Apollo 7 Earbuds Deliver Wireless Experience – with Hiccups

Apollo 7 Earbuds Deliver Wireless Experience - with Hiccups

Earbuds and earphones that block out the world and let you experience an audio book or take an important call anywhere are important to productivity. And for small business owners and entrepreneurs on the go, they can be vital to letting you stay connected.

Over the last decade, companies have spent considerable time trying to improve both headphones and earbuds. Huge milestones have been achieved and now, there are a variety of wireless headphones and earbuds to choose from. One such example is the Apollo 7 Earbud that just recently closed a Kickstarter campaign having successfully raised $500,846 USD with 1,602 backers.

Wireless earbuds that are truly wire-free isn’t an entirely new idea, but the tech is progressively becoming smaller and smaller.

Compared to wireless earbuds like Sol Republic’s Shadow, Samsung’s Level U and LG’s Tone, the Apollo 7 by Erato doesn’t have any wires connecting the right and left earbuds.

Going for $249, the Apollo 7 wireless earbuds certainly aren’t the cheapest, but they do boast some premium qualities.

What’s In the Apollo 7 Earbuds Box?

The earbuds may look a bit small (weighing about 4 grams), but they have tons of tech inside. The drivers are quite small only 5.8mm, so you shouldn’t expect pounding bass, but they, however, have a 20Hz-20kHz sensitivity, which is the standard range for headphones. Placing the earbuds on the case when it’s fully charged will add 2 additional charges to make for a total 9 hours.

With a single touch you can be able to answer phone calls, switch tracks as well as activate Google Now or Siri.

The earbud also provides full support of the most advanced SBC, AAC and Aptx audio standards and is also compatible with the latest Bluetooth 4.1 tech that enables it to connect with your device up to 30 feet away.

All components are highly water resistant as all components are put through a nano-coating process that allows for safe use in a variety of weather conditions. “Whether you’re simply jogging through the rain or you accidentally drop the earphones into a puddle of water, you’re protected. Simply pick them up, wipe them off or better yet… actually give them a quick rinse in water and wipe dry. No harm done and in a couple of minutes you’re back to enjoying your tunes,” says the company in a statement on their website.

The Apollo 7 comes with 3 sets of stabilizers and 6 different tip options, so it looks like Erato is really trying its best to make sure it accommodates everyone. However, it is evident that every consumer has a uniquely shaped ear so even with the different options you would still have to gamble your size. There’s also the fear that they’ll fall out if you don’t stick them deep in your ears. It’s a good idea to get used to the sports wings to keep them in place.

The Apollo 7 is available in 4 colors, including rose gold, mystic grey, luscious gold and liquid silver. These earbuds are a revelation and totally free you up from wires. The styling and use of a charger case is very clever. This makes them a good option for daily use. They are still available for pre-order.

Image: Erato

This article, “Apollo 7 Earbuds Deliver Wireless Experience – with Hiccups” was first published on Small Business Trends

Apollo 7 Earbuds Deliver Wireless Experience – with Hiccups

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New PayChex WORX Small Business Resource Center Provides Advice

New PayChex WORX Small Business Resource Center Provides Advice

Human resources industry leader Paychex (NASDAQ:PAYX) has expanded its digital resource base with the launch of an all-new content hub.

Paychex WORX is designed to further complement Paychex’s human capital management services by providing businesses of all shapes and sizes with meaningful tips and tricks to assist them in establishing market dominance.

Small Business Resource Center

Launched at the start of June, Paychex WORX offers users a wide array of expert articles, videos, white papers and infographics meant to keep users up-to-date on emerging business trends and provoke discussion between entrepreneurs.

According to Andrew Childs, Paychex’s vice president of marketing, the content hub will subsequently enable business owners to ensure that their companies are able to evolve in line with their respective industries.

“The business landscape is continuously evolving, particularly as it relates to regulatory and compliance matters,” Childs said in an interview with Small Business Trends. “Staying up-to-date on trends, business demands and new technology can be challenging but failing to prepare and comply can lead to costly consequences.”

“Paychex WORX gives employers the knowledge to empower their businesses and their people to be successful,” Childs added.

Paychex is one of the most established names in payroll, human resources and benefits outsourcing.

Since launching in 1971, the company has grown from one employee to a team of 12,000 that serves more than 500,000 business clients across America.

Paychex specializes in Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions geared at streamlining a wide range of tedious business administration tasks. By integrating payroll processing and insurance services, Paychex also works to customize its offerings in order to provide each individual client with its own, bespoke SaaS solution.

“Paychex has a full suite of human capital management services, including payroll, HR, retirement and insurance,” Childs said. “We know that employers are looking to take their businesses to the next level.”

“Paychex created WORX to help them do just that — providing the knowledge, tools and resources to help advance their business at every stage.”

In addition to useful how-to articles, the company’s new content hub also offers a range of business calculators, videos and interactive webinars designed to assist would-be entrepreneurs work out start-up costs and HR expenses.

By addressing client needs through various media platforms, Childs says that business owners are more likely to benefit from the expert knowledge that the Paychex team has to offer.

“Paychex WORX offers a digital destination for content of all mediums,” he said. “It highlights the breadth of our product offering, expertise and ability to help businesses of all sizes with a wide range of human resource and financial information.”

Image: Paychex

This article, “New PayChex WORX Small Business Resource Center Provides Advice” was first published on Small Business Trends

New PayChex WORX Small Business Resource Center Provides Advice

Shopify Adds Apple Pay as New Payment Option

Shopify Apple Pay Added as Payment Option

The release of the new iOS 10 was not the only announcement made at the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco recently. The tech giant said that Apple Pay, Apple’s mobile-payment service, will come to the Web this fall.

Shopify, a cloud-based, multichannel commerce platform designed for small and medium-sized businesses, is among the first companies to publicly state that it will offer the service as a payment option.

Shopify Apple Pay

“Currently, online shoppers encounter a lot of friction when trying to purchase items on a mobile device. Apple Pay can help provide consumers with seamless purchase experiences,” the Director of Engineering at Shopify Jason Normore said in a recent company release. “Shopify’s mission has always been to enable our merchants to offer their customers the best experience, and that’s why the announcement of Apple Pay coming to the Web is so exciting. Now more than 275,000 small and medium-sized businesses are laying the groundwork for a better shopping experience on iPhone, iPad and Mac.”

The ecommerce giant went on to say that more than 60 percent of all checkouts that are initiated on Shopify stores come from mobile but only 40 percent of the visitors actually complete a purchase.

Up until this point, consumers could only complete Apple Pay payments through a mobile app. Shopify, however, believes that the arrival of the service on the Web will mean merchants will now be able to provide a simplified checkout via Safari with Mac, iPhone or iPad, and this will increase the likelihood that more visitors will click the “buy” button.

In addition, developers will now be able to add Apple Pay functionality through the iMessage Apps SDK, meaning that small business owners will be able to customize iMessage conversations with shoppers that will allow in-message purchases.

This long-awaited option will no doubt compete against global companies such as PayPal and give both merchants and customers another option for making ecommerce transactions.

Image: Shopify

This article, “Shopify Adds Apple Pay as New Payment Option” was first published on Small Business Trends

Shopify Adds Apple Pay as New Payment Option

Meem Creates a Smartphone Backup Every Time You Recharge

Meem Creates a Smartphone Backup Every Time You Recharge

MEEM is a charger, mini-computer and backup storage device all rolled into one designed to store the personal bits of data in your iOS or Android smartphone every time you plug it in.

There is a lot of data on the smartphones you carry, some much more important than the rest. In most cases, the personal information, such as personal photos, has value that can’t be quantified. But sometimes it includes business information with a very real value to your company.

Your phone can get lost, stolen or damaged. And in these instances, the first thing you think about after concern over the whereabouts of your lost device is the personal — and business — information stored there. MEEM saves that information in a way that is convenient, easy and under your control on the very same cable you charge your phone.

Smartphone Backup on the Cable?

Yes, on the cable. Well, technically it is not on the cable, but in a small unit that has been seamlessly integrated into the cable to be minimally obtrusive.

According to the company, the average Android or iOS user has 1.98GB or 7.68GB, respectively of ‘Meemable’ data that can be backed up on the MEEM device. Granted you can store the data in the cloud, but it makes is susceptible to hackers or government snooping, both of which may raise  other issues depending upon the sensitivity of the data and how you are making use of it.

The company that makes MEEM goes on to say, “No hacker abuse. No corporate exploitation. No government intrusion.”

The Specs for MEEM

  • Overall length: 1200mm or 47 inches
  • Main Body: Length 102.6mm Width 21.1mm Height 8.3mm
  • Weight: 132g
  • Processor: ARM Cortex-A8 32-bit RISC processor
  • Ram: 1GB DDR3(L)
  • Storage: 16GB for Android and 32GB for iOS
  • OS: Apple iOS 7 / Android OS 4.1.2 and above.
  • USB v2.0 with USB BC1.2 battery specification
  • Data Transfer Speed: 3 to 4 MBPS (depending on the phone OS and hardware)
  • Charging Rate: up to 2.8A@5V (As per maximum charging rate of the phone)

As you can see from the specs, this is not a USB flash drive with SMS backup software. It is essentially a mini computer with a PCB, processor, integrated circuits and memory, which allows it to interoperate with multiple mobile devices and technology platforms.

MEEM extracts data from your mobile devices and puts it back where it retrieved it from. An ordinary flash drive cannot do that while charging mobile phones at the same rate if not faster than OEM Apple and Android chargers.

Using MEEM

When you connect MEEM, you will be directed to the app store of your device to download the MEEM app for free.  When you finish, you are given a password, which you will use to sync or personalize with your device. The 4-digit pin code is required to transfer data, and without the code, the cable will only charge your device.

To ensure the safety of your data, MEEM uses Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with a 256-bit symmetric encryption algorithm. If you lose the cable and someone plugs it into their phone, they will not have access to the data without entering the security code.

The company says MEEM mirrors the data on your phone, which means if the data on your phone is lost it will also get deleted from MEEM with the next backup. However, the device is working on a mirror plus mode that will store all of the data from select categories on MEEM even if it is deleted from the mobile device.

MEEM is being sold on the company site for 49 Euros or $55, which is quite high for a storage device of this size, but as mentioned earlier, it is much more than that. The workmanship and components in the device and a three year international warranty seem to merit the added cost.

Images: MEEM

This article, “Meem Creates a Smartphone Backup Every Time You Recharge” was first published on Small Business Trends

Meem Creates a Smartphone Backup Every Time You Recharge

10 Sources of Loans for Minority Owned Businesses and How to Apply

10 Sources of Loans for Minority Owned Businesses and How to Apply

For years, entrepreneurs belonging to minority communities have played a prominent role in driving the U.S. economy forward. When considering minorities new to the U.S., a Kauffman study (PDF) conducted in 2013 found immigrants were nearly twice as likely as native-born citizens to start businesses each month.

Of course, not all minorities are immigrants and not all immigrants are minorities, but here’s another interesting statistic to put things even further into perspective. Minority owned businesses make up almost 15 percent of the 28 million businesses and employ more than 5.9 million workers in the country,  according to CNBC. And yet these businesses often face difficulties while securing loans to grow their enterprises.

Luckily, there are some sources of small business loans for minorities that are worth exploring. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Loans for Minority Owned Businesses and How to Apply

Union Bank

Union Bank offers small business loans and lines of credit for minority entrepreneurs. Its Business Diversity Lending Program is aimed at assisting minority-owned businesses to qualify for the financing they need.

To be eligible, you should qualify as a minority under the bank-adopted ethnicity and race categories. You must also own and actively manage at least 51 percent of your business. Also to qualify,  your annual sales should not exceed $20 million and your company should have been in business for at least two years.

Accion

Accion is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping small business owners achieve success. With over 60 percent of its borrowers belonging to minority communities, the organization has a minority-oriented funding program.

Accion provides loans to minority-owned businesses in various industries such as construction, manufacturing, retail, restaurants and healthcare. Funds can be used to buy or upgrade equipment, add new health and beauty services, remodel, recruit staff, buy supplies or market products and services.

Loan amounts vary by geography, but generally range from $300-$1,000,000.

To qualify for a loan, you should be at least 18 years of age, have a credit score of 550 or higher and meet some other additional criteria.

SBA Community Advantage Loans

The Community Advantage program has been introduced to meet the credit, management, and technical assistance needs of small businesses in under-served markets. The program provides mission-based lenders access to 7(a) loan guaranties as high as 85 percent for loans up to $250,000.

To qualify, you must meet SBA’s size standards. While you must prove your credit worthiness and the viability of your business idea, this program is not restricted by the size of your balance sheet.

National African American Small Business Loan Fund

The National African American Small Business Loan Fund is a program for African American-owned small businesses based in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City. Offered by The Valley Economic Development Center and JPMorgan Chase, this program offers loans in the range of $35,000 and $250,000.

Funds can be used as capital to expand, buy or finance equipment, meet short-term cash flow needs and provide contractor lines of credit.

To qualify, you need to first complete an online application where you’ll have to provide some basic information about your business and fund needs.

Balboa Capital – Hispanic Small Business Loans

Balboa Capital offers easy business loan options for Hispanic firms. The loan program offers fast and convenient access to funds and boasts a high approval rate. Loans up to $150,000 with basic information are up for grabs. The fund also offers up to $1 million with a full financial package.

You can use the company’s free business loan calculator to get an instant quote and submit your application on its website.

Black Business Loan Fund

The Black Business Loan Fund (BBLF) offers loans to African American-owned businesses based in Seminole, Osceola, Orange and Lake counties in the state of Florida. Two types of loans are available to businesses: direct loans of up to $100,000 and loan guarantees of up to $100,000.

To qualify, at least 51 percent of your business should be African American owned. It should have been in operations for a minimum of two years and in a position to create jobs.

The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians

The Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) revolving loan fund is aimed at providing funds and technical support to native American-owned businesses for the purposes of relocation, expansion or startup.

The maximum loan amount is typically $125,000, although in certain cases more is available. Terms of the loans range up to 10 years. Funds can be used to buy inventory, equipment, remodel, or as working capital.

To qualify, you need to contact Mike Burton and discuss your business proposal. If your application meets ATNI’s lending criteria or community benefit goals, you will be required to submit a completed application.

Business & Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan Program

While not exclusively aimed at minority borrowers, the Business & Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan Program provides a government guarantee to lenders for their loans to businesses based in rural communities — and this includes for Federally recognized tribal groups. The program seeks to improve, develop or finance in the rural parts of the United States.

Funds can be used to buy equipment or inventory, repair or modernize business, and for debt refinancing, to name a few.

To qualify, you should be a cooperative organization, corporation, partnership or other legal entity organized and operated on a profit or nonprofit basis; an Indian tribe on a Federal or State reservation or other Federally recognized tribal group; a public body; or an individual.

You can find the B&I Program applications here.

Latino Economic Development Center

The Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) offers loan assistance to small and mid-sized businesses based in Minnesota. There are four loan products to choose from: microenterprise (to start or expand a business), community real estate development opportunities (to purchase or improve real estate by growing business), cooperative (to start or expand a cooperative enterprise), and co-op member share loan (to finance the purchase of a share in a co-op by an existing or proposed co-op member).

To apply, you can download LEDC’s loan application here (PDF). Some of the documents you are required to submit include a business plan covering information regarding your business, last three years’ tax returns for corporations and partnerships, monthly cash flow projections for one year, and quarterly for second and third year, among others.

Energy and Mineral Development Program

The Energy and Mineral Development Program is designed to provide funds to Federally recognized tribes to perform technical evaluations of the energy and mineral resource potential of Indian reservations. In a nutshell, it is aimed at providing funding to both tribes and individual mineral owners to use resources on Indian lands.

The program is for federally recognized Indian tribes and individual American Indian mineral owner.

Bank Meeting Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “10 Sources of Loans for Minority Owned Businesses and How to Apply” was first published on Small Business Trends

10 Sources of Loans for Minority Owned Businesses and How to Apply

New Facebook Ads Promote, Measure In-Store Visits, Purchases

New Facebook Local Awareness Ads Promote, Measure In-Store Visits, Purchases

Mobile technology is changing the way people shop. And that doesn’t mean that people are just using mobile payments or completing purchases from their phones. Consumers also use their mobile devices to find physical retail locations where they can make purchases. And a new Facebook advertising feature aims to help businesses better target those mobile customers and even track the success of those campaigns.

Facebook Local Awareness Ads

Facebook’s local awareness ads essentially allow businesses to target the customers closest to them. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) users can see a map of a business’s locations. So even if your business has several different locations, you can target customers using the specific location that is closest to them or allow them to select the location they want. Then you can provide them with relevant calls to action like the ability to call or get directions.

Those location awareness tools can certainly be helpful in targeting relevant customers, especially if you don’t have a mobile friendly store locator on your website or if your customers are more inclined to just stay on Facebook for that type of information. But how do you actually measure the results of such a feature? That’s been an issue not just for Facebook, but also for many different online platforms that offer marketing initiatives for local businesses looking to increase in-store sales.

That specific problem is what Facebook is looking to solve with this latest update. The platform just added store visits as a new metric within the Ads Reporting tool. So businesses that run local awareness ads can now access data about how many people come to your store after seeing a Facebook campaign. The metric is based on data from people who have location services enabled on their phones. So it’s not necessarily exact. But it can still offer advertisers a general idea of how mobile ads can impact local foot traffic.

This feature also gives you the opportunity to create different ads for people based on whether or not they’ve already visited your store so that you can better tailor your message to different types of consumers. Then you can even compare your results across different stores or regions if you have multiple locations.

Beyond that, you can also connect your business’s in-store or phone transactions to your Facebook ad campaigns using the Online Conversions API. This can help you measure the effectiveness of your ad campaigns in terms of real dollars. You can also access some demographic insights about customers to better optimize future campaigns.

To activate this feature, you can work with Facebook’s partners such as IBM, Index, Marketo, Square and more to match transaction data from your point-of-sale system to Facebook’s Ads Reporting. You can also set this up with Facebook directly.

Overall, these new advertising features aim to make mobile advertising actually make sense for local businesses. Instead of just investing in those ads and hoping to see some general increase in sales over time, you have a way to actually measure the effectiveness and access the insights that can help you make future mobile ad campaigns even more effective. The systems may not offer the full picture of in-store visits and purchases. But it seems to be a step in the right direction for local businesses.

Image: Facebook

This article, “New Facebook Ads Promote, Measure In-Store Visits, Purchases” was first published on Small Business Trends

New Facebook Ads Promote, Measure In-Store Visits, Purchases

Apple Unveils iOS 10 Update with New 3D Touch Pop Ups, More

Apple Unveils iOS 10 Update with New 3D Touch Pop Ups, More

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced some updates to its mobile operating systems across the board during Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2016 recently. Those updates included some new features and a more open policy for app developers, which will hopefully bring more innovative solutions in the future. Since the mobile division is the bread and butter of the company, the spotlight was definitely brighter on iOS 10.

Apple says the iOS 10 update is the biggest release to date, with more than 70 new features designed to make your mobile experience better than ever.

Before you visit the App Store to download the latest version, you should know it won’t be available until later this fall, and only for the following devices: iPhone 5 and later, all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, iPad 4th generation, iPad mini 2 and later, and iPod touch 6th generation.

Meanwhile here are some of the more important features Apple wanted the world to know from iOS 10?

A Peek at the iOS 10 Update

3D Touch

When 3D Touch was introduced on the 6S it was well received, but there were some complaints, especially on how quickly it responded. The app has been tweaked to be more responsive, and all you have to do is deep press an icon for an app a little longer and it brings up key info without having to enter the app.

For the home screen this is a great feature, as you have all the apps you use most front and center. If you want to take a quick look at a notification, you deep press it and you can see the messages right away.

Companies that want to create apps for this feature, such as Uber, food delivery, service related companies or others can provide information on their location and how long it will take them to a customer’s location.

Smarter Lock Screen, Raise to Wake

The lock screen experience is much smarter now because you can view it by just picking up the phone, hence the name Raise to Wake. This feature is also integrated with 3D Touch, which lets you see inside of Notifications, Today view and Control Center with a deep press. 

Siri

The biggest news for Siri is that Apple will be releasing the Siri API to the developer community, which might be the only truly big surprise of the whole event. With the SiriKIt, developers will have access to many of the voice controlled capabilities so they can design apps for messaging, phone calls, photo search, ride booking, personal payments and workouts, as well as controls for some home appliances and automotive functions.

Photos

The new feature in the Photos app is called Memories, which scans all your photos and videos and finds favorite people, trips and events to present them in a collection. It goes through your pictures and turns them into highlight-style reels with on-device facial, object and scene recognition technology.

There are also new facial and location detection capabilities along with a more powerful search.

Maps

Maps is also being made available to developers so they can create new applications. The Maps API will bring in OpenTable, Uber, Lyft and other services so users can book tables at restaurants and get a ride back home when they are finished — all within the Maps app.

The app also proactively delivers directions based on your routine or appointments on your calendar. And once a route has been planned, it can search for gas stations, restaurants, coffee shops and more.

Home

This is a native app which expands on the Homekit framework for the connected devices in your home. With more appliances and home infrastructure slowly but surely becoming part of the Internet of Things (IoT), this is an application with many long term prospects.

Apple Unveils iOS 10 Update - Home

Support for HomeKit is growing, and it will include thermostats, lights, window shades, door locks, video cameras and more. Apple also announced how HomeKit devices will be integrated by leading home builders, including Brookfield Residential, KB Home, Lennar Homes and R&F Properties.

Apple Music and News

Apple Music has a new design for easy access to your music library as well as discovering new music. The news app has a new For You feature that is organized into categories to make it easier to find stories, breaking news notifications, and paid subscriptions to news services.

Other updates include an overhaul to iOS 10’s Messages app including iMessages. If you regularly use an iOS powered device to keep you connected while on the go in your business, you can see a new overview of 3D Touch and other features here.

Images: Apple

This article, “Apple Unveils iOS 10 Update with New 3D Touch Pop Ups, More” was first published on Small Business Trends

Apple Unveils iOS 10 Update with New 3D Touch Pop Ups, More