iOS9: Apple’s move towards stability

iOS9: Apple’s move towards stabilityThe iPhone 6 has been out for a while now and we’re already approaching the release of the Apple Watch, so the tech giant has a lot going on. As if it wasn’t enough, recent reports have unveiled the company’s next mobile software update: iOS 9.

In September 2013, Apple launched iOS 7, the major design overhaul of the operating system that marked its transition into flat design. It opened new doors such as the Touch ID and CarPlay, and was dubbed the “biggest change to iOS since the introduction of the iPhone”. Then came iOS 8 with many health-focused features, Apple Pay, Continuity, and more. At the same time, Apple launched the iPhone 6 with a total redesign and a lot of new hardware.

With so many new features released across a variety of devices in less than two years, the company hasn’t really had the time to stabilize its ecosystem.

So for the next version of its mobile platform, the tech giant has just announced that it will be focusing on optimizing software and hardware. They are likely to fix many performance issues and, according to 9to5mac, “continue to make efforts to keep the size of the OS and updates manageable, especially for the many millions of iOS device owners with 16GB devices”.

It has also come to light that the iPhone 5c, original iPad mini, and fifth-generation iPod touch will all be discontinued by the end of 2015, leaving only devices equipped with 64-bit A7, A8, and A9 processors. With less outdated hardware, it should be easier to unify the experience across the whole iOS range.

Although there is some speculation about battery life improvements, the main focus will be to create a perfectly stable environment and optimize the existing features to make them faster, smoother, and more user-friendly. There are no dates yet but we’ll be hearing more about it at Apple’s WWDC 2015 (Worldwide Developers Conference).

Are tech CEOs the new rock stars?

Are tech CEOs the new rock stars?During the past decade, CEOs of tech companies have become just as popular as music and movie stars. How come? How does it show? What are the consequences?

1- The Steve Jobs way

In 1983, Steve Jobs held his first keynote presentation, unveiling the commercial for the Apple II. Fast forward to 2001, the man introduces his fellow music lovers to a device that will forever change the face of this industry: the iPod. It wasn’t enough for the product to be outstanding; it also had to be presented in a way that would resonate in the minds of every person on the face of the Earth. It was such a hit that from that point on, every product announcement became an event. People came by the hundreds (and later on, thousands) to watch Steve Jobs himself talk about what new groundbreaking technology Apple was going to release. In the span of ten years, from the iPod launching event in 2001 to his death in 2011, Jobs became a legend, a public figure and the most beloved CEO in history. Today, his legacy extends far beyond Apple as CEOs from around the world have started walking the same path.

2- The trend

After Steve Jobs had passed away, CEOs from all corners of Silicon Valley started imitating him: every time they wanted to launch a new product, they organized a presentation, made an event out of it and showed up personally to talk about their innovations. Steve Ballmer, ex-CEO of Microsoft and Bill Gates’ successor, is well known for his more-than-enthusiastic arrivals on stage, which reduced his credibility and earned him the nickname “Microsoft’s Mr Monkey Boy.” Other than his public antics, not much is remembered of his 14-year-long reign over Gates’ company. When Ballmer stepped down in February 2014, Satya Nadella took his place. This unknown man suddenly became the talk of the town, every magazine, website and news outlet was talking about him, and the tech community spent weeks analyzing his background and the impact it will have on the company. Since then, every new Microsoft product report features a paragraph or two about Nadella’s past and how it influenced the creation of said product.

It is no news that CEOs, their behavior and their background often affect their company’s value on the stock market, but their recent rise to stardom has greatly magnified their impact. To sum this up, just picture this: every time Tim Cook, Jobs’ successor, goes on stage, Apple’s stock drops. This phenomenon is directly linked to the attention that people now give to the personality of the speaker, not just the quality of the product announced. Buying or investing in technology has never been more emotional since consumers and investors now have personal biases towards brands because of their CEOs

3- Newcomers

One of the early adopters of this trend was Mark Zuckerberg. After founding Facebook in 2004 (initially called TheFacebook), the young man made the headlines across the world, and for many reasons. He was 19 when went online, making him the youngest pioneer of social media. When the company went international, the flagrant success of his platform and the change it was creating generated a lot of curiosity and envy. Closing his first billion at age 23, he became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire which boosted the hype he was already getting. Today, Mark is the face of his network, all the strategic decisions and new technologies are credited to him, and whenever Facebook announces changes his name comes first on the bill. He is a public figure, idol and model. His rise to fame inspired millions of software and applications developers to try to become the next big CEO in tech.

4- The consequences

Since then, every new successful application or software has seen its creator take the spotlight. This fame is a double-edged sword though; as creators get younger by the year, their experience in management and publicity is usually close to zero. A good example would be Evan Spiegel, CEO and creator of Snapchat. When he launched his application in July 2011, it skyrocketed. Today, the 24-year-old is worth 1 Billion dollars. However, you will hear more about his offensive college emails and spoiled childhood than his accomplishments as CEO.

Other older Silicon Valley tycoons are following Jobs’ footsteps, like Jeff Bezos, who saw fit to announce new products and features of Amazon himself after years behind the scenes. The problem here is that most of these novelties are not well received by the public. Result: every time he takes the stage, the internet spends a great amount of time criticizing his decisions and blaming him, focusing on the negative aspect of his product.

One of the rare exceptions today is Google, which took the good side of the trend – the events, the conferences and the hype- only leaving out the problematic part, CEOs going public too often.

Tech CEOs are the new rock stars indeed, bathing in fame and money, their presentations are like concerts, their decisions are received like new albums and their personal life is on display. They are public figures, an inspiration for many and a target of criticism for others. People stopped wanting to be entertainers, they want to be tech CEOs now.

iR.I.P: Steven Paul "Steve" Jobs 1955 –2011

In a tribute to the greatest man technology has witnessed, Eastline Marketing goes back in time detailing Steve Jobs’ ups, downs and glory days:

February 24, 1955: Jobs was born in San Francisco to graduate students Abdulfattah “John” Jandali, and Joanne Carole Schieble. Jobs was placed for adoption after Schieble’s father opposed their marriage.

60s-70s: Jobs attended Cupertino Junior High and Homestead High School in Cupertino, California. He frequented after-school lectures at the Hewlett-Packard Company in Palo Alto, California, and was later hired there, working with Steve Wozniak as a summer employee.

1972: Jobs enrolled at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. He dropped out after one semester to visit India and study eastern religions in the summer of 1974.

1974: Jobs took a job as a technician at Atari, Inc., a manufacturer of video games.

1975: Jobs joined a group known as the Homebrew Computer Club. One member, a technical whiz named Steve Wozniak, was trying to build a small computer. Jobs became fascinated with the marketing potential of such a computer.

1976: Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne founded Apple.

1978: Apple recruited Mike Scott from National Semiconductor to serve as CEO for what turned out to be several turbulent years.

1983: Jobs lured John Sculley away from Pepsi-Cola to serve as Apple’s CEO, asking, “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?”

Early 1980s: Jobs was among the first to see the commercial potential of Xerox PARC’s mouse-driven graphical user interface, which led to the creation of the Apple Lisa and, one year later, the Macintosh.

1984: Apple aired a Super Bowl television commercial titled “1984”. At Apple’s annual shareholders meeting on January 24, 1984, an emotional Jobs introduced the Macintosh to a wildly enthusiastic audience. However, an industry-wide sales slump towards the end of 1984 caused deterioration in Jobs’ working relationship with Sculley.

May 24, 1985: Apple’s board of directors sided with Sculley and removed Jobs from his managerial duties as head of the Macintosh division. Jobs resigned from Apple five months later and founded NeXT Inc. the same year.

1985: After leaving Apple, Jobs founded NeXT Computer in 1985, with $7 million. A year later, Jobs was running out of money and with no product on the horizon, he appealed for venture capital. Eventually, he attracted the attention of billionaire Ross Perot who invested heavily in the company. NeXT workstations were first released in 1990, priced at $9,999.

1986: Jobs bought The Graphics Group (later renamed Pixar) from Lucasfilm’s computer graphics division for the price of $10 million.

1990: The revised, second-generation NeXTcube was released in 1990, also. Jobs touted it as the first “interpersonal” computer that would replace the personal computer. With its innovative NeXTMail multimedia email system, NeXTcube could share voice, image, graphics, and video in email for the first time.

1990s: Jobs met Laurene Powell at Stanford business school, where Powell was an MBA student. They married on March 18, 1991, and lived together in Palo Alto, California, with their three children.

1993: after having sold only 50,000 machines, NeXT transitioned fully to software development with the release of NeXTSTEP/Intel. The company reported its first profit of $1.03 million in 1994.

1995: After years of unprofitability selling the Pixar Image Computer, it contracted with Disney to produce a number of computer-animated feature films that Disney would co-finance and distribute. The first film produced by the partnership, Toy Story, with Jobs credited as executive producer, brought fame and critical acclaim to the studio when it was released in 1995.

In 1996: NeXT Software, Inc. released WebObjects, a framework for Web application development.
1997: After NeXT was acquired by Apple Inc. WebObjects was used to build and run the Apple Store, MobileMe services, and the iTunes Store.

In 1996: Apple announced that it would buy NeXT for $429 million. The deal was finalized in late 1996 bringing Jobs back to the company he co-founded.

1997: Jobs became de facto chief after then-CEO Gil Amelio was ousted in July.

March 1998: Jobs terminated a number of projects, such as Newton, Cyberdog, and OpenDoc. Jobs also changed the licensing program for Macintosh clones, making it too costly for the manufacturers to continue making machines.

With the purchase of NeXT, much of the company’s technology found its way into Apple products, most notably NeXTSTEP, which evolved into Mac OS X. Under Jobs’ guidance the company increased sales significantly with the introduction of the iMac and other new products.

2000: At Macworld Expo, Jobs officially dropped the “interim” modifier from his title at Apple and became permanent CEO.

With the introduction of the iPod portable music player, iTunes digital music software, and the iTunes Store, the company made forays into consumer electronics and music distribution.

2003 – 2004: as Pixar’s contract with Disney was running out, Jobs and Disney chief executive Michael Eisner tried but failed to negotiate a new partnership, and in early 2004, Jobs announced that Pixar would seek a new partner to distribute its films after its contract with Disney expired.

October 2005: Bob Iger replaced Eisner at Disney, and Iger quickly worked to patch up relations with Jobs and Pixar. 

January 24, 2006: Jobs and Iger announced that Disney had agreed to purchase Pixar in an all-stock transaction worth $7.4 billion. When the deal closed, Jobs became The Walt Disney Company’s largest single shareholder.

June 29, 2007: Apple entered the cellular phone business with the introduction of the iPhone, a multi-touch display cell phone, which also included the features of an iPod and, with its own mobile browser, revolutionized the mobile browsing scene.

August 2011: Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple, but remained at the company as chairman of the company’s board. Hours after the announcement, Apple Inc. (AAPL) shares dropped five percent in after-hour trading. The relatively small drop, when considering the importance of Jobs to Apple, was associated with the fact that Jobs’ health had been in the news for several years.

October 5, 2011: Apple Inc. announced that co-founder Steve Jobs had died. He was 56 years old at the time of his death.