The rumored purchase of Beats by Apple has caused a fair amount of headshaking, but it makes a lot of sense. Sure, at $3.2 billion, it would be one of the larger purchases by Apple, but it's a smart move. Purchasing of Beats would give Apple several advantages, overnight. First, street credibility. With every iPhone and iPod, Apple gives away a pair of cheap earbuds. Sure, they were enhanced recently, but still there's no prestige in those nondescript white EarPods. Beats, however, made it cool to spend $300 on a pair of headphones. And their "b" logo is everywhere, even on smartphones and laptops.
Sir Jony Ive, already a British Knight, is now being honored stateside for his work on design, or at least he will be on October 30th. The New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) has always had an affinity for Apple's designs, so it's only fair that the head of design at Apple get his due from the San Francisco MoMA.
Whatever your feelings on government wiretapping, it is no surprise, now, that technology firms are cooperating with the government. But Apple has just shed some light on the process thanks to a web page that details their terms for cooperating with U.S. Law Enforcement. While lengthy, the document itself is, ironically, far shorter than the iTunes Terms of Service agreement that most users gloss over on their way to downloading apps and music.
Apple's iPad may have reinvented the tablet computer years ago, but they haven't rested on those laurels. The iPad continues to rank highest in every category tracked by JD Power in their 2014 U.S Tablet Satisfaction Study, except of course, price. To be fair to Samsung, Amazon, and Asus, the margin of victory (0.8%) is quite small, but a win is a win!
According to the Wall Street Journal Apple has gained the number two spot in online retail sales revenue, passing Staples to come in just behind Amazon. Considering Amazon makes all of their money online, and Apple has an impressive retail channel as well, and sells through other businesses (including Staples, Amazon, and BestBuy), this accomplishment is even more impressive. Recently, Apple has offered trade-in incentives as part of their effort to bring in more direct iPhone business, at the expense of wireless carriers and other retailers. Clearly, this is paying off.
Apple has made dramatic moves in the post-Steve Jobs era to shore up their position on Wall Street. For the first time, Tim Cook issued dividends to shareholders, making Apple stock an even better investment. Apple believed in their own stock, perhaps more than investors, and began a significant buy-back campaign, to own more of their own destiny. And more recently, they announced a stock split that will see the average share at a much more attainable sub-$100 price compared to flirting with $600 pershare.
In the seemingly never-ending patent infringement case between Apple and Samsung, it looked like the end was in sight. Apple and Samsung were each awarded damages, although Apple's reward was orders of magnitude more than Samsung's. The jury awarded Apple over $120 million and Samsung over $150,000. So that's the end of it, right? Nope. According to Bloomerg, Samsung wants to pay less (or not at all) and is appealing the decision.
Like many iOS device owners, I am also a MacBook owner. But at this point I own more chargers than MacBooks, because they are prone to getting damaged due to the unique way Apple connects the thin wire to the charging brick. The folks at JuiceBoxx have decided to do something about it and via Kickstarter are offering a protective wrap that eliminates the stress that causes the cable to fray.
For an interesting take on how two massively successful corporations operate, just take a look at Microsoft and Amazon. Both companies offer apps that rely upon users buying a subscription. When Microsoft released their Office suite for the iPad, they made it free, but users needed to buy an Office 365 subscription to access premium features. Amazon just bought the comic book reading app Comixology which also lets users buy and subscribe to new comic releases using the app. This is where the similarities end.
Power. You can never have enough. Just ask any president, king, or dictator. That's why I always try to have a spare battery charger or battery case plus the necessary cables. But it can be a pain to carry everything around, and you have to remember everything. Last week, our family stayed in a hotel and my daughter left her charger and cable plugged into the wall in the hotel room. Those Lightning cables aren't cheap!