Apple’s best commercial was actually a 1998 iMac ad

As popular as Apple’s “1984” commercial is, I don’t think it’s their best one. I prefer this commercial for the iMac, in which a revitalized Apple promotes how easy its iMac is to use compared to the competition.

Keep in mind that Apple practically disappeared from the public consciousness in the early 1990s, after Steve Jobs was ousted from the company. Computing in the mid-1990s, for most households, meant buying a big desktop with a separate monitor and possibly, an external modem. Anyone with a new PC had to connect several components to each other, and then connect power cords and a phone line their wall. Everything would usually work, but not until people ended up with a tangled mess of cords behind their wall.

The brilliance of this ad is that, unlike Apple’s modern current commercials, the company doesn’t tell the viewer that buying Apple will make them cool. It simply tells the viewer that their product is easy to use, and I like the straightforward approach.

RIP Steve Jobs

Apple announced this meeting that its chairman and co-founder, Steve Jobs, died today at the age of 56.

Jobs, one of the computing industry’s pioneers, was one of the most important American business figures of the last half century. As the founders of Apple, Jobs and business partner Steve Wozniak, were instrumental in bringing the computer to the household and the classroom.


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Amazon debuts Kindle Cloud Reader

Amazon has launched a cloud version of its Kindle software, designed to skirt Apple’s iTunes purchase fees.

The new cloud player launches in the iPad’s Safari browser, rather than as a standalone app.

Apple balked at Amazon’s inclusion of a button that directed users to Amazon’s website within the Kindle app, so Amazon removed that button from its app.

Apple’s aim is to direct all in-app purchases through iTunes, where the company receives a 30% cut.

The new Cloud Reader works on the iPad browser, Safari, and on Google’s Chrome browser. It does not yet work on either Internet Explorer or Firefox.

To access the Kindle Cloud Reader, visit read.amazon.com.

Disney Universe game announced

Disney has found another way to capitalize on its popular animated and live-action characters: “Disney Universe,” a multiplayer game scheduled for a fall release.

From Disney Interactive entertainment:

In Disney Universe,
players can select from more than 40 classic and contemporary Disney
character costumes, including Alice (“Alice in Wonderland”), Mike
(“Monsters, Inc.”), TRON (“TRON: Legacy”) and Stitch (“Lilo &
Stitch”) to explore six different worlds inspired by legendary Disney
and DisneyPixar films.  Each world will allow players to experience objectives and missions that follow Disney and DisneyPixar
movie storylines.  Players will select a character-based costume, with
each costume offering a specific tool that changes and grows in power as
players adventure through the gameDisney Universe offers frenetic gameplay, multiplayer with up to three friends and slapstick humor that will appeal to players of all ages. 

Disney Interactive announced the game as a release for Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, Wii and XBox 360.

From the get go, Disney Interactive is also announced plans to sell a lot of DLC for this title. This writer has no objection to DLC as long as players get their money’s worth and aren’t nickled and dimed with small bits of content. Free advice to publishers: Bundle your DLC like a good PC expansion pack and customers will like you more.

 

Mercury News: Apple to update location tracking file

I like to post links to coverage from the San Jose Mercury News, The Sun and Daily Bulletin’s sister paper in the heart of the Silicon Valley.

Merc staffer Troy Wolverton reports today that Apple’s new iOS update will make changes to the location tracking software that allowed iPhones and iPads to track users’ whereabouts.

An excerpt:

The iOS update seeks to address many of the issues with the location file identified by the  researchers. According to Apple, the update will limit the amount of data kept in the location file, will prevent iTunes from backing up the file to users’ computers and  will delete all information in the file when users  turn off location services.


However, the update doesn’t necessarily address  all issues with the file. Apple has said previously  that it will continue to store 7 days worth of  location data in the file even after the update.  Forensics researchers, who have said that they have been using the location data stored file in  criminal and other legal investigations, said that  even that amount of data would still be useful in  their work.

Reports: Apple iPhones and iPads track users’ every move

Apple’s popular iPhone and iPad products record an unencrypted log of where users take their portable devices, according to several published reports certain to elevate concerns over the potential for consumer electronics to intrude upon privacy.

The data is also stored on any computers synced to iPhones and iPods, according to reports.

From the Associated Press, via San Jose Mercury News:

It’s not clear if other
smartphones and tablet computers are logging such information on their
users. And this week’s revelation that the Apple devices do wasn’t even
new–some security experts began warning about the issue a year ago.

But
the worry prompted by a report from researchers Alasdair Allan and Pete
Warden at a technology conference in Santa Clara, Calif., raises
questions about how much privacy you implicitly surrender by carrying
around a smartphone and the responsibility of the smartphone makers to
protect sensitive data that flows through their devices.

Much
of the concern about the iPhone and iPad tracking stems from the fact
the computers are logging users’ physical coordinates without users
knowing it–and that that information is then stored in an unencrypted
form that would be easy for a hacker or a suspicious spouse or a law
enforcement officer to find without a warrant.

Researchers
emphasize that there’s no evidence that Apple itself has access to this
data. The data apparently stays on the device itself, and computers the
data is backed up to. Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for
comment by The Associated Press


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Apple reveals iPad 2

Apple customers will have a chance to spend more money this month when the Cupertino firm releases the iPad 2. The sequel to Apple’s popular tablet device is set for a March 11 release in the United States. The price? $500 to $830.

Ailing Apple CEO Steve Jobs appeared to introduce the new project. For more coverage, please check out the San Jose Mercury News‘ reporting on Apple’s new offering. Here’s an excerpt:

Apple CEO
Steve Jobs, officially on medical leave, received a standing ovation as
he stepped on stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts here at a
press event at which he announced the second generation iPad.

The
new device represents an upgrade from the first one, which has been a
runaway hit. The iPad 2 will have a new dual-core processor, front- and
rear-facing cameras and will be both thinner and lighter than the
original iPad.

And it will get some new features. Thanks to the
cameras, the new iPad will be able to make video calls using Apple’s
FaceTime software. And Apple will include with it its PhotoBooth program
that allows users to take self-portraits and customize them with all
kinds of goofy filters.

Apple is also bringing two programs
familiar to Mac computer users to the tablet: video editing program
iMovie and GarageBand, a music editing application. iMovie was
previously available for the iPhone; the new version that will be
compatible with both the iPhone and the iPad will be available on March
11 for $5.