There’s a lot more happening in the Cupertino-centric world than the usual porn-unboxing videos and edible iPhones: here are the most bizarre moments involving Apple in 2010 — from severed appendages to exploded iDevices as art and spy evangelists.
1. iPad Pinky Rip-off
Bill Jordan, 59, had part of his finger amputated after Brandon Smith wrested a just-purchased iPad from him outside Denver’s Cherry Creek Mall store in April. The Apple bag was looped around Jordan’s hand and the thief jerked hard several times to get it off — so hard that flesh came of Jordan’s left pinky. A surgeon later had to amputate part of the damaged finger on his dominant hand.
But that’s not all: the robber who ripped off the pinky is now accused of trying to organize a hit on the victim from jail. Smith reportedly thought his case would go away if the victim was ‘eliminated.’ Jordan and his family are fine and the case drags on.
“I’m sorry for whatever, and for him losing his finger. That’s awful from just a theft. That’s a bad theft gone wrong, you know what I’m saying,” Smith said, adding that if he could give him his own finger he would.
2. iTunes Sex Gate
When Steve Jobs introduced the App Store on June 9, 2008, porn was at the top of the list of content that would not be allowed in apps, but app developers have since been treading a fine bikini line between nudity and prudery.
This year, iTunes store pulled off and on sexy apps faster than you can stuff a dollar bill in a g-string. Epic Boobs, yes! Wait, no. Hooters girls: Yes! Wait, no.
Then yes again: Hooter’s girls in bikinis via the Hooters Calendar Screen Wash were quietly reinstated during what we dubbed the “iTunes Sex Gate Scandal.” The $0.99 app is for a +17 audience, and isn’t any more prurient or wholesome than some of the babes-in-bikini apps yanked over sexual content.
No-name bikini apps are still AWOL from the iTunes store, which makes us wonder whether it’s more a question of brand-name franchises like Playboy and Sports Illustrated flaunting their stuff than one of women complaining about them.
3. iPad Nuked, for Art
No doubt about it, Apple’s iPad was this year’s hot item.
The iPad is also smoldering hot, especially in a professional grade microwave where it goes in pristine, then bursts into flames and comes out a charred, broken brick.
Kenny Irwin, aka dOvetastic, who zaps everything from 1960s telephones to gas masks in an industrial microwave on YouTube, ordered an iPad 3G just to fry it in a performance art piece.
In this 10-minute video, he gets an iPad 3G straight from FedEx, unboxes it, registers it, then sticks it in the oven with the voice of disturbed/disturbing fanatic. It quickly goes up in flames, then the charred carcass is taken out with what looks like a pizza oven spatula. Ouch.
4. Popular iPhone Geo Location Apps Named in Rape Cases
Geo location apps are the hot thing in iPhone apps this year, but they weren’t just for finding restaurants or stores. Apps like Grindr help people find quick sex hook-ups nearby.
Both Grindr and iDate are free apps and classified as “games,” require users to be 18 or over. While the general consensus seems to be that app makers aren’t at fault, it seems that after purging anything remotely sexual from the iTunes store, Apple has a way to go to making it as family friendly as they state.
5. Video iPods Abound, One Perv Arrested for Upskirt Shots
iPods with video capabilities were frequently in the news this year – from gyms banning them to avoid locker-room shots to this case of a guy strapping one on his shoe.
Women out for a stroll at a busy farmer’s market found themselves starring in one man’s iPod video upskirt movies. Erik Alvarado, 35, landed in jail after shooting video at least 15 women at a Saturday downtown farmer’s market in Salt Lake city’s historic Pioneer Park.
A sharp-eyed shopper told a police officer that a man had “a mirror or something” on his shoe.
Police discovered that Alvarado walking around with an iPod Nano strapped to his shoe. Alvarado captured video with the Apple device by placing his foot under victim’s skirts.
6. Sexy Russian Spy a Mac Evangelist
Lots of celebrities use Apple products, but the most unlikely spokesperson in 2010 was celluloid-worthy beauty Anna Chapman. Chapman was arrested by the FBI for belonging to an Russian espionage network called “the illegals,” and will also go down in history as the spy who loved Macs.
On January 25, the 28-year-old told her 175 Facebook friends: “My new Mac has been the buy of the year…Love it!”
It wasn’t an easy relationship, though. According to the FBI documents, her spy job was plagued by network problems that made transmitting her weekly Wednesday intelligence reports via a private wireless network at Starbucks and Barnes and Noble in New York a major hassle.
When asked how she was doing by another Russian agent, Chapman replied, “Everything is cool
apart from connection,” which the FBI investigator understood to mean the technical difficulties with the laptop-to-laptop covert communications.
7. Teen Beats Rap for iPod Drive-Thru Order
The iPod is a multi-function device — and one judge ruled that using it to rap your order at McDonalds is not a crime.
A Salt Lake City judge cleared Spenser Dauwalder, 18, of disorderly conduct for ordering at a McDonald’s by singing along to a rap song playing on his iPod. Dauwalder and his three 17-year-old friends in the car faced $750 fines.
Defense attorney Ann Boyle countered that the boys’ actions are protected by the First Amendment right to free speech. “Using the f-word is not a crime in America,” Boyle told the Salt Lake Tribune. “Singing your order is not a crime in America.”
8. iPhone App Leads Police to Apple Employees’ Stolen iPad
iPhone and iPod crimes have been on the rise this year, both on the streets and in homes, but a number of tracking apps launched also recently launched in an effort to curb that trend.
One of the first cases of police recovering stolen goods with an app involved two thieves who had the bad luck to swipe a pair of iPads from the home of an Apple employee in San Jose.
The 31-year-old employee had already installed Apple’s Find my iPhone app that had launched days just days earlier.
He called the police, then fired up the service from his iPhone. When the police arrived, they tracked the iPad and radioed in the location of the getaway car.
Since they couldn’t pinpoint the exact car, they had to wait, watching the little icon move across a map of the city until it arrived in a cul-de-sac in a residential area where police could make their move.
Two thieves had ransacked the Apple employees’ house for a total of $20,000 in computer equipment including two iPads and an iBook, according to police reports.
9. Rihanna’s Sexy iPhone Coverage
Of all the celebs we’ve seen cradling iPhones this year, popstress Rihanna on the cover of an Italian magazine wearing just a raincoat and an overdose of bling is the one we remember the most.
Her trusty iPhone, which looks like it was added in Photoshop as a hasty afterthought, is there to avoid pesky wardrobe malfunctions. There must be an app for that.
10. Destroyed Apple Products as Art Debut in Palo Alto
Steve probably avoided the opening reception for this art show of massacred Apple products in his home town of Palo Alto, which rounds out our top 10 weird Apple moments in 2010.
Featuring 12 ultra high-resolution digital prints of bullet-riddled MacBooks and blowtorched iPads, the 12LVE exhibit has raised controversy.
Artist Michael Tompert takes Apple’s products and wrecks them with blowtorches, sledgehammers, handsaws and handguns. His large-scale prints of the detritus are surprisingly colorful and beautiful.
“It’s an alternate viewpoint,” explained Tompert at a preview of his first gallery show, which opens in San Francisco today. “They’re beautiful inside. They’re beautiful when you open them up.”
Steve’s still got a few months to stop by and view the wreckage.