Why Apple’s IBM partnership was the biggest tech news of 2014

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A lot has changed since Steve Jobs flipped off IBM 30 years ago.
A lot has changed since Steve Jobs flipped off IBM 30 years ago. Photo: Andy Hertzfeld
Photo: Andy Hertzfield

2014 will go down as one of the biggest years in Apple history. The stock hit record highs. The company’s first wearable was revealed. And Apple dropped $3 billion on its biggest acquisition ever. But of all the huge news Apple dropped in the last 12 months, nothing is likely to have as big an impact as the previously unthinkable announcement that Apple and IBM buried the hatchet and partnered up.

The move was significant not only for the historic aspect of the two rival tech titans uniting, but also for how it will impact all of us in the workplace. In his final note of the year, top Apple analyst Horace Dediu dubbed the IBM partnership “the most significant technology news of 2014.”

That may sound ridiculous considering how much hype Apple Watch is getting ahead of its release, but Dediu points to the first wave of apps created by the partnership. These offer an early indication of just how transformative the relationship could be. For the first time, enterprise apps are being designed for their users (the employees) rather than their employers.

Just take a look at the difference between IBM’s new Expert Tech app compared to the closest equivalent from Oracle, and see which one you’d rather work with:

Tim Cook’s 3-year report card at Apple: B

Tim Cook onstage at the 2014 WWDC. Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web
Tim Cook onstage at the 2014 WWDC. Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web

Tim Cook stepped up as the CEO of Apple on August 24, 2011. The soft-spoken Southerner, who has worked at the Cupertino company since 1998,  had previously acted as interim CEO when Steve Jobs stepped down to battle cancer.

Cook’s ascent to the permanent CEO position marked a sea change for Apple. Once called the stage manager to Jobs’ star, he’s now running the show. After endless speculation about whether Cook’s rule marked the end of Apple or signaled a bright new era, going by the numbers, it looks like he’s earned a solid B.

Here’s a look at his first three years as the head of Apple, a job he got paid $4.25 million to perform in 2013.

What will Apple do with the poor, unloved iPhone 5c?

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Apple iPhone 5c advertisment in the Powell Street BART Station in San Francisco, CA. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
A colorful iPhone 5c advertisement brightens the Powell Street BART Station in San Francisco. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

In four months, Apple will reveal new iPhones. It’s as certain as the changing of summer to fall: Leaves die, kids go back to school, and the world gets a shiny new iPhone, delivered with love from Cupertino.

But when Tim Cook takes the wraps off this year’s version, what’s to become of the poor, sad, unloved iPhone 5c, still begging the world to caress its unapologetically plastic frame?

Will there be a sequel?

Top Apple Analyst Horace Dediu Calls ‘Jony Ive’ The Best Apple Book Yet

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Is this "the best book about Apple so far"? Read it and find out!
Is this "the best book about Apple so far"? Read it and find out!

Jony Ive takes extra pains to keep his personal life private, but Leander’s book Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products shines a light in corners of Jony’s life and at Apple HQ that few have ever seen, especially when it comes to Apple’s design processes.

The book garnered praise from readers during its release last Fall, but we were super-giddy this afternoon to see that the world’s leading Apple analyst, Horace Dediu, just plowed through all 320 pages and says it’s the best book about Apple so far.

Over the last few years we’ve devoured Dediu’s insightful and intriguing Apple analysis on his site Asymco, but here’s what he had to say about the book: