Benign and/or sinister… Perhaps it’s a bit of both: Giving away 500 millions copies of a (now and for sometime, ‘Fortune 500′) band’s latest album had to be a mutually-crafted decision. After the commercial failure of their previous release, U2 has to be itching to reclaim their mojo (which unfortunately for them / longtime fans doesn’t seem to be the case). Conversely, the same thing could be said about iTunes (and in many respects about Apple in the post-Jobs era).
The end result? Thus far, the juries out. Nevertheless, it might’ve also been a flanking move to overshadow the fact that while potentially beneficial that the iWatch release is pending, it doesn’t overcome the simple fact that the eco-system for supporting it is (at this juncture) nascent at best.
For anyone that might still think that the content that they purchased via iTunes is actually their own… they might want to think again what the definition of ‘their own’ is? DRM controversies-aside, buying content via Apple (as most people already know) is restricted to five authorizations whereas said content can be utilized. In light of U2’s latest album being ‘gifted’ to 1/2 billion people this seems like a giant Orwellian step towards greater centralized media control vs. anything else.
For those that might have forgotten Apple’s iconic 1984 ad…
(Source) Apple: http://goo.gl/ugQtOU
Based on user-reviews, at this juncture, Apple’s decision to ‘gift’ 500 million iTunes’ subscribers the latest U2 album has not been without controversy ranging from those that simply do not want it to those who are unable to play it!
U2’s surprise album release as a part of Apple’s Launch Event could signify a number of variables ranging from iTunes hitting the decline phase of the product life-cycle (which based on declining downloads of music is a valid argument); a major push for a band whose seemingly now (based on early reviews) plateaued with the release of their last two albums; a marketing ploy whereas the band is going to release a quick follow-up exclusive _____ via iTunes in conjunction with launching a major world tour; a sign of a firm that’s running short of new / innovative marketing ideas; something else; and/or all of the above. Whatever the case may be, giving away 500 million copies of an album (however, mediocre the reviews) to an act of U2’s stature (even if their star is waning) cost Apple no small amount of money… and, if what’s behind the curtain is either already revealed or is still pending the firm is clearly using star-power to launch products – which is a far-cry from how far they’ve come since their 1984 ad.
Granted, Apple does not have first-mover advantage regarding wearable technology. Nevertheless, they have the firm’s cache and a sleek design (for iWatch). While the former can’t be artificially enhanced the latter will in all probability inspire lots of copy-cats… Your move industry (note: their largest competitor).
Although end-user reviews, quirks, bugs, etc. have yet to be reported (en mass) it’s pretty clear that Apple’s iWatch has set a benchmark that other manufacturers (have) in all probability got to be jealous of.
(Source) The Times of India: http://goo.gl/cw3VZr
In advance of the (seemingly) imminent launch of their iWatch and the latest iPhone, etc. it’s clear that Apple knows how to milk PR; innuendo; fan-boys and pretty much everything else related to their product-cycles.
Apple’s got another chance (albeit a very rare one) to be an alchemist again. If the firm gets their long-beaten-into-the-ground-rumor-of-an-iWatch-right, few (average) consumers will recall that (like the iPod) Apple was not the innovator of said device. However, if the company does it correctly, the overwhelming majority will recall that Apple (is) / was the innovator of wearable tech-fashion.
(Source) NY Times: http://goo.gl/WHnZXZ
Moto 360: the new smart watch from Motorola made a relatively quiet debut this week. Granted, said firm has fallen on hard times… evidenced by Google’s failed attempt at reviving them. Yet, with their ownership set to change to Lenovo (which has a very loyal Chinese consumer base to sell to) aside from a stylish timepiece brighter days may yet be in store.
(Source) BBC: http://goo.gl/svr4US