Apple on Monday published a short 30-second commercial featuring a number of MacBook Airs dressed up in stickers and decals, with each customized thin-and-light reflecting the personality of its owner.
The spot, aptly titled "Stickers," can be considered a product video as it puts the MacBook Air center stage, but it is also very "human" in that each owner is somehow present through the artwork they applied to the machines.
While Apple is usually careful to show only pristine new devices for these sterilized "all-white background" shoots, a few of the Airs in today's ad clearly show scuffs and dents, further translating that the laptops are indeed well loved. The small touch adds a much needed human element often missing from commercials touting specs, design or battery life.
As seen in the video above, a variety of art styles, pop-culture icons and designs are represented across the front covers of multiple MacBook Airs, including Homer Simpson, Walter White from Breaking Bad, Snow White, 8-bit game characters, brands and more. One Air even has a Beats logo stuck on its front.
Each laptop is framed in the exact same spot as the previous, which lends lends a stop motion feel to the short. In fact, a batch of shots near the end of the clip show an impromptu game of Space Invaders being played out in stop motion on the Air's aluminum cover.
Apple wraps the video with a few Airs sporting stickers of hands flashing the heart sign around the LED-backlit logo, ending with tagline, "The notebook people love."
A departure from the company's most recent iPhone and iPad commercials, the new MacBook Air ad is a refreshing and creative change of pace.
In one of the clearest signs that Apple is — and has been — working on a smartwatch device, the Cupertino company was on Tuesday granted a patent for a wrist-worn wearable with augmented strap capabilities, support for arm and wrist gestures, advanced proximity-sensing circuitry and much more.
As published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple's U.S. Patent No. 8,787,006 for a "Wrist-worn electronic device and methods therefor" describes a device (dubbed "iTime" in one illustration) that fits squarely with speculation regarding a so-called "iWatch" smartwatch.
The invention's main claims, as the title implies, revolve around a wrist-worn device that can connect with other portables like iPhones and iPads, computers, or even the watch's straps, which integrate sensors and other circuitry to augment device performance.
Basically, a majority of the property details what can be considered a "smart wristband" that features a receptacle for a portable media player. What comes later in the patent, however, potentially reveals Apple's smartwatch aspirations.
As noted, much of the invention pertains to a convertible style smartwatch that incorporates a central electronic device removably secured to an advanced strap strap system. The idea harkens back to the days of Apple's sixth-generation iPod nano, which spawned a cottage industry for ad-hoc solutions that turned the media player into a wristwatch-style device. In fact, Apple's patent background alludes to the iPod nano by name.
Operationally, the system is based on the idea of converting the square-shaped iPod nano into a smartwatch. Initial claims note the media player can be inserted into specially-made straps that integrate various electrical components to augment the device's capabilities. The document mentions parts like accelerometers, GPS modules, wireless communication packages and haptic feedback mechanisms as potential candidates for inclusion in the advanced strap structure.
Things start to get interesting when Apple describes what it calls a "personal wireless environment." In essence, the invention illustrates an ecosystem in which the electronic wristwatch can interact with nearby devices like an iPhone, laptop or desktop computer.
Apple goes on to detail how this "piconet" works. Through either wired or wireless communication protocols, the wristwatch can operatively connect to a cellular or Internet-connected device. In this way, information can be exchanged from iPhone to watch, or watch to iPhone, either automatically or at a user's request.
A rumor claiming former White House Secretary Jay Carney is in the running to head up public relations at Apple — thought to have been put to bed last week — was resurrected on Saturday, with a new report saying he is still considering the position.
In a report citing a friend of Carney's, Bloomberg claims the former press secretary has indeed talked with Apple over taking over former PR chief Katie Cotton's seat, but has not yet decided on the matter.
When the publication reached out for comment, Carney was cagey about his future job prospects and declined to clear up the Apple rumor.
"I'm talking to a lot of different people about a variety of potential opportunities," he said.
Last week, Re/Code reported that Carney was in talks to become Apple's next vice president of corporate communications, but the rumor was refuted the next day by well-connected journalist Jim Dalrymple, who said, "Nope. Tim Cook has never even met Jay Carney."
It was reported in June that Apple CEO Tim Cook was personally on the hunt for "high-profile external candidates" to replace Cotton after the PR vet retired from the company in May. Speculation at the time pegged longtime Apple spokespeople Steve Dowling or Natalie Kerris as top candidates to fill the still-vacant position.
Carney, Time Magazine's former Washington bureau chief, stepped down as President Barack Obama's press secretary in June after three years in office. Prior to his time with Obama, Carney served as head of communications for Vice President Joe Biden.
People waiting for the rumored 12-inch Retina MacBook may just have to keep right on waiting, according to a new report from Taiwan’s Economic Daily News, which blames the wait on Intel’s delayed 14-nanometer Broadwell chips, which are reportedly used in the computers.
Because of these production delays, the report claims that the 12-inch MacBook may not ship until Q3 2014 or even early 2015, when the chips will be in greater supply.
Rumors of a 12-inch MacBook have increasingly done the rounds over the past year. The idea is that a 12-inch MacBook would give users the portability and convenience of Apple’s existing 11-inch MacBook Air, but also the productivity and power of the larger, 13-inch model. A previous report from supply chain sources suggests the believable idea that Apple’s desire to move to a 12-inch MacBook is an attempt to establish a clear size difference with the iPad Air, to avoid the two product lines cannibalizing one another.
While there are potential workarounds to the delayed chips issue, if Apple decides that it is indeed tied to using Intel’s unavailable 14-nanometer Broadwell chips, it will have to delay its major product updates until the chips are ready to go.
It’s not all bad news, though. Another report from the Economic Daily News claims that new 11- and 13-inch MacBook Air models are going to enter production over the new month – featuring brand new processors, displays, chassis, and other components.
Apple's recently added in-app purchase labels on iOS (left) and iTunes on Mac.
The legislative arm of the European Union has set its sights on Apple, accusing the iPhone maker of not doing enough to protect and inform consumers regarding in-app purchases, particularly in "free-to-play" mobile games.
The European Commission put out a press release on Friday touting that action by it and member states has led to better protection for consumers in online games. Many popular titles on the iOS App Store are free to download, but encourage — and in some cases require — users to pay money to unlock new parts of the game.
While the European Commission said that Google has made a number of changes, it hopes for more from Apple. Particularly, the commission noted that Apple has not addressed concerns over payment authorization tied to iTunes accounts.
The commission also criticized Apple for not giving a firm commitment or timing on other possible future changes. In particular, the commission would like for Apple to not use the word "free" at all when listing games that include in-app purchases — a policy that Google plans to comply with by the end of September.
The European Commission believes that games advertised as "free" are misleading consumers about the true costs involved in playing the title. In December of 2013, it asked Apple, Google, and the Interactive Software Federation of Europe to make sure that games do not directly ask children to buy items in a game, or persuade an adult to buy items for them.
Following a Thursday announcement that Bill Campbell would retire as a member of Apple's board of directors, Fortune published an interview in which the Intuit chairman describes his time in Cupertino, relationship with cofounder Steve Jobs and "coach" to silicon valley elite.
In the short feature, Campbell, 73, tells Fortune about his 17-year tenure as Apple's longest-serving board member, a feat equalled only by company cofounders Jobs and Mike Markkula.
A year after returning to Apple in 1996, Jobs offered Campbell — who also left Apple in the mid-90s — the position. At the time, Campbell was CEO of Intuit, where he still serves as chairman of the board.
"He came by one day, and we sat on a bench by the pool and he said, 'I'd like you to join the Apple board,'" Campbell said of Jobs. As his neighbor in Palo Alto, Calif., Jobs would often visit Campbell unannounced. "The only time I've had a rush like that was when I was asked to be a trustee of Columbia University. I said, without hesitation, 'For sure.'"
Campbell's relationship with Jobs was close, with some industry analysts referring to the board member as "Steve's guy."
"I watched him emerge as a CEO in real time," Campbell says. "I had a continuum with him. I watched him when he was general manager of the Mac division and when he went off and started NeXT. I watched Steve go from being a creative entrepreneur to a guy who had to run a business."
During the early years as an Apple board member, Campbell began "coaching" up-and-coming tech executives like Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Google's Eric Schmidt and Twitter's Evan Williams, among others. He continues the practice today, but things got heated when Schmidt and Google became Apple's competiton.
"Steve would say, 'If you're helping them you're hurting me.' He would yell at me," Campbell said. "I'd say, 'I can't do HTML, come on. I'm just coaching them on how to run their company better.'"
As for Cook, Campbell refers to the current Apple chief as a "calm, thoughtful guy" who studies a topic before making a decision and moving on. Illustrating this warm nature, Campbell said Cook called on Thursday to ask if he could make a contribution in Campbell's honor. The donation will go somewhere related to Campbell's hometown in Pennsylvania.
"That's the way he thinks," Campbell said. "In his warm way of saying goodbye to me he's going to do something warm for me, make a contribution to my home town."
With Campbell stepping down, Apple has tapped BlackRock cofounder Susan Wagner fill the role, making her the second female board member behind Andrea Jung.