Apple Eclectic’s Review of 2008: August

August marked the 10th anniversary of the original iMac first shipping. Yes, we’ve mentioned the announcement of the iMac before, but we think this second milestone deserves commemorating, since the iconic, instantly-recognisable gum-drop computer is arguably the first machine of the modern Apple era. And as Apple’s market cap passes $159.5 billion this month, we can again reflect on the company’s staggering reversal of fortune.

steve_jobs_parkingThis month we got an unprecedented insight into what it was like to work at Apple, as ex-employee David Walsh filed a lawsuit against Apple, claiming he was forced to put in longer hours than his contract specified for no extra compensation. Although, frankly, David should think himself lucky he wasn’t on the team responsible for the ill-fated MobileMe launch. As the outages continued — at one point, the only e-mails getting through to subscribers were phishing scams — Apple offered customers a further 60 days of free service to make up for the inconvenience. Meanwhile, many members of staff were to find themselves mysteriously disappeared. Among them we’re David G., the (infrequent) MobileMe blogger — (does anyone else think the main thing Steve has against blogging is the name? I mean, blogging. It’s not very elegant, is it? Rename it ‘podwriting’ or something and I’ll bet he’d be all for it) — and Rob Schoeben, the head of the project, who was replaced by Eddy Cue and moved to a new position as part of the foundations of Apple’s new Cupertino campus. You definitely didn’t want to choose this month to pick Steve up on his choice of parking space.

In totally unrelated news, Apple suffered a small fire in one of the buildings on its campus, causing $2 million in damages but no reported fatalities (although as mentioned above, David G. hasn’t be heard from for a while). Early reports that it was caused by either a frayed MagSafe connector, or one of the 2nd generation iPod Nanos which seemed to be catching fire left, right and centre in Japan this month, were denied. Apple’s former General Counsel, Nancy Heinen, also chose this month to settles with the SEC over the options backdating scandal, but the timing was purely coincidental.

Also in August, Bloomberg accidentally published Steve Jobs obituary. Eager to seize upon the opportunity this afforded them, Microsoft announce that they were to spend $300 million with new ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky — see that ‘+’? That’s a couple of million dollars worth of cool right there — on new advertising for Windows Vista. $10 million of that was destined to be trouser by Different Thinker Jerry Seinfeld. Apple’s share price was unaffected by the news.

In the UK, the Advertising Standards Agency decided to rule that Apple’s iPhone adverts were misleading for saying the device offered users “the whole internet” when they didn’t support Flash or Java. China, meanwhile, blocked access to the iTunes Store due to its carrying the “Songs for Tibet – The Art of Peace” album. Access was later restored when Apple agreed to remove the offending item.

Woz — suffering another relapse in his battle against wedding cake addiction — married again, this time to Janet K. Hill, with whom he shared a love for the Segway.

ipod_nano_spy_shotIn the month-old App Store, the resonably-priced $999.99 app I Am Rich debuts, and then just as quickly departs, as a handful of morons whine about accidentally buying it.

Psystar wannabe Open Tech put itself up for sale. Anyone who wanted an almighty legal spanking from Apple needed only find $50,000 — payable through PayPal, if you please.

And Internet heart-throb Kevin Rose got into the rumour game when he published photographs of what could possibly be the new curvey iPod Nano, due to be released at a special event in September. Would he be right? Tune in tomorrow to find out that, yes, he was.

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