkoff also debuted two smart bracelets that alert the wearer to when they have a text message or other notification. What’s different about these two bracelets? The focus is on style and communications, not fitness, and may have a better chance of adoption than Tory Burch’s Fitbit accessories. Why? Fashionistas rarely wear the same bracelet twice, which means Tory’s Fitbit bracelet won’t be of much use for those interested in the quantified self. But a wearable focused on communications is different, and can be worn judiciously, like when the wearer knows she has a full day of meetings and needs to be connected.
  • In Love With Instagram: Fashion bloggers have already democratized Fashion Week coverage, and Instagram’s new Hyperlapse app is another tool in their reporting arsenal. Hyperlapse will make it possible for Fashion Week attendees to capture (non-blurry and smooth!) runway footage. BCBG is also using Instagram to let fans shop directly from the runway through LIKEtoKNOW.it. Fashion bloggers were able to post photos of their favorite BCBG looks, which fans could then purchase by simply liking the photo.
  • Crowdsourcing Fashion: Why not ask fans, aka the people who will actually purchase the clothes, for their input during Fashion Week? Rebecca Minkoff turned to Instagram to ask fans to vote on two different looks– and the one with the least amount of votes was eliminated from her show. Adidas NEO took the idea of crowdsourcing one step further, using Twitter’s in-card voting mechanic to choose every detail of the show, including lighting, music, makeup, and outfits. The idea to crowdsource elements of Fashion Week is a great way to build loyalty with fans, and is a further manifestation of the democratization of Fashion Week.

What The Kids Want

  • Tech, Not Clothes: It’s back-to-school season, but rather than being concerned with the latest fashion trends, the “cool kids” are only looking at their screens. Clothes used to carry a certain cachet with high schoolers, but now teens are more concerned with their electronics. Smartphones are the new status symbol and must-have item for back-to-school shopping. (Apple may be partially responsible for this shift, what with their annual September events that coincide nicely with the start of a new school season.)
  • Bill Cunningham agrees: Speaking at a recent event, the original street-style photographer commented on the obsession with technology: “The fashion world is afraid of H&M, but what they should really be thinking about are the high-tech kids… Look at the lines [waiting] to get into the Apple store. Do you see a line waiting to get into Bergdorfs or Saks? The fashion world has got to come to grips with reality. I don’t know when or how, but the reality is, you have the whole country that is electronically connected. The future belongs to this generation, electronics are it, there’s no question.”
R/GA Originals


Question of the Week: Could You Communicate Only In Emojis?

Guardian writer Alex Clark posed this question this week, “Emoji: The First Truly Global Language?,” writing that we are starting to construct a new, shared language with the little more than 800 characters in the emoji alphabet. (why there aren’t more emojis.) The title is misleading, as Clark goes on to dismiss emojis as a global language. Because, as much as emojis have been heralded as the first universal language, they’re actually harder to understand– especially across generations. Read about one writer’s experience communicating in only emojis for a week over text message.

But even as you try to decipher the definitions of various emojis, there are multiple emoji-only apps starting to crowd the market. Experiment with Emojli and Steven to see if you could communicate in only emojis.

images: The Loop, Michaela McCrink (R/GA), Mainstream

*originally published on R/GA FutureVision

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