Apple and (Lack of) Social Media

Written By: Cassandra Deakin

Apple is one of the most successful technology companies in the world. They can charge $1,000+ for a laptop, simply because it has their logo on it. Even if you aren’t an Apple person (I’m not), you cannot dispute the fact that they’re insanely successful. There are people who are constantly waiting with baited breath for the newest iPhone to throw their money at. Something that is surprising, however, is their lack of social media presence.

Apple’s Twitter account has 691K followers. While that number is impressive, and expected of a company of Apple’s size and popularity, they number of tweets they have is shocking: 0. None. Zip. The Apple Twitter account has never tweeted. Their Facebook has the same issue: zero posts.

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Photo: Apple 

Apple is at the front of the technology race so you would think that Apple would embrace the concept of social media, however, this is not the case. So why bother having the accounts? According to Business Insider, Apple uses these accounts to buy advertisements for the latest products, such as the iPhone 7and Apple Watch. Apple is taking advantage of advertising tools to promote posts that don’t show up on the main account’s feed. Of course, this backfired on them a couple of months ago when their Twitter account leaked information about the iPhone 7 before the official event.

While promoting your products is certainly logical, Apple is missing out on a huge advantage of social media. People enjoy following their favorite brands on social media, they enjoy sharing and receiving content about them. Brands can earn a lot of loyalty and brand advocates when they have a strong online persona. Apple is missing out on that. In addition, they could be sharing information about product issues and fixes. Most of that information is found on their website or on Apple enthusiast sites, which most people aren’t going to sift through.

According to Business Insider, Apple has a separate account for Apple Support, but even it doesn’t always contain the information it should.

In short, if Apple is to remain a strong technological giant, they need to embrace the power of social media.

Privacy Concerns at Apple and Google by Stephen Abrams

Earlier this week Google launched their latest cross-platform messaging app, Allo. When the app was first announced at Google’s annual I/O developer conference in May it offered a few new features that would allow it to stand out among other messaging apps. Unlike some similar apps like Google’s own Hangouts or WhatsApp, Allo would be paired with Google’s new Assistant chat bot and it would also feature end-to-end encryption for user’s messages. At the time, Google’s decision to include this extra layer of security to its customers seemed to be a bold step in the right direction. However, when the app was released Google backtracked from their original pledge, making its more security-conscious users balk at the once promising app. In recent years there have been many new social media platforms and communication apps which have in some cases garnered millions of unique users. As customers began to use these new technologies they also participated in the common practice of sharing with their friends, the world at large, and the tech companies behind these apps nearly every aspect of their once private lives. With so much information now available third-parties such as advertising companies and government agencies looked for ways to capitalize on this huge influx of data. A recent example of this type of intrusion into people’s private information came as a result of the December 2015 terrorist shooting in San Bernardino, California. In February a federal judge ordered Apple to aid law enforcement in finding a way to bypass the security of the iPhone of one of the shooters. The government did not seek to remove the phone’s encryption or ask Apple to provide the phone’s passcode. Instead, the government sought Apple’s help in discovering the passcode through the means of “brute force” decryption. Typically, when iPhone users employ a passcode to secure their phone there is a limit to the amount of unsuccessful attempts that can be made before the the device erases all the data. The ruling by the judge would have compelled Apple to remove their limit on the number of password attempts by circumventing the phone’s auto-erase feature. Apple CEO, Tim Cook, refused to comply stating that the order would likely have “implications far beyond the legal case at hand,” and suggested that this move would violate customer’s privacy and could essentially provide government agencies with “the equivalent of a master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks.” When Allo was released by Google they made the decision to back away from the end-to-end encrypted messages they were going to offer in Incognito Mode. Originally the messages would only be stored for a short amount of time, but now all non-incognito messages are stored by default. Records of the user’s messages will be available until the user chooses to delete them. Another way for users to avoid Google’s logging is to use Incognito Mode which remains encrypted as was originally announced. However, if users want to get the most out of all of Allo’s features they will have to leave their messages open to Google’s algorithms. According to Google this change was made in order to improve the Assistant feature of Allo. The Assistant creates suggested responses to the users questions and in order to provide better results Allo needs access to more user data. Fortunately for Google it is unlikely they will be in a situation with law enforcement like their competition over at Apple. If Google receives a request for user data the messages may not be available if the user has chosen to delete them or if they chose to use Incognito Mode. These recent developments in online privacy should not suggest that customers should be wary of trusting companies like Apple and Google with their personal information. However, there is a rather unsettling trend present where end users and tech companies are seemingly comfortable with giving up more and more of their privacy in order to remain a part of the increasingly social world.

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Google Allo Logo. Photo Credit: Gizmodo 

Bohn, Dieter. “Allo Is a Messaging App with Google Built Right in.” The Verge. N.p., 18 May 2016. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.

Statt, Nick. “Judge Says Apple Must Help the FBI Break into San Bernardino Shooter’s IPhone.” The Verge. N.p., 16 Feb. 2016. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.

Turton, William. “Allo’s Creepy Trade-Off Isn’t Worth It.” Gizmodo. N.p., 21 Sept. 2016. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.

Vincent, James. “Tim Cook: Apple Will Fight US Demands to Build an IPhone Backdoor.” The Verge. N.p., 17 Feb. 2016. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.

Happy Earth Day #AppsForEarth

By Cesar Leal

Apple recently launches campaign #AppsForEarth , aiming to help make a difference to our planet. From here until Sunday (April 24) you can buy any of the 27-featured apps, or make a purchase within the app in itself, the entire proceeds will be going to the World Wide Fund for Nature, the WWF but not the wrestling one.

The apps will have features exclusively designed for the earthy campaign, promoting and focusing on ideas that conserve the forest, oceans and more.

Forests’ are being lost at a massive rate as football field sized areas are being lost 48 times every minute, and 80 percent of species that live on land live in the forests, so the whole ecological environment is being threatened.

The WWF is concerned with the ecosystems both on land, and in water, and is aiming to protect the planet, through different charities, and that is why that each app will be helping in a different area, so now you can help the planet one app at a time, go on and look for them on the App Store.

The uncontrollable, evolutionary natural selection of our smartphones

Matt Payne

@MattePaper

When the ever-evolving ecosystem of social media has managed to grapple the attention and habits of an entire generation, it’s necessary to consider the medium for social media that more than 90 percent of users on Facebook rely on: smartphones.

Since mobile data connection was revolutionized in 2007 by the first cellular device to feature a touch-sensitive interface – the original iPhone – society at large has accepted all the different applications such a device has, like checking a Wells Fargo account or getting a puppy fix on Instagram. More than ever, a 5-year-old with an iPad Mini and a grandmother gifted a Galaxy Note 5 by her adult children are 100-percent-always jacked into each other’s worlds thanks to modern Internet culture.

It begs consideration of exactly how the mobile world will evolve. Since Apple established an unshakeable paradigm in the minds of consumers, manufacturers have been at one another’s throats with competing devices – to the point when Apple’s seeming monopoly has begun to dilapidate and has needed to reconsider itself.

This kind of business model will dictate how most middle-class users and beyond will interact with the realm of social media.

Take one of the most controversial factors about smartphones: the sheer size of them. Up until the 5.5 -inch iPhone 6 Plus was announced alongside the standard flagship size of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 in 2014, Apple was the sole manufacturer of the industry standard “sweet-spot” of a 4-inch display in the preceding iPhone 5 flagship series.

Google and Samsung – Apple’s prime competitors in the mobile market – with their devices on Android OS have perennially featured displays that’ve pushed industry standards. Since 2011, Samsung was for a long time notorious with the 5.7-inch Note series that even featured a stylus accessory with specialized features baked right into the OS. Currently, Google holds the record for largest display in a mobile phone with the release of the 6-inch Nexus 6 in 2014.

Apple never budged until the demand for bigger, better, more capable displays was too pervasive to deny. And with the acceptance of this new industry standard, the exclusivity of iOS in Apple’s iPhones began to bend…just like several of their phones reinforced with thin aluminum did in #bendgate. Apple’s since fixed that with a new grade of reinforced aluminum in the 6S line.

The fluidity of the competition between superpower manufacturers is a powerful factor in social media. It will dictate the devices we carry in our pockets and purses and how we seamlessly interact with one another on a minute-to-minute basis. It is both a good factor and arguably one that is entirely out of our hands.

Ironic for devices that spend so much time in them already.

Bibliography:

http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/facebook-mobile-app-statistics/

http://www.macrumors.com/2015/08/10/iphone-6s-addresses-bendgate-video/

https://www.androidpit.com/samsung-s-pen-useful-or-gimmick-survey

Featured Image: Courtesy – The Verge

Silly Facebook Faces

By Sonya Patcharapinyopong

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Source: techinsider.io

Are you hooked on Snapchat and its filter? Well, I know I am and I am guilty as charged. Do you also get mad when they remove the rainbow unicorn puking filter and you have to wait for eons for them to put back the filter.  Well, be mad no more because Facebook has bought over a popular photo app on the Apple store called Masquerade (MSQRD).

The cool thing about this app is that it allows you to overlay silly, playful filters (some are even animated) over your face while using your front-facing camera from your phone. Just like Snapchat, it allows you to either take a picture or video but unlike Snapchat, you can post and a share to various social media platform. The filters include from Leo DiCarprio at the Oscars (pictured above) to monkey filters. This will allow the app to reach out to a bigger range of audience because if Facebook did not buy it over, Masquerade would never be able to reach an audience scale of 1.6 billion people.

Since Facebook bought over it, whatever photos or videos you take will eventually be uploaded to Facebook (Well duh, Facebook bought over it). Other functions on the app allow you to doodle and paste stickers on your images. This allows users to enjoy the fun of using different filters and that enhances alternations to your photos or videos, said in the Masquerade’s official webpage.

The face-swapping app coincides with Snapchat (which blow everyone away) that uses face-tracking and 3D effects. One of the benefits that Facebook will greatly gain out of the Masquerade’s app is that it will help with Facebook’s research of facial recognition and other image tools that will help in enhancing Facebook’s video experience as a fun buzz and interaction that users can enjoy.

Sources: http://www.techinsider.io/facebook-buys-popular-msqrd-face-swapping-app-2016-3

Facebook gets silly with acquisition of face-swapping selfie app MSQRD

http://msqrd.me/

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/msqrd-live-filters-face-swap/id1065249424?mt=8

FBI v. Apple: Market Failure or Technological Martyr?

By Austin Wagner

So by now, we have all heard about the FBI – Apple fiasco. Consider however, the drawbacks that Apple’s decision will have on their sales. Now, I love my iPhone, and Apple’s political agenda is not any of my business, so no matter what they plan, I will always be an iPhone user. How many people will feel the same as I do?

One particular presidential candidate has voiced his opinion, and there are many that are following his example. Apple’s decision to refuse access to a shooter’s phone to the FBI has created mixed opinions. Many believe that Apple is taking the appropriate steps to protect their customers privacy, while others believe they are jeopardizing the safety of not just their customers, but everybody else as well. If anybody would like to read Apple’s response to their customers about the whole ordeal, you can read it at http://www.apple.com/customer-letter/.

This article by TechoBuffalo, http://www.technobuffalo.com/videos/apple-vs-fbi/, delves further in to both sides of the argument and explains how both arguments have valid points and why there is not necessarily a right or wrong here, that is relative. While I agree that access to the phone would greatly help the FBI with their investigation, I more so back Apple on the situation. Apple is a figurehead in modern handheld devices. A massive portion of the world owns an Apple device right at this moment. If the government had unbound privileges to each of Apple’s customer’s personal data, that would turn away a great deal of their business and cause consumers to feel unsafe using their Apple device.

I truly believe that Apple is considering their customers above all else in this case and appreciate their stance. I personally believe this will impact their business, and whether they lose or gain customers is certainly up in the air at the moment. However, I do not think they will suffer any drastic business losses.

References:

“Donald Trump Calls for Boycotting Apple Products; Uses Twitter for IPhone.” TechJuice. 21 Feb. 2016. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.

Cook, Tim. “Customer Letter – Apple.” Apple. 16 Feb. 2016. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.

“Apple vs FBI – Who’s Right?” TechnoBuffalo. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.

“Rotten Apple (Inc.) Poisons Cultures.” Return Of Kings. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.

 

 

 

Facebook and Twitter with Apple against the FBI

 

 

 

By: Gabi Saithsoothane

Source Credit

Many social media apps, technology leaders, and public figures like Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Google, and even the Pope have expressed their support for Apple’s decision to not crack open one of the San Bernadino shooters’ phone.

Read the story here

According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the FBI, “wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation,” (Cook 1 ).

You can find the rest of Apple’s letter to customers here

Several tech companies are making statements that the FBI should not be able to force Apple to infringe on customer’s privacy. It seems like most of the large companies are standing together with Apple in this situation.

Facebook released a statement that stated they, ”Will continue to fight aggressively against requirements for companies to weaken the security of their systems. These demands would create a chilling precedent and obstruct companies’ efforts to secure their products,” (Shu 1).

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted: “We stand with @tim_cook and Apple (and also thank him for his leadership)!”

Donald Trump publicly criticized Apple and tweeted:

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Source Credit

If Apple is forced to comply with the court order, this could pave the way for the federal government to, “Extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge,” (Cook 1).

Eileen Decker, U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, released a statement that stated that, ”The judge’s order and our request in this case do not require Apple to redesign its products, to disable encryption or to open content on the phone. In addition, the judge’s order and our request were narrowly tailored to this particular phone,” (Perez 1).

Are you with Apple or with the FBI?

Works Cited:

Cook, Tim. “A Message to Our Customers.” Apple. N.p., 16 Feb. 2016. Web. 20 Feb. 2016.

Perez, Evan, and Tim Hume. “Apple Opposes Order to Hack Gunman’s Phone.” CNN. Cable News Network, 18 Feb. 2016. Web. 20 Feb. 2016.

Shu, Catherine. “Twitter’s Founder, Facebook Pledge Support For Apple As It Fights Court Order To Unlock IPhone.” Tech Crunch. N.p., 19 Feb. 2016. Web. 20 Feb. 2016.