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!
Apple learned a lot from their underperforming Mobile Me service, and doubled down on the data center to support iCloud. Apple's cloud service handles iOS backups, iMessages, notes, music, videos, photos, iWork documents, Siri, FaceTime, and more; and for the most part, it performs without downtime.
I have migrated much of my work to the iPad where possible. I still have to use a MacBook to develop apps and for serious Photoshop and video work. But more and more I find myself using apps on my iPad to perform my daily tasks, especially writing. Alas, the virtual keyboard presents its own set of challenges. SwiftKey has turned those challenges into an advantage. A traditional keyboard can't really change. Sure, you can set the Caps Lock, or hold down the Shift or Option keys to get different results. But SwiftKey leverages the virtual nature of the onscreen keyboard by offering AutoCorrect and presenting word suggestions directly above the keys, as you type.
Apple has sent out notices to developers about changes in the iTunesconnect app management tool. Refinements include checkboxes for Medical/Treatment Information," "Gambling and Contests," and "Unrestricted Web Access."