Even Microsoft admits the iPhone 6 is king of 2014. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Microsoft released its list of the top Bing searches of 2014 this week, and among tech companies, Apple appears to be this year’s big winner, again.
The iPhone 6 and iPad both ranked among the top 5 tech search words of 2014, according to BingTrends. Other top searches included Fitbit and the Xbox One, but the iPhone 6’s biggest competitor – the Samsung Galaxy S5 – didn’t even place in the top 10.
One way you can tell a technology is becoming mainstream is when it starts to have brushes with the law. We saw it in the 1980s with the first computer hacker trials, more recently with the appearance of Google Glass, and now with fitness trackers — courtesy of a personal injury suit taking place in Canada.
In what is thought to be the first ever case of data from a wearable device being used in court, a female Calgary plaintiff is using information gathered by her Fitbit device to demonstrate that her activity levels have dropped dramatically following an accident.
The data is being analyzed by a third-party analytics firm called Vivametrica, which will make its findings known to the court.
Clearing the way for its own fitness-tracking wearables, Apple has stopped selling Fitbit activity trackers in the Apple Online Store, and has begun removing them from its brick-and-mortar retail outlets also.
Fitbit’s devices have been sold in Apple Stores for the past few years; quickly racking up close to 70% of the fitness-tracking device marketshare, courtesy of a head start over competitors such as Nike’s FuelBand and Jawbone Up.
Apple is giving FitBit the boot to make way for Apple Watch. Photo: Fitbit
Fitbit’s lineup of activity trackers may soon get exiled from the Apple Store, sources have told Recode, as Apple prepares to launch its own lineup of wearables next year.
It’s unclear whether other activity trackers will suffer the same fate, but the move comes just days after FitBit announced it has no plans to support iOS 8’s HealthKit in the near future, which makes it easy for iOS users to track all of their fitness data in one app.
How does a wearables company survive being Sherlocked? Jawbone has some ideas.
In the business world, Apple entering your product category is a little bit like a tsunami crashing into a home aquarium. What had previously seemed like a nice, small and self-contained ecosystem suddenly runs the risk of being obliterated by a giant wave-maker.
When Tim Cook announced the Apple Watch at Apple’s recent media event, the crowd went wild. But exciting as it was for consumers, it represents a seismic shift for the currently $330 million wearable tech industry.
Devices that can serve up smartphone notifications, track fitness goals and even advise us on health matters have the potential to be huge — but they’re not yet. That’s about to change, according to Juniper Research, which forecasts that wearable devices like smartwatches could hit sales of $19 billion by 2018.
What happens to Apple’s marketplace rivals as this sea change takes place? Cult of Mac did some digging to find out how companies like Jawbone and Fitbit plan to survive Apple’s smartwatch revolution.
Brendan Nee, an engineer at Automatic Labs, designed an app to get people out of their cars, even though he doesn’t have one to get into. Photos: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
SAN FRANCISCO — Brendan Nee is a walking contradiction. He’s car guru who doesn’t own one, a 21st-century geek with an 18th-century mustache who has come up with a novel bit of nagware that could help Americans get off their spreading behinds.
An engineer working on “smart car assistant” Automatic, he spends many of his weekends at hackathons and has a coder’s physique to show for it. In January, he won the Clinton Foundation Code4Health Codeathon by developing a working prototype of an app called Walkoff in just a weekend. A few months later, Nee and team rolled out a more polished version that mashes up the data Automatic pulls from cars with info gathered by a Jawbone Up fitness tracker, showing a user how much time they’re spending behind the wheel versus walking.
“Clearly, without an actual car, I’m not the ideal tester,” admits Nee. The closest he comes to owning a set of wheels is a retired public bus dubbed the PlayaPillar that he only rolls out for Burning Man.
When Facebook snapped up virtual-reality company Oculus VR this week, it got us wondering what other interesting startups Apple might want to buy before Mark Zuckerberg can get his hands on them.
While Oculus is most well known for its Rift gaming headset, Zuckerberg sees a far more wide-ranging application for the company’s VR tech, envisioning it as a futuristic communications platform. “One day, we believe this kind of immersive, augmented reality will become a part of daily life for billions of people,” he said in his post about the acquisition.
That’s the kind of big thinking Steve Jobs brought to the table when he talked about the way the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad would change the way people interact with technology. While Apple rarely dips into its $150 billion cash hoard to buy other hardware firms, here are seven awesome companies whose technology could help Cupertino enhance and improve its existing devices — as well as build entirely new ones.
At this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, the themes were – as we expected – waterproof phones, smart-watches and NFC (again). Samsung’s new Galaxy S5 was a high-profile example of the waterproof trend, and the company also showed its new Galaxy Gear watch, which looks pretty neat for a giant wrist-screen. And NFC is in every Android handset these days.
But how do these themes relate to the iPhone and iPad? Let’s think about that.
The Fitbit is one of the most popular fitness trackers out there, and today its companion iOS app was updated with an interesting new feature for iPhone 5s owners. By taking advantage of the new phone’s M7 co-processor (a chip also found in the latest iPads), Fitbit has turned the 5s into a health monitor without the need of an additional wrist strap.
MobileTrack uses the M7 to track the user’s activity throughout the day and distill it into helpful data, like miles traveled and calories burned.