Shot on iPhone, July 2015

One of the best café I have visited in a very long time. Great coffee too...

July was slow and warm. It was Jim Thorpe, PA to begin with and a walk over Brooklyn Bridge to end it. 

Shot on iPhone, June 2015

One of my favorites from last month... an ideal Sunday morning.

many more from New York and New Jersey...

Moment Lens - The saga behind buying one.

I have been toying around the idea of getting one of those snap on lenses for my iPhone for a while now. I use my phone for photography a lot and you can see my snaps on Instagram and some of them on Flickr. 

One of the things I have always missed while clicking on iPhone is that extra bit of zoom. The digital zoom absolutely destroys the picture and you don't not want to use that. I did some research and came across a few snap on zoom lenses for the iPhone, of which Moment Lens and Olloclip. Both of these are great products. While Olloclip is endorsed by a few photographers I know; Austin Mann is one of them.  

So, before I put any money in them, I wanted to see if I could try these out. A friend lend me his Olloclip lens and the performance was good.

The Olloclip is a 4-in-1 system that has 4 lenses - a fisheye, wide angle, 10x macro and a 15x macro. Olloclip is like a snap on lens that you clip it on your iPhone and remove it when you don't want them. The two lenses that are fish eye and wide angle; you flip them and they become macro lenses. The same way you would reverse a lens on any DSLR camera to make it a macro lens. These are great lenses, however I'm not a big fan of the fish eye, and the iPhones current lens is wide enough to take great pictures (there is always panorama mode). I was intrigued with macro, but somehow I wasn't impressed with what I clicked.

I tried the Moment lens as well and I was impressed with its performance.  With moment lens it's a different story. To use these lenses you have to glue its sense holder on to your phone around the camera (they are well designed and don't look ugly) which allows the moment lens to snap on, much like those DSLR cameras and that's where the quality and sharpness is amazing. So if you are not serious about these lenses, or you like the aesthetics of your phone; you probably should not be investing in moment lenses. 

Both these products are really great, however the Moment Lens impressed me the most. It takes a while for you to get used to attaching that lens to your phone but once you get the knack of it its easy. Every product has a learning curve, this one its not that long.

No doubt the product is great. But you need to have the same experience when you are selling one. 

I was going on a vacation in about 5 days time and I wanted to make sure I got the lens before Friday evening. For the time being the express shipping option was disabled on their site since they were working with the shipping guys to make sure everything is in place.  

I sent a mail to the team at Moment Lens in Seattle and I got a reply in about 20 minutes with a solution. The team at Moment Lens came back to me saying I could place my order and then call them on a number with my order number and they would ship it to me using FedEx and they would charge me the shipping cost. Not a problem. I was all set to place my order, however my gut feeling was no. So, I borrow my friends lens for my upcoming vacation and place the order once I'm back. 

I place my order for my lens on April 10. Immediately I get a confirmation mail with my order number and an invoice. Since I wasn't in a hurry now I was ok with their 10 day shipping option. Three days later I get an email that my order has been shipped and something in that email confirmation caught my eye. 

Your Order has been shipped via HongKong POST.
Tracking #XXXXXXXXXXXXX
Click HERE to track your shipment.

Why is my lens being shipped by HongKong POST and where the heck is this coming from? Not that it surprised me that the lens was manufactured and assembled in China (of course), but what surprised me was it was also being shipped from there and not from Seattle. In any case as long as it gets shipped and delivered to me in 10 days I was ok.

When I tried to track my shipment, all it said was "Destination - United States of America". I waited for a week and mailed the team at Moment Lens and sure enough within a few hours I got an email apologizing for the delay and finally the status on shipment had changed. Now it said:

Destination - United States of America
The item (XXXXXXXXXXXX) left Hong Kong for its destination on 20-Apr-2015

That was great, finally it was shipped after 10 days of me placing this order. I wait.  I wait for another week and yet again Is end another email to the team at Moment Lens on April 27 talking to them about my frustration and the fact that it was supposed to be shipped in 10 days. And there it was in a hours time I had a response with an apology and this time with a link to USPS where I could track the progress of my shipment now that it was shipped to the United States.

I'm not sure if I should consider this to be helpful or not. However this was the status on April 27 and it remains to be the same status on May 1. If you have a great product, make sure you give a great service. At this point in time I'm looking for options on Moment Lens website to see how do I go about canceling my order. 

And the worst; after talking to Moment Lens about my frustration I get an email form them:

There is a certain threshold when even the most patient person would loose it. When this post makes it way to twitter and other social network sites; I won't be surprised to receive an explanation on the delay or the fact that it does take such a looooooong time to ship something out. It doesn't matter; my experience buying this product wasn't great and it does not motivate me at all to go ahead and use it and enjoy my post buying experience.

iPhone the 800 lbs Gorilla

Apple sold 346 Million iPhones worth $214 Billion in the past two years. At the same time, Apple sold 36 Million Macs worth $46 Billion and 138 Million iPads worth $61 Billion. That means the combined sale of Macs and iPad is still half of what the iPhone brings in for Apple.

Apple Computers Inc.

Here is a great article by Jason Snell on SixColors.com and this quote stands out for me in the article:

I believe Apple is truly a company that is always looking at the big picture, I really do. The iPhone and iPad and Mac all work together, using iTunes and iCloud and even Apple Pay as infrastructure, in a harmonious way. But at the same time, it’s hard not to look at the size of Apple’s iPhone business and wonder how the success of the iPhone affects Apple’s decision-making.

Apple did have a great quarter, one of the best among any company in the world and just to iterate what that means here is a beautiful article by M.G. Siegler - Apple, The Oil Company?

Not to say that Apple is ignoring the other aspects of their business but the iPhone definitely stands out in that pie chart.  And it truly makes sense for Apple to concentrate on the iPhone, however I think Apple is now at a very comfortable position. A position where they can still concentrate on the iPhone and create new eco-systems around the iPhone. Samsung tried doing this and failed miserably with the Samsung Gear watch. But Apple instead of rushing into releasing a watch, took their time, have thought about the product and is now laughing after 2 generations of Samsung Gear watch. 

Another quote from Jason Snell’s article:

For the iPod to become a hit product, it had to connect to both Macs and PCs. Apple initially didn’t support the PC, then did so reluctantly (with third-party jukebox software), and finally did so through iTunes for Windows, which Steve Jobs famously likened to a glass of ice water to people in hell.
For the Apple Watch to become a hit product, it just needs to please a bunch of iPhone users. The iPhone market is large enough that the Apple Watch doesn’t need to stake out new ground for Apple, at least not yet. (I don’t think the Apple Watch will ever connect to Android devices, but it’s possible that one day the Watch might be such a device unto itself that it simply won’t care if you have a phone nearby, or what’s on it.) It’s going to be years, if ever, before the Apple Watch becomes a product that isn’t made for iPhone users.

In terms of eco-system, there is already Apple Pay which is amazing, Car Play has had good reviews and the Apple Watch is set to come out in April 2015 and then there are many more areas where Apple can go.

Apple TV could be the next hardware to be integrated with the iPhone. I don’t know if Apple would ever build a TV from scratch of will stick to the current model (box that connects to your TV), however if my Apple TV can understand gestures and voice input viola. Today my iPhone connects to my Apple TV but has very basic functionality. Why not handing off a TV show that I was watching on Netflix or Hulu on my iPhone/iPad to my TV when I want to. Why can’t I create and manage my queue on my iPhone or iPad and watch it later on Apple TV. Allow me to answer a phone call while watching TV when my phone isn’t close enough (I’m just lazy to get up and grab it). The possibilities are endless.

Home security - iPhone or iPad can be at the center of it. There are 3rd party apps that already do this. There are a ton of accessories that you can use it along side your iPhone or iPad to track your health, to take great pictures, to measure moisture, to take temperatures, etc.

The possibilities are endless.

Ever since I have owned an iPhone, if there is an accessory or gadget that works with my iPhone; thats half of my decision make done. The remaining depends on how good the product is, quality, aesthetics, integration etc.  And when Apple builds something, it takes care of all that.

I think the stronger & bigger that gorilla is, the better.