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Did Apple Just Buy Eyes for Siri?

Mobile-3D-sensing

Apple agreed this week to buy Israel-based PrimeSense for $350 million.

PrimeSense is best known for making the 3D motion-tracking technology inside Microsoft’s Kinect.

Does this mean Apple plans to make its own Kinect? Maybe. But I think Apple may be thinking about something far more interesting.

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How Apple’s ‘Blacklist’ Manipulates the Press

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Yes, Apple maintains a press “blacklist,” a list of people in the media who are shunned and ignored — “punished,” as it were, for “disloyalty.”

“Blacklisted” reporters, editorialists and media personalities are denied access to information, products and events.

Once you’re on the list, it’s almost impossible to get off. (I’ve been on it for more than a decade.)

Here’s what everyone needs to know about Apple’s press “blacklist.”

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Why The New Spaceship Campus Is The Biggest Apple Product Ever Built

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This story first appeared in Cult of Mac Magazine 

Architecture hasn’t really ever been considered too important in the brick and mortar-averse tech industry. It wasn’t all that long ago that digital utopians proclaimed physical geography dead altogether, with a vocal minority apparently pleased to leave the actual world behind them and embrace the cyberspace of William Gibson’s Neuromancer.

It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that the technological breakthroughs of Silicon Valley have advanced almost inversely to the region’s architecture. In a brave new world of lush rolling hills and the always impressive San Francisco Bay, the most that the majority of companies have managed to come up with are drab industrial parks filled with two-story, cubicle-lined buildings.

Why The New Spaceship Campus Is The Biggest Apple Product Ever Built

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For Samsung, Stealing, Cheating and Lying Are Business As Usual

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The smartphone industry is dominated by two companies: Apple and Samsung. Absurdly, Canaccord Genuity recently reported that Apple and Samsung earn 109% of mobile industry profits.

(That impossible percentage results when the losses of competitors are factored in.)

Specifically, the research firm estimates that Apple earns 56% of industry profits and Samsung 53%. (Apple is actually further ahead of Samsung in profits than these numbers show, because some companies count tablet profits and others don’t.)

BlackBerry makes -4% of the profits (that’s negative four percent), Motorola -3%, and Nokia, LG and HTC each had -1%.

They’re weird numbers that don’t add up. But the point is that once again we learn that Apple and Samsung are making nearly all the money, some companies are making zero money and other companies are losing money.

But one of the dominant companies — Samsung — has a creepy approach to business, which is that they steal, cheat and lie apparently because the penalties of being unethical are far less than the rewards.

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Buckle Up: Apple’s Next 3 Years Will Be Insane

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In the past three years, Apple has dared to be dull.

During Apple’s best years, between 2007 and 2010, Apple introduced the first iPhone and the first iPad, two world-changing products that now define the company (and bring in most of its revenue). These products, along with their touch interfaces and apps stores, were a shock to the industry.

That’s great, Apple. But what have you done for me lately?

Here’s one theory about how Apple works: The company finds a horrible content consumption experience. They figure out how the experience can be made wonderful. They work on the products until they’re ready, both from product quality and price perspectives. Then they ship it and spend the next few years refining and perfecting the original vision.

If that oversimplification about how Apple works is accurate, then Apple isn’t really in full control of when its groundbreaking new products ship. They have to wait for technology, such as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), or for various industries to come around to making a critical mass of content deals.

In the past three years, every Apple announcement has been preceded by speculation and rumor that Apple would at long last announce an iWatch, an iTV set and other products that would signal a radical new product category for Apple. And every announcement ended in disappointment. Every announcement was about refinement of old products, rather than bold launches of new products.

Will Apple ever enter new markets again, including the ones perennially rumored?

I say they will. The fact that they haven’t shipped the long-rumored iWatch or iTV, for example, makes perfect sense from a readiness perspective.

In fact, I think the next three years will be twice as awesome as the iPhone-iPad years, in the sense that Apple will break into four new businesses. Why? Because the technology and content deals will fall into place during this time.

Here’s what I think is going to happen.

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Should Kids Get iPhones for Christmas?

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Don’t look now, but kids want iPhones for Christmas. Well, a third of them do, anyway.

A survey of 12- to 17-year-olds conducted by Ebates found that an iPhone tops the wishlist. One third — specifically 32% — of those surveyed want an iPhone. (Some 12% want a Samsung Galaxy phone.)

Ho, ho, hold on a second. Is this a good idea? Should children “own” wireless gadgets?

If not, why not? And if so, which one?

Well, I’m going to tell you.

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Is Angela Ahrendts Apple’s “Future CEO”?

AngelaAhrendts

Cloud computing giant Marc Benioff has praised hailed Angela Ahrendts, Apple’s new head of retail and online sales, as the “future Apple CEO.” Referring to her in a Tuesday tweet as “the most important hire Tim Cook has ever made”, Benioff’s toasting of Ahrendts has left analysts asking whether it is simply a show of support for Burberry’s outgoing CEO — or evidence that Benioff knows more than he is letting on, following disappointing fourth quarter numbers for Apple.

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CNNMoney Tells Apple To Focus On Its “Mediocre Software”

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CNNMoney has hit out at Apple by saying that it should momentarily forget about its position as an acclaimed product manufacturer and instead “focus on its mediocre software.”

While acknowledging that Apple builds some of the most coveted laptops, tablets, and smartphones around, writer Adrian Covert nevertheless singled out the company’s suite of software applications as the “one dark cloud” which looms over Apple. Although apps like iPhoto, Pages, iCal and Mail are functional enough, Covert claims, better alternatives exist, while iTunes and defunct social network Ping are varying degrees of broken.

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Why Apple Isn’t Sabotaging Your Old iPhone [Opinion]

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The term “planned obsolescence” has achieved negative connotations, but it originally referred to a long-standing tradition of changing designs to sell more products.

It was coined by the car industry in the 1930s to refer to annual model updates. Over the years, however, the term has taken on a darker meaning. But planned obsolescence is a good thing. It’s the driving force behind much innovation.

This morning, New York Times reporter Catherine Rampell accused Apple of breaking her old iPhone 4 with the iOS7 update, which made it unbearably slow. “It seemed like Apple was sending me a not-so-subtle message to upgrade,” she wrote in a piece entitled, Why Apple Wants to Bust Your iPhone.

According to Rampell, Apple is feeling the heat from Samsung, HTC and others, and is resorting to sabotaging older iPhones with a software update and force users to upgrade their hardware.

This is bullshit from every angle. The iOS7 upgrade isn’t obligatory, it’s voluntary, and pissing off customers isn’t a good way to keep them as customers. There’s no mention that Apple sold a record-smashing 33.8 million iPhones last quarter.

Truth is, Apple’s products are so far ahead of the curve, it’s a constant criticism leveled at the company: that it is a willing practitioner of planned obsolescence.

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What’s Wrong With Apple’s Product Announcements?

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Apple’s product announcements used to be the most exciting events in technology. Nowadays they’re boring, awkward and cringeworthy.

What happened? 

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