Apple just dropped the $50 minimum to earn free shipping at their online store. This coincides with a Father's Day marketing campaign. (Do my kids read this blog? hint, hint...) Since the average kid isn't likely to drop $50 or more on their dad, this might be the extra incentive needed to shop at Apple.com.
Apple is an American success story. And 'merica is all about freedom. Free Speech. Free Press. Freedom of Religion. Even Freedom Fries. Lately, that includes the freedom to smoke marijuana in a few states. Mind you, drugs have never been for me, nor are games that glorify drug dealing, but they exist and give people a (vicarious?) glimpse into the underworld that is the illegal narcotics business. Breaking Bad made a ton of legitimate money off illegitimate activities. Likewise for The Sopranos or The Godfather. I love those movies and TV shows, and would hate to have had some censor decide not to let me watch them.
As big as Apple's proposed "spaceship" campus in Cupertino is going to be, apparently Tim Cook observed "We're gonna need a bigger ship" to paraphrase Roy Scheider in Jaws. Neighboring Sunnyvale (one of the places I lived when I worked for Sun Microsystems in the 1980s and 1990s) is getting the Apple treatment. According to the San Jose Mercury, basically the official newspaper of the Silicon Valley, Apple is looking to occupy 290,000 square feet of office space, in seven buildings.
On Wednesday Apple posted the schedule for the Worldwide Developers Conference, and it shows, as expected, that the keynote address will be on the first day, June 2, at 10 a.m. Pacific. Apple is expected to announce iOS 8 and give a demo.
As much as I love Apple, I like what Microsoft is trying to do. But, heaven help me, I can't stand their commercials. "Honestly" starts each actor's fake testimonial. As if it wasn't obvious that these are primarily actors (except Seattle Seahawks player Russell Wilson) reading someone else's lines, by using the same words and format, Microsoft is being phony from the beginning in commercials that start and end with the word "Honestly." It insults the intelligence of the audience. Not to mention the valid charges of sexism. Interestingly, when searching using Yahoo (powered by Microsoft's Bing) none of the negative articles about the commercials show up, but under Google, they do. Whose search engine is being honest, now?
At iPhone Life, and around the web, there has been a groundswell of articles in favor of Apple's purchase of Beats. The longer it takes for Dr. Dre to officially become the first billionaire rapper, the more analysts have time to digest the rumor. At first, many observers were confused, but not the iPhone Life team. Now comes word from Steve Jobs' official biographer, Walt Isaacson, that lends credence to the rumored decision.
Here's an interesting little video. Posted by tech reporter Dom Esposito, it shows iOS running on a 4.7-inch screen and gives us a pretty good idea what our operating system will look like on a larger sized phone's display, like the one the new iPhone is expected to have.
I like Siri, but Google Search (free) is definitely an alternative worth considering. Last week Google released version 4.0 which now lets you have a "smarter conversation with Google." For example, you can ask, "What's the weather like?" and Google will return information about the current weather. But then you can ask a follow-up question that depends on the earlier question for context. You can say, "How about this weekend?" and the app will understand that you're asking what the weather will be like this weekend. The ability of Google Search to use previous questions as context for understanding is an impressive step in adding intelligence to these handy voice-controlled assistants. A review on ZDNet says that the capabilities of Google Search "embarrass Siri," which the reviewer now finds to be "woefully inadequate."
Not with a bang, but with a whimper. That's how the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States ended and how the ongoing litigation between Apple (and NeXTstep) and Google's Motorola Mobility unit appears to have ended. The longstanding suits and countersuits stem from claims of each party infringing on the other's patents. This goes back to when Steve Jobs threatened "thermonuclear war" after Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, who sat on Apple's board, allegedly leveraged that insider position to create what is now Android. (Full disclosure, I worked at Sun Microsystems from 1988 to 1993, when Schmidt was Sun's Chief Technology Officer.) Alas, Steve is gone, and the more practical Tim Cook may have decided enough is enough. To Microsoft's credit, unlike Google, they did license Apple technology and Windows Phone is indeed quite different from iOS.
When Apple announced CarPlay, their new technology for automobiles, the big question was whether it would only be available on new cars, or if older cars could also take advantage of it. Then to the relief of many, two different companies announced forthcoming aftermarket CarPlay systems, with the one from Pioneer to be the first to hit the market. As noted by AppleInsider, Pioneer has been offering hands-on demonstrations of its NEX car infotainment system to the media this week, including CNBC, Macworld, and Digital Trends, which has a very detailed hands-on review of the system. Pioneer's CarPlay system offers Phone, Music, Maps, and Messages. See an earlier post for a bit more detail.
If you somehow managed to miss out on one of the largest App Store sensations this year before it was pulled by its developer, you're in luck. Flappy Bird is set to return to the App Store with some new features that'll make a seemingly overnight success an even bigger deal than it was before.
At this late stage in the development of the iPhone 6, I'm not sure Apple would still be testing various display resolutions, but that's what the latest report on 9To5Mac is saying. According to the in-depth article, which cites sources familiar with at least one model being tested, Apple is considering a display resolution of 1704 x 960 pixels, which would give a pixel density of 416 ppi and an aspect ratio of 16:9. This compares to a resolution of 1136 x 640 on the iPhone 5s, with a pixel density of 326 ppi and the same aspect ratio of 16:9. The article explains in detail why this rumored resolution would be proportionately larger, making it easier for developers to scale up to the larger size.
Some enterprising students may have done what others have yet to do, namely eliminate the barriers between Apple's iOS and Google's Android. The project is called Cider, and through some clever porting of iOS frameworks to Android, native iOS apps can run, although slowly, as native apps on Android. App developers don't have to do anything special (although not all frameworks and features work, such as hardware-specific features) but for a college project, it's quite impressive.
The iPhone 5c was Apple's foray into low-cost smartphones. Prior to the iPhone 5c, Apple just kept selling the previous year's model at a discounted price. Some iPhones could even be acquired for free, but that required a two-year contract. A no-contract iPhone still meant shelling out hundreds of dollars. The iPhone 5c was meant to be a cost-reduced model without all of the iPhone 5s features like Touch ID. Still, when my neighbor bought an unlocked iPhone 5c this week, it cost her upward of $700.
I was recently involved in a spirited discussion with a couple of people online. The subject? The perception that African countries are somehow lagging behind the rest of the world in terms of technological innovation. I argued against that idea, citing a number of examples from different countries on the continent that show remarkable innovations and concepts. One of those concepts has grown into a viable movement that is just now catching the eye of the west. What is it exactly? The mobile payment movement. To be more precise, M-PESA.
Apple has never shied away from copying a competitor's feature, if it's a good one. Indeed, a good one that Windows offers is the ability to run a couple of apps simultaneously in separate windows. There are many times when I am writing a blog post, such as this, on my iPad and I need to browse the web for a photo or text to quote. Switching between apps is cumbersome. Microsoft found a way around it, and they have been using that distinction in advertising. It's a valid differentiator. However, that may change soon, according to 9to5mac.
Several days ago, Dr. Dre sent out a tweet noting that he may become the first billionaire rapper. Ever since, there has been unbridled speculation around the possible Apple acquisition of his Beats company (Which he owns with partner Jimmy Iovine) for $3.2 billion. With less than three weeks until WWDC, it looks like Apple may be delaying the announcement of their Beats acquisition until then.
Apple and Samsung have had a love-hate relationship for quite a while. Despite the ongoing litigation between them, they are codependent on each other for the iPad's success. A new report, referenced by cnet, shows that Apple relies on Samsung for a majority of the iPad's screens, with LG responsible for a smaller percentage. While both parties are trying to use the courts and the free market to gain an advantage, Samsung still profits from every iPad, and Apple needs a thriving Samsung to meet demand. This seems crazy, but it's the highly leveraged, co-opetition model that is prevalent in so many industries today.
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