Ellen DeGeneres’ star-studded “selfie” photo, taken while she was host of the Academy Awards ceremony, generated quite a buzz. The photo was snapped with DeGeneres surrounded by Hollywood stars, including Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt, and Jennifer Lawrence, and subsequently made the rounds on Twitter as viewers continuously retweeted the picture. The selfie was taken with a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and a story in the Wall Street Journal suggests that the moment was not as spontaneous as it seemed.
According to two unnamed sources in the story, Samsung, who reportedly spent nearly $20 million in advertising during the Oscars, negotiated beforehand to have the Galaxy smartphone integrated into the show. The show aired on ABC, and Samsung reportedly gave an undisclosed number of smartphones to the network in return for a promise that the devices would get airtime.
One instance of such product placement, at least, seemed planned. During the “red carpet” preshow, ABC ran a brief segment of six young, aspiring filmmakers touring Disney Studios, which is owned by ABC’s parent company, Walt Disney Co. They were all carrying and using Samsung phones.
However, DeGeneres herself decided she wanted to take selfies during the broadcast of the awards show. Before that could happen, though, Samsung executives had to train her on how to use the device. That training had to come in handy because, as a USA Today story points out, much was made by Twitter users of the fact that DeGeneres’ backstage, off-camera tweets were originating from her Apple iPhone.
It is estimated that Samsung paid $1.8 million for 30 seconds of ad time during the show. The company bought five minutes of time, putting its total for ads at $18 million alone. By comparison, the company only spent a total of $24 million in advertising during the Oscars since 2009, according to ad tracker Kantar Media. It is unclear if it paid more to have the devices used on camera during the show.
Stopping just short of a complete denial that DeGeneres’ selfie was a planned instance of product placement, Samsung issued a statement calling it "unexpected."
"While we were a sponsor of the Oscars and had an integration with ABC, we were delighted to see Ellen organically incorporate the device into the selfie moment that had everyone talking," the statement read. "A great surprise for everyone, she captured something that nobody expected.”
Planned or not, it seems to have turned out to be priceless for Samsung, says Allen Adamson of branding firm Landor Associates.
"Ellen's selfie is going to be more impactful than their commercials," he said. "You can't buy that magic of going viral."
When 26-year-old Josh Grant buried his 59-year-old mother Anthea, he didn’t expect that he’d add a battle with tech giant Apple to his list of things to deal with.
At their mother’s funeral, Grant and his brother Patrick realized that they never asked their mother what her Apple ID password was so that they could get into her iPad. When Grant reached out to Apple to explain the situation, they denied his request for information, saying he needed “written permission” from his newly deceased mother.
Grant and his brother again attempted to explain that their mother had just recently died of cancer and that, obviously, she was unable to write them a letter. Apple then asked the brothers for a copy of Anthea’s death certificate, her will, and a letter from their solicitor. Apple later went even further and requested that the grieving sons get a court order to unlock the woman’s beloved iPad, citing the Electronic Communications Privacy Act as reason.
Grant, who is from London, wrote on his blog that although he was once an Apple fan, he is now turned off by their lack of compassion.
“I have always been a fan of Apple but this incident has changed my opinion of them completely,” Grant wrote on his blog Musnt’t Grumble. “Their utter lack of understanding and discretion in a time of great personal sadness has been astonishing. For a company that sells itself on the idea we are all part of one big Apple family, they have been very cold. Understandably, my brother has given up and we now have a redundant iPad. If anyone has any suggestions for an unusable iPad please do send them in. I’ve suggested illuminated placemat and shiny paperweight.”
Josh and Patrick Grant became executors of their late mother’s estate when she passed away on January 19.
Apple’s merger and acquisitions chief Adrian Perica and Tesla Motor’s chief executive Elon Musk met last year, suggesting that the iPhone maker may expand its business to electric cars.
Considering Apple has announced plans to better integrate iOS into car dashboard screens and has partnered with Ferrari, it seems likely that the Silicon Valley giant would be interested in Tesla.
The meeting was reported Sunday by The San Francisco Chronicle, which cited an anonymous source. The paper also noted that Apple is interested in medical devices, specifically those that can predict heart attacks.
Apple’s interest in electric cars and medical devices signal that the company wants to expand and take risks beyond the iPad and iPhone, as Wall Street analysts have speculated in the past.
Adnaan Ahmad, an investment bank analyst in Germany, wrote an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook in October suggesting that Apple buy Tesla. He argued that the electric car industry could provide long-term revenue growth unlike smartphones and tablets.
“I know this is radical and potentially 'transformative',” Ahmad wrote, “but this would radically alter Apple's growth profile.”
Neither Tesla nor Apple have commented on the alleged merger.
A mysterious Twitter user posted photos of the alleged iPhone 6 casing, which displayed a wider screen and a curved design.
The new set of photos is one in a series claiming to be the actual iPhone 6 design.
The user, mornray866, has not revealed the source of the images or explained why many of the phones are shown in plastic bags.
Apple has refused to comment on the details of the upcoming phone, though there are plenty of rumors to supplement its silence.
Some speculate that there will be three different models of the iPhone 6. The first will be a 4 inch 1136x640 (326 ppi) display for the cheapest iPhone. The second will be a 4.7 inch 1920x1080 (440ppi) display called the iPhone Air. The third will be a 5.5 inch 2272x1280 (510 ppi) display called the iPhone Pro.
The new iPhone will allegedly include a new camera module from Sony to improve the quality of pictures taken from its front facing camera.
The new phones are expected to be revealed at Apple’s annual developer conference in June, where the firm typically makes new product announcements.
If announced, the iPhone 6 is expected to go on sale within weeks of the conference.
This Christmas, millions of people across the world were elated when they tore off some cheesy snowman wrapping paper and found a shiny new Apple product inside. Once again, Apple products outsold Android tech gadgets this holiday season.
While most of these people are now proud owners of Apple products, San Diego Jim Nevarde is not. He spent $293 on an iPod for his wife, but when she opened up her gift she didn’t find quite what she expected.
In place of an iPod, she found a stack of index cards and five erasers. “School supplies! Just what I always wanted!” said no one.
Nevarde said there were “About five of them fit exactly in the space where the iPod goes. It was a little strange. Obviously, somebody got in there and rewrapped it with shrink-wrap.”
Nevarde went back to Target to return his less than thrilling Apple eraser. But when he went to a second Target to purchase another iPod, something incredible happened: more erasers.
Before purchasing the new iPod Nevarde asked the store clerk to open it and make sure he wasn’t being fooled again.
“Sure enough, it’s full of erasers,” Nevarde told 10 News. “Different color erasers but it’s full of erasers again…Either Target has an issue or Apple. Somebody in between has an issue with these.”
Target said they are looking into the incident. Nevarde says other retailers should be on the lookout for eraserPods too.
"Now I'm thinking what about Walmart?” Nevarde said. “What about all the other retailers that have iPods? They'd better start checking. It could be, I'm assuming, a nationwide recall on these just to see what's in there."
A Massachusetts teen was shocked to learn her Apple MacBook defines “gay” as “foolish” and “stupid.”
Becca Gorman, 15, is the daughter of two lesbians. The Sudberry high school student was writing a paper on gay rights on her laptop, when she found the definition. She says she was hurt that a big company like Apple would legitimize an offensive use of the word.
Apple’s online dictionary includes this definition of the word gay as “foolish, stupid, or unimpressive.”
The example given says, “Making students wait for the light is kind of a gay rule.”
The Lincoln-Sudbury High School sophomore said she checked other dictionaries and can’t find this “informal, often offensive” definition in any of them without the label “derogatory.”
Gorman wrote Apple CEO Tim Cook asking about the entry.
“I assume that you are a pro-gay company, and would never intend for any one of your products to be as offensive as this definition was,” she wrote. “Even with your addition of the word informal, this definition normalizes the terrible derogatory twist that many people put on the word ‘gay.’”
An hour later she received a call form an Apple representative promising to look into the matter, but the definition still isn’t changed.
“I feel like we’re going to have to make a bigger deal about it before they actually act on it,” she said.
Al Gore is fond of Twitter. So much so, that he apparently tried to buy the social networking site back in 2009.
The Blaze reports that a new book entitled “Hatching Twitter” and authored by The New York Times’ Nick Bilton, alleges that the former vice president of the U.S. got drunk in a San Francisco hotel with Twitter founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone and offered to purchase the company.
Obviously, Gore wasn’t successful in his attempted acquisition, but he did admit that he tried to purchase Twitter during an interview with Bloomberg TV.
"I'm very bullish on Twitter, it's become a global utility, it's a great business" Gore told Bloomberg TV, according to Business Insider.
Bilton also reported that Facebook tried to buy the company, and that CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally met with Twitter executives, according to CNN.
The company didn’t get sold and, as Business Insider reports, Twitter filed for an IPO this year that could be worth $20 billion.
CNN notes that even though the company is quickly growing its user base and ad sales, it is not yet profitable.
Gore, who sold Current TV to Qatar's Al Jazeera for $500 million, still has strong presence in tech. He serves as a director on the Apple board.
Apple’s latest software update for iPhones and iPads included new animations, but some users are reportedly getting sick over the effects.
“The zoom animations everywhere on the new iOS 7 are literally making me nauseous and giving me a headache. It's exactly how I used to get car sick if I tried to read in the car,” wrote one iPhone user on Apple’s support forums, according to FoxNews.com. That thread has been viewed more than 15,000 times and features dozens of similar reports of carsickness and nausea.
A doctor has also told FoxNews.com that it’s possible that users of the iPhone can become carsick.
"There’s some validity to this, for people who are susceptible," Dr. George Kikano, division chief of family medicine at UH Case Medical Center in Ohio, told FoxNews.com.
Apparently, it's not the zoom animations that are responsible. It's a new "parallax" function that causes the background of the phone to subtly move back and forth, a feature that leads to an effect not unlike car sickness.
ABC News reports that Charles Oman, a former director of NASA's Sensorimotor Adaptation research Team, has studied the origins of motion sickness for more than 15 years. While he doesn’t doubt that people may feel their stomachs churn a little, he's hesitant to call it motion sickness.
"It takes a couple minutes of sustained stimulation to activate motion sickness," Oman said. "If it were an immersive environment, like a headset or an IMAX screen, then I can believe it, but it's a little harder to believe on the small screens."
Some users are holding off on upgrading their devices for now because of the animations.
"I played around with iOS 7 on my girlfriend's phone and I felt nauseous," Michelle Barna told ABC News. "I'm a huge Apple fan and I haven't made the update yet because of it."
Waterproof Your iPhone — Not! Some Users Appear To Fall For Prank Apple iOS 7 Ad Touting Incredible New Feature
There may be an app for “that,” but there’s not an app for everything as some users of the new operating system for Apple’s iPhone seem to have learned the hard way.
A persuasive-looking, but bogus, advertisement for Apple’s latest iPhone system upgrade, iOS7, claims that the new operating system is capable of detecting “sudden changes in thermo-distribution.”
In case of an “emergency,” the hoax ad states, a “smart-switch” shuts down the phone’s “power supply and corresponding components to prevent any damage to your iPhone’s delicate circuitry.”
The gag ad urges readers to, “update to iOS 7 and become waterproof.”
The ad, which reportedly originated on 4Chan, a forum for internet pranksters and meme-creators, uses the same sans-serif font against the same clean white background as authentic Apple ads. And that may have taken in at least a few gullible iPhone aficionados.
One Twitter user raged, “"wtf #iOS7 isnt waterproof!!! now my phones at the bottom of the river #f***."
Another tweeted, “Ok whoever said IOS7 is waterproof GO F*** YOURSELF.”
Whether these users actually tested the alleged new feature by submerging their phones in water is unclear. Another tweeted credulously, "Woah, iOS7 makes your phone waterproof,” only to follow up a few hours later with the tweet, “Wow, I'm a dumbass."
SOURCES: Sky News, CNet, Business Insider
One of the more talked about features of the new iPhone 5S is how it can store an unique fingerprint, which unlocks the cell phone when a user touches their finger on the home button.
The Touch ID sensor in the iOS 7 operating system of the iPhone 5S can determine if the fingerprint belongs to the owner or a registered user.
If Apple's fingerprint recognition technology sounds a bit geeky and intimidating, keep in mind that it is simple enough to be used by a cat.
TechCrunch recently tested the iPhone 5S' Touch ID sensor with a cat's paw to see if it would unlock the gadget (video below).
After a few misses, the cat's paw was able to unlock the newest iPhone.
TechCrunch also registered different parts of the human body as Touch ID profiles, including the heel of the wrist, which worked.
However, when TechCrunch tried to use the opposite wrist, access was denied.
The Touch ID sensor can also replace your App Store password when buying music, apps or ebooks.
Apple says the Touch ID sensor is designed to provide "accurate readings from any angle, so the motion to unlock your device ought to be as automatic as it is now."
Your fingerprint, or paw print, is stored in the iPhone 5S' chip, not on an Apple server or iCloud.