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tech innovation

Era of Wearable Computers Seems Imminent as Apple, Google Explore Ideas

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 11, 2013 02:45 PM

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died before seeing two of his big ideas – an iCar and an iWatch – become reality. But word is that one of those visions may be coming to fruition in the near future.

The computer giant “is experimenting with wristwatch-like devices made of curved glass,” according to The New York Times. The watch will have some of the same functions as a smartphone, but the bulk of information about the gadget – when it might appear, cost, features – remains a mystery.

“Apple’s certainly made a lot of hiring in that area,” Sarah Rotman Epps, a Forrester analyst who specializes in wearable computing and smartphones, told The Times. “Apple is already in the wearable space through its ecosystem partners that make accessories that connect to the iPhone."

She cautioned that an iWatch probably wouldn't be landing on store shelves anytime soon, though.Continue reading...

tech talk

Apple's Inner Workings: New Blueprints for HQ, Plans for Texas, Offices in Tokyo

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 5, 2013 03:37 PM

When Steve Jobs announced in 2011 that Apple would be using 175 acres of land in Cupertino, Calif. to build a 2.8 million-square-foot office complex, the expectation was that it would be completed in 2015.

It's looking like a mid-2016 opening is more likely. But as plans for a groundbreaking move forward, the company has recently submitted a revised plan to city officials, offering more detailed (and pastoral — see above) glimpses of the futuristic facility for the Apple-obsessed.

Meanwhile, Apple is moving forward with plans for new offices — if however more conventionally designed — in Austin, Texas.Continue reading...

celebrity brandmatch

Meet Andy Samberg, Microsoft's Latest Windows Phone Brand Ambassador

Posted by Shirley Brady on December 17, 2012 05:34 PM

Microsoft has added SNL alum and comedian Andy Samberg to its roster of celebrity brand ambassadors in its Windows Phone holiday campaign. Check out his ad below.Continue reading...

in the spotlight

Tim Cook Polishes Legacy and Apple With US Jobs (and Steve Jobs) Promise

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 6, 2012 04:22 PM

Outsourcing jobs has been a topic that kept coming up over and over again during the battle for the US presidency this year. And for good reason. American companies have been moving their manufacturing jobs elsewhere for eons, ia fact that wasn’t exactly helping the nation’s economy recover from a bruising recession.

Apple, which has manufactured most of its products in Asia for years, is doing an about-face following its bruising over labor rights at its Foxconn manufacturing plant in China. Now CEO Tim Cook tells NBC's Brian Williams (in an interview that will air Thursday night) that Apple will manufacture an entire Mac line in the US starting next year. 

“I don’t think we have a responsibility to create a certain kind of job,” Cook told Bloomberg Businessweek in its new cover story on his first year helming the brand. “But I think we do have a responsibility to create jobs.” Cook estimates that the company has created more than 600,000 jobs in America since 1980 (WSJ.com does a nice job summarizing Apple's US manufacturing history.)

Perhaps this is a way for Cook and Apple to give a little back to America. The New York Times reports that Apple is planning to shell out $100 million for American manufacturing next year. It currently manufactures some parts of the iPhone in the US. It's also, of course, a way for Cook to carve his own brand and legacy apart from his predecessor and old boss, Steve Jobs.

“My own personal philosophy on giving is best stated in a [John F.] Kennedy quote, 'To whom much is given, much is expected,’” Cook told Businessweek. “I have always believed this. Always. I think that Apple and Apple’s employees have done enormous good and can do even more.”Continue reading...


Microsoft Windows Phone Calls on Bumble the Snow Monster

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 27, 2012 09:58 AM

Microsoft is promoting Windows 8-powered Windows Phone with a variety of celebrities including Gwen Stefani and Jessica Alba Its latest celeb, above: Bumble, the Abominable Snow Monster from the 1964 Rankin/Bass classic holiday TV special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. It's all part of Microsoft's "Meet the new Windows Phone, Reinvented Around You" campaign.

brand ambassadors

Microsoft's Brand Ambassadors: Oprah, Jessica, Gwen, Steve - and Gandalf

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 20, 2012 01:54 PM

Oprah Winfrey devoted two hours last Sunday night on her OWN cable network to Favorite Things, with the items given to ‘deserving military spouses.’ The franchise, an annual brandstravaganza on her former daytime talkshow, this year reverted to the talk show host's personal picks, with one in particular causing a kerfuffle. 

"The Surface, Microsoft's first tablet, feels like a Mercedes-Benz to me, people!" Oprah wrote on her website. "The full-size keyboard built right into the cover makes work easy, the very smart kickstand makes watching a movie or Skyping a friend a delight, the less than a pound-and-a-half weight makes a great alternative to a laptop, and the many other features make it fun for work and play. Now, that's a wowser!"

Unfortunately, it was a follow-up tweet professing her love for the Surface tablet to her 14.8 million followers on Twitter that got her in trouble, as she wrote "Gotta say love that SURFACE! Have bought 12 already for Christmas gifts. #FavoriteThings" from an iPad.

We can only hope that Gandalf won't tout his love for the new Windows Phone from an iPhone. Microsoft is partnering with Warner Bros, the studio behind the highly-anticipated The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first installment of a trilogy to be released (in the UK) on December 13, starring Sir Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman as Gandalf and Bilbo respectively.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...

tech in the spotlight

Microsoft Unleashes Global Marketing Blitz for Windows 8, New Devices

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 25, 2012 03:23 PM

You know the launch of the Windows 8 operating system, Windows Phone 8 and the Surface tablet is a big deal for Microsoft when it pulls out the big guns — chairman Bill Gates — to talk about why this week, with Friday's launch of Windows 8 globally and these new devices, represents a game-changer for the company and the brand. 

Microsoft is spending hundreds of millions of dollars and is the brand’s largest sustained global marketing activity in its 37-year history, including opening pop-up stores around the world in the brand's biggest retail activation to date. 

The Times Square holiday store in New York, for example, will give the first 100 people a year’s Xbox Music Pass (value $99.90) with purchase. The Big Apple will also be home to Microsoft's Microtropolis, a major interactive installation at Pier 57 on the Hudson River. Opening Friday, it's described as:

a stylized one hundred and sixty foot version of NYC in an art installation we are calling Microtropolis. Microtropolis is Manhattan experienced through Windows. It creates the ultimate hands-on demonstration of Windows 8, with the city of NYC as the backdrop. As you walk into the installation, you are literally walking through the avenues and streets with skyscrapers towering above. This interactive experience has hundreds of devices placed on rooftops within the city, customized to the neighborhoods in which they are placed.Continue reading...

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