Today in Apple history: Bill Gates urges Apple to license Mac OS

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Bill Gates
Bill Gates took this strategy and made himself a multibillionaire.
Photo: Fulvio Obregon

June 25: Today in Apple history: Bill Gates urges Apple to license Mac OS June 25, 1985: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates sends a memo to Apple execs suggesting that Cupertino should license its Mac operating system and additional technology to other companies

Apple CEO John Sculley and Macintosh boss Jean Louis Gassée ignore the advice of the 30-year-old Gates, who at the time is best known as a Mac developer. Five months later, Microsoft releases Windows 1.0.

How Apple tricks our brains into accepting high prices

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This genius psychological tactic makes Apple's high prices seem totally reasonable.
This genius psychological tactic makes Apple's high prices seem totally reasonable.
Photo: meo/Pexels CC

During the WWDC 2019 keynote, most of Apple’s latest creations drew enthusiastic applause, with one notable exception. The price of Apple’s new Pro Display XDR elicited a somewhat cooler response. But considering just how expensive the monitor is, the fact that it got any applause at all was pretty remarkable.

This is not the first time Apple has had to convince us to pony up for an eye-watering sticker price. Cupertino pulls from a well-established playbook for its keynotes, often employing behavioral science techniques to help soften the blow. (To our brains at least, if not to our wallets).

Today in Apple history: Brilliant ad campaign turns switcher into unlikely star

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Apple's
Apple's "Switch" ad makes Ellen Feiss internet famous.
Photo: Apple

June 9: Today in Apple history: Ellen Feiss becomes an unlikely star thanks to Apple's Switch ad campaign June 9, 2002: Apple launches its “Switch” advertising campaign, featuring real people talking about their reasons for switching from PCs to Macs. Apple’s biggest marketing effort since the “Think Different” ad campaign a few years earlier, it turns 15-year-old high school student Ellen Feiss into an unlikely star.

She becomes a viral sensation after viewers suggest she was stoned during filming of her sleepy-eyed “Switch” spot about a homework-devouring PC.

Today in Apple history: Apple reinvents the computer store

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Steve Jobs offers a sneak peek at the first Apple store prior to its opening.
Steve Jobs offers a sneak peek at the first Apple store prior to its opening.
Photo: Apple

May 15: Today in Apple history: Apple reinvents the computer store, with plans to open 25 Apple Stores in the U.S. May 15, 2001: Steve Jobs flips the script on the dreadful experience of computer shopping, unveiling an ambitious plan to open 25 innovative Apple stores across the United States.

The first two Apple stores, located at Tysons Corner in McLean, Virginia, and the Glendale Galleria in Glendale, California, are set to open later that week. But this new Apple initiative is about much more than just a couple of retail outlets. It’s a radical reinvention of tech retail that will change the way computers get sold.

Today in Apple history: iTunes experiments with video downloads

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Morcheeba's
Morcheeba's "The Antidote" was one of the first music videos available on iTunes.
Photo: Morcheeba

May 9: Today in Apple history: iTunes experiments with video downloads May 9, 2005: Apple quietly begins selling music videos in the iTunes Music Store.

The feature arrives with iTunes 4.8, initially offering bonus content for people purchasing albums through the store. It will take several months for Apple to start selling individual music videos, along with Pixar short films and a selection of TV shows, for $1.99 a pop.

Today in Apple history: iTunes hits 1 million downloads in first week

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iTunespic
iTunes becomes an instant hit.
Photo: Apple

May 5: Today in Apple history: iTunes Music Store hits 1 million downloads in first week May 5, 2003: Just a week after launching the iTunes Music Store, Apple reaches an incredible milestone with more than 1 million songs sold.

Particularly notable is the fact that more than half the songs purchased are albums. This quickly dispels fears that selling tracks individually will kill the record industry’s dominant format. In addition, more than half of the 200,000 songs initially available on iTunes get downloaded at least once.

It’s a roaring success for Apple’s newest venture!

Today in Apple history: Apple’s first watch is a freebie for upgraders

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The first Apple watch was ... well, just a watch, actually.
Apple's first watch was ... well, just a watch, actually.
Photo: Jonathan Morrison

May 2: Today in Apple history: First Apple watch is a freebie for upgraders May 2, 1995: Apple enters the wearables space with its first watch, a timepiece with no fitness-tracking tech, no on-screen notifications and a whole lot of 1990s styling.

The (real) first Apple watch comes two decades before wearables will become a thing. A regular wristwatch, the freebie gadget is available as a special mail-in offer to System 7.5 upgraders.

Today in Apple history: iTunes puts the hurt on DVDs

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iTunes movie
iTunes getting day-and-date releases for new movies was a big deal.
Photo: Apple

May 1: Today in Apple history: iTunes begins selling digital movies on same day as DVD release May 1, 2008: The iTunes Store takes a gigantic step toward cinematic relevancy, selling new movies on the day of their DVD releases for the very first time.

“We’re thrilled to bring iTunes Store customers new films for purchase day-and-date with the DVD release,” says Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes, in a press release. “We think movie fans will love being able to buy their favorites from major and independent studios.”

Movies out that week include Cloverfield, Juno, Alvin and the Chipmunks and American Gangster.

4 key reasons Apple’s China problem is going away

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Apple is not about to raise a white flag and give up on China.
Trump’s trade war with China is bad business for Apple.
Photo: Fredrik Rubensson/Flickr CC

Apple’s business in China is finally turning around, according to execs who say Cupertino’s troubles in the country might be a thing of the past.

“We feel positive about our trajectory,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said during Tuesday’s earnings call, noting that the company’s “year-over-year revenue performance in Greater China improved relative to the December quarter.”

Then Cook laid out four reasons why Apple’s “China problem” is going away.