tech in the spotlight

With the World Watching, Will Apple's iPhone Event Disappoint?

Posted by Alicia Ciccone on September 8, 2014 05:38 PM

The countdown is on as Apple watchers are at the ready for the next big thing: its product reveal taking place Tuesday morning at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. As the "What to Expect" headlines keep rolling in, Apple, as usual, will do its best to keep leaks at bay, so as to unveil its latest products in the typical, dramatic, Apple fashion we all have come to know so well

Perhaps the only certainty regarding the launch is that Apple will unveil a new iPhone, in line with its fall mobile announcements. But how many, and more importantly, how big? And will we finally see the so-called "iWatch" after months of rumors and sketches?

Major news outlets think so, and if Apple wants to stay on top of its game, it had better. This past week alone saw major wearable tech announcements from Samsung and Intel, and while none of them (arguably) hold the fascination that Apple does, there's no doubt that Apple acolytes are getting impatient waiting for CEO Tim Cook to unveil his first big product post-Jobs.Continue reading...

branding together

Apple and Beats: A Match Made in Product Placement Heaven

Posted by Abe Sauer on May 28, 2014 06:03 PM

After a few weeks worth of speculation and one very viral video, Apple officially announced today that it is acquiring Beats Electronics and its streaming music service, Beats Music, for $3 billion—its largest acquisition to date—and is bringing co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine on board at Apple.

“Music is such an important part of all of our lives and holds a special place within our hearts at Apple,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in a press release. “That’s why we have kept investing in music and are bringing together these extraordinary teams so we can continue to create the most innovative music products and services in the world.”

Indeed, Apple altered the world of music with its iPod MP3 players and iTunes service—one of the only online music marketplaces widely supported by the music industry. But what many may not know is that Beats co-founder and record label executive Iovine has long played a significant role in the adoption and growth of Apple's music products, including securing product placement deals for Steve Jobs and using his leverage in the entertainment industry to help promote the iPod, as Apple Insider notes.Continue reading...

branding together

Apple Enters Uncharted Waters with Reported Beats Brand Acquisition

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 9, 2014 01:07 PM

Apple may soon be marching to a new beat as it closes in on its largest acquisition ever: the $3.2 billion purchase of Beats Electronics LLC.

Founded by music producer Jimmy Iovine and hip-hop celeb Dr. Dre, Beats is known for its premium Beats by Dre headphones and streaming music service, Beats Music, which launched in January. The headphones alone, which can cost consumers upwards of $300, have become a status (and fashion) symbol in the hip-hop community and beyond, and have posed a great challenge to headphone-makers like Skullcandy.

Apple, of course, produces its own earbuds for use with its iPhones and iPods, but recently partnered with Beats for the iPhone 5S release in November. The company has been under pressure from investors and consumers to bring innovative new products to market.

As the Wall Street Journal observes, Apple shook up the music business in 2003 with the launch of the iTunes music store, but now it's the disrupter that's being disrupted.Continue reading...

brand challenges

Has Apple Lost Its Groove?

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 17, 2013 07:10 PM

While Apple has had some good news lately (it reached 50 billion downloads from its App Store, signed a deal with CW to have the network’s content appear on Apple TV, and its UK retail locations received the top customer-service rating in Britain), it also is going through some tough times as a brand.

A recent poll from Bloomberg notes that, “71 percent of poll respondents say the Cupertino, California, company has lost its cachet as an industry innovator, which includes 28 percent who say it is permanent and 43 percent who say it may be a temporary hiccup.” While some Apple loyalists remain dedicated to the company that has brought the world such innovations as the iPod, iPhone, and iTunes, plenty of folks in the general population aren’t as high on Apple as they used to be, with some turning to competitors like Google and Samsung. “Google plays offense while Apple has recently settled for playing defense,” Forbes reports. “Apple is struggling to maintain its position in the market, while Google is expanding its position.” 

Google’s shares have gone over a record $900 while Apple’s are now just above $400 after being over $705 in late September. While it can be difficult to keep up with its own track record of innovation, Apple apparently has got to keep pushing in order to keep the masses satisfied. “Where Apple went wrong is they began to confuse version releases and feature improvements with innovation,” Forbes reports. “What Apple is learning the hard way is even the most loyal base of consumers will jump ship when provided a valid reason to do so.”Continue reading...

name game

Is the iPhone By Any Other Name Still an iPhone?

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 6, 2013 01:13 PM

Is that a Mobi in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? This is a question that frisky individuals may have been asking today if Apple’s head honchos had gone a different way.

The iPhone nearly had a bunch of different names, many of which were revealed by the company’s former advertising head honcho Ken Segall at an event at the University of Arizona Tuesday.

According to, some of the names considered for the iPhone include Mobi (as a shortened version of mobile), Telepod (as a combo of telephone and the then smash hit on the market iPod), Tripod (since the initial device would serve the functions of being a combo phone, iPod, and Internet connection), and iPad.

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brand vs. brand

Amazon Disrupts Apple's Online Ecosystem With Mobile MP3 Store

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 18, 2013 03:03 PM

Amazon is moving to take a good bit of cash from Apple’s coffers.

The 19-year-old online retail giant has “launched a mobile version of its MP3 store for the iPhone and iPod Touch, giving users a way to buy songs from the online retailer with their devices,” according to the Chicago Tribune.

Significantly, as the company's press release notes, the move allows iPhone and iPhone touch users to download songs directly onto their devices using the web — and without using the Apple Store.Continue reading...

political season

Barack Obama Goes Down to the Wire with Jay-Z, Will Ferrell and the Boss

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 5, 2012 04:32 PM

As Barack Obama campaigns at his final rally today in the vital swing state of Ohio with his pals Jay-Z (who sang, "I've got 99 problems, but Mitt ain't one) and Bruce Springsteen, apparently some voters may be confused. And not because they're undecided.

The hard-fought, long-awaited presidential election will finally take place on Tuesday and America will decide which leader it wants to follow: President Barack Obama or Governor Mitt Romney. This pair has done pretty much everything it can on the marketing front, short of skywriting and Potter-style notes delivered by owl, to get their respective messages out to voters. Combined, their campaigns have spent more than a billion dollars on television ads alone this election, an almost embarrassing sum of money given the state of the U.S. economy.

And online was no different. The two candidates have dedicated digital teams that have been trying to push their message through every online channel imaginable. One of those, though, is getting some negative attention: brand hijacking. That's when a brand buys search-engine ad space for when a consumer searches for a competing brand. In some parts of the US, when someone searches for “Barack Obama” in Google or Facebook, ads for Romney appear. And when some Americans search for “Mitt Romney,” ads for Barack Obama appear.Continue reading...

tech champs

Apple's Quarterly Tally: 26.9M iPhones, 14M iPads, $8.2B Net Profit

Posted by Shirley Brady on October 25, 2012 04:49 PM

Apple is roaring into the holiday season, reporting earnings for the company's fiscal fourth quarter ending Sept. 30th that show how last month's iPhone 5 launch boosted business, while iPad demand is still high.

The company posted quarterly revenue of $36.0 billion and quarterly net profit of $8.2 billion, or $8.67 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $28.3 billion and net profit of $6.6 billion, or $7.05 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 40.0 percent compared to 40.3 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 60 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Apple sold 26.9 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 58 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 14.0 million iPads during the quarter, a 26 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. On the more tepid side of its product offering, it sold 4.9 million Macs during the quarter, a 1 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter; and 5.3 million iPods, a 19 percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter.

“We’re very proud to end a fantastic fiscal year with record September quarter results,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re entering this holiday season with the best iPhone, iPad, Mac and iPod products ever, and we remain very confident in our new product pipeline.” Analysts will be very curious, no doubt, how many iPad mini sales Apple projects for the upcoming holiday season, given that 14 million units of the full-size iPad were just sold.Continue reading...

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