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.
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.
With all my music, now on my iPhone, my old iPod has been displaced. But there's one area where I have stuck to a non-Apple MP3 player, and that is swimming. I had a cheap but (allegedly) waterproof MP3 player that my wife and I used while swimming laps. However, not only did it have limitations in terms of storage and navigation, the darn thing broke.
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.
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.