You know, I watched that whole movie about Steve Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher a few weeks ago, and not once did the movie address Apple’s 1986 attempt to show the fashion world how it’s done. This move made perfect sense. Apple had already brought a heightened sense of style and functionality to the worlds of computers and… well, computers, so it was a natural to assume that the world was waiting to see what Cupertino had to say on the subject of Kevlar-reinforced sportswear.
As stated in the catalog—swear to god—“After a rough day windsurfing, the Apple sweatshirt is just the thing.” The catalog also included fashions for tots, a toy Apple semi as well as a bitchin’ sailboard that ran a cool $1100.
After the jump, selections from the Apple Collection catalog…..
You might remember my post from a while back on Hunter S. Thompson’s truly weird Apple computer commercial, but I think I’ve found something to top it. Apple’s branding strategy has usually been to flatter those who fancy themselves “outsiders” or “rebels”—basically everyone in the entire world. But with this 1989 attempt to woo Generation Xers, the company took a more subtle approach, with a pamphlet illustrated by Matt Groening.
At the time, Groening had plenty of underground cred with his uber-angsty comic strip, “Life in Hell.” As the name suggests, the theme of his work was much more along the lines of “surviving post-modern desperation” than “hot blonde chucking a sledgehammer at Big Brother.” But Gen Xers had a reputation (whether earned or not) for capitulating to the daily grind, and Groening’s nervous, insecure art probably felt like a perfect fit for engaging with disaffected young people preparing themselves for the job market.
The brochure was passed out in college bookstores and in between the pages selling computers as the newest college necessity, Groening’s cartoons provided a few funny, self-effacing prototypes of disoriented students. I’m sure they kept prospective customers’ attention. Groening also did a couple of posters for Apple, including one titled “Bongo’s Dream Dorm,” a fantasy of college life for his “Life in Hell” lead character. Shortly after, The Simpsons took off, and Groening’s been free to mock Apple’s “culture of innovation” ever since.
Apple products have always branded themselves as counterculture and cutting edge—the technology of “creative types.” But it’s still a little surprising to see Hunter S. Thompson on a commercial for computers. Don’t get me wrong—I’ve never been too judgmental when it comes to artists schilling this doo-dad or that widget to make some extra scratch. It’s not like he’s tap-dancing for Exxon or Halliburton, and there are no clean hands in a dirty world—getting pissy at an anti-capitalist for making money under capitalism is like getting pissed at an environmentalist for breathing smog. And Hunter had notorious bouts of writer’s block; it’s very possible he just needed the money.
Or maybe Thompson just wanted a free computer. Supposedly, he received a Mac in the 80’s from an editor. Since his assignments were perpetually late, everyone hoped the new technology would speed him along. That might have worked, had he not became irritated and blown the poor machine away with a shotgun… supposedly. Say what you will about PCs, I could shoot three before they cost as much as one Apple.
He’s still a pretty fucking hilarious choice for a spokesperson—did that famously speedy mumble (accompanied here by butt-rock guitar) really entice the Gen X-ers to rush our and buy Macs?
Indulge me a little romance for technology long past. I generally avoid waxing nostalgic over the time before people like me got to live on the Internet all day, but there’s something so compelling about the primordial technology that served only brief, esoteric purpose.
Long before computers were mass-produced, you had arcane wooden lovelies like this one, hand-made by Steve Wozniak himself. There’s undeniable warmth to the console, and not just because of the organic materials; the wood-shop quality reveals a creator, and the personal touches connect us to a craftsman, as well as a programmer.
A model like this one (only 200 were made) originally sold for $666.66, though collectors now pay up to $50,000.
While Apple admits they are just getting started in improving their iPhone Maps App, a tumblr website The Amazing iOS6 Maps has been collating users pictures from the App displaying bendy bridges, missing locations and plain wrong directions.
Six years after he graduated high school, and four years after the LSD experiences that he’s called “one of the two or three most important things I’ve done in my life,” and less than two years after he co-founded a company named after a fruit, the biological son of graduate students Abdulfattah Jandali and Joanne Simpson prepped nervously for his first TV interview.
Ya gotta figure most game-changers have found themselves “deathly ill and ready to throw up at any moment,” right?
A report on the LA Now blog indicates that police in So Cal are dealing with a group of criminals who “think different”:
The suspects sought by Manhattan Beach police had a specific method of operation, Brown said. They stake out an Apple store and choose their target. Then they follow their prospective victims when they drive to another shop or a parking spot near their home. If computers are left unattended inside the vehicle, the thieves strike.
His department issued a warning to consumers Tuesday not to leave computers or other expensive items in their vehicles in plain view.
“It’s a highly preventable crime if people don’t leave computers in their cars,” Brown said.
But law enforcement officials said despite the arrests in Orange County, they believe these follow-away burglaries are the work of a larger ring that has taken more than 100 computers in Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties.
I was trying to come up with a punchline about Justin Long, but couldn’t and you just don’t want to force these things.
Maybe David Letterman should retire his “Stupid Pet Tricks” segment in favor of a new one called “Stupid iPhone Apps.” Is it just me or are the below apps pointless time (and money) wasters? And a couple of them seem highly likely to cause actual damage to your iPhone. Apparently Apple sells 350 apps per minute from the iTunes app store—over 3 billion since it launched—but surely, soon, we’ll all be suffering from “cute” novelty burnout when the useful ideas have been used up ... or maybe not. Never underestimate the American consumer, eh?
Exhibit the first: Happy Dangy Diggy. This whimsical app allows you to blow virtual kisses to the object of your affection cyber-stalking. Although this might’ve come in handy were we in the midst of a full-blown H1N1 pandemic (you know, like the one that was supposed to happen), in the absence of a public health crisis, it’s just plain goofy. If you need an iPhone app to flirt, well, dude, you’re pathetic!
Next up: the iSteam app, which will fog up your iPhone with realistic digital fog. Someone showed me this at a party recently and I just shook my head in bored disbelief. You can simply breathe on your iPhone for free to fog it up, but at least that’s all that the app costs anyway. It’s gratis for now from the developer—which is about what it’s worth, if you ask me. Cute? Sure, but who cares?
Moving on, we have the iPhone Blower, which will push air out of your iPhone speaker. Enough to extinguish a candle. Big whoop. Watch the demo video:
If you don’t think this will cause damage to your iPhone ... then move on to the next two, the iHandWarmer (who thought that name up?) and Pocket Heat. The iHand Warmer actually kind of works by using up 100% of your CPU and draining the battery, but does it give off enough BTUs to really warm your hands? Doubtful. Pocket Heat, on the other hand, is admittedly mostly just a gimmick that’s meant to look like a space heater, rather than perform like one. Now that’s really pointless.
Interesting murmurs are emanating from Cupertino this week about Apple’s alleged plans to offer an all-you-can-watch television buffet for the princely sum of $30 a month. It’s about time. The days of the public buying a single song or downloading a single show for $2.99 are waning; they’d prefer to buy digital media the way they buy pens or Twizzlers from Staples, in bulk. With savvy senior citizens figuring out how to illegally download movies and music, it can be said with some confidence that iTunes has served for many as the “training wheels” for illegal Bit Torrent downloads. (It’s not a great leap—first step: download stuff from iTunes; a year later: download the same stuff for free). This alleged reasonably-priced Apple service would probably keep these folks within the paying fold. Why? Because the price is right and it’s convenient, and for no other reason.
2009 is the year when many cable customers (I’m one of them) cut the wire for good. With it being so easy to get the things they want for free online, why should consumers be obliged to spend $90 a month for 500 channels, 490 of them that are never, ever watched? Paying just $30 for the things you do want to watch is a no-brainer. You won’t need the DVR either, saving you an additional $12 a month.
And then there is what could be called the “Hulu problem” which should theoretically make this service more attractive for the networks (although it might take a while to get them there): Hulu execs make a big deal about selling out the advertising inventory for Hulu, but as CBS’s outgoing digital CEO Quincy Smith stated bluntly to All Things D, “You and I can say all day long, ‘We?