Once upon a time, status-seekers relied on signifiers like nice watches, swanky automobiles and handbags that cost as much as a car. But according to Quartz, times have changed: Now men and women worldwide think it’s their cell phones everyone notices first.
BRB, running to the Apple store.
According to a former Apple ad man, Apple considered naming its phone offering a bunch of really terrible names before settling on iPhone. These names include “Telepod,” “Mobi” and “Tripod.” Whoever convinced them to go with iPhone is basically a hero. [9 to 5 Mac]
Here is another story about the origin of emoji, which made this Android phone owner only slightly more bitter. [The Verge]
Google is working to build a competitor to the wondrous Amazon Prime, with a same-day delivery service called Google Shopping Express. Wonder whatever happened to eBay Now? [TechCrunch]
Oh good, Microsoft’s Scroogled campaign is here to stay. [CNET]
The Boston Startup School is launching a branch in New York called the Startup Institute. [The Next Web]
XXX in Tech
When you hear of someone who has an AOL email address, what’s the first thought that comes to mind? A dad? Someone who still uses dialup? A TechCrunch employee? Now you can add “strip club aficionado” to your stereotypes of AOL email users, at least according to a new study by the British event planning group Chillisauce.
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt urged North Korean leaders to open Internet access to its citizens, or doom them to a state of virtual isolation. Which, if we understand Mr. Schmidt correctly, he thinks will be far more insidious than the actual isolation North Koreans are currently experiencing. [AP]
North Korea’s official Twitter account only follows three, and only three, other accounts. One belongs to Jimmy Dushku, a 25-year-old investor who’s been to almost 60 Coldplay concerts and counts The Fast and the Furious as his favorite movie. What? [Mother Jones]
They’re not saying how they know, exactly, but U.S. officials are convinced that the cyberattacks on the consumer-facing websites of American banks are the work of the Iranian government. [NYT]
Soon you will buy prepaid iPhones at Walmart. Sounds like another season of The Wire is in order. [PRNewswire]
Not to put a timetable on anything, but Digg figures its content discovery app is about one percent done. Which is as fine a time as any to talk about monetization. [Digg]
Apple in Your Eye
The international community, it seems, is still publicly grieving the loss of Apple founder Steve Jobs. In fact, the St. Petersburg National Research University in Russia unveiled a statue of a huge iPhone today to commemorate Mr. Jobs’ death, because it’s Russia, you guys.
CES is so uncool that it has magically transformed into cool. Cool? [TechCrunch]
Over 2 million people pledged close to $320 million for Kickstarter projects in 2012. [Kickstarter]
Apple is reportedly working on a less expensive iPhone to help reassert its dominance in the smartphone market. [Wall Street Journal]
The average salaries of Silicon Valley will launch you into a fit of despair. You’re welcome. [How to Write a Business Plan]
There’s a mystery complex in Western China and even the CIA analyst who spotted it on Google Earth can’t figure out what it is. [Wired]
When not creating their own forum on Reddit where they can break their parents’ rules and listen to their music as loud as they want, teens have resorted to inconveniencing everyone around them because of their addiction to smartphones. The future, ladies and gents.
Apple in Your Eye
Were you thinking of buying a new iPhone for yourself? Well, if you’re willing to wait it out, you might have a few more options with the release of the iPhone 5S. Barron’s reports that analyst Brian White is predicting that the company will soon debut a new line of iPhones–in glorious Technicolor!
This’ll be just like the time you bought that red sofa you now despise. There’s a reason HGTV is always harping on neutral furniture accessorized with “pops” of color.
Even the most devoted of gadget geeks faces a learning curve upon buying a new smartphone. Among those who grew up with rotary phones, however, the curve looks a little more like a sheer rock face. The BBC recently witnessed this firsthand, on a visit to a Cambridge lab that does user testing with the elderly to figure out how to make a friendlier product.
John McAfee is back in the U.S. Where he goes now is anyone’s guess. The Vice offices, maybe? [Washington Post]
Google Maps is available once more on the iPhone, so please adjust your excuses for lateness accordingly. [Google]
Also, before you download the app, please take a moment to enjoy this video of Apple Maps getting Bilbo Baggins lost in L.A. [Daily Motion]
Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates will now be helping advise Khosla Ventures’ portfolio companies on government affairs. [TechCrunch]
NBD, North Korea’s new satellite is just careening around space right now. [Gizmodo]
Rural England is now getting government-subsidized broadband, a tidbit you can trot out next time your ISP disappoints you in any way. [BBC]