October 5, 2011 will go down as one of the most bittersweet moments in technology history. Apple chief executive Steve Jobs passed away at 56, a sad end to a magnificent careeer.
Jobs wowed us. The man is the Walt Disney of the technology space – funny, in a way, as he's also Disney's largest shareholder. Apple, Pixar, Disney – three technology icons synonymous with magic.
I can't claim to have known Jobs personally. What I, and we, have seen of him, has been in carefully managed stage appearances over the years, with Jobs rolling out product after product that defined and launched industries, and prompted countless imitations. The Chinese even copied Apple's stores.
I remember how incredibly annoyed I was at Computex, wandering the halls and seeing row after row of candy-colored hardware, virtually everything that you could think of. I remember complaining to the guy who was on the stool next to mine at the hotel bar. Seriously, I said, is this the future? Watermelon-colored computers? And this Taiwanese guy, not even in technology, said something that's stuck with me: "Only until Apple invents whatever's next."
Griffin Technology and Crayola have teamed up on the ColorStudio HD app and iMarker, and the set is now available nationwide. The cool thing about this is that the app can tell the difference between the swiping and tapping fingers of a child and the iMarker input. There are over 30 animated coloring pages with sound effects and music, and users can also create their own works of art from scratch, and can also use the built in library of assets. Art can even be uploaded directly to Facebook, or printed using AirPrint.
The Crayola ColorStudio HD app is free on the app store, and the iMarker pack is available now for $29.99.
Read More | Crayola ColorStudio HD
What's the real inside dirt on how Apple runs its equally successful and secretive Apple Stores? The Wall Street Journal claims to be privy to Apple's secret sauce after poring through Apple Store training manuals, a recording of a store meeting, interviews with current and former store employees, and conversations with outside analysts.
In a report published yesterday, the Journal serves up the dish on everything from Apple's store design strategy to the granularity of employee sales training. Some of the information the newspaper dug up is fairly obvious—for; example, Apple doesn't do cookie-cutter designs for its Apple Stores, but rather "constantly evolves its stores' look and feel."
But some of the reported Apple Store skinny touches on areas that may have been guessed at, but have now been apparently confirmed. To wit, current and former Apple Store employees say store techs aren't allowed to "prematurely" acknowledge product glitches that are already widespread, and writing about Apple online will get you fired from an Apple Store.
The Journal also layers in plenty of Apple Store stats—did; you know that more people now visit Apple Stores in a single quarter than went to Disney's four biggest amusement parks last year?
Here's a quick look at some more interesting Apple Store tidbits that the paper either uncovered, confirmed, or highlights in the article.
Two African-American men have filed a federal lawsuit against Apple that accuses the company of racial discrimination at an Apple Store in Manhattan.
The plaintiffs, Brian Johnston, 34, and Nile Charles, 25, claim a white Apple employee in his 50s told them, "I don't want 'your kind' hanging out in the store" at Apple's retail outlet at 1981 Broadway on Dec. 9, 2010, according to court filings cited by Apple Insider Wednesday.
Another Apple Store employee allegedly approached the pair, who were wearing "baggy jeans and large sweaters with hoods" according to the lawsuit, and said, "Now you have to go. If you want to know why, it's because I said so. Consider me God. You have to go."
Johnston and Charles entered the Upper West Side store to purchase headphones, the suit said. They recorded the incident on their cell phones, according to Apple Insider.
Is Apple planning something for the tenth anniversary of the Apple stores?
According to a source cited by The Boy Genius Report, it is.
What's interesting isn't that the company allegedly plans something for the Thursday the 19th anniversary, but that it apparently is going to celebrate right through the weekend.
Some of the plans include a Saturday to Sunday overnight shift, apparently to restock the store, new hardware, and mysterious black curtains to hide whatever's inside.
As usual, the Gear Live crew was near the front of the line as we waited for the iPad 2 to go on sale. Apple closed their doors about an hour before launch, and we started recording when the curtain came down. Get a look at the in-store festivities, which involves a lot of clapping and high-fives, followed by our in-store unboxing of a white iPad 2 with 3G, along with a Smart Cover demo.
Hours after a massive earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale struck Japan, an Apple store in Tokyo kept its doors open to hundreds of nearby victims, and instructed stranded employees and their families to stay overnight at the five-story flagship store.
A moved Kevin Rose, founder of Digg, posted two anonymous letters from "an admitted [Apple] fanboy" and Apple store employee in Japan, who wrote at length about Apple's calm, humanitarian response to the quake.
"[With] the phone and train lines down, taxis stopped, and millions of people stuck in the Tokyo shopping district scared, with no access to television, hundreds of people were swarming into Apple stores to watch the news on USTREAM and contact their families via Twitter, Facebook, and email," the letter read. "The young did it on their mobile devices, while the old clustered around the Macs. There were even some Android users there. (There are almost no free wifi spots in Japan besides Apple stores, so even Android users often come to the stores.)"
"Staff brought out surge protectors and extension cords with 10s of iOS device adapters so people could charge their phones & pads and contact their loved ones. Even after we finally had to close 10pm, crowds of people huddled in front of our stores to use the wifi into the night, as it was still the only way to get access to the outside world."
SXSW 2011 brings 20,000 early adopters to downtown Austin, Texas every year, but this year the Apple iPad 2 was going on sale at the exact same time. What is a gadget-loving, Web professional to do? Apple made things a little easy by opening a temporary "pop-up" store just a few blocks from the convention center. On Friday, the lines were around the block. Today, it is just another busy, Apple retail store.
Sales at the pop-up store were brisk despite the fact there are two other Apple stores in Austin, which do about $30 million in combined annual business. The demand for the iPad 2 is driven partly by the fact that Apple didn't accept pre-orders on the device, forcing would-be early adopters to brave the lines at retail stores.
At 5:10pm ET, an Apple employee suddenly shouted, "Everybody start cheering!"
And the crowd roared as Russian tourist Alex Shumilov, 29, bounced up the stairs of the New York City's flagship Apple store on Fifth Avenue, clasping two white iPad 2 boxes in each of his hand.
After camping outside the store for 28 hours, through more rain than shine, Shumilov became one of the first people in the world to own an iPad 2. It's quite a story to tell when he returns home to Moscow this Sunday.
"I'm a bit tired," he said, while grinning from ear to ear. "But I came all the way here for the iPad. I got two white ones. Everyone is waiting for white!"
By 4:30pm ET, the line for the iPad 2 outside the Apple Store was more than a mile long. It filled the public pavilion (we felt sorry for neighboring F.A.O. Schwartz), wrapped around the block, and continued along one side of the next block.
According to several Apple employees, the line began to pick up around 2pm. Bottles of water were distributed to the early goers, but what most really craved were stools.
Taking a page from Verizon's book, Apple announced Thursday that the iPad 2 will be available online starting at 4am Eastern time Friday.
Unlike the first iPad, Apple did not offer a pre-sale for the iPad 2. The next-generation tablet will be available in Apple Stores, as well as Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and AT&T and Verizon Wireless stores at 5pm local time, but those who are truly eager for the iPad 2 can get up at 4am (or 1am on the West Coast) to place their order.
Apple said that customers who purchase the tablet in-store will get a free personal setup service, which will assist with e-mail and apps.
The Wi-Fi version of the iPad 2 will sell for $499 for the 16GB model, $599 for the 32GB model, $699 for the 64GB model. The iPad 2 with Wi-Fi + 3G will be available for $629 for the 16GB model, $729 for the 32GB model and $829 for the 64GB model. It will come in white or black, and Apple will sell versions that run on the Verizon or AT&T networks.