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Swell Deal Could Give Apple Something to Talk About
July 29, 2014
It appears Apple is close to acquiring talk radio app Swell for $30 million. Much of Swell's development team reportedly will be joining Apple, and the app is expected to be shut down sometime this week. Although Swell managed to raise $7.2 million from the likes of DFJ, Google Ventures and InterWest Partners, it hasn't been able to get much traction in the crowded iTunes App Store.
The Skully Augmented Motorcycle Helmet Would Make Iron Man Jealous
July 28, 2014
Skully had its coming-out party last week, and while the name unfortunately sounds like the nickname for any number of comic book villains -- from Skeletor to the Red Skull -- it is actually a firm that makes a pretty incredible high-technology motorcycle helmet, with technology similar to Google Glass. Motorcycles have lagged cars in technology for some time.
Google May Give YouTube a Sibling
July 25, 2014
Google apparently is adding another prominent streaming video service to nestle alongside YouTube in its stable. It reportedly has acquired Twitch for around $1 billion. When the deal will be announced and the official purchase price are not yet clear, though Twitch investors are said to be pleased with their return. Twitch allows gamers to stream their gameplay and commentary to others.
IBM Is a 'Kindred Spirit': Whoa, Tim Cook, Whoa
July 25, 2014
The Apple deal with IBM has shown us a whole new side of Tim Cook -- the gushing, hype-laden, excited-but-still-vague Tim Cook who says things like "kindred spirit," "fit together like a puzzle," "huge opportunity," and "radical step for enterprise." Who peppers his speech with words like "profound," "complementary," "landmark" and "thrilled." Holy macaroni.
Patent Tips Apple's iWatch Hand
July 24, 2014
A patent awarded to Apple may be a tip-off of what it's planning for the smartwatch widely expected this fall. The patent for something Apple referenced in its application as "iTime" is for an electronic wristband that contains a recessed area for a device, such as a watch body. The iTime could feed and display information gathered from sensors in the band on a pop-in electronic device.
Apple May Have Ordered a Big Boatload of Big iPhones
July 22, 2014
The frenzy over the forthcoming iPhone intensified Tuesday with a report that Apple has ordered up to 80 million units of the device. Meanwhile, Samsung unveiled an ad poking fun at the "iPhone 6" and Xiaomi introduced its answer to the iPhone, the Mi4. Xiaomi, known for high specs at relatively low prices, is cutting inroads into markets in the developing world where Apple is struggling.
Layoffs: There's a Right Way
July 21, 2014
Microsoft last week announced a large staff reduction tied to the acquisition of Nokia. There is actually a science to how to make layoffs, but much of that appears to have been lost over the last couple of decades. I have some theories as to why, but how you carry out job cuts actually is very important, and it reflects how well the CEO understands people.
The Big Honking Business-as-Usual IBM-Apple Deal
July 17, 2014
The news that Apple and IBM have joined forces sent a shockwave through the Apple-focused world this week, and I admit it, I was surprised. At first glance, the deal seems to be this big group hug with the two companies becoming inextricably entwined. Yeah, it's not that. In fact, this is the biggest deal that really isn't all that "BIG" that I've seen in a long time.
Android Sets iPhone Cloning Factory in Motion
July 16, 2014
Chinese company Wico has cloned the yet-to-be-released iPhone 6, if a pair of videos can be believed. "The similarities are eerily close," said IDC Research Manager Ramon Llamas, to the extent that the casual observer "may just simply accept this as an iPhone." There are slight differences on the sides, such as the volume and power buttons and the headphone jacks, as well as the chassis overall.
Microsoft Layoff Rumor Gets Mostly Good Vibes
July 15, 2014
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella may launch a massive round of layoffs, possibly this week. Some details reportedly are still being worked out. Layoffs have been widely expected since Microsoft purchased Nokia, and Nadella's recent memo to Microsoft employees signaled they might soon be at hand. The layoffs are long overdue, said Mukul Krishna, digital media senior global director at Frost & Sullivan.
Augmented Reality Future: How to Train Your Dragons on Vacation
July 14, 2014
Microsoft just announced the release of the Dragons Adventure World Explorer. It is actually very cool and well-timed, because it should keep little tykes engaged and quiet during a long car trip. It also should get developers excited about creating more games that could turn the family vacation experience into a bloodbath of adventure for boys and a 4H-like experience for girls, but with dragons!
Tim Cook's New Apple World Order
July 10, 2014
Apple is shaking out to become a very different sort of Apple, one suddenly more inclusive than ever before. The question for the rest of this year is if all this inclusion will really lead to innovation. For Tim Cook, this idea seems to have a whole new meaning for Apple -- the notion may be trickling into the very way that Apple is now approaching its entire business.
Reading Rainbow Finds Pot of Gold
July 07, 2014
Reading Rainbow's Kickstarter campaign hit a significant milestone last week: It not only raised the $1 million it originally sought to create a Web version of the popular children's television show within the first 24 hours of the campaign, but also wrapped the 35-day effort with an additional $4.4 million for a grand total of $5,408,916 in donations. The project was organized by LeVar Burton.
The Social Media Fraud
July 07, 2014
I spent much of last week talking about Facebook's infamous study of nearly a million customers and the company's attempts to make half of those customers happier and the other half more depressed. Setting aside how insanely stupid it was for Facebook to do this is the fact that with social media, isn't social the real problem? Could the entire segment be a fraud?
Rumor: Microsoft's Smart Band Will Play Well With Others
July 03, 2014
Microsoft is said to be preparing the launch of a wearable fitness device that will be compatible with the iOS and Android platforms, as well as Windows Phone. While the device likely will display the time, along with notifications from the user's smartphone, the form factor is expected to be a wristband rather than a smartwatch. The band reportedly will function mainly as a fitness tracker.
Despite Apple's Aperture Fumble, the Photos for OS X End Goal Could Win It All
July 03, 2014
There's a lot riding on Apple's new Photos for Mac OS X app. At WWDC, Apple briefly showed off an early version of its upcoming Photos app, which will integrate with iCloud and the iOS 8-based Photos app with the iCloud Photo Library service. Naturally, this plan raised some questions, and late last week, Apple revealed that it has stopped developing new features for Aperture and iPhoto.
Microsoft's Threshold: Low Expectations but High Stakes
July 02, 2014
As the anticipated April 2015 launch of Windows Threshold draws closer, Microsoft is tightening up its features. One of the OS Group's main goals in the design and development of Threshold is to make it more palatable to Windows 7 users, it seems. New features aimed at desktop users who may or may not use touch input are expected. The new OS may or may not be called "Windows 9."
The Big Winners at Google I/O 2014
June 30, 2014
At last week's Google I/O, Nvidia was the big winner. It was showcased in TVs, mobile devices and automotive as the supplier of a key technology. Other brands were mentioned in the keynote, but it was Nvidia that was mentioned most consistently -- and its technology apparently was connected to most of the demos. Though it was mentioned only in passing, Lenovo actually was the other big winner.
The Next iPhone Is a Naming Catastrophe Waiting to Happen
June 27, 2014
I can't help but wonder how the heck Apple is going to name its new iPhone lineup when it debuts this fall. Make no mistake, the naming scheme is due for a change. Last year, the shakeup was two form factors that introduced the plastic body of the iPhone 5c with the clear flagship iPhone 5s model. With the next iPhone, the top-of-line iPhone model won't be clear to consumers at all.
Verizon Flips Off Chromebook Pixel Customers
June 24, 2014
Though early purchasers of the LTE model of Google's Chromebook Pixel were promised two years of limited data, it appears Verizon has reneged on those assurances. The WiFi-only Pixel cost $1,299 while the LTE model set back consumers an extra $150. Those who bought the system through the Google Play Store when it went on sale last April were offered 100 MB of free Verizon data every month.

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