(You're reading all posts by Luke Dormehl) Luke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.
About Luke Dormehl
iOS 8 adoption figures continue to creep upwards. According to the latest figures released by Apple, 60 percent of active devices are now running the latest version of the company’s mobile operating system. By comparison, 35 percent of users are running iOS 7, while 5 percent are using earlier versions.
Apple last measured iOS 8 usage through the App Store two weeks earlier, on November 10. At that time, 56 percent of users had upgraded to iOS 8. While there’s still a long way before iOS 8 adoption catches up with where iOS 7 numbers were after the same period last year, the gap is starting to narrow.
In between dessert and the traditional food coma on the couch, Thanksgiving offers everyone a great opportunity to take stock of the past year’s accomplishments.
When it comes to looking back at the previous year, sure you can stew over your failures and missed opportunities, but that’s for losers. And coming off one of Apple’s most successful years in history, Tim Cook is no loser.
So what’s Apple’s CEO going to be thinking about when he sits back in a carbohydrate-induced daze? Here are our best guesses.
The more iPhone 6 ads I see with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake, the more I’m enjoying them as a comedy duo. In Apple’s latest ad for its next generation iPhone handsets, called “Voice Text,” the focus is on the new ability to send and receive audio messages, as introduced with iOS 8’s iMessage service.
For anyone who finds plain text messages somewhat lacking, the ad shows off how voice messages can add a much-neeeded element of sarcasm, let you drop some soulful lyrics, or mean that you don’t have to spell complex words like “smörgåsbord” and “arachnophobia.”
Apple is set to discontinue the iPhone 5c next year, according to a new report from Taiwan’s Industrial and Commercial Times. The news outlet claims that Apple will continue producing the handsets until the middle of 2015, at which point assemblers Wistron and Foxconn will wind down production.
This news follows on the back of a similar report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who claims that Apple will do away with both the 5c and 4s, despite both doing well in emerging markets. This is part of an effort to streamline Apple’s handset business, and will mean that all available iPhones will feature the Touch ID technology at the heart of Apple’s mobile payment ambitions.
In a marketing campaign I can only assume is some kind of meta-parody designed to go viral, BlackBerry is offering a so-called “Trade-Up” program designed to get iPhone owners to jump ship to the new BlackBerry Passport.
From December 1 until February 13, disgruntled iPhone owners can “upgrade” to the BlackBerry Passport and receive up to $400 for their iPhones, plus an extra $150 (or $200 CAD) from BlackBerry. To take advantage of the “deal” customers must pick up their BlackBerry Passports from either ShopBlackBerry.com or Amazon.
Apple is big on secrecy: both its own and its users’. Earlier this year, the company tweaked its software to ensure that even Apple would be unable to crack a passcode set by one of its customers.
“Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data,” Apple wrote on its website. “So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.”
Users have generally praised the decision, but government officials have been less than impressed — even going so far as to say Apple’s decision could potentially result in the death of a child.
While most people can see through this kind of scaremongering, the U.S. Justice Department isn’t giving up that easily. According to a new report in the Wall Street Journal, the DOJ is turning to a 225-year-old law called the All Writs Act to try and solve the problem of password-protected cellphones.
Corning’s relationship with Apple looked doomed earlier this year. Having manufactured the touchscreens for every iPhone since 2007, the Gorilla Glass bosses were all but sure they were being ditched in favor of synthetic sapphire crystal, set to be supplied by Apple’s hot new partner, GT Advanced Technologies.
But while Apple’s affair with GT has imploded spectacularly, Corning is back on Cupertino’s crush list after stepping in at the eleventh hour to create super-sized displays for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Now Corning is convinced its latest technological advance — Gorilla Glass 4, its toughest version yet — will banish sapphire suitors for the immediate future.
“Sapphire is a really, really nice material that’s very good for reducing scratches,” Dave Velasquez, Corning’s director of marketing and commercial ops, told Cult of Mac. “However, we feel very strongly that glass is the best material for touch panel cover glass. When you weigh up everything from cost to drop-testing, to the amount of energy that’s needed to make it, in our opinion Gorilla Glass is clearly the best material to use.”
Touch ID might have just made it to iPads, but Intel wants to go one step further: bringing enhanced biometric passwords to PCs, which it plans to do before the end of the year.
“Your biometrics basically eliminate the need for you to enter passwords for Windows log in and eventually all your websites ever again,” Kirk Skaugen, senior vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group at Intel, recently revealed.
The software, which will arrive courtesy of the Intel-owned McAfee, will allow PC users to replace the 18 passwords that the average user reportedly has with a combination of fingerprint, gesture, face and voice recognition.
AAPL shares sure have experienced a crazy roller coaster ride this year. Splitting 7-to-1 earlier in 2014, a fantastic run of product launches and announcements since then has driven Apple stock higher and higher. Earlier this month we noted that Apple was now worth more than the entire Russian stock market, and today it has hit a personal-best market cap of $700 billion.
This happened as Apple’s share price rose to the $119.65 mark, bringing it to a pre-split price of $837.13. For those keeping tabs at home, not only is this better than Apple’s last high point, when it was valued around $650 in late 2012, but it also represents a massive 50% increase since January this year.
The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are shattering all kinds of sales records, and that knock-on effect is starting to be felt elsewhere: The overwhelming interest in Apple’s next-generation handsets pushed iTunes App Store downloads to new heights last month.
How much of an increase are we talking about? In October, the top 200 free iOS apps hit a collective 7.8 million app downloads per day, according to new research from Fiksu, a Boston-based marketing firm.