Apple Is Literally Hitler, Says Chinese CEO

No Comments »

It’s not uncommon to hear someone lash out at Apple for being restrictive, but this takes it to a whole other level.

Chinese streaming platform Leshi TV, also known as LeTV, is expected to launch a smartphone next month. When you’re entering the smartphone market, one of your major competitors is Apple – so it makes sense that you’d want to explain why your device is better than the ever-popular iPhone. Hey, you might even want to take a shot at Apple. It’s a good way to grab headlines, if nothing else.

Well, headlines have been grabbed. LeTV CEO Jia Yueting has compared Apple to Hitler. Yes, the _____ is Hitler theme is alive and well.

The Verge first spotted Yueting’s post on his verified Weibo page. He posted a cartoon image of Hitler, with an Apple logo imposed on his red armband.

Written across the top is “Crowdsourced, freedom vs arrogance, tyranny.”

The rest of the text, loosely translated, says that iOS is a “closed-loop platform developers love to hate” because it “greatly curb[s] technological innovation, hinders industrial progress, and hurts the interest of users.”

He calls Apple a “dusk empire.”

Apple is literally Hitler. That sure is one way to get your point across. In other news, Apple’s CEO just said he would be giving his entire fortune away to charity.

Image via Rob DiCaterino, Wikimedia Commons

March 28th 2015 apple, Technology

Apple Acquires Durable Database Company FoundationDB

No Comments »

shutterstock_105784187 Apple has acquired FoundationDB, a company that specializes in speedy, durable NoSQL databases, TechCrunch has learned. A notice on the FoundationDB site notes that it’s no longer offering downloads of its database software. Financial terms of the deal were not available. CEO David Rosenthal was previously VP of Engineering at Omniture and co-founded the company with COO Nick Lavezzo… Read More

March 25th 2015 apple

11 TechCrunch Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week

Comments Off

TC-weekly-roundup1 It’s been a controversial week in tech, to say the least. With Apple’s reveal of a new one-port MacBook to the Ellen Pao gender discrimination trial, the tech world has been up in arms. These are our best stories of the week (3/7-3/13). Read More

March 14th 2015 apple, Google, Twitter

Prediction: Apple Will Not Renew Google As Safari Default Search Engine

Comments Off

I’m going to predict that Apple and Google will not renew their Safari default search deal in the U.S. Both parties now have reasons not to renew. We don’t know precisely when their deal is up, but we know it’s this year. Previously, The Information reported that Microsoft and…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

March 11th 2015 apple

Apple Buys Up Twitter’s Ad Space to Launch Its Watch and Fend Off Hijacking Rivals

Comments Off

Apple had Twitter blanketed today. There was basically no room for rivals to use the messaging service to hijack its big moment while unveiling the Apple Watch. The Twitter strategy could be a sign that Apple is growing more savvy as a social media marketer.

The first big move was to buy the Promoted Trend—which, at last check, costs $200,000 a day—to be the top item on Twitter. Apple's choice of wording for the ad seemed to show it was mostly interested in keeping that paid position out of the hands of rivals, not in coming up with a fancy hashtag. The Promoted Trend simply read: "Apple event."

The Cupertino, Calif.-company has seen its hardware rivals get aggressive on Twitter during previous events. Samsung, Microsoft, LG and Motorola have been known to buy Promoted Tweets during Apple events to show up prominently when users there discuss product launches.

Last year, Samsung purchased the Promoted Trend during Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus launch. It also has been thorough covering any Apple keywords with its own Promoted Tweets during past events.

Apple has been slow to adopt all social channels and embrace marketing on them. It doesn't even have an @Apple Twitter account.

Still, today, Twitter was all about Apple, with its watch event appearing naturally several times among the trending topics. Apple finally launched the much-anticipated wearable device, and revealed it would hit stores April 24—pre-orders start April 10. The Apple Watch costs anywhere from $350 to $17,000 for the premium gold edition.

Apple fended off potential brand-jackers by making sure its Promoted Tweets showed up for anyone searching most keywords associated to Apple and watches. It also unveiled a new Macbook today, including a new gold variety, and made sure to buy the top paid position for anyone searching for that keyword on Twitter.

Still, not every competitor was discouraged from going after Apple with a real-time social media blitz. Scrappy startup Pebble, which shot to fame raising money for its smartwatch on Kickstarter, was active on its personal Twitter account while Apple showed off new features of its watch. Pebble took some shots at Apple and its watch features.

However, Apple still closed the paid gates on rivals pretty tightly. For instance, a Twitter search for "apple watch" came back with this atop the results. Looks like Apple does not suffer trolls lightly. 

March 10th 2015 apple, Mobile, Technology, Twitter

What 7 Brands Are Already Doing on the Apple Watch

Comments Off

Apple debuted the long-awaited Apple Watch today, and as promised, it gives marketers a completely different way to think about mobile creative. A number of brands and tech names have already developed Apple Watch apps, which will be go live once the smartwatch is available for pre-order on April 10 and in retail stores on April 24.

Here are 7 brands that already have use cases for the wearable.

Starwood Hotels: The tech-savvy hotel chain is working with software company WatchKit on its upcoming smartwatch app.

The Stamford, Conn.-based hospitality marketer already has a smartphone app that unlocks hotel room doors, and its smartwatch app plans to do the same. It's a simple concept, yet it entails big implications in cutting the cost that hotel brands pour into producing physical room cards.

Retale: The location-based couponing app turns print circular ads into digital promos from 130 merchants and will be one of the first retail names to launch a dedicated feature for Apple Watch.

The wrist app will sync with Retale's existing iPhone and iPad apps, so people can save information—like lists of local stores—on multiple devices.

Retale is tight-lipped about what the actual app will look like, but it will take advantage of a store-finder feature to help people locate nearby offers. A mockup of the app shows a map that plots the distance from a user to a nearby Target store, for example.

Marsh Supermarkets: Earlier this year, Marsh Supermarkets started loading up its 75 stores with beacons in anticipation for Apple's smartwatch announcement.

Up until now, beacons have primarily been utilized to trigger push notifications on smartphones, and Marsh claims to be the first to employ the technology to build out a smartwatch app with beacon vendor InMarket.

"If you look at that situation when you're running through a store, how much more convenient is it to have a hands-free option to see what you're making for dinner or understand what the deals are when you're in-store?" Todd Dipaola, CEO of inMarket told Adweek in January.

Shazam: The music-discovery app has its sights on devices beyond smartphones, as CMO Patricia Parra said last week.

Like InMarket's Dipaola, Shazam's Parra also plans to eventually make the content that smartwatches stream handless. "We are going to get to a world where you don't even have to [touch an app]," she said. "We are going to be wearing stuff that tells us things like when our blood pressure rises."

Social apps: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and WeChat all plan to launch Apple Watch apps, which will likely make it one step easier to take and share social photos.

These sites are already overloaded with user-generated photos, and with wrist-enabled cameras, one can only expect for the amount of photos to grow.

Panera Bread: In September, the bakery chain rolled out Apple Pay, which includes an option to pay through Apple Watch.

Similar to other brands' apps, the payment technology plugs into Panera's mobile app and lets people hold the watch over a reader that's at the point of sale.

Apple Watch is still new, but Panera has already reported initial success with Apple Pay on smartphones.

Apple shared a similar use case with Whole Foods at today's event.

CNN: The news site's upcoming app will pull in breaking news from 12 categories like breaking news, health and entertainment. The app will also livestream CNN TV coverage and lets people tap to read and save stories.

"The CNN app on Apple Watch is our most personal product to date, and a true game-changer," said CNN chief product officer Alex Wellen in a statement.

March 10th 2015 apple, Mobile, Technology

With Apple Watch Ads and Apps, the Key for Marketers Will Be Restraint

Comments Off

And you thought making a killer ad for a smartphone was tough.

With today's unveiling of the Apple Watch, marketers are facing the realistic possibility of a looming smartwatch era that will force brands to devise effective messages on the tiniest of screens.

"If there are eyeballs on [the screens], there will be ads," said Mike Kisseberth, chief revenue officer at Purch. "The question is, what form they will take to create an experience that delivers real value for both the user and the marketer."

Indeed, the Apple Watch creates a marketing niche that will require testing formats that squeeze into the wearable's 38-millimeter and 42-millimeter screen options. So we asked a handful of agency leads to weigh in on the new dilemmas posed by the device.

"The challenge marketers will face will be one of using adequate restraint," said Ben Parker, Naked Communications' head of stategy. "The temptation will be to try to rush onto people's wrists with the kind of content that is currently served on their phones. This will be a mistake."

Push notifications could viewed as bad news to smartwatch wearers, added Dan LaCivita, CEO of Firstborn.

"Because the Apple Watch is largely notification-based, and it will be tempting to tap into that, there is a huge risk of being irritating when marketing to users—a constantly vibrating wrist will get old fast," he said. "So marketers are going to have to be very edited in terms of frequency and value when it comes to creating Watch-based alerts."

Brands are going to have to be concise to not only fit their messages onto the screen but to also work in harmony with consumers' ever-shortening attention spans. Mike McKenna, managing partner at McKenna and Partners in Boston, said the copy will have to be headline-driven.

"Challenges via the wrist are similar to old-fashioned, out-of-home communications like billboards—where you need to get the whole story out at 55 miles an hour," McKenna said.

Sophie Kleber, director, product and innovation at Huge, advised industry peers to "make it legible and immediately useful."

Kleber continued, "People look at their watches continuously throughout the day, for about 0.5 seconds each time. With that in mind, designers should focus on only providing messaging and functionality that is timely, of high contextual importance, and immediately actionable. If you have to take out your phone to complete an action initiated on the watch, then it's not a true watch use case."

Tara Greer, EVP, executive creative director, platforms, at Deutsch LA, predicted that brand presences on Apple Watch will likely be utility based, similarly to apps on smartphones.

"Marketers will have to work harder to earn a place on our bodies," she said. "Sports marketers are probably going to have the easiest time of this; there's a natural fit between tracking physical data and creating great products and services for the [Apple Watch], that don't feel invasive, but rather, like a natural extension of the brand."

Whether Apple Watch ads and marketing actually work will be worth observing in the coming months.

"At some point, there is only so small a screen can get before it is not an effective visual medium, regardless of the age demographic," said McKenna of Marsteller.

At the same time, Tom Bash, senior manager of product strategy and operations for Exponential, addressed the elephant in the room: Will enough people actually buy Apple Watch to warrant marketers' time and money? Preorders become available April 10, starting at $349.

It's unclear, he said, "if Apple can convince non-watch people—and consumers who wear watches primarily for fashion reasons—that they need a smartwatch in addition to their iPhone."

To find out, set the calendar app on your smartwatch (if you have one, that is) to the end of April—or the next time Apple CEO Tim Cook and company take center stage while revealing their quarterly earnings. That's when we'll find out about the demand for the tech giant's latest invention. 

March 10th 2015 apple, Technology

Is the Apple Watch For You?

Comments Off

Back in September, Apple unveiled the Apple Watch at a big event, which also saw the introduction of the latest iPhone models. Six months later, the company just held another event talking about it more, and mostly telling us things we already knew about it.

This time, however, we got the prices and the release date. Let’s get those out of the way. All models will be available for pre-order and for trying on beginning on April 10 in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the UK and the US. You’ll need an appointment to try one on. The devices will be available online or by reservation in Apple’s retail stores and authorized re-sellers in China and Japan on April 24.

As you’re probably aware from the first event, there are three collections. Each is available in 38 mm and 42 mm.

Prices are as follows:

Apple Watch Sport: $349 and $399
Apple Watch: from $549 to $1,099
Apple Watch Edition: from $10,000 to who knows?

Yes, the cheap end of the high-end watches is $10K. CEO Tim Cook really prefers the Mickey Mouse graphic on his own Apple Watch, according to his presentation. This would definitely look killer on a ten thousand dollar watch.

As you also know from the original event, all models are highly customizable. Each has various models, band options, and you can always tailor the display to your liking. Feel free to browse around the company’s website for a look at all of your options.

But let’s face it, it’s not how these watches look that will make or break them. It’s what they can do, and how much consumers value that. I can tell you right now, they’re not going to be for everyone. Many will be perfectly content with their phones and/or other existing devices.

What will make Apple Watch stand out is really only limited to what developers are able to get out of it, and according to Apple, there are already thousands of apps ready to go for the device’s release. How many of them are specifically enhanced by the watch form factor is a question that remains unanswered. How many of these apps will be better on a watch than on a phone or a tablet?

Well, the health category is an obvious area where it can make a real difference, so it’s no surprise that Apple (and other smart watch makers) play this up. In fact, health was a major theme of today’s event even before the watch was mentioned. Apple also announced ResearchKit, a new open source software framework for medical and health research, aimed at providing doctors and scientists with more data. Utilizing this are some new apps aiding research on asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease.

Many health apps will take advantage of the watch, but the device itself even goes out of its way to get you more active. It even sends you notifications (which you can opt out of) telling you if you’ve been sitting for too long.

“Apple Watch encourages you to sit less, move more and get some exercise every day,” the company says, “The Activity app provides a simple visual snapshot of your daily activity with three rings that measure active calories burned, brisk activity and how often you’ve stood up to take a break from sitting during the day. Apple Watch provides the detailed metrics you need during dedicated workout sessions for the most popular activities, such as walking, running and cycling through the Workout app. With an accelerometer, a built-in heart rate sensor, GPS and Wi-Fi from your iPhone, Apple Watch smartly uses the best sensors for different types of motion and provides a comprehensive picture of your all-day activity and workouts. The Activity app on iPhone collects your activity and workout data from Apple Watch so you can see your history in greater detail. Apple Watch uses this history to suggest personalized activity goals, reward fitness milestones and keep you motivated.”

Beyond health, Apple wants the watch to be “integral to your life.” In other words, how did you ever get by without this thing. So, of course, you can communicate with people using various apps. You can check your email. You can browse Instagram. You can use Apple Pay at stores, and pull up your boarding pass at the aiport. You can even receive and make calls. You can do a lot of things…you can already do with your smartphone.

And that’s probably the biggest problem with Apple Watch. Most of what you can do with it, you can already do with a smartphone, and worse yet, to do most of it, you still have to have your iPhone with you.

It would be one thing if it replaced your phone. If you had your phone’s capabilities at your wrist, and no longer needed to carry your phone around, I could see this being a hot item. Many would still prefer the phone, but some subset of people would be happy to “upgrade” to a more light-weight experience. With this, it’s just another thing you’re carrying around, even if it’s actually wrapped around you. It’s also another thing to charge.

As others have pointed out, as an everyday device, the Apple Watch isn’t filling much of a need like past Apple devices like the iPod or iPhone have. It’s just another thing. And a pricey one at that. At its least expensive, you’re essentially paying $350 to look at your wrist instead of your phone, while still carrying your phone around. For the high rollers, you’re paying upwards of ten grand. And just so we’re clear here, here’s an example of one of these high-end models:

Yes, it’s a reasonably decent looking watch. So are these Rolex models.

Also, just to keep things in perspective, you can get about 4 of Apple’s 27-inch 3.5GHz with Retina 5K display iMacs for $10,000.

Here’s an AutoTrader article about 10 good used cars you can get for under $10,000. Money has a nice list of 24 things to do with $10,000. Somehow “buy a watch” didn’t make the list.

Update: Apple didn’t reveal this in its announcements, but the Apple website shows the high-end watches going as high as $17,000. That includes this model:

Here’s a list of brand new cars you can get for that much.

Apple is very proud of the fashion elements of its collections, but I have a hard time buying that those looking to wear a watch for the fashion aren’t going to opt for a more traditional time piece.

Vox put it well: “Viewed as a gadget, the device is just too expensive given its limited functionality. Yet it’s going to be an uphill battle to sell a square, bulky touchscreen device as a fashion statement. In trying to be both a gadget and a luxury item, it’s at high risk of falling in the no-man’s land between the two.”

And I believe that was written before the $10K price tag was announced.

Also keep in mind that Google tried to sell Google Glass as a fashion accessory. Yes, really.

Certainly Apple’s device has more potential in that regard, but still. How often are tech and fashion really complementary?

Maybe I’ll be proven wrong. When the iPad was unveiled, I felt like it was pretty much an over-sized iPhone that didn’t make calls. I actually kind of still feel that way about it (and competing tablets), but I’ll happily acknowledge that I underestimated how much people would want such a device. Maybe I’m underestimating that for the watch too.

Here’s what Twitter is saying about Apple Watch:

What do you think? Are you impressed by the Apple Watch? Would you buy one?

March 10th 2015 apple, Technology

Apple Shared Several Astonishing Stats Today That Have Nothing to Do With Watches

Comments Off

Apple's event in San Francisco today isn't only about the Apple Watch. CEO Tim Cook started the product demonstration with a quick update on some of the company's latest devices and services, and the numbers are rather astonishing. Of course, Apple did get to the watch, and revealed that they are set to open for pre-orders starting April 10, in stores April 24, and they will retail for between $350 and $17,000—for the top gold model.

We knew Apple was big, but these stats are big even for them, and they show why top brands focus on developing for Apple's platform:

Let's start with its flagship, the iPhone. Apple now says it has sold more than 700 million of them since the product launched in 2007.

Apple's latest-generation phones contributed to that number. The iPhone was the No. 1 selling phone in the world last quarter.

Apple saw a 50 percent growth in phone sales last quarter, compared to industry growth of 25 percent.

As for customer satisfaction with the device, Cook said it was at an "unheard of" 99 percent.

Apple Pay was perhaps the biggest new service to come to the iPhone last year, allowing people to pay through their phones at stores and elsewhere. Since launch, Apple Pay has gone from 6 banking partners to more than 2,500.

The number of retailers accepting Apple Pay tripled to 700,000.

Coca-Cola plans to have 100,000 vending machines capable of accepting Apple Pay by the end of the year. Currently, 40,000 of them accept it.

Every major car brand is committed to incorporating Apple CarPlay into their automobiles, with 40 new models planned this year alone.

Apple finally brought HBO Go to Apple TV, which will charge $15 a month for the streaming version of the cable network. Apple TV has 25 million users now.

Also in news not related to watches, the new Macbook is the thinnest yet at 13 millimeters, and it's the lightest at 2 pounds.

March 10th 2015 apple, iphone, Technology

10 Must-See Digital Marketing Stats From the Past Week

Comments Off

Instagram is a juggernaut. Snapchat is a phenomenon, and Kik and Line are basically killing it. What do all these have in common? They represent the latest in mobile and digital communications. The messaging craze has continued to evolve in surprising ways, and in ways marketers can start to take advantage of.

Last week, was a good indication of how these platforms of the future are growing and developing. Here's a look at some of the must-see digital stats that shine a light on mobile, messaging and the wider tech landscape:

1. Instagram is exploding with new users, and now is expected to top 100 million in the United States by 2018, according to eMarketer's latest report.

2. Snapchat's co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy were among the 290 newcomers to Forbes' billionaires list. Each are estimated to be worth $1.5 billion, not bad for founders still in their 20s.

3. This week, SXSW starts its version of March Madness with its yearly Austin festival dedicated to tech and entertainment. Expect 72,000 festivalgoers in the heart of Texas for this must-attend event.

4. Kik, the messaging app that competes with the likes of Snapchat, released new targeting tools for its Promoted Chat marketing product, which lets brands talk directly to users who opt in. Now, advertisers can market to users based on gender, country or type of device. More than 10 million Kik users have opted in to chatting with brands there.

5. Speaking of messaging apps. Line, which had a presence at last week's Mobile World Congress, said that it is gaining newcomers to its service—big in home country Japan—at a rate of 1.73 million people a day.

6. Tinder, the "swipe right if you like" dating app, finally launched a paid service that gives users unlimited swipes, do-overs and other premium features. Tinder Plus, however, costs twice as much for old and wrinkly people in the United States—those 28 and older will pay $20 a month compared to $10 for younger people.

7. Tumblr's Creatrs Network, its new in-house influencer agency, helped generate 625,000 engagements—likes, reblogs and follows—for a campaign for the movie Ouija, produced by Universal.

8. The terrorist army known as ISIS, fighting for control of Syrian and Iraq, are using social media to their advantage. A new study from Brookings found that supporters of the group ran 46,000 Twitter accounts.

9. Just how many Apple Watches will people buy? The device gets a public close-up today, and analysts are trying to predict the number of units sold, a safe number seems to be about 15 million in 2015.

10. Last week, the Nasdaq topped 5,000 points, an indicator of the health of the tech sector. That's the highest the stock tracker has been since 2000's infamous tech bubble. This time's different, though?

March 10th 2015 apple, Facebook, Mobile, Technology, Twitter