china

Apple Apologizes to Chinese Officials for "Misunderstanding"

Posted by Abe Sauer on April 1, 2013 04:04 PM

China's state-run media including CCTV went into the weekend bashing Apple and came out the other side doing the same. Tech writers and journalists agree China's smear campaign against Apple has backfired because the effect China's smear campaign is having on Apple's brand is worse than you think in some quarters, and not such a big deal in others (depending who you read).

China's "attack" on Apple certainly doesn't have a simple black or white outcome. The impact will be seen after the dust settles, and it will (especially now that CEO Tim Cook has reportedly apologized), with one Citi analyst projecting that the showdown could cost the company up to $13 billion in sales in the market.Continue reading...

retail watch

Google’s Chromebook Pixel: Questions Arise Over Quality, Price

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 22, 2013 03:18 PM

Since Google began releasing its Chromebook laptops to the mass market in June of 2011, the machines have been known for their low prices and their focus on cloud computing. Now, the company has released its Chromebook Pixel, a laptop that is asking consumers to dig a little deeper into their wallets.

The new computer retails for $1,299 and more than a few tech bloggers are saying that while the Pixel has some nice features, including a fancy touchscreen and certainly is aesthetically pleasing, it might not be worth shelling out the big bucks when other computers deliver just as much for lower cost. TechCrunch notes that “for a machine aiming at power users, it’s a device surprisingly devoid of power features.” Techspot.com concludes, “We can’t fault Google for trying something different and bold with Chrome OS, but at that price it’ll be a hard sell when you can get more for less.” And so on.

However, Mashable.com makes a case for Pixel, starting its review by saying, “The tech pundit jury has apparently reached a solemn, sober verdict on the Chromebook Pixel laptop Google launched Thursday. And the verdict is ... ‘Oh my God, look at the sticker price!’” The review calls the rush to judgment a “pity” and goes on to note that the Pixel is “a pleasure to use, with a screen that's just as eye-poppingly beautiful as a Macbook Retina,” “incredibly fast,” and perfect for someone who is constantly on the go and looking for Wi-Fi access.Continue reading...

ad watch

Are Apple's New iPad Commercials Phoning It In?

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 18, 2013 12:02 PM

Veteran Apple watcher Robert Hof thinks Apple is phoning it in with the brand's latest commercials for the iPad, called "Together" and "Alive," and pulls together a slideshow of early Apple ads for context. Watch the new pair of iPad spots below and let us know what you think.Continue reading...

tech talk

Cook Says Innovation, Not Acquisition, Remains Central to Apple's Future

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 12, 2013 12:55 PM

If there is any specific forthcoming initiative tied to why Apple CEO Tim Cook's will sit with First Lady Michelle Obama at tonight's State of the Union Address, Cook's morning remarks at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference offered no clue.

But Cook — who also made no major product announcements or huge news in remarks made in conversation with analyst Bill Shope — nonetheless revealed that cash-rich, acquisition-shy Apple has evaluated far more companies than it has ultimately absorbed — and will likely continue to do so.

"We have looked at large companies," Cook said. "In each case that we've done that thus far, it didn't pass our tests."

He added: “Cash is not burning a hole in our pocket."Continue reading...

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...

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