Tag Archives: apple

Apple Bitter, or Just Sour Grapes over iPhone?

Latest Apple software breaks hacked iPhones — deliberately?

The BBC (along with everyone else) reports that Apple’s latest iPhone software update cripples not just phones hacked to work on ‘unapproved’ mobile networks, but ‘legit’ phones as well. Given Apple’s warning earlier in the week that hacked iPhones might at some point suffer permanent failure as a result of future updates, it’s unclear if (a) the update is designed to break hacked phones, or merely that (b) Apple was aware that it probably would, but went ahead and released it anyway. In either case, it looks from here that the new, consumer-product-focussed (we’re not a computer company anymore, no no) Apple — the one that has delayed the new release of its core Mac software for months to focus development resources on its phone — is in danger of losing some of the ‘ole magic loyalty. Which is surely only be a good thing for consumers: haven’t we really had enough of brand arrogance?

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Just Like Esther Said…

Products sell products, not advertising.

In a piece entitled Why Advertisers Still Don’t Get It, Business Week has confirmed our Esther Dyson nugget about good products selling themselves. According to the article:

It’s time to remember that advertising needs brands more than brands need advertising. A good product creates its own relationship.

The example of a good product is the usual one from the usual place — the Apple iPhone — but Business Week also takes the opportunity to roundly skewer advertising as good advertising for, well, ads.

Miami hot shop Crispin Porter & Bogusky’s latest marketing wheeze has been to re-animate the long-dead eponymous founder of Orville Redenbacher popcorn. Apart from being downright creepy (oh we’re sorry — we mean edgy), the campaign — like CDP’s previous Subservient Chicken — seems to have done little to actually sell popcorn.

But for all the campaign buzz and blog-talk, nobody seems to care about Redenbacher’s revival. One might even wonder if, by becoming the reborn star of his commercial, Orville might attract too much attention to himself and none to his product. The hype surrounding the communication might fail to draw new enthusiasm for the product itself. I wonder if this commercial isn’t a sort of subconscious metaphor for how we keep propping up the lifeless tool of advertising, which is no longer the inspiration it used to be.

Well golly. This isn’t some disgruntled blogger dissing a whole industry. This is Business-flippin-Week! It’s as if in the face of Apple’s success, a whole tide of ‘well we never liked you anyway’ anti-advertising antipathy has begun. Again.

[Rather important note: the Business Week article is, of course, written by one Marc Gobe, head of Desgrippes Gobe New York, a brand design firm. We think we're going to rather enjoy the forthcoming advertisers vs. designers hair-pulling.]

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The Original iPhone

Now this we would buy …

iphone.jpgMIT Adverlab have found a 1985 patent for a phone shaped like an (Apple Mac) Apple.

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Corporate Hacking

Once upon a time, Corporations and hacking culture were anathema. Now Nike and iPod are hacking each others products officially.

Expect to see more of this type of thing as everyone gets Really Excited about User Generated Content, social networking and hacking — in other words, all the stuff that geeks have been since the dawning of this thing called the Internet.

The Guardian today reports on how Nike and Apple have collaborated to produce a pair of running shoes that uses your iPod to tell you how far you have run and how many calories you have burned:

To some, it is the long overdue synthesis of two of the world’s most fashionable and recognisable brands, a perfect marriage of design, athleticism and entertainment. To others, it’s a posh pedometer that you put in your expensive sneakers.

The Nike+ system, which has taken 18 months to develop, uses a tiny transmitter fitted in the trainers to send information back to the music player with every step. Runners can find out how they are doing by hitting the centre button on their iPod Nano and listening to a spoken update of their progress. Should the hi-tech pavement-pounders start to flag, they can give themselves a quick boost by calling up a pre-chosen “power song” for that all-important motivational lift.

The sensor kit will cost £25 and will be available in the UK from July 13. The first training shoe it can be fitted into, the new Air Zoom Moire, will go on sale at the same time priced at £65. Six more styles will follow.

Speaking at yesterday’s launch in New York, Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs, said:

I think we’ve come up with something that’s really wonderful.

We’ve just scratched the surface because over time we can do even more sophisticated things.

Like to see more hacks? Check out the Wikipedia article for the ‘true’ meaning of the term.

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Nano Feature

Apple to launch full-length movie download feature onto the Nano any day now?

According to analysts at American Technology Research (ATR), Apple has announced a special event next Tuesday promising “fun new products”, which they have interpreted as full length film downloads. ATR has said in a research note to clients that it sees a “greater than 50% chance” that Apple will launch a movie download service on Tuesday, with the increasingly media-centric computer company having just reached 1 billion downloads via iTunes. The three year old service is now on track to reach the 1.5 billion milestone by the end of the year.

Apple is attempting to drive the video on demand market by offering firstly music video content followed by the world’s first legal TV download service last year.

Story via MediaTel.

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Apple To Swallow Mouse?

Disney buys Pixar. But is that just Steve Job’s first step on the road to a convergence empire?

Online pundit Robert X. Cringely thinks Disney’s purchase of Pixar heralds Steve Job’s next crusade: the creation of a content/technology/channel brand fit for the 21st century — in exactly the way that dotcom burnouts like Time Warner/AOL (um) weren’t:

So the sale to Disney gives Jobs a smaller piece of a bigger pie and therefore much easier liquidity. But it also gives him the chance to nag Disney into the 21st century, as I am sure he will. Strong minority shareholders tend to clash with management (look at Ross Perot with General Motors and Ted Turner with Time-Warner), and Jobs will do the same with Disney. He’ll push to end Disney’s partnership with Microsoft, to bring Disney into the Apple-Intel alliance, and potentially try for some partnership with Sony, too. It’s the start of a grand amalgamation based around a combination of content, technology, and networking, and I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see it end as a single huge company five years from now with Jobs at the helm.

Just as Gil Amelio should have at Apple, Robert Iger from Disney had better be looking over his shoulder.

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Winners and Losers

Apple and Atkins demonstrate the difference a year makes.

Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief exec and guru, reported this week that Apple sold 14m iPods in the last quarter of 2005 – three times as many as the same period in 2004. The same week, Atkins — once the diet darling of Hollyood — came out of five months of bankcruptcy following the dramatic collapse of trust in its low carb regime. At its peak in 2003, the Atkins Diet was followed by 9% of Americans but now that figure has dropped to a mere 2.2%. The company lost $341m in 2004.

Source: The Economist.

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Our Predictions for 2006

It’s the time of the year for punditry… and lists. So forgive us if for a moment we get all trendspottery and suggest a few things we think we’ll see next year.

  1. As iPod sales start to slow down, we’re betting on a fierce brand-extension war between Apple and the other online music brands. Competitors have already started to emerge — see MTV’s tie up with Microsoft, Urge.
  2. In the same sector, we tip Napster to learn from Google and Yahoo’s mapping successes, and to offer a programming interface (API) for subscribers, so people can build their own software systems using Napster content — expect customised jukeboxes, recommendation systems and music-based games to flourish online. The benefit to Napster? Kudos to the brand which accrue from others’ innovations, a wider audience, and increased advertising opportunities.
  3. We’re waiting for a Friday night TV show which features real-time ‘stupid shit’, news and interviews contributed live via 3G mobiles by amateur viewer/reporters out and about around the UK and worldwide — the trash culture flipside of OhMyNews. Expect flash celebrity for a few contributors to follow, and a big spike in phone sales.
  4. Still on TV, we expect at least one channel to broadcast experimental blocks of ‘ad-free’ prime time programming to test the waters of post-interruptive-advertising television — probably initially sponsored by a major car brand.
  5. Flyposting will be banned in London as Ken sides with the Government on a ‘respect‘ agenda.
  6. Sophisticated services offered via Skype will be the surprise eCommerce success story of the year, with third-party developers exploiting the ubiquitous telephony provider’s APIs to provide simple, effective voice access to information, retail and search services in exactly the way that screen-based systems thus far haven’t, for the mobile multitudes.
  7. Namecheck BST when territorial disputes over mining rights in polar regions recently exposed by global warning become a major news story, and a source of growing international tension.
  8. And a big ‘we told you so’ if Interpol reveals that an unlikely counterfeiting alliance of criminals and ‘just because we could’ hackers has adopted open source development methodologies to make undetectable fakes of a major currency, which subsequently has to be completely withdrawn from circulation, redesigned and reissued.
  9. Long odds but not impossible: Sony’s launch of non-Sony-branded hardware or media, in an attempt at a fresh start after the horrors of 2005.
  10. We will be saddened but not surprised if a PC virus takes out one of the emergency services for at least a day.
  11. 3G. Finally. Yes we’re surprised too.
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Apple to launch ‘TiVo-Killer’

Sod buying TiVo, are Apple going to launch their own PVR?

Think Secret ‘reveals’ today that Apple’s Mac mini will be reborn with an Intel processor and PVR-like functionality. Code named ‘Kaleidoscope’, the machine will be ready for roll out at Macworld Expo San Francisco in January.

The new ‘do it all’ Mac mini is also said to have a built-in iPod dock, a feature removed from the Mac mini Apple first introduced a year ago. According to the report, sources with knowledge of the project have called the PVR aspect a ‘TiVo Killer’.

Via PVRBlog.

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Apple Appropriates Rosa Parks

Apple mis-judges massively and posts a photo of Rosa Parks on her bus replete with the slogan ‘Think Different’.

think different.jpgThe image was on Apple’s site. Thanks to the power of the Internet though is it saved for posterity here and on various other blogs. We look forward to Nike running an ad with ‘Just Do It’ emblazoned in front of, say, Gandhi. Oh yeah. Apple already did that.

Gawker has a nice crit of why brands associating themselves with important historical figures is a Not A Good Idea:

Because the greatest tribute is always to be posthumously whored out to sell flimsy, overpriced, glorified walkmen to yuppies and aging boomers.

True.

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