Apple vs Google – Battle of the Tech Giants

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Google just recently held its annual developers’ conference, Google I/O, in San Francisco.  Just three weeks ago, Apple, too, held it’s annual developers’ conference in San Francisco. Both tech giants showed off their vision for the…future (the next year).

 

20140403-112957.jpgApple’s software lineup wasn’t as radical as iOS 7′s unveiling at WWDC 2013 (an unveiling which wowed the world), but the iPhone maker certainly unveiled much – especially for developers. The company promises to open up portions of its operating system, iOS, to developers with new features – a move it has been reluctant to do in the past.  Apple released a series of API updates and other developer-related content along with iOS 8.  It also pushed new feature such as HomeKit and HealthKit, which will allow pave the road for the rumored “iWatch”.  Apple, unlike Google, did not push wearables at its WWDC, however only hinted at what’s to come.

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Google, on the other hand, pushed wearables with it’s watch API and other wearable related software.  The search giant also showed off its competitor to Apple’s Carplay,  Android Auto.  Android Auto promises to ingrate with various cars before the end of 2014 and provide a seamless integration with exiting Android devices.   Google also directly targeted Apple’s comments at WWDC 2014, saying that is is patching security holes at a much faster rate (via Google Play Services).  However, the company still fails to release general software updates to the majority of its users.  Most importantly, Google showed off Android L, it’s next generation operating system, which promises to provide users with a beautiful new experience and systemwide redesign. It will publicly debut in the fall.

The question remains: who will be victorious in the never-ending battle for users and user growth?  Google and Apple both unveiled incredible updates to their existing products.  Collectively, the two conferences did not showcase hardware, but rather hinted at the future by laying the building blocks for wearables and other such technology to emerge.  We’ll just have to wait until the fall to see…

OS X Yosemite & iOS 8 @ WWDC

Apple’s annual WWDC is always feature packed.  This year’s emphasis was on software (as with last year) and we saw major upgrades to both iOS and OS X.

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Apple showed off iOS 8, the next generation of iOS at the conference which sports loads of new features such as a health app, user profiles, a better photos app, updated messages app, and more.  Spotlight has been completely redesigned and iCloud now comes with iCloud Drive, a competitor to others such as DropBox and Google Drive.

OS X Yosemite also saw its debut with a completely redesigned interface similar to that of iOS 7.

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As with last year’s iOS 7, the radical new design of Yosemite takes some time to get used to.  It’s certainly a stark new overhaul and might be a but of adjustment to long-time mac users (look at Finder)!  Every element of Yosemite has been redesigned with the new look and it’s quite impressive.  The new feel conveys a sense of depth and content. Notification center on the mac has also been redesigned and completely revamped.

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We’ll have more on each individual feature of iOS and OS X in the coming days.   Stay tuned!

 

Breaking: Apple Buys Beats Electronics for $3 Billion

As reported a few weeks ago, Apple today confirmed its acquisition of popular headphones maker Beats Electronics for approximately $3 Billion. Apple, though owner of vast cash reserves (well over $130 Billion), has been reluctant to make massive acquisitions in the past. 20140528-164632.jpg
This acquisition changes everything with the smartphone maker expected to integrate Beats into its existing line of products. Dr. Dre is expected to become an Apple executive.

Apple is expected to discuss this acquisition next month at its annual WWDC conference. CEO Tim Cook commented on the acquisition explaining how important music is to Apple. Apple has had a long history in the music industry, dating back to 2001 with the introduction of the iPod.

SVP Eddy Cue and Craig Federagi are expected to speak tonight at Recode.NET’s CodeCon. We await Cue’s interview (as he oversees iTunes at Apple). More on this later…

Apple also released the below statement today.

CUPERTINO, California—May 28, 2014—Apple® today announced it has agreed to acquire the critically acclaimed subscription streaming music service Beats Music, and Beats Electronics, which makes the popular Beats headphones, speakers and audio software. As part of the acquisition, Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre will join Apple. Apple is acquiring the two companies for a total of $3 billion, consisting of a purchase price of approximately $2.6 billion and approximately $400 million that will vest over time.

“Music is such an important part of all of our lives and holds a special place within our hearts at Apple,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “That’s why we have kept investing in music and are bringing together these extraordinary teams so we can continue to create the most innovative music products and services in the world.”

“I’ve always known in my heart that Beats belonged with Apple,” said Jimmy Iovine. “The idea when we started the company was inspired by Apple’s unmatched ability to marry culture and technology. Apple’s deep commitment to music fans, artists, songwriters and the music industry is something special.”

Iovine has been at the forefront of innovation in the music industry for decades, and he has been an instrumental partner for Apple and iTunes® for more than a decade. He has produced or collaborated with some of the most successful artists in the history of the iTunes Store®, helping make it the world’s number one music retailer. Iovine and Dr. Dre are sound pioneers, artists and entrepreneurs.

Beats Electronics has brought the energy, emotion and excitement of playback in the recording studio back to the listening experience and has introduced an entirely new generation to premium sound entertainment. Beats Music was developed by a team of people who have each spent their entire career in music and provides music fans with an incredible curated listening experience.

“Music is such an important part of Apple’s DNA and always will be,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “The addition of Beats will make our music lineup even better, from free streaming with iTunes Radio to a world-class subscription service in Beats, and of course buying music from the iTunes Store as customers have loved to do for years.”

In just five years since launch, the Beats “b” has become the brand of choice in the music and sports worlds, and is the market leader in the premium headphone market. Music superstars including Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj have designed their own customized Beats headphones and speakers. Fashion designers and street artists such as Alexander Wang, Futura and Snarkitecture have collaborated on special limited products, while renowned athletes including LeBron James, Serena Williams and Neymar use Beats as a critical part of their training and game day process. Beats has quickly become part of pop culture in the US and with the acquisition the Beats product lineup will be offered in many more countries through the Apple Online Store, Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers.

Subject to regulatory approvals, Apple expects the transaction to close in fiscal Q4.

Formally established in 2008 as the brainchild of legendary artist and producer Dr. Dre and Chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records Jimmy Iovine, Beats Electronics (Beats) comprises the Beats by Dr. Dre family of premium consumer headphones, earphones, and speakers as well as patented Beats Audio software technology and streaming music subscription service Beats Music. Through these offerings, Beats has effectively brought the energy, emotion and excitement of playback in the recording studio to the listening experience and has introduced an entirely new generation to the possibilities of premium sound entertainment.

Beats Music is a subscription streaming music service that focuses on providing a personalized music experience for each user through a unique blend of digital innovation and musical passion. Programmed by a trusted team of well-respected music experts with over 300 years of experience across all genres, Beats Music delivers the right music for any situation, any time, and any preference, personalized to your tastes. The result is an artist-friendly digital music service that does more than simply offer access to music, but one that establishes an emotional connection to it as well.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

Rumor: Apple to Acquire Beats music for $3.2 Billion

In a surprising turn of events, the Cupertino giant is said to be finalizing talks with popular headphone maker Beats Music. The deal, if it closes, is said to be at $3.2 Billion.

Beats music, which has grown in popularity since it’s 2008 luanch, debuted a streaming service (via iOS app) in the past weeks.

Apple, a company not known to make large acquisitions (its largest being that of PrimeSense for $350 Million), is said to be finishing the agreement between the two companies. Under the direction of legendary CEO Steve Jobs, Apple was shy to make acquisitions; Jobs declared acquisitions as a “failure to innovate.” Clearly, CEO Tim Cook doesn’t feel that way. Asked about the possibility of a major acquisition at a stockholders meeting, Cook responded saying Apple would make the move if it was right. It’s quite clear that behind those closed doors, a culture change is gradually occurring at the Cupertino company.

Beats Music founder somewhat confirmed this yesterday. We’ll have more details as we discover more.

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Earth Day, OS X Beta, and More

It’s been a busy (earth) day for Apple.  

The company today celebrated Earth Day with banners promoting its efforts to help save the environment.  Apple touts its eco-friendly footprint with the tagline”there are some ideas we want every company to copy.”  The phrase is clearly a jab at Samsung, Apple’s greatest rival and a known copycat.Image

The company also extended it’s iPhone buy back program to iPads as well, allowing customers to sell back old iPads to Apple.  Apple updated it’s logo for Earth Day with a green leaf and reports indicate that Apple Stores around the world have done so as well.

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In a surprising turn of events, Apple will now allow non-developers to receive free OS X betas.  Previously, only registered developers had access to pre-release OS X software.  This leads us to wonder if Apple will offer OS X 10.10 (expected to be revealed at WWDC in June) to the public as a pre-release.  

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Lastly, the company released iOS 7.1.1 with bug fixes and Touch ID improvements.  Apple also updated it’s App Store rules and updated the store with minor enhancements in iOS 7.1.1.

Wow, busy day!

Apple offering Devs WWDC Tickets

Following Apple’s random selection of WWDC tickets last week, Apple is reportedly reaching out to devs who lost out on the ticket selection. Developers who previously won tickets but did not claim them have lost the opportunity to purchase a conference ticket; unclaimed invitations has been recycled to those who did not receive tickets.

WWDC tickets cost $1599. The conference begins June 2; expected to debut is iOS 8 and OS X 10.10.

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