The definition of cool is abstract at best; one person's Rolls Royce is another's Reliant Robin. But that has not stopped The Centre for Brand Analysis deciding which companies have the ‘coolest' brand.
Possibly with too much time on its hands, the Centre has compiled a list of the top 20 cool brands of the year, embracing a range of sectors such as technology, fashion and cars. Sadly, waste disposal, sanitation and tone distribution were not considered.
Technology dominated the list, and the likes of Apple, Spotify, Google, Instagram, Sonos and YouTube made it into the top 20.
Surprising absolutely no one in the world who hasn't been living under a rock for the past decade, Apple took the number one spot. The company won the coolest brand for the fourth year running, no doubt fuelled by Jony Ive's rather fetching, if over-enthused about, product designs.
If Apple is as cool as a bath full of liquid nitrogen, Ray-Ban is the equivalent of a dip in the Arctic ocean while cradling a penguin, as the sunglasses company took the second spot.
One-time hippy commune and world's largest mud convention, Glastonbury, took the bronze medal, giving it the cool factor equivalent of ice-skating naked in a hailstorm.
Netflix, Nike, Instagram and YouTube also featured in the top 10, gaining the cool factor of having a massage from a yeti.
James Bond fans will be distraught to discover that Aston Martin, maker of the most beautiful cars to grace the planet, took only the tenth position.
That's right, the chariot of Britain's beloved fictional spy is held in less regard than a social media site known for pictures of people's food.
Google will be licking its wounds as it came outside the top 10, in the respectable position of twelfth but some way behind rival Apple.
Virgin Atlantic represented the world of transport at position 19, the cool equivalent of eating ice cream really fast, probably owing to its in-flight film service and cabin crew in Vivienne Westwood-designed uniforms.
Many technology and tech-related brands made it into the cool list, so perhaps the lack of diversity in the sector will be eroded as more women and under-represented groups turn their attention to the world's coolest tech brands.
Apple Music has 11 million users just over a month since it became available with the iOS 8.4 update that rolled out to devices at the end of June.
Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president for internet software and services, revealed the number to USA Today. "We're thrilled with the numbers so far," he added.
Cue also said that two million of the 11 million have opted for the $14.99 a month family plan that can be used by up to six people.
The figure of 11 million is just over half that of Spotify, which revealed in June that it has 20 million subscribers.
On the face of it Apple gaining an equivalent of half of Spotify’s user base in a month is impressive going. But, breaking it down, Apple’s sign-up rate actually seems less spectacular than it first appears.
Apple’s users are not paying a penny at the moment to use the service, so a huge explosion of people getting music for free is perhaps not surprising. It could well be the case that many thousands choose not to pay once the free service ends.
Furthermore, given that almost every iPhone and iPad owner in the world could start using Apple Music if on iOS 8.4, the figure of 11 million choosing to take a three-month free trial of a heavily advertised and promoted service from Apple seems surprisingly low.
For instance, Apple sold 61 million iPhones in Q2 2015 alone, so 11 million is only a dent in that number.
Also, Spotify may ‘only’ have 20 million users despite having been in the market for many years, but it has done a lot more work educating users and growing the brand to reach this figure.
In fact Spotify lists its 'active user' base as over 75 million, suggesting that it still has a huge potential base of over 55 million people it could convert to fee-paying users. This is five times that of Apple.
A final point is that many Spotify users feel loyal to the brand, or just don’t want to go through the hassle of having to recreate their lovingly cultivated playlists on Apple Music, and have not bothered to sign-up for Apple Music, even with the free-trial offer.
Apple too will no doubt see its numbers growing, especially with the arrival of iOS 9. Many people may not have bothered updating to iOS 8.4 and will be awaiting iOS 9 before bothering to upgrade. This will then bring them Apple Music and could see user numbers soar.
Even so, the figure of 11 million should give heart to Spotify and suggests that Apple may not have everything its own way in the music market in the years ahead.
Tim Cook has come out as gay in a rare move for the CEO of a top company in the US. Cook made the announcement in a piece written for Bloomberg.
"While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me," he wrote.
The Apple chief said he decided to openly and publically state his sexuality an effort to help others.
"I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realise how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others," he said.
"So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy."
Cook said that being gay had helped him become a better person and a better business leader by making him immune to attack on himself or his role at Apple.
"Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day. It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life," he said.
"It’s been tough and uncomfortable at times, but it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry. It’s also given me the skin of a rhinoceros, which comes in handy when you’re the CEO of Apple."
Cook's decision to state his homosexuality so openly is notable because of its rarity in the upper echelons of major companies, especially in the US where many parts of the country have a Conservative attitude to the subject.
The issue of homosexuality in the tech community also hit the headlines earlier this year when Mozilla appointed Brendan Eich as CEO only to remove him after the furore caused by revelations that he had supported an anti-same sex marriage bill.
It's common knowledge that Apple products inspire a cult-like following, with many fans happy to queue for hours, if not days, for the latest iPhone.
However, this obsession has reached new heights with the news that an iPhone 6 is being sold on eBay for over $88,000 - around £55,000.
The reason for this frankly insane price is that the 64GB iPhone 6 is a prototype that was accidentally delivered to its current owner by US-based American network provider Verizon.
Seller kimberlyk1018 has seen an opportunity to turn this mistake to his or her advantage, stating to potential buyers that "this is a once in a lifetime opportunity".
The phone itself offers little over a non-prototype version, other than featuring a red Lightning port and running in developer mode. It also lacks iOS 8, which has caused problems for Apple and iPhone users.
Kimberlyk1018 cannot even guarantee that the phone will make calls or whether its camera will work, but that has not stopped over 170 bids from what must be Apple fans with very deep pockets or irresponsible credit card limits.
However, the opportunistic seller is offering the following assurance: "I am also giving a 110% guarantee on this being an authentic Apple prototype device."
Clearly a generous soul, Kimberlyk1018 emphasised that free shipping is available providing the price exceeds $4,000.
The Telegraph raised questions about the legality of selling such a prototype, particularly as charges were brought against two men in 2010 who sold a prototype of the unreleased iPhone 4 to technology website Gizmodo. The late Steve Jobs even went so far as to accuse Gizmodo of extortion, although a lack of evidence scuppered potential criminal charges.
But the newspaper does not question the sanity of anyone willing to pay £53,000 for a phone that costs £619 when not in prototype guise.
As expected, Apple has not commented on the sale.
On the flipside, these enthusiastic bidders may be looking at their potential purchase as an investment in an incredibly rare version of a smartphone that they can sell on in the future like a piece of high-tech art. The world holds its breath.
10 Sep 2014
Apple’s image of a slick, highly polished company took a sizeable blow on Tuesday night as its attempts to live stream the launch of its iPhone 6 turned into a farce.
First of all the live stream seemed to be double-tracking the music that played before the event began, which meant people around the world were subjected to what sounded like an amateur DJ attempting to merge two tracks, without any success.
Apple determined to send me mad by playing Haim *and* mood music all at once on its livestream.— Rachel Weber (@therachelweber) September 9, 2014
Then, almost as soon as the live event began, the stream stopped and a strange piece of holding text was displayed instead. People took to Twitter to express their shock at this state of affairs, while several parody accounts of the TV Truck sprung up too.
OMG APPLE TV… Truck Schedule. pic.twitter.com/YL0owavMMC— James Grosch (@jamesgrosch) September 9, 2014
Once this passed and the stream returned, there was a new, quite interesting problem. A translation, possibly Chinese, was being broadcast on top of the remarks of Tim Cook and co. This made it hard to hear what was being said, as you had to try and ignore the unfathomable translation that was louder than the live event
Is Apple working up to making us all learn Chinese? This live stream is decidedly janky.— John Lilly (@johnolilly) September 9, 2014
This didn't matter too much, though, as the stream soon fell over again. All in all a most frustrating experience and one that Apple top brass are no doubt mortified happened, with recriminations likely.
"By Apple making the decision to add the JSON code, it made the Apple.com website un-cachable."
If that was the case, it certainly doesn't do much for Apple's tech chops. However, given the strength of the company and the clamour for its new products, no doubt the issues will soon be forgotten.
25 Apr 2014
V3 is seeking a reporter to work on its fast-paced, industry leading website. V3 is a UK site covering business technology news, analysis, video and reviews for IT professionals, so a passion for IT and the tech scene are crucial for this role.
The role is full-time and based in our central London office, where you will get plenty of opportunity to gain experience and hone your skills across all areas of digital journalism.
The role will see you writing news, features and blogs, attending events in London, the UK and across the world, and interviewing senior executives at world-leading companies ranging from the likes of Google and Microsoft to hot startups. You’ll also be encouraged to break stories, take unique angles on industry topics and source off-diary stories.
An ability to write clean, accurate, crisp copy under pressure is a must, as well as a can-do attitude, a willingness to adapt and alter working practices at a moment’s notice, and understanding the job may require working, and socialising, after office hours.
There will be the opportunity to film and edit video, so video production skills, while not a pre-requisite for the role, will be a bonus. You will also help manage the V3 brand on numerous social media sites, so we’re looking for someone with an affinity for Twitter, Google+ and the next big thing in social.
This is a great opportunity for someone looking to take on their first full-time role in journalism or making their next step on the career ladder onto an online, well-established tech brand, with plenty of scope for growth, development, training and fun too. Ideally you will already have some practical experience of working as a technology journalist, either through your current role, work experience or freelance.
Deadline: 23 May 2014
To apply, please email a covering letter and CV to news editor Dan Worth.
As Apple and Samsung continue to fight it out in courtrooms around the world, the iPhone maker has shown it is willing to use whatever tactics it can to score a cheap point over its rival.
In printed newspaper adverts, such as the one on the back of The Times on Tuesday (pictured left), the iPhone maker has touted its green credentials through its efforts to use renewable energy sources and reduce the use of harmful materials under the pointed statement of: “There are some ideas we want every company to copy”.
The ad continues: “There’s one area where we actually encourage others to imitate us. Because when everyone makes the environment a priority, we all benefit.”
No doubt Samsung executives and their legal counsels spluttered into their coffee when they saw the ad, which will only add another level of frisson to the proceedings currently taking place in a California courtroom.
The ad forms part of Apple’s marketing push for its green efforts to coincide with Earth Day, celebrated on Tuesday, with the company promoting a new ‘Better’ mantra, as vice president of environmental initiatives Lisa Jackson explained.
“We aim to create not just the best products in the world, but the best products for the world. We have a long way to go, but we are proud of our progress. For example, every one of our data centres is powered entirely by clean sources such as solar, wind and geothermal energy,” she said.
“So whenever you download a song, update an app or ask Siri a question, the energy Apple uses is provided by nature.”
Even head honcho Tim Cook lent his time to the push, with his dulcet tones providing the vocals for a new video that promotes all these efforts in Apple's typically stylistic manner. Hopefully the chaps at the National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) don't see it, or else one more screen could be headed for the landfill.
Apple has always prided itself on its uniqueness. Usually this has related to its products' design and software features, but this week the company's unique nature was shown by its legal department, which mounted fresh legal action claiming that Samsung owes it $40 for every Galaxy handset it sells.
The iPhone maker made the claim during a hearing at the US District Court, Northern District of California. The case claims recent Samsung smartphones, such as the Galaxy S3, infringe on five critical patents owned by Apple and is due to be heard on 31 March.
The patents relate to Samsung phones' data tapping, unified search, asynchronous data synchronisation, slide-to-unlock feature and auto-complete technologies. As a side note, during a previous case with Motorola, Apple claimed one of the same patents involved in its new Samsung offensive was worth just 60 cents per phone.
The move is atypical to most technology companies, which are currently moving to diffuse the ongoing, never-ending cycle of patent claims raging between them.
Samsung has already signed licensing deals with Google, Cisco and IBM, promising to play nice with them when it comes to patents. Even HTC and Nokia have joined the game, signing a cross-patent licence agreement in February.
V3 welcomed the deals, viewing them as a sign that smartphone makers were finally going to stop quibbling about who copied who, and re-focus on creating better phones.
But our hopes were short lived, as Apple's move against Samsung shows that even though it risks painting itself as the villain, it has no intention of making peace with its competitors.
This is particularly true when you consider Apple's past successes in the courtroom. Before its latest claim, the court ruled that Samsung owes $930m in damages to Apple, which isn't small change by any means.
By V3's Alastair Stevenson