January 19, 2014
We're always reporting and offering our opinions about Apple, and the technology industry at-large. Here are just some of the topics that we covered during the week that was.
Cupertino waves the white flag on in-app purchasesIn-app purchases have been a windfall for iOS developers. For Apple, they have been a persistent headache. Less than six months after settling a class action lawsuit over the unauthorized use of in-app purchasing in games and apps in the App Store, Apple is reluctantly writing another check. The company has signed a consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over the same issue. The result will mean millions in refunds to users, and revisions to Apple’s App Store billing practices. The agreement calls for Apple to provide full refunds to consumers affected by confusion over in-app purchases. It will mean “doling out a minimum of $32.5 million in redress.” Cupertino is also “to ensure that it has obtained consumers’ express consent for in-app purchases before charging them.” In a lengthy memo sent to Apple employees, CEO Tim Cook was clearly unhappy, noting “It doesn’t feel right for the FTC to sue over a case that had already been settled.” He continued, “To us, it smacked of double jeopardy. However, the consent decree the FTC proposed does not require us to do anything we weren’t already going to do, so we decided to accept it rather than take on a long and distracting legal fight.”
Apple and China Mobile celebrate
Having fun in Beijing at the iPhone launch with China Mobile! pic.twitter.com/AqoqLbbeO7 — Tim Cook (@tim_cook) January 17, 2014Six years after negotiations began, Apple is finally selling iPhones through the largest carrier in the world, China Mobile. To celebrate, Apple CEO Tim Cook was on hand, and signed the first 10 iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c handsets sold. Earlier, Cook and China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua discussed the "watershed" event on U.S. national television. At launch, Foxconn is said to have shipped 1.4 million iPhone 5s handsets to China Mobile, which has a subscriber base of 760 million.
After serving some stale coffee, Starbucks makes things rightOne day after it was reported that usernames, email addresses, passwords, and geolocation information could be easily retrieved through the official Starbucks app, the company issued an app update. According to Starbucks chief information officer Curt Garner:
As promised, we have released an updated version of Starbucks Mobile App for iOS which adds extra layers of protection. We encourage customers to download the update as an additional safeguard measure.Well played, Starbucks. Now where can we get a free cup of espresso? FTC?
Google Buys NestAt the minimum, Google's $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest is a brilliant public relations move. Whether acquiring the technology behind Nest is good for the company in the long-term remains an open question. Founded by the so-called "father" of the iPod, Tony Fadell, Nest launched in 2011 by offering the world's first learning thermostat for the home. The Nest Protect smoke alarm followed in 2013. (The company also sells a $99 blanket and $45 water bottle.) Should Apple have purchased Nest? Walter Isaacson seems to think so. Steve Jobs' official biographer believes that Google, not Apple, is the top innovator of our time. Forbes' Tony Bradley offered a competing idea. Meanwhile, Apple's Phil Schiller appears to be furious about this news as he "unfollows" Fadell and Nest on Twitter.
- The 5 New Features We'd Like To See In Apple's iOS 8 by yours truly and so begins the march towards Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June.
- Could Nintendo Finally Be Considering A Move To The App Store? by Joe White because Nintendo's Wii U didn't exactly impress.
- Former Apple UI Designer Launches Storehouse Visual Storytelling App For iPad by Aldrin Calimlim since we need another photo app, right?
- Why The New Beats Music Service Just Might Succeed by yours truly opines about the new service that arrives on Jan. 21.
- Aaron Sorkin Finishes Script For Steve Jobs Biopic Based On Walter Isaacson's Book by Aldrin Calimlim celebrates the upcoming movie that will be absent Ashton Kutcher.