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.
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.
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.
The hulking beast of an app that is iTunes has been updated. This has nothing to do with Apple's expected acquisition of Beats, instead iTunes 11.2 primarily adds enhancements for podcasts. If you subscribe to a lot of podcasts, iTunes will now let you automatically delete them as they are listened to, which will help free up space. To demonstrate just how big iTunes has become, the latest version requires 400MB. That's almost half a gigabyte of space! These days, iTunes does much more than handle music, podcasts, or even movies. iTunes is also responsible for browsing the mobile app store from a desktop computer. Apple has a separate Mac OS App Store app for browsing Mac apps.
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.