Ron Johnson was the Apple VP of retail sales, and sales were booming. Then, in 2011, he took the offer to be the CEO of J.C. Penney. He tried to bring the modern concepts he learned at Apple to JCP, but “people there were entrenched and resist[ed] him.” He was let go in 2013. Now, J.C. Penney is going to close 140 stores. Did Mr. Johnson push JCP too hard, too fast? Can the company ever commit the resources it needs to go toe-to-toe with modern online retailers? Will JCP survive? It’s all in Particle Debris page 2.
Now that Intel is making cell phone radio chips that support CDMA as well as GSM, Apple can source more than just Qualcomm for CDMA-compatible iPhones. That doesn’t, however, mean Qualcomm is about to lose its Apple contract. Instead, Apple has two suppliers it can rely on.
David Katzmaier is a CNET Senior Editor and TV reviewer, something he’s been doing for most of his career. He started at a small review website in New York and, later, a friend went to CNET and brought David on board where he’s been since about 2000. David is an expert on TV technology, and so we delved into the Retina effect, generic High Dynamic Range (HDR), Dolby Vision, 10-bit color, TV brightness levels, color gamuts, Hybrid Log Gamma, edge lighting (with light guides) vs. local dimming, the pros and cons of OLED vs. LCD, H.265 compression, 120 Hz refresh sample and hold, 4K streaming standards and the best time of year to buy a new TV. Phew! If you’re into UHD/TV tech, you’ll love this grand tour of today’s state-of the-art.
Apple’s Mac Pro has gone nearly four years without an update, leave plenty of people wondering if its a dead product. John Martellaro and Bryan Chaffin join Jeff Gamet to talk about the reasons why Apple might considering discontinuing the Mac Pro, although Bryan questions if that would be a smart move.
The FRESHeBUDS Pro Magnetic Bluetooth Earbuds have been updated to Bluetooth 4.1. They’re water and sweat resistant, and automatically pair to your phone when pulled apart so you don’t have to go through any setup. They fully charge in 90 minutes, and offer up to 10 hours of playback. In addition to improved Bluetooth, this new version is $5 less, at $24.95.
Apple announced last week its spaceship campus is named Apple Park, and will open in April. Now, only days later, we get to see new drone footage showing the nearly complete facility. The new drone flyover shows the main ring-shaped building with its finished solar panel roof, and construction still underway on other structures. Landscaping is coming along, as are the two miles of trails winding through the park. Matthew Roberts shot the video showing Apple Park’s current state as of the end of February, and the entire campus is looking more impressive every day.
AT&T didn’t waste any time revamping its brand new unlimited data plans for the iPhone and other smartphones. Starting on March 2, AT&T’s new plans get a price drop and add tethering, but there are some catches.
Spring is almost here for the northern hemisphere, and that means it’s almost lightning season. It’s time to talk UPS’s and battery backups. Listen as John and Dave talk through all the permutations you’ll need to know to choose the right UPS for your setup. On top of that, a few things in Cool Stuff Found, solving mailbox syncing problems, and a deep discussion about how to rip movies and then to get them onto your iPhone or iPad!
We’ve upgraded our Bitcoin Faucet Guide with 11 faucets that still pay out. Bryan Chaffin explains how they work and shows you which faucets you can trust to pay when they say they will. [Updated with two new faucets I’m testing]
I love this! Drummer Richy Ramirez posted a video to Instagram where he used Siri as his metronome. Really, he used her as both metronome and backing track. It’s clever and entertaining, both, and I love the beat he lays down on top. Check it out.
iTunes U pushed a version of Developing iOS 10 Apps with Swift. The free iOS tutorial series from the Stanford School of Engineering has been updated for iOS 10 and the current version of Swift. Reader Rick Allen turned me onto this release, calling it, “a great and free resource,” which seems like a great reason to pass it on. Reviews on iTunes are overwhelmingly good, too. The description says the 14-part course covers UI design, memory management, a model-view-controller paradigm, object-oriented databases, animation, power management, multi-threading, networking, and performance. And it’s free through iTunes U.
Apple recently decided iPhone screen repairs by third-parties don’t fully void your warranty anymore. Affected iPhone will also qualify for warranty coverage as long as the repair isn’t related to the third-party display itself. Before, iPhones with third-party displays weren’t eligible for authorized repair under warranty from an Apple Authorized Service Provider.
Amazon filed a motion to block a search warrant demanding recordings from an Echo in its ongoing fight to protect user privacy. The warrant is part of a Bentonville, Arkansas homicide investigation, and Amazon says communication with the Echo and its Alexa voice interface are protected as free speech by the First Amendment.
I had an interesting app cross my desk this week called I’m Coming. It’s a GPS-based app that will automatically send updates to people letting them know how far away you are. For instance, you’re driving across country to visit your family. I’m Coming will notify the people you designate on your progress. No texts to and from you while you’re driving. And your family doesn’t have to bug you or wait for you to let them know where you are. Or, you’re driving across town for an important meeting. Same thing, rather than (illegal) texts in the middle of city driving, I’m Coming will notify your peers. [Edit: Or the kids you’re going to pick up. Think—be ready when I show up.] It’s an interesting idea that I haven’t seen in an app. It lets you save both your contacts and trips, and users can customize their messages, notification intervals, and profile. This app was developed by Don Kimenker—long-term Mac fans might remember him as the publisher of MacAddict magazine. The app is a free download—some features require an in-app purchase of $2.99.
In the weeks since his inauguration, there has been much discussion about President Trump’s relationship with the media. Rightly so. Media is not alone in feeling the affects of the chaotic political climate that we are currently experiencing. The ramifications are also clear in tech, where companies have struggled with balancing politics and business, even as the two intersect one another like never before.
Siri started out with a female voice exclusively, but now it can be changed to male. Alexa uses only a female voice. Cortana’s voice, for now, is strictly female. Why is that? Is it sexism? Is it for better intelligibility? John looks into the matter.