The rumor mill has been buzzing with regards to significant changes that will be coming to AppleCare, Apple's popular standard and extended warranty program. Interestingly, it appears that AppleCare support for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad is about to become much more of a pain for customers. This marks a significant change where Apple will seemingly make a decision to make the customer service experience worse rather than better, all in the name of saving a ton of money.
"It's important that Apple not be the developer for the world. We can't take all of our energy, and all of our care, and finish the painting and have someone else put their name on it." - Tim Cook, Apple CEO
The same statement rings true for Google. If others are reaping the rewards, and little to nothing is left for oneself, then what's the point? If a product does not meet the expectations set before it, then developing for it doesn't make much sense. If any given product is not self-sustainable, then it is not cost effective and eventually becomes a burden to the maker--even if users appear to enjoy using it. Make no mistake about it, Google is in the business of making money, and everything else is secondary (including good will.)
Google's co-founder and now recently-minted CEO, Larry Page, bought Android in 2005. He also brought along Andy Rubin, one of its creators, over to Google, who recently renounced his post as Senior Vice President of mobile Digital Content. Basically, the guy who was leading Android. It has been said that Sergey Brin, the other tandem co-founder, was not enthusiastic about the purchase. Former Google CEO at the time, Eric Schmidt, now Chairman at Google had a similar reaction. These somewhat pessimistic receptions were also shared by Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President of Engineering. However, he recanted these thoughts at Google I/O 2010.
Today Google announced the Chromebook Pixel, an often-leaked touchscreen notebook computer that runs Chrome OS and is optimized for web browsing and cloud storage. The problem is that there is nothing that really sets the Chromebook Pixel apart from just about any other notebook computer to make it a compelling buy. In fact, it looks like a pretty stupid buy.
Let's talk about the price of the Pixel for a moment. You can buy a fantastic Windows 8 PC or MacBook Air for the same price, both of which would blow away the Pixel in terms of usability. The Chromebook requires you to be connected to the Internet to be useful in any way, since it relies on cloud-based apps. A Mac or PC allows you to actually install apps on them, which you can launch when you are away from Wi-Fi, and get work done in.
The day after Apple's latest earnings call, I got an email from a reader that asked if the days of Apple leading the world in consumer electronics innovation has come to an end, and if the playing field is leveling out:
Q: What's up with Apple? It seems the stock is down, profits are great, and products are stagnant, only seeing revisions rather than new product categories. Have they gotten too big to be as nimble as they used to be?
Coincidentally, I was browsing Facebook earlier, and I came across a post where a friend was very unimpressed by Apple's announcement of the 128 GB iPad:
Maybe it's the jet lag, but the latest 'New Thing' is a 128GB iPad?
This is it?
Where's Apple innovation?
I dunno, it seems that people expect way more from Apple than any other company. They update their iOS products on a yearly cycle, and they even updated the iPad mid-cycle last time (which people got upset about too, because it was too soon. Wait, what?)
Do people forget that the original iPod was released in 2001, and then the iPhone 6 years later, and then the iPad another three years after that? The iPad isn't even three years old yet, and people are saying Apple has lost something. Big, game-changing products like this take time.
When it comes to using a PC, most users prefer to complete their tasks as quickly and easily as possible. Although most computers are designed to handle multiple tasks, there are still options available for users to allow them to work more efficiently. Here are five easy steps that you can take to add extra productivity when using a PC.
We've come to the end of another year, and as we wave goodbye to 2011, we figured it was only fitting that we share the most popular stories published on Gear Live this year, as determined by our readers (we've also got the top ten most read stories regardless of publish date, as well as the ten most popular Gear Live videos of 2012!) These are the ten stories that were read the most, and when you consider that fact, it's pretty surprising to see what made the list. Let's kick it off with our most read story of the year:
iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 4S vs. iPhone original:
iPhone 5 certainly got a lot of attention this year, and our image gallery comparing it to previous iPhone designs served as our most popular post in all of 2012.
What you see in the image above is the evolution of mobile phone SIM card design over the past four years. The largest in the image, known as the mini-SIM, was used for quite a while as the standard in GSM cell phones. However, as smartphones began to rise in popularity, drop is cost, and brought increased functionality, it was determined that the mini-SIM just wasn't mini enough. It took up too much of the precious real estate that mobile phone manufacturers needed for other things. Thing like a GPS radio, Wi-Fi, larger batteries, dock connectors, graphics chips, and more. And so began the start of the shrinking SIM card.
In the latest Apple Maps saga, The Verge is reporting some security concerns regarding sensitive military installations that appear on mapping solutions by Apple. as compared to Google Maps and Nokia Maps. The picture being portrayed is that Apple is showing more information than the other companies. While it may appear accurate on the surface, it lacks transparency and fairness. Case in point, we all can agree that Area 51 is one of the most secretive government military installations in the world. Coincidentally, or ironically, The Verge failed to report that Google's map offering shows a much more pristine image of Area 51 than Apple's map of that particular base, nor is it pixelated for security. I went out of my way to tweet the author of the post to get an explanation for the discrepancy. There are definitely more examples of similar discrepancies, this isn't limited to just Area 51.
Read More | The Verge
Remember our 2012 Chevy Volt that failed while driving and almost got me in an accident? We updated the story with the details about trying to work with Chevy and GM to get a replacement Volt since we no longer felt safe driving the one we had. After all, it had been in the shop for repairs every two weeks since we had picked it up the first time. Well, we are please to report that Chevrolet and General Motors did right by us, and agreed to replace our 2012 Volt with a newer, similarly-equipped 2013 model. Since this was a lease, it was a bit more complicated than a simple trade. Instead, we did what's called a VIN swap. The result? We keep the same lease terms and paperwork, with the VIN being the only change on the documents. It took a while since the 2013 Chevy Volt wasn't available until very recently, and once it arrived, we needed to wait for all the paperwork to be completed. Still, it was worth the wait. Stay tuned for our 2013 Chevy Volt review.
Disclaimer: this is pure speculation based on rumors, track record, and wishful thinking. So, no hurt feelings if it doesn't come to pass.
The way we see it, Apple methodically has been updating its entire Mac lineup with HD front facing cameras. The first to receive it was the iMac in mid-2011, quickly followed by last year's Macbook Pro lineup and subsequently the newly refreshed generation of MacBook Pros and Macbook Air; the lineup includes the 11-, 13-, and 15-inch as well as the flagship Macbook Pro with Retina display. The result is 720p high-definition video chat. The missing ingredient is the inclusion of HD FaceTime chat for iOS devices. Sure, the back of an iPhone 4/4S, iPad 2, and new iPad are technically HD cameras, and one could switch to that camera with a quick toggle, but it's still not ideal for most video chat interactions. I'm postulating that Apple could potentially introduce its first HD front-facing camera for iOS devices with the iPhone 5.
© Gear Live Inc. – User-posted content, unless source is quoted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Public Domain License. Gear Live graphics, logos, designs, page headers, button icons, videos, articles, blogs, forums, scripts and other service names are the trademarks of Gear Live Inc.