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With summer in full swing, we want to make sure that you’re ready for when any mobile topics come up while hanging out at your next barbeque. Our R&D team has scoured their top resources to round up the newest and hottest mobile trends, and share them with you in our new Summer Mobile X Report!

Here is an overview of the “Big 3” topics we covered to give you a taste of what you can find in the report:

Apple’s WWDC Conference Highlights (See Page 8)
While it may have been slimmer on hardware announcements (not surprising for a developer conference) than some people had been looking for, WWDC 2016 still had some big updates for the majority of Apple’s product line. From new OS’s to reinvented apps, the WWDC left consumers excited for what’s to come from Apple.

Fintech Trends for 2016 (See Page 14)
With financial institutions feeling the pressure from disruptive startups, they have begun to focus more on investing in new technology themselves. For an industry already on the rise, this influx of backing capital can only mean one thing–exponential growth is coming. With that in mind, we have laid out the 7 fintech trends that we expect to continue in 2016.

Chatbots (See Page 18)
While developers are still looking for a way to truly pass the Turing Test, many messaging services and brands are turning to chatbots as a new way to interact with consumers. You may have already unknowingly encountered some, which is why feel it is the right time to read up.

Something here that peaked your interest? View the full report here!


On Monday, Apple unveiled several new software updates at its WWDC keynote in California. It included a major iOS overhaul, as well as better cross-device integration with a rebranded desktop OS. Needless to say, this year’s developer conference featured some of the biggest announcements about Apple’s mobile and desktop software in recent years. Here’s a quick overview of some of the most interesting things to come out of WWDC 2016:

  1. Siri is now open to third-party developers through API

The recent proliferation of digital assistants and conversational AI from major players like Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook made it seem like Apple wasn’t doing nearly enough to capitalize on its first-mover advantage with Siri. This new update, however, seems like Apple’s attempt to finally turn Siri into a platform and bring the virtual assistant back as a leader in the space. Third-party integration will allow outside apps to activate from Siri’s voice commands while allowing Apple to craft stronger relationships with mobile users through better AI and democratizing third-party apps through a single platform.

  1. AI: iOS 10’s central theme

In another push to get ahead in the AI space, Apple’s iOS 10 has integrated personalized context into users’ mobile experiences. QuickType text suggestions will now lean on Siri intelligence about the user by offerings suggestions based on things like location, schedule and contacts. On-device computer vision will now detect both faces and objects in images, allowing the Photos app to organize images by events, people, places, and related memories. User data will be held on-device, keeping personal data within the user’s control.

  1. Messages got a major revamp

With iOS 10, iMessage users can expect an enhanced experience with Apple’s messaging platform. The most drastic change comes from third-party app integration within Messages, allowing users to do things like order food and send money straight from the app. Emojis come to the centre of this update, with their increased size and the ability to “emojify” text. An emoji search engine will be directly integrated into Messages’ keyboard, and predictive text will offer emoji suggestions for highlighted words. In other words, now you’ll be able to simply tap on a word and replace it with an emoji! Scalable “bubble effects” will also be added, allowing you to adjust the font size of your text, and your own handwriting and small special effects.

  1. 3D Touch will now have an expanded role in iOS 10

Back when iOS 9 was announced, 3D Touch was just a cool additional feature. But with iOS 10, 3D Touch is given some genuinely useful functions. This feature can be used straight from the lock screen, tapping on right side to unlock the camera or the left side to open up widgets. As with many other WWDC 2016 updates, third-party apps will also be able to integrate with 3D Touch. From a user perspective, this will undoubtedly make it much easier to interact with live-updating apps like Uber and ESPN.

  1. Goodbye OS X and hello macOS

Apple has finally moved on from its beloved OS X naming structure with the introduction of macOS. But the name change isn’t the only exciting thing about the latest macOS, Sierra. New features emphasize better cross-device integration for a more seamless Apple user experience. Universal Clipboard will allow users to access their desktop and documents across all macOS and iOS devices. Apple Pay will also be available on Mac, linking up intelligently to your iPhone’s TouchID for authentication. Similarly, Auto Unlock will allow Apple Watch users to unlock their Mac by simply walking up to their desktop. Finally, Siri will be available on Mac, giving users completely hands-free access to their desktop computer.

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Only six months removed from it’s rebranding, Alphabet a.k.a. Google’s corporate alias, has surpassed Apple as the most valuable publicly-traded company in the world. The trading of places was a result of a tale of two Q4′s with Alphabet rising and Apple regressing. Google was able to ride their strong fourth quarter ($21.3 billion in revenue) to a market cap of $558 billion, slightly ahead of Apple’s $535 billion.

Plastic is proud to have a long-standing relationship with Google and has even been named one of two featured mobile partners for Google’s Cloud Platform. Google Cloud Platform allows developers to build, test, and deploy their apps on Google’s infrastructure. Plastic takes advantage of Google Cloud Platform for many of our clients’ applications, through such features as their app engine, API’s, cloud storage, datastore, among others.

We congratulate Alphabet/Google on their new title as world’s most valuable company, and look forward to our continued relationship.

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Here at Plastic, our thirst for innovation always has us exploring the latest technologies. The newest device that has peaked the interest of our Innovation Lab is the completely reinvented Apple TV, now in its 4th generation. The new Apple TV features integration with Siri, and a new touch-sensitive remote control. But the news that has us really talking is the ability to extend the reach of marketing campaigns to the Apple TV via the Apple TV App Store. Previous iterations of Apple TV have had their apps all pre-installed by Apple before the product launch. This new generation of Apple TV allows third-party developers to create apps for an Apple TV App store, which will allow users to add and delete apps similar to how they can on Apple computers, phones, and tablets. Apple has also stated that they are looking into “universal apps” which would allow you to buy an app once, and access it from any of your Apple devices.

 When it comes to digital streaming devices, the industry is booming, doubling in size last year alone. And while the competition is heating up with the introduction of the Google Chromecast, Roku and Amazon Fire TV, Apple has continued to lead the market with over 40% penetration. Apple strategically released this new Apple TV with the holiday season in mind, and is certain to be a highly sought after & used gift. With television spend on the decline, we see Apple TV apps as a new opportunity to take advantage of the captive consumer in their living room.

Plastic has been pilot testing apps for the Apple TV in our Mobile Innovation Lab, designing and developing new experiences unique to consumer behaviours in the home. After spending some time with the Apple TV and seeing what the apps are capable of, we are quite excited for its potential.



With the launch of watchOS 2- and some new accessories- this week, the Apple Watch is much closer to its potential than it was when it originally launched in April. Following the release of iOS 9, watchOS 2 is released just in time to take full advantage of the sales boost that will come from the looming holiday season. For those that have an Apple Watch it is a welcomed enhancement, and for those who haven’t purchased one yet it may be enough to convince them to jump on board.

As Apple Watch apps developers, we are extremely excited to take advantage of the new features that this upgrade allows. In case you missed the watch OS 2 announcement, here is a highlight of some of the new features we excited about:

Native Apps
The biggest announcement for Apple Watch that came out of the September 9th Apple Special Event was the ability for apps to work natively on the watch- although some may argue it was their new partnership with Hermes!. Previously, apps would run on a synced iPhone and then project an interface onto the watch. This led to an inevitable delay while the two devices sent information back and forth. Running natively allows the watch to handle much more robust functionality in apps, while also making them faster and more responsive. As well, the apps now have more access to the device’s features, which means that users will be able to do much more from their wrist without ever having to pull out their phone. Most of theses features, such as the Taptic Engine, microphone, and accelerometer were already in place with the original watch launch, but only now are third party apps able to take advantage. Showing that Apple had the hardware in place all along, but wanted to make sure they were able to back it up with the correct software before deploying these features.

New Watch Designs
Although they have nothing to do with the watchOS 2, new watch bands are of high importance when you consider that a lot of the allure around wearables are their aesthetics. Alongside the OS announcement, Apple released two new case colours and a wide array of new bands, including the aforementioned collaboration with Hermes. The partnership with the Parisian luxury brand seems very organic considering both brands are highly centralized around the quality of both form and function. With wearables the line between technology and fashion accessory are blurring, and Apple hopes that this will allow them to benefit from the fashion-forward tech consumer.

Time Machine
Time Machine takes advantage of the new ability to scroll through time-sensitive information using the digital crown to scroll backwards and forwards in time, without having to open an app. Although not as useful as an actual time machine, this feature does seem like it will come in handy when paired with utility apps such as weather, transit, news, or calendar apps.

Facetime Audio
Always wanted to look like a spy while talking to your friends, well now you can with Facetime Audio for the Apple Watch. Facetime Audio takes advantage of the built-in microphone, which was previously only used for communicating with Siri. Talking into your wrist in public may not be socially acceptable yet, but your phone is out of reach it’ll be very practical.

New Watch Faces
Another subtle change to the user experience of the Apple Watch is the addition of three new watch faces- basically the wallpaper for your watch. You can choose to set your background as a single photo from your photo album, let it scroll through your photo albums, or have a scenic time lapse photo. For those who believe customization is key, this will be an exciting feature.

Other Features
The watchOS 2 upgrade also integrates a new nightstand mode for when it is charging, an upgraded messenger platform making it easier to connect with friends, and an upgrade to Siri which makes her more versatile. The watch now also allows for third-party complications, which are small pieces of information which appear directly on the watch face to provide quick access, similar to widgets on a Mac.

This upgrade to the Apple Watch is more about the possibilities it brings about rather than the immediacy of its features. Not until native watch apps start to flood the market will this upgrade really flex its muscles. The Apple Watch (and wearables in general) are definitely making strides toward becoming “must-haves” in the tech ecosystem, and adoption will likely occur rather quickly.


It all began with a simple, yet intriguing, announcement in August. “Hey Siri, give us a hint.” Even though the whole world knows that Apple loves to introduce new products in September, and most of their announcements have been leaked before the event, Apple still somehow manages to induce childlike excitement in Apple fans across the map.

While Intel had BMX bikers and robotic spiders at it’s 2015 Developer Forum, Apple stuck close to the black turtleneck and jeans (aka simplicity) vision of founder Steve Jobs with their new announcements. Whether or not you are a fan of Apple products, you have to acknowledge that they know how to make an introduction.

CEO Tim Cook, began the keynote event but quickly handed the reigns to a number of other individuals used to better explain aspects of their new devices and accessories. Switching between live demonstrations and pre-produced videos, the Apple event had the room captivated for it’s duration. All 7,000 attendees (Apple employees, media, industry insiders, etc.) were busy snapping photos and blogging (and oohing and aahing) away after every big reveal.

Not one to shy away from hyperbole, Apple made some bold statements to lead into their main announcements that spanned a wide range of product categories. For those who weren’t able to watch it, or were too mesmerized by the performance to remember anything,  here is a recap of all that came out of Apple’s San Francisco announcement:

1) Apple Watch
“We can’t wait to see what else developers do with the Watch”
Cook was quick to get into the Apple Watch with very little introduction. The majority of this portion focused on new watch faces colours, teaming up with fashion brand Hermes for a set of bands, and new 3rd party apps (Facebook messenger, iTranslate, GoPro, and Airstrip). However, the biggest news for Apple Watch owners, and future owners, was the introduction of Watch OS 2, which will allow apps to run natively for the first time. These apps will be much richer, more engaging, quicker, with greater capabilities.

2) iPad Pro + Smart Keyboard + iPad Mini 4 + Apple Pencil
“The biggest news in iPad since iPad”
The iPad Pro (following in the nomenclature of the MacBook) is billed as the most powerful iPad yet, with the largest display to date. Reportedly faster than 80% of portable PC’s shipped within the last 12 months, the iPad Pro includes a screen size of 12.9” and 2048×1536 resolution. Apple also announced a Smart Keyboard Cover to be sold alongside the iPad Pro. The Smart Keyboard features the new Smart Connector, which is made up of three circles on the side of the iPad Pro and connects magnetically to carry both data and power. The biggest surprise (read as surprisingly unleaked) of the event came in the form of a pencil. Leave it to apple to find a way to collectively excite millions with a pencil. The Apple Pencil (which is Apple speak for a stylus) works directly with the iPad Pro and is force sensitive and allows for you to use your finger and stylus congruently. The Apple Pencil is charged by plugging it directly into the Lightning port of the iPad Pro. A new version of the iPad Mini, the iPad Mini 4, was also announced.

3) Apple TV + tvOS
“The future of TV is apps”
Apple believes that TV is following the trajectory of mobile, and that consumers are looking for . The main focus of the new device is it’s ability to run applications using the operating system, tvOS. The new apps are controlled by the similarly new remote which allows for the user to control the device by either using the touch pad or voice controls, complete with Siri. The new remote works with Bluetooth 4.0 rather than infrared which eliminates the need for line of sight. Apps for sports, TV, movies, and games were all used off to show the new entertainment opportunities available with Apple TV.

4) iPhone 6S & iPhone 6S Plus
“We have changed everything about these new iPhones”
The last announcement of the event was saved for the iPhone 6S (4.7” retina screen) and 6S Plus (5.5” retina screen). The two new iPhone iterations improve on their predecessors with improved 12 megapixel rear cameras, 5 megapixel front-facing camera, faster WiFi/LTE, stronger glass, faster A9 processor, 4K video, and stronger aluminium frame (probably to address the bending problem of the iPhone 6 Plus). A new 3D touch feature was also previewed, which allows the screen to sense multiple levels of pressure which can be useful for a number of existing and future apps. Live Photo’s is a new feature which automatically captures a second and a half on either side of a photo and allows it animate when viewed later with a force touch.

Apple has always used these September events to generate excitement and momentum going into the holiday season, and it will be interesting to see which of the new products will have the biggest impact come the end of the year.


Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) has come and gone but the tech world is still abuzz with all the announcements. Perhaps the biggest news was about Apple’s ninth installment for its mobile operating system, iOS 9. Although iOS 9 isn’t as groundbreaking as iOS 8, it still boasts intelligent features and functionality. Here at Plastic Mobile we’ve watched the keynote (admittedly more than once), sorted through the barrage of tech blogs, and spent our fair share of time with the iOS 9 Beta 1 to bring you this list of the top 5 features.

  1. Proactive

Proactive is a new Siri feature that aims to predict behaviour and serve up relevant information. It’s always accessible with a quick swipe left on the homescreen that brings you to a completely new experience engulfed in contextual suggestions. Proactive features trending news articles, app suggestions, contact suggestions and nearby attractions. Proactive also features a handy search API.

  1. Apple Music

It’s fair to say that iTunes launched the digital music revolution and now Apple Music looks to power the streaming music revolution. Apple Music is a digital streaming service that gives you unlimited access to the complete iTunes music catalogue anytime, anywhere. The service will offer recommendations based on your listening habits and provide curated playlists. Apple Music offers a 3-month trial for new users, after which it will become $9.99/month.

  1. iPad Multitasking

The iPad has become even more productive with the announcement of a tablet only feature on iOS 9. The multitasking features will allow iPad Air 2 owners to run 2 apps side by side, simultaneously via “Split View.”  For those who love streaming videos, iOS 9 will also allow for picture-in-picture view. For example users will also be able to watch their favorite TV show while reading emails. Owners of older iPads will be able to pin apps to a sidebar, that they can “slide over” to access quickly without leaving their current app.

  1. Low Power Mode

We have all had that sinking feeling when our phone battery is about to die. Well, iOS 9 is looking to alleviate this with Low Power Mode. Designed to give up to 3 extra hours of battery life, Low Power Mode can really be a life saver. Users have the option to manually enable it or have it automatically start at a certain battery percentage.

  1. News

Keeping in mind that mobile users turn to their devices to keep up to date with the latest news, Apple has created News app. News is a native app built into iOS 9 that aggregates news in a digestible, mobile friendly format. The app curates the news with articles specifically built for the app combined with 3rd party content. This replaces the previous Newstand app.


A couple of days ago Apple held their annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), where technological developments for the next year were announced to an eager crowd of Apple enthusiasts. This year it wasn’t hard to see why there was such a heavy focus on mobile and the development of native applications as these devices become more and more hardwired into our lives.

  1. iOS 9

Just as Google’s Android M took a “back to the basics” approach, Apple’s new operating system iOS 9 promises to take more of a refining approach by revamping some of Apple’s native apps. To name a few, “Notes” will expand on the real estate of the iPhone’s screen by including a drawing feature; “Newsstand” will turn a page into “News” and allow users to read from a host of publications; and “Passbook” will be renamed “Wallet” and include wallet contents not currently supported by Apple Pay. The iPad Air 2’s new “splitscreening” feature will also improve efficiency and productivity as users will be able to open two apps side-by-side. To top it off, as something that is constantly sought out by users of energy-consuming apps, iOS 9’s “low power mode” aims to extend battery life by an extra three hours.

  1. Apple Watch Software Update

While the wearables market is still in its infancy and the creation of apps begins to swell, the Apple Watch will take the next step in expanding its interactivity with its new operating system, WatchOS 2. The new operating system will offer a variety of new watch features, including the aptly named “Time Travel”, which conveniently catalogues the user’s current and upcoming events. The operating system will also allow for a new level of interactivity through play back audio and video functions. As the Apple Watch’s user experience is transformed from a convenient, visual interface into a completely dynamic device, we can only begin to ponder future applications that will completely revolutionize this growing technology sector.

  1. Apple Maps with Public Transit Directions

While Apple Maps is a readily available solution to finding directions, it has fallen short of it’s promise, especially when compared to other competing apps, especially where reliable transit routes and commute time estimates are concerned. The new revamped iOS 9 version of Apple Maps will hopefully solve all that by offering bus, subway, train, and ferry routes. Users will be able to use their iPhones as a map and payment option as Maps will display nearby stores that support Apple Pay. Toronto and New York are among the major cities to get the transit map support.

Users can see more of their convenient and intuitive devices simplifying and expediting day-to-day actions. The future of mobile technology and wearables looks very promising as Apple’s technological developments make it easier for users in search of efficiency in all arenas including shopping, commuting, and content consuming. As history of this brand has told us, we can expect adoption and penetration once the Apple brand is behind a trend.


As the growing market of wearable technology sees more smartwatches, critics are asking what the advantages, applications and use-cases are with these new devices.

The Apple Watch, has been compared to the iPhone itself in functionality and some argue that the limited functions are hindering usability. However, the strength of the Apple Watch isn’t it being a separate interface on which to leverage every functions. Rather, it’s the simplified, convenient, and friction-free user experience that changes the way users interact with mobile apps. The features available on Apple Watch apps keep the user experience contextual, and ultimately lead to frequent and engaged user interactions – if well executed.

An instantaneous and relevant user experience design was the primal consideration in the design and conceptualization of the Pizza Pizza app, enabling customers to quickly place their favourite and recent orders with a flick of their wrist, and interact with the app utility in an expansive and functional way.

For smartwatches to be truly effective, their apps must deliver intuitive user experiences that remove friction from brand interactions and utility. While Apple Watch has limited screen real estate in comparison with some other Apple products, the user interaction is both complementary to the companion devices, as well as a robust stand alone end-to-end experience in and of itself.

The crux of the Apple Watch is that the simplicity of its apps can translate into great, unique user experiences – not whether the apps come chock-full of confusing features.

As this article states, the Pizza Pizza app “is not supposed to have bells and whistles,” as it focuses on quick and easy-to-grasp features. From the outset of the Apple Watch, we can look forward to seeing how it and other wearable technologies shape the future of the app space.

Apple Watch

Plastic’s long awaited mobile apps for Apple Watch garnered a lot of attention. Both Pizza Pizza and were featured as launch day apps by Apple. Melody Adhami, President and COO at Plastic Mobile recently sat down with IT Business to provide some insight on exactly how these stellar apps came to be.

Designing for a revolutionary new platform may seem daunting at first, but it’s actually quite simple as Melody Adhami explains. First off Plastic Mobile sees Apple Watch apps falling into two basic categories:

  1. Companion apps:  These apps relay notifications and other information from your smartphone.
  2. Utility apps: These allow users to engage with the interface and complete a basic tasks. These apps are structured to provide standalone experiences apart from the smartphone apps.

Melody continued by clarifying the importance of broadening one’s digital offerings, for Pizza Pizza and “This is part of their offering, to be innovative, to be cutting edge,” she says. “They want to be first to market.”

Although Apple Watch is considered to be an extension of the smartphone, Melody reminds us that it has a unique set of opportunities and features “smart watch apps will have to keep functionality as simple as possible”. Looking at extending the functionality of the smartwatch Melody talked about what users may be willing to do with the device. “Buying and selling stocks off their watch, I don’t think so. But ordering a pizza? Sure!”

It seems straightforward, but Melody stresses that when entering the Apple Watch sphere brands must, “Think about what value you’re really able to offer on a person’s wrist and why that’s different from what you’re already doing. Not every task will be suitable for a form factor that’s measured in millimetres and strapped to a wrist.”


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In the midst of all the hullabaloo surrounding Apple Watch last week, you may have missed the release of Pizza Pizza’s Apple Watch app. So we just wanted to let you know that you can now order your favourite pizza straight from the wrist. Plastic Mobile is proud to have brought the first and only pizza ordering Apple Watch app to the world. Not to mention 1 of 2 food service apps available for Apple Watch…ever.

The Pizza Pizza Apple Watch app can perform a host of functions including:

  • Quick menu browsing
  • Pizza ordering
  • Payment
  • Delivery countdown
  • Place favorite or recent orders
  • Check club 11-11
  • Check gift card balance

“This is part of their offering, to be innovative, and cutting edge,” commented Melody Adhami, Plastic Mobile’s President and COO, on Apple Watch’s broadening of digital offerings. “The Pizza Pizza customer wants convenience and it doesn’t get more convenient than this.”

“Apple Watch represents the next wave of convenient solutions for our customers, and we are thrilled to be part of this evolution,” said Paul Goddard, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pizza Pizza Limited.



Although there are some heavy smartwatch competitors out there such as: Android WearPebble and the Microsoft Band; still, over the past few months it’s become clear that Apple Watch is the most anticipated device of the year.

Thus far, the Apple Watch has sparked some concern and controversy from reviewers, but we’ll let their sales vouch for their validity. Between Apple’s discretion and industry whispers many are gearing up for an April 24th launch, however, pre-orders started April 10, 2015 in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the UK and the US.

According to The Verge, having just stepped into the smartwatch game it is estimated that Apple already has a million+ units pre-ordered in the US, and over 2.3 million units globally. In order to put these sales into context; compared to the first generation of iPhone, where only sold 270,000 units were sold in the first 30 hours post launch, and the first iPad sold 300,000 in its first day. This first generation Apple product is already making history.

Those who are able get their hands on these luxurious devices can expect built-in Apps such as, Mail, iMessage, Apple Maps, Siri, iTunes, and Passbook, which are a minimum expectation of Apple users.

As for new apps, users focused on their health will be excited to see a wide range of apps dedicated to helping you take control of your health. Apple is looking forward to unveiling the built-in apps, Activity and Workout. However, there are a selection of brands highlighted on Apple’s preview of the Apple Watch App Store.  You can check out,  Nike + RunningStravaGreen Kitchen, Lifesum and Runtastic, to name a few.

Other apps we’re expecting to see include: Air CanadaBabbeltheScoreESPNGlobe and MailShazamInvoice2goMint Personal Finance and Lutron Caséta.

The question here is; how do you plan on improving your users’ mobile experience? If smartwatch or wearable experiences haven’t been on your mobile roadmap, they certainly will be now. We can expect to see more Apple Watch apps flooding the market, sooner than later. Everyone seems to want to get in on the smartwatch action and frankly, we’re excited to be a part of the fun.

Stay tuned for more updates in the smartwatch sphere.


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San Francisco has become a haven of technology thanks to nearby places like Silicon Valley. Continuing with longstanding tradition Apple once again set the stage and rallied the troops er.. media to descend upon San Francisco just in time for Daylight Saving Time with its “Spring Forward” event. The presentation followed the iconic style pioneered by Steve Jobs and welcomed the much anticipated Apple Watch alongside new devices and developer kits. Tim Cook took the opportunity to boast to the crowd Apple’s current success as a primer to the announcement by announcing that the company has sold 700 million iPhones till date!  If you missed it, here’s what came of the event.

Apple TV

Likely the smallest component of the conference, Apple TV opened the floodgates. It was revealed that cord cutters dreams would be coming true with access to digital subscriptions such as HBO and ESPN coming to Apple TV.  Apple knew that everyone would be excited to get their hands on these new subscriptions and decided to shave $30 off the price of Apple TV. With the device now at $69 instead of $99 new customers will now have a few extra dollars in their wallets to pay for the exclusive content subscriptions. To provide further insight into the HBO subscription CEO Richard Plepler made an on-stage appearance at the event and to spark buzz around its coveted Game of Thrones.


Moving on from Apple TV, Research kit was next. ResearchKit is a push by Apple to sophisticate (in a positive way) and bring mobile health to the forefront. Simply put ResearchKit is a tool designed for people working in the medical field. This app can be seen as an extension of the already existing Healthkit. The main draw here is the data collection that users can opt into. The data provided by users will help medical researchers draw conclusions from bigger sample pools and hopefully advance modern health.


Staying true to its roots as a personal computing company Apple began to talk about its line of laptops. The main update for this category was the thinner, 12 inch Macbook, not to be confused with the existing Macbook with Retina or Macbook Air. The new rendition weighs in at a near weightless 2 pounds and boasts a 2304×1440 display resolution. By contrast it is 24% thinner than the current Macbook Air but a little heavier on the wallet, priced at $1,299. Aside from the main specs some interesting new features have been implemented such as “Force Click” a new take on the traditional trackpad, the keyboard also received a small update switching from traditional “rubber dome” keys to steel switches.  As for the internal design, the newer Macbook will consume 30% less than previous displays and features only 2 ports, USB-C and a headphone jack. Battery life is promised to clock in at approximately 10 hours of mixed usage. In the market for a new laptop? This one will be available April 10th in silver, space grey or gold.

Apple Watch

Likely what most members of the general public and media were the most anxious to hear about. Most people were already aware this product existed, but the conference served as a deeper dive into the product, and of course the much rumoured pricing scheme. The main draws and capabilities of the watch were reiterated throughout the conference – such as fitness tracking, voice assistance, and Apple Pay. Pricing for the luxury smartwatch are as follows (CAD):

The Apple Watch Sport – $449 (38mm) to $519 (42mm)

The Apple Watch – $699 (38mm) to $799 (42mm)

The Apple Watch Edition – $13,000 (limited quantities)

Each edition of the Apple Watch will be available in a variety of color and material combinations. Pre-orders being on April 10th with the device launching in several countries on April 24th.

Throughout the entire conference the team here at Plastic was glued to our screens watching the event and hearing all the latest updates. The big news from the event will certainly be the talk of the office for days to come.


As we know, digital wallets are poised to become one of the most interesting discussions this year.

Recently, mobile tech expert and Plastic CEO, Sep Seyedi, spoke with TechCrunch about the the on going War of the Wallets.

The article outlines the battle between enterprise frontrunners Apple and Google, as they compete to disrupt personal finance with mobile.

Sep begins by identifying how the digital wallet space is fragmented, “Since the inception of mobile payments, there has been a lack of a cohesive solution by key players in the space.”

He continues by addressing Google potential acquisition of Softcard and how the internet giants are striding to make headway over Apple in the mobile payment market. “A month after Apple Pay launched, Google Wallet saw transactions increase by 50 percent in a single month, and the number of active users doubled” he said.

To get the full scope of how Apple and Google battle it out to be the most revolutionary mobile payment method read the ‘War of the Wallets’ on TechCrunch.

Mobile Cyber Monday

By on December 02, 2014


Capping off what could be considered “Cyber Week” – Cyber Monday was the proverbial icing on the holiday shopping cake – becoming the biggest day in US online shopping history! According to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark mobile devices held their own with 41.2 percent of all online traffic which makes it the first time mobile has driven almost half of all online traffic during the course of “Cyber Week” pandemonium. Retailers took advantage of mobile’s direct connection between consumer and retailer maximizing the 5 days of shopping discounts and deals to directly engage their customers via email marketing. By making deals and promotions more accessible through properly targeted emails, sending immediate email notifications for abandoned carts and pushing post checkout deals, retailers have gotten a tiny taste of the full power and potential of mobile.

What is interesting about these last 5 days of shopping mayhem?  There is an obvious shift in consumer behaviour, with easily accessible information from multiple channels, shoppers are making more calculated shopping choices.  There is no longer pressure to succumb to rushing the shopping experience, cramming it all into one day of deal hunting. Places like the UK where 50 percent of retailers embraced Black Friday deals – compared to last years 15 percent – and Canada, where an estimated average of 2 million people took vacation days surrounding the American shopping bonanza, have welcomed Black Friday and Cyber Monday traditions in order to get their piece of the pie. This past November China famously celebrated its “Cyber Monday” with Singles Day, the Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba saw a jaw-dropping $9 billion in sales in one day, this in turn has translated to conscious shoppers aware of their options, making strategic purchases, equipped with the right tools to source the best deals, and biggest discounts.

Three years ago only 17 percent of purchases were touched or influenced by digital platforms, now that amount has skyrocketed to 50 percent. What we are seeing now is a constant growing demand from consumers to have multi-channel retail access of both online and traditional brick and mortar stores to get what they need when they need it. This will mean that as more and more retailers find a happy medium between physical and online stores, the demand for appealing user-centric web design and responsive web will surely follow.


Apple Reveals More

By on October 17, 2014


Yesterday Apple unveiled some details about their products for the coming year. First on the agenda; iPhone 6 & 6 Plus release statistics. We’re not surprised to find that Apple has pulled off the biggest launch of their phones this year making record sales and deliveries worldwide. Speaking of world wide, 32 countries are iPhone enabled with China set to get the next batch of fresh iPhones. Overall Apple said that the response and demand was surprising and they’re glad their frontline employees handled the demand extremely well.

CEO Tim Cook proceeded to talk about Apple Pay next saying that the anticipated contactless mobile payment service will be available in the upcoming iOS 8.1 update scheduled to land on Monday, the 20th of October. Tim also revealed an additional 500 banks have signed on to Apple Pay in addition to all the US banks and credit card providers. And in one last surprise, Apple Pay can be used in-app and online on the web effectively enabling a one stop payment function to any mobile purchase. This will certainly be a pay-game changer!

Another reveal was the release of OS X Yosemite, a new Mac and iPad mini 3 with retina display-the usual things we’ve come to expect from the smart device giant. Yosemite features a whole new design that matches iOS 8, and comes with the ability to make SMS and regular phone calls. This might annoy some of the telecoms, just a bit. Craig Federighi, the VP of Software Engineering showed off the calling feature with a conversation with Stephen Colbert who before hanging up told Craig to get back to work on Apple Watch because “You know what I see when I look at my wrist?…My wrist!” Before signing off Craig said that Yosemite is now available for download, and it’s 100% free.

Overall the event served as an in-depth look at their new releases and upcoming products. Although the announcements of the new iPads felt a little flat the promise of Apple Pay and new features for the ever growing family of devices Apple has begun to offer show that they’re still able to offer a wide range of services across an even wider range of devices.

PS: If you missed out on the live keynote you can find the recorded version on Apple’s website.

Have you see Apple’s latest TV ads? We were particularly interested in the one promoting the iPhone camera.

Even though there are a few better smartphone cameras out there – for example, the Lumia 1020 boasts 41 megapixels – the iPhone camera is still pretty popular. We can’t help but think this is likely because the Apple flagship seems to be the most social device (according to this study), and the most common thing to share on social networks is pictures.

Not to mention that if you’re an iPhone user snapping amazing pics, you can now be awarded for your creative genius! Check out this website called iPhone Photography Awards. You can submit any of your pictures and compete with other people to try to win of their annual awards and some other gifts. The only bad news is that there are a few fees to submit your pictures. Check out the competition and the 2013 winners to evaluate your chances in the 2014 competition.

What do you think about this photography awards? Let us know! Tweet us @PlasticMobile.

Do you hate seeing how your posts perform against other users on most social networks through things such as retweets, likes, upvotes, +1’s? Well stress no more!

Potluck is a simplified social network with the aim of having users share links. The app is available on Web and iOS (Android coming soon) and was built by the team behind Branch, backed by the Twitter founders. It calls itself the “best house party you’ve ever been to — on the Internet,” and is essentially a place for you and your friends to hang out and talk about cool things you find online.

Basically, the Potluck app is attempting to draw out the “lurkers” who just sit back and passively read everyone else’s posts rather than engaging in deep an meaningful 140-character conversations.

The team focused on three main goals when designing Potluck: be your authentic self, push-button publishing and meeting new people without being creepy. With that in mind, they created a simple and easy to learn user interface that is integrated nicely with the Twitter account.



When you first download the Potluck app, it gives you the option to find and add your Twitter followers. There are four simple tabs for “Activity,”  ”Notifications,” “Me” and “Post.”

When you find an interesting link, you can simply tap the Post tab, type your title or topic, followed by comments or mentions to friends, and paste the link. The Activity tab shows all the shared, commented and hearted posts from you and your friends. The  Notifications tab keeps track of when your friends mention you, heart or comment on your links. The Me page displays your profile photo, friend requests and all your activity.

By providing less emphasis on individual people and placing it on common interests, Potluck wants to be personal and less stressful by not revealing who shared what links! It shows the topic or name of the link and the number of friends who are talking about it. Only friends really interested in the article will tap on the item and will only then be able to see who posted it.

Potlucks preliminary research discovered that 86% of Internet users have never actually published a blog post or tweet, and looked to get that number down by creating the push-button publishing, which allows users to simply paste a link to share it.

They made “publishing” as simple as copy and pasting so only friends with similar interests will be willing to tap on your link.

Another major drawback to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter is the mega creepster factor when you want to interact with strangers online. On Potluck, the default view is a feed of all of your friends’ activities, for example links they have posted and ones they’re chatting with their friends about. This allows you to view and talk to new mutual friends and read topics you may not have looked for, without creeping total strangers.

What do you think about this new, easy to use, stress free alternative to social media? Tweet us @plasticmobile and let us know!

App Store vs. Google Play

We recently blogged about the 5th Anniversary of the App Store and how it was celebrated by making 10 top paid apps, free.

Google Play opened 4 months after the App Store and took a little while to catch up, but the Android store is now a serious competitor (especially since Google Play was redesigned and revealed to support Glass).

We found this interesting infographic that compares these two stores based on uncommon metrics such as category by category, top publishers, app discovery and more!

Perhaps the App Store can learn a thing our two from Google Play about handling searches with misspelled keywords better. But other than that, the two are starting to feel pretty similar to one another.

Are there any other differences you see in the two app stores? Let us know by Tweeting us at @PlasticMobile.

Day One App Icon

Happy 5th Anniversary to the App Store!

As we mentioned in our previous posts, the App Store celebrated their anniversary early with Apple fans by making 10 paid apps and games free of charge!

So, we thought it would be fitting to do our weekly app review on one of the newly free apps: Day One.

Have you ever felt that there are a lot of things about specific events that you would like to remember, but couldn’t?

Day One is a journaling platform that can record and preserve your memories for the long term. Currently available on Mac ($9.99), iPhone and iPad (free!) with fast syncing from iCloud and Dropbox, we think that this is one of the best journal apps out there.

Day One app

What’s so special about Day One?

Well let us tell you! Social networking sites like Facebook automatically organize your activities and events in chronological order via timeline. But, there are not many interactive private places to keep track of your thoughts. With the passcode lock, you can keep your journal private if you like, or share and link your friends via email and social media. You can even store your journal on the Cloud.

The app not only focuses on helping users remember, record and track their lives in a simple way that can be easily accessed at a later date, but was built with integration in mind and a great user interface. Besides the typical journaling features like text and photo, it includes neat features such as a shortcut bar right above the keyboard  that allows you to include the weather and location, photo, favourite or markdown text formatting and a word counter with the simple swipe of a finger.

The beautiful user interface makes it an enjoyable experience when browsing or searching for a specific event. You can also set reminders in case you forget to log your day!

If you are not sold yet on this app, Apple awarded it the Mac App of the Year in 2012.

Even Jack Dorsey uses and endorses Day One:






What are your thoughts on Day One Journal? If you use a journal app, what do you use and what do you look for? Let us know by tweeting us at @PlasticMobile.

With a few days to go until Apple’s App Store 5th Anniversary on July 10, we have already seen Apple begin their celebrations starting with neat posters mapping their 5 years of the App Store being sent out to the media outlets and reporters and now there’s one for the loyal Apple fans and avid App Store users!

A bunch of highly regarded iPhone and iPad apps and games have been listed today as being free! This could be the App store’s early celebration for their 5 year mark, although Apple has yet to make any announcements regarding these offers. But why wait for an announcement? Head over to the App Store today and check out what popular apps are available for free!

Here’s a quick list of paid games/apps gone free:

Try your hand at DJing and mixing your favourite tracks! We will definitely be playing around with the Traktor DJ this week!

Check out the demo video below to view the user experience and interface:

Which apps do you have your eye on? Tweet us at @PlasticMobile!

Do you know what it was that Steve Jobs introduced 5 years ago on July 10, 2008 that changed the whole mobile industry, and, well, the world (a little bit)? The App Store!

Not only was the App Store released on iTunes on this date, but a day later, iOS 2 was launched and shortly thereafter Apple released thr iPhone 3G.

On this same day, Steve Jobs announced during an interview that the App Store contained 500 apps and 25% of them were free. The truly amazing thing? 10 million apps were downloaded in only the first weekend!

Recently, Apple announced that the App Store has more than 900,000 apps with over 50,000,000,000 downloads. From day one to today, that works out to about 500 new apps released each day!

Tech reporters such as Tim Bradshaw received posters from Apple celebrating the upcoming 5 year anniversary of the App Store.

Check out his Vine video of the poster:

With almost a million apps available, what is the best app that you found on the App Store? Let us know! Tweet us @PlasticMobile.

Ever wanted to bring all your web and video content into a screen and move it around like Tom Cruise in the Minority Report?

TouchCast set out to reinvent the way we interact with online content, like videos, by turning it into an engaging and interactive experience. They believe that by merging video and the web together, it will become a super medium that can create and watch videos that are layered with live and real time information from web pages, YouTube video clips, Google Maps, Twitter and Facebook streams and other digital touch capabilities that viewers can expand, move around and turn on and off with their fingers. Other features that the app can do is turn your iPad into an HD recording device, choose from a variety of effects, draw on the video and broadcast titles.

What separates TouchCast from other video apps is its built-in feature of vApps (video apps) within the platform allowing users to view the web inside a video via web pages and interactive HTML graphics. In addition, users will be able to create video that require no post-production editing and can be enriched using its vApps. They have created over 20 vApps, but plan to allow other developers to add their own vApp on the platform. The videos will be watchable on TouchCast’s own website, and eventually on all websites.

Touchcast is currently free and available for only the Apple iPad in the iTunes App Store.

Check out the video below to see TouchCast in action:

Do you think TouchCast is the future of how we interact with the web? Let us know what you think! Tweet us at @PlasticMobile.

SoundwaveSoundwave is a music discovery app that allows you to easily and instantly share what you are listening to on your phone and see what your friends, family and favourite musicians, celebrities or athletes are listening to on theirs. Available for iPhone and Android, it is not the first music discovery app with similar features, but it was endorsed by celebrities such as Stephen Fry, Ashton Kutcher and Steve Wozniak who used the app during pre-launch beta test and provided great reviews in the app stores.


After signing in, music can be tracked from your smartphone and streaming services like Spotify and Rdio as you play them. Tracks can also be played from YouTube and Soundcloud, rated with a thumbs-up or down, saved as favourites or shared to Facebook or Google+.

The activity feed is a window into your music world. Soundwave also provides filters so you can just explore the top liked, disliked and played charts, taking out the individual plays to reduce clutter in the feed.  There is also a neat Music Map feature where you can draw a circle with your finger over a map (any city, street or building) to see what songs people have been playing within that location in real time.

Soundwave allows you to preview and play songs as well as view their videos and purchase music through the app.

How do you discover new music? Will Soundwave become the go-to music discovery app for everyone? What do you think? Tweet us at @PlasticMobile.

Samsung Device InfographicThink about the last time you visited a mobile store, you probably noticed that Samsung is offering the most devices (phones and tablets).

If you have been feeling that Samsung is releasing a new device every week or month, you are not alone. Take a look at this infographic created by British mobile news website Which? illustrating how many mobile devices have been released in the UK this past year.

With 26 devices released in one year, it is like a new device every two weeks! The good thing about this is that they offer many screen sizes at different price points, allowing all customers with any budget to find the right mobile device for them. On the other hand, it may be super confusing for the user to understand the real differences between all these devices.

Comparing with Samsung’s main competitor, Apple has released only four devices in the past year (iPhone 5, iPod Touch 5, iPad 4 and iPad Mini). With this huge contrast (26 vs. 4) and knowing that Apple made a choice to make only a few devices, we can really say that these two companies have two very different approaches in this market. Though, we can’t help but wonder if Samsung’s strategy isn’t working a bit better given the significant increase in Android sales we have been seening lately.

What do you think? Is the Samsung’s Galaxy getting too big? Let us know! Tweet us @PlasticMobile.


ios7The latest version of Apple’s mobile software, iOS 7, was unveiled today at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) along with the new Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks. We were happy to hear that Apple has decided to retire the cat-related names for more California-themed titles, such as Mavericks. New updated models of the Macbook Air line were also updated to offer all-day battery life and a three times faster wifi support. In addition, the new MacPro was announced to be an all new cylindrical shape with the Intel Xeon chip and up to 12 cores.

If you weren’t able to tune into WWDC today, here is what you missed on the iOS 7:

iOS 7 – Major UI Redesign

The new iOS 7 brings a completely new user interface to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The design was refreshed enough for users to see a difference, but the new iOS remains intuitive so current users do not need to worry about relearning the operating system. This feels like a new iOS device without replacing it. A major design overhaul replaces most of the skeuomorphic elements found in the earlier versions with a clean and gloss-less “flat” look with bright new colours. This means that apps such as the Calendar and Game Center no longer have the leather stitching, felt and wood elements.

In addition, the new iOS features a new colour scheme with translucency to “create a sense of depth and vitality.”

Demos of all the apps can be found on Apple’s iOS 7 website.

New Features

Motion Tracking Capabilities – As your device is moved with hand, the motion is tracked and the screen moves with that motion.

Dynamic Weather App - Incorporates live weather elements depending on selected city so if it is storming outside, the app will display rain.

Notification Center - New daily overviews that let users know about new mail, missed calls, tasks and much more. With a downward swipe, it can be quickly accessed on any screen, even the lock screen. Notifications are also synced across devices.

Control Center - New preference controls allow users to swipe up to access things such as Wi-Fi, Airplane Mode, adjust brightness and volume. An interesting functionality added to the iOS is the flashlight.

Multitasking - Available for all apps, the iOS 7 determines which apps are being used most frequently and keeps those apps up to date in the background. This features a new app switching screen that displays large-sized app cards which resembles WebOS. This will also be able to maintain great battery life.

Safari - New “omnisearch bar” that includes a new smart search field with “Share Links” provides improved social integration that pulls stories shared by friends on social media sites such as Twitter.

Airdrop - Available on Apple’s newest devices (iPhone 5, 4th Gen iPad, iPad mini), users can now easily share photos, videos and other content with others.

Siri – In addition to the new interface, Siri has been given a new voice options: male voices and voices for French and German. Siri can perform tasks like turning on Bluetooth and new service integrations such as web search results.

in-car iOS – This service will bring more functionality to the consoles of some vehicles through a partnership with several car manufacturers. This integration will let you make calls, have better control of Siri and view maps.

Activation Lock - In addition to the well-known and used “Find my iPhone” feature, the new Activation Lock prevents thieves from turning off that features off and wiping your device’s memory. It can not be reactivated unless the user’s iCloud information is provided.

Tim Cook stated the following data on the state of iOS:

The world’s most advanced mobile operating system by the numbers

  • 600 million devices sold#1 customer usage

  • 50% more usage than Android users

  • 60% mobile web share

  • 82% tablet market share (iPad)

  • 10% iPad,  8.7% iPhone Black Friday mobile shopping traffic 2012

  • J.D. Power & Associates #9 consecutive awards

  • 97% overall satisfaction for iOS

  • iOS 6 install base 93%, 33% Jelly Bean on Android (latest OS adoption)

iOS 7 is available for developers today on the iPhone and iPad support at a later date. The new iOS 7 will be available for everyone else this fall.

What are your favourite features on the new iOS?  Tweet us at @PlasticMobile.

With summer just around the corner (even poking its head out from time to time), people are stretching their limbs and getting outdoors and active again.

Whether cycling to work, taking long evening walks or getting in touch with our inner ranger by hiking the trails, summer was made for getting outside.

In todays climate of big data and tracking every single piece of information, wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly how many steps you took while running headlong in the opposite direction of that woodland create (a.k.a. bunny rabbit) that sprinted across your hiking trail (hey, those things can be dangerous, we get it).

Moves wants to do just that for you. It keeps track of your steps, how far you’ve biked or driven and does it all automatically just by sitting in your pocket. It’s pretty good at knowing what you are doing and fairly accurate when it comes to measurement.

Such information is definitely interesting, and probably useful. Running a persistent GPS in the background will drain your battery pretty fast though, so make sure you are fully charged each morning (and probably bring a charger with you). If you are more concerned with how long you can run than your battery, you should totally check out Moves.

What are you thoughts on Moves? What is your favourite gadget/app to track your fitness? Let us know on Twitter @PlasticMobile

Apple CEO Tim Cook is a busy guy and everybody wants some of his time, but it’s not an easy ticket to get! A coffee date with him goes for $610,000 and even several U.S. senators wanted to have a talk with him.

Assuming you don’t have half a million or subpoena powers, the chances of you getting to sit down with Tim is pretty unlikely.

Fortunately The Wall St. Journal’s tech blog “All Things D” was able to sit down with him at their D11 conference. At the going rate they got $825,000 worth of his time and you are able to watch the whole interview here.

As usual for CEOs, there wasn’t much new information that came out. Despite the interviewers best attempts, Tim wasn’t giving much in the way of the upcoming iWatch or what an Apple TV would look like, or do, or when it would be released or, well, anything. . .

While the video isn’t big on actual information, it’s also not that often that we hear the CEO of Apple chat it up for over an hour about the future of tech.

Do you have any thoughts on what Tim said? Let us know on Twitter @PlasticMobile


As the highest selling tablet in the world, the iPad is everywhere. Here are three incredible iPad stories coming out of the US last month.

1) Saved by iPad

A man was trying to get some nice pictures of a softball game in Iowa when an errant foul ball came directly at his face! The backstop netting between him and the field didn’t stop the ball but the iPad in front of his face probably saved him an injury. Don’t believe it? See the video.

2) An iPad stuck in a car’s bumper

A woman in Georgia drove for nearly one hour with a stranger’s iPad wedged in the bumper of her car after the device flew off the roof of another car, bounced on the roadway and landed in her car’s bumper. Amazingly, the iPad still worked and the woman was able to return it to its rightful owner. More details here.

3) Sworn in on an iPad (through the bible app)

Four firemen from New Jersey were about to be promoted to the rank of battalion chief but when officials at City Hall couldn’t find a Bible for the oath of office, it was looking like they would have to postpone. That is until they decided to simply use an iPad running a Bible app. More details and the video here.

Do you know of any other incredible iPad stories? Let us know on Twitter @PlasticMobile

2012 For Mobile’s World

By on February 15, 2013

It seems like Samsung finally became “the king” of the mobile space in 2012 by selling over 384,631,200 phones. Surprisingly, for the first time in 15 years, Nokia is finally not the biggest mobile distributer in the world. Nokia followed behind Samsung, only selling 333,938,000 units, with Apple in third, only selling 130,133,200 phones. Even though Samsung is not as appealing as the iPhone in the US, Samsung still ended up getting 80% of Android device sales for 2012.

Another important fact is worldwide sales for mobile phones declined by 1.7% last year. This sounds realistic because more and more people already have a mobile device, and not everyone purchases a new phone every year. For more information, see Gartner’s article here.

In terms of Internet usage on mobile devices, Apple took the lead for the first time with 25.86% of total usage, ahead of Samsung (22.69%) and Nokia (22.15%). For further information click here.

It seems that the year of mobile for 2012 consists of several episodes of the series “Apple vs. The World” which you can review through a really interesting info-graphic on this website.

What are your predictions for the mobile world of 2013? Do you think Apple might get more market share by starting to launch “low-cost” smartphones? Or maybe Windows Phone or the new BlackBerry might switch up the game? Let us know what you think! Tweet us @PlasticMobile.
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