It took a pandemic (and eight months of it) for some of Ireland’s tech backward banks to adopt Apple Pay and Google Pay for secure, contactless payments using smartphones and smartwatches. The Bank of Ireland flipped the switch on Apple Pay 10 days ago after launching Google Pay in August. Permanent TSB announced that it would launch Apple Pay “soon”.
Even An Post has introduced Apple Pay for its debit card “An Post Money Current Account”.
Do you remember the evil that “Screen Time” was supposed to mean for our children? Does anyone remember the deadly danger to their physical, mental and moral conditions that is imminent from smartphones and tablets? The setbacks that screens would cause for their language development, social skills, and creative thinking? Until February of this year, there was non-stop fear and warnings from “social media experts” with books for sale.
Strangely enough, the dire warnings seem to have gone. Maybe it’s all Sarah Cooper TikTok videos (“She’s so funny and creative!”) That parents consume on Twitter and Facebook. Perhaps it is because parents are more at home (work) and do not feel pressured by misguided feelings of guilt to “protect” their children.
Or maybe, like 5G and TVs and video games and heavy metal, it was all just a moral panic at first.
3. Everyone now knows their Eircode
Do you remember when you had to look up your Eircode? Now it’s practically tattooed on the inside of our eyelids.
4. No more whining about the National Broadband Plan or 5G
“There will be little demand for high-speed broadband in rural areas – they just don’t need such technology.” It is almost embarrassing to recall some of the arguments that have been made against the principle (as opposed to the cost) of the National Broadband Plan .
Similarly, Judgment Day over 5G health fears seems to have disappeared from county councils across the country as voters try to keep up with John King’s magical CNN electoral board on their socially distant path.
5. Take over streaming services
It’s not just Netflix. Disney Plus (The Mandalorian), Amazon (The Boys) and even Apple (Ted Lasso) have subscriptions in Ireland this year. While there are no official numbers for either of them, there are now certainly over a million subscriptions between them.
Netflix alone approaches that number here, while it would be surprising if Disney had fewer than 200,000 Irish customers based on its international numbers. Apple TV Plus, which was ridiculed a year ago, is now also quietly gaining traction with series like The Morning Show and For All Mankind. (The fact that Apple’s service is free for a year to anyone getting a new iPhone, iPad, or Mac also helps – we’re in a big sales cycle for the iPhone 12 Pro due to the iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, and a big sales cycle Max.)
Occasionally, streaming subscriptions that do not provide adequate value are considered. Everyone is entitled to their view, but viewing habits and subscription numbers suggest that this negative attitude is not widespread. Prices of € 5.99 (Amazon), € 6.99 (Disney, Apple), or € 7.99 (Netflix, although it’s up to € 16 for a higher resolution) aren’t much to do for a month. Even if you only got a series or a train of it, it must have paid off.
Where are RTÉ and Virgin Media Television? Commercially, they’re in a tough spot due to the decline in advertising. From the viewer’s point of view, it appears that they are doing a credible performance.
6. The strange lack of online grocery shopping
At first glance, this is a scratch: Shouldn’t lockdowns experience a boom in online grocery delivery services? The services are there. Why don’t we use them as the primary grocery shopping channel? Two likely reasons: etiquette and recreation. The beginning of the pandemic set the tone – it was seen as selfish to shop in facilities like Tesco Online for fear of taking away scarce delivery spaces from the elderly or vulnerable. That assumption has never really changed.
But perhaps just as relevant is the basic need to get out. During this lockdown, when almost no retail stores are open and the travel limit is 3 miles, visiting a grocery store is one of the few things you can do outside of your workout. This may be the reason why alternative services like Buymie (which works with multiple supermarkets when it comes to delivery, albeit sometimes with fees of up to € 16) have not really seen any real drawback.
7. The revival of the iPad
It’s not just mid-priced laptops that have seen high demand this year. According to Apple’s latest quarterly results, iPad sales are up 40 percent in the past 12 months. That’s before considering the new iPad Air, which went on sale just this month. This may be a pandemic, but I have long argued that high-end iPads are slowly creeping into the laptop productivity market. Updated operating systems that allow the use of trackpads, mice, and file folders speed this up.
Joe Kelly RIP
In this column I would like to draw attention to the death of Joe Kelly, the head of corporate communications for Huawei in China. The 55 year old from Donegal was a warm and funny man. He has done a lot for Huawei over the past three years and, according to corporate colleagues, has been highly respected within the company. He is survived by his wife and two sons.
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