Will Apple improve Beats Audio?

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Beats Audio by Dr. Dre is a great example of style and brand can trump product details. Of course quality matters even in the headphones business, but the opinion of audiophiles regarding sound quality isn’t going to impact 15-year-old kids on what they determine to be cool.

The cool factor propelled the Beats brand and ultimately made Dr. Dre a billionaire with Apple’s acquisition of his company. This is a perfect compliment to iTunes and the iPhone, but it will be interesting to see if Apple applies some of its billions to also improve the quality of the product.

Nokia Lumia Icon

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Brands keep pushing the limit on audio and video as we start to record more and more of our lives. Nokia’s new Lumia Icon has some impressive features, like four microphones to boost sound quality along with full 1080p HD, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and unpixelated zoom. Now we’ll see if this phone can make a dent in the market share for Apple and Samsung.

Remembering Steve Jobs and the Mac

We’re coming up on the 30th anniversary of the Macintosh computer and a writer from Rolling Stone has uncovered the full transcript of an interview he conducted with Steve Jobs two months before the release of the computer. It’s classic Steve Jobs with some incredible quotes. Check it out.

Choosing the right tablet when doing your holiday shopping

Ever since Steve Jobs introduced the iPad to much fanfare and the product took off and started a whole new product category, the market has been flooded with competing products as the country has basically gone tablet crazy. Even young kids basically expect some sort of tablet these days, making things very tough on parents trying to monitor what they do online. People of all ages enjoy these devices as they can be used for so many different purposes, and computer companies like HP that didn’t come up with a good competing product are getting crushed as PC and laptop sales have struggled.

With all of this in mind, here’s a great article from the NY Times that lays out many of the different options. For starters, you should simply avoid the ultra-cheap knockoff options. It’s tempting to go that way, but in many ways you’ll be wasting money.

After that you really need to consider who will be using the tablet. Kids are obsessed with games and texting. Many women and adults like to read books. Others like to surf the web for funny videos, interact with others in social media, play casino games at sites like partycasino.com, or just read the sports page. Some on your gift list may not use computers much, so you sometimes need to think about how they would love to use these devices once you point out uses for them.

E-readers have become more popular and frankly more articles, so the article linked about deals with those options as well. Consider traditional e-readers versus the new color options. Then you have the most basic choice between Apple and Android. Microsoft has also entered the debate though it remains to be seen if they can get beyond a sliver of the market.

There are tons of choices, so do your research online before you hit the stores.

Google Launches Maps for iOS; Enjoys Benefits of the Eric Cartman Theory

Umm…the Eric Cartman theory?

Yeah, well remember that episode of “South Park” where Cartman buys a failing amusement park with his inheritance so he can have it all to himself? Eventually the operating costs force him to re-open it, and as a result, the time spent telling people they couldn’t come in made them want it even more, and the place became a huge success.

It’s a well reasoned theory that is now being enjoyed by Google, as they recently released the long awaited Google Maps app that has now shot to the top of the free apps download list, after less than 24 hours on the market. Of course the reason that people were so anxious to jump on the app is because it wasn’t available to them when the iPhone 5 first came out, as Apple tried to gain a leg up on the competition resulting in the hilarious failure known as Apple Maps.

That’s not to say that the app isn’t impressive. It is. But it’s also the exact same Google Maps we’ve known and loved for some time now, with a few little niceties thrown in for Apple users. But, oh my does it feel special this time. It’s like how you can take breathing for granted even if it is vital, but when it’s that first breath after being submerged underwater, it’s an incomparable joy.

It’s also pretty embarrassing for Apple. The question is, what do they do now? Had Apple Maps been a success right out of the gate, they could have really converted their users to the native feature and stole some serious momentum from a big rival. Instead, they now just have to watch as a stunning amount of users immediately abandon it, while Apple must continue to work hard to not only catch up with Google Maps, but somehow surpass it, lest they end up with a monumentally embarrassing failure on their resume.

The early success of Google Maps on iOS isn’t an immediate monumental victory for Google, or a resounding defeat for Apple. It is, however, for Apple, the first touchdown surrendered in a football game. While it doesn’t necessarily determine the outcome, they must still watch as another team celebrates in their territory.

And that’s got to hurt.