Today in Apple history: Bono’s (PRODUCT) RED iPod

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Remember this limited edition iPod?
Photo: Wikipedia/Re-ality CC

Oct13October 13, 2006: Ten years ago today, Apple launches its limited edition iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition music player.

Created in association with U2 lead singer Bono and Bobby Shriver, 10 percent of each units sold goes to fighting AIDS in Africa. “We’re ecstatic that Apple is giving their customers the choice to buy a red iPod nano and help women and children affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa,” Bono says in a statement.

The unreal price of old Apple tech and our Lust List of the gadgets we covet on The CultCast

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Want to trade your iPod for a sports car?
Want to trade your iPod for a sports car?
Photo: Listener @YSR50

This week, on The CultCast: Apple aims to end music downloads; you can now live stream your aerial drone flights to iDevices worldwide; staggering facts about who’s making money in the app store; creators of Siri demo an even smarter AI; the ridiculous resale value of old Apple tech; and we reveal our Lust List of the gadgets we’re currently coveting.

Our thanks to Freshbooks for supporting this episode. FreshBooks is the easy-to-use invoicing software designed to help small business owners get organized, save time invoicing and get paid faster. Get started now with a 30-day free trial.

Apple Music playlist highlights 40 songs from 40 years of ads

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Apple Music is ugly and hard to use.
Apple Music is ugly and hard to use.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Festivities for Apple’s 40th birthday have spilled over onto Apple Music this week, with an all-new playlist that celebrates songs from the company’s iconic ads over the years.

The 40-song playlist spotlights some of the best tunes of the present and the past. It’s available to all Apple Music subscribers, and includes hits from The Beatles, Rolling Stone, Eminem, Adele, Daft Punk, Lauryn Hill, Coldyplay, U2 and Bob Dylan.

Check out the full track list:

What happened to Apple’s marketing magic?

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When will we see another "1984?"
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Chances are you can vaguely remember the last Apple ad you saw, but do you remember it in the same way you remember the company’s “1984” commercial for the original Macintosh, or its wonderful “Think Different” campaign? It’s been a while since we saw anything quite as iconic.

Friday-Night-Fights-bug-2Apple still creates great commercials we can’t help but talk about, but many fans would say those ads aren’t as good as they once were. Has Apple lost its marketing magic, or is it just too difficult to create truly iconic ads in the digital age?

Join us in this week’s Friday Night Fight between Cult of Android and Cult of Mac as we battle it out over these questions and more!

Apple Music dives into VR with new U2 music video

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U2's VR music video feels like Bono is singing right at you.
U2's VR music video feels like Bono is singing right at you.
Photo: VRSE

Apple and U2 have gotten together again to promote their greatness, only instead of force feeding you an album you don’t want, this time the duo is diving into virtual reality for the band’s new video for “Song for Someone.”

Russian minister accuses Apple of distributing gay porn to minors

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Won't someone think of the Russian children? Photo:
Here's a complaint we've not heard before about last year's U2 album giveaway. Photo: Island Records

Some people just won’t let go, will they?

Still upset about Apple’s much-maligned U2 album giveaway last year, Russian politician Alexander Starovoitov has come up with a new complaint we’ve not heard before: That by gifting Songs of Innocence to millions of iTunes customers around the world, Apple was knowingly distributing gay pornography.

If found guilty, Apple could be forced to cease operations in Russia for 90 days, or pay 1 million roubles in fines.

What’s inside Apple’s mystery tent?

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Apple's tiny white tent nestles between buildings at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Photo: Jim Merithew/ Cult of Mac
Apple's tiny white tent nestles between buildings at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — Another Apple event, another mysterious building sprouting up seemingly overnight. They pop up to shield Apple’s prep work from prying eyes, but they also fuel the imaginations of anybody who’s interested in Cupertino’s next move.

The latest such structure — this time with solid white walls and a tented, tarp-like roof — isn’t nearly as elaborate as the gigantic building erected before last fall’s Apple Watch event, but the mysteries concealed could be gigantic.

The big reveal comes at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts next Monday, when we will almost assuredly learn more about the Apple Watch (among other things). Until then, all we can do is wait and wonder: What could be hidden inside Apple’s mystery tent?

U2’s album is still huge among iOS music users

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Apple's U2 marketing campaign cost over $100 million. Photo: Apple
Apple's U2 marketing campaign cost over $100 million. Photo: Apple

Despite angering iOS users by forcing their album, Songs of Innocence, onto every iPhone and iPad in the world, U2’s iTunes exclusivity bet is paying off big time.

Nearly one in four of all music users on iOS devices listened to U2 in January, which was nearly double the second most popular artist, Taylor Swift. The force-fed album debuted last fall but its impact is still visible five months later, according to Kantar’s latest survey of iOS users, which found that 23% of all music users on iOS listened to at least one U2 track in January.

Here’s the top 10 artists in January:

The 12 biggest moments for Apple in 2014

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iPhone 6 Plus. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Looking back on the hits from Apple's blockbuster year. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo:

2014 was an absolutely monumental year for Apple. Haters will hate, but one thing can’t be denied: This is a company that refuses to rest on its laurels.

Under Tim Cook’s leadership, Apple debuted a new product category with the Apple Watch, sold a record number of new iPhones, made the biggest acquisition in its history, and successfully sent its suffering stock price back into the stratosphere.

The company wasn’t without its missteps, but all in all, it’s hard to call 2014 anything short of a blow-away year for Apple.

81 million iTunes users have ‘experienced’ U2’s free album

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Apple's U2 marketing campaign cost over $100 million. Photo: Apple
Apple's U2 marketing campaign cost over $100 million. Photo: Apple

It’s been one month since Apple blasted U2’s loud, proud, and totally free new album, Song of Innocence, onto every iTunes account in the world, and now the the complaints have died down, Eddie Cue has revealed how enormously successful the free album has been.

Over 81 million iTunes users have ‘experienced’ Song of Innocence Cue told Billboard, and further divulged that downloads of the album in its entirety have topped 26 million.