Apple’s Q1 Victory: iPhones outsell Hotcakes for the first time

Last week, Apple announced it’s superb first quarter 2012 earnings, beating estimates yet again and bringing in more revenue than many countries. It was no surprise that Apple’s range of popular products and services continued to sell very well, as their recent dominance has yet to waver. But one statistic has come as a shock to many analysts, as it truly puts into perspective just how many iPhones Apple sold this quarter.

Today, Hotcakes of America, a corporation that distributes and oversees all hotcakes nationwide, released their Q1 earnings of 2012. There were only 36.13 million hotcakes sold this quarter, nearly 1 million less than total iPhones sold. This is a significant win for Apple, as hotcake sales have long been a universal benchmark to measure success.

Is this a sign that people are eating less hotcakes, or that Apple has discovered the real secret to satisfying the apetites of our generation. We reached out to Anthony Jemima, COO of Hotcakes of America for some insight.

“Well you have to understand, part of the problem here is pancakes. Hotcakes are not pancakes. This is a very common misconception. Unfortunately for us, chains such as IHOP and Denny’s have helped establish pancakes as an American breakfast norm. When we landed our major partnership with McDonald’s, we felt we were on the right track to continued supremacy. The truth is, hotcake sales are down. We’re not happy about it”, said Jemima. “But let’s be clear. Hotcakes aren’t going anywhere.”

We asked Anthony what’s next for hotcakes. “We’re currently looking for a Community Manager to help us engage on Social Media channels. We intend to launch a major campaign later this year to put hotcakes back in the spotlight. I can tell you one thing – you ever see pictures floating around the Internet of rabbits with a pancake on their head? The original was a hotcake. Yes, we’re going there.”

Study shows 85% of people who say “mapquest” mean Google Maps

“I don’t know how to get there.” “Just mapquest it.” I bet you’ve heard that a few times. A recent study conducted by Walton Retirement Home of Southeast Ohio showed that 6 out of 7 people who use the word “mapquest” are exclusively referring to Google Maps. Mapquest, commonly known as the original Google Maps, is a service that truly innovated the industry with online maps, directions and more. In fact, it became such a hit that the word “mapquest” evolved into a commonly used verb for “mapping your route online”.

Mapquest paved the way for other great services to simply copy-paste Mapquest’s entire site onto their own server, change the logo and promote it as the next big thing. One of those great services is Google Maps.

Just a short time after Google Maps bursted on the scene, Mapquest became yesterday’s news. Though Google Maps was nothing more and nothing less, it was only a click away from the almighty google.com. And just like that, Mapquest was no longer needed.

But people didn’t stop using the word mapquest. It is to maps as Kleenex is to tissues. It has a definition now, and you just can’t help but use it, no matter what map service you use. Heck, the word itself feels epic. Why “Google Map” a place when you can mapquest it. I can go on all day, but I have somewhere to be. Oh that reminds me. I need to maps dot google dot com that.

Facebook CEO Zuckerberg on mobile strategy: “Let’s get the app to work”

Facebook has been known as a mobile pioneer. The original Facebook iPhone app was one of the first truly notable native mobile apps, producing an interface and experience that some claimed was even better than facebook.com. Even before the wide popularity of iPhone and App Store, Facebook’s mobile website nearly recreated the app experience in mobile browsers.

Facebook has been continuously evolving their service, adding features and improvements to help them get closer to their ultimate vision of “connecting the world.” But over the last few years, their mobile app began to lag behind. They would release improvements and revamps with great interface changes, but instead of a great experience, the app would welcome users with loading and stability issues. Their latest revamp is arguably the worst experience thus far, as News Feeds and Notifications are rarely loading for most users.

Here we have a chronological list of Facebook’s various mobile strategies. See if you can tell where they might have gone wrong:

  • Set the usability standards for a new era of mobile apps
  • Bring the same great experience to mobile web users
  • Bring the same great experience to the Motorola Razr (This one didn’t work BTW)
  • Develop for users who have only ever used Facebook mobile
  • Become a platform that other mobile services can use
  • Keep the servers running
  • Feign a fueud with Google as excuse for not making Android app
  • Release Android app anyway
  • Change the UI because way too many designers were hired
  • Show off the loading animation
  • Don’t melt phones

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg is sick of not being able to get his News Feed or load comments on posts. He’s especially upset that others can’t load the images from his latest hunting trip. Instead of reviving Facebook’s early ambitions for its mobile experience, “functional” will have to do for now. After all, Facebook has to put its priority on figuring out where their revenue went to keep its shareholders happy.

Dropbox fires back at Google; launches Search Engine

Today, Google and Dropbox are playing a game of business Battleship. Google just announced a Dropbox clone called Google Drive, a service that allows users to store and share files in the cloud. Now Dropbox, the service that has truly innovated and lead the cloud file storage market for years, unfortunately has to worry about Google stealing some of their market share. That doesn’t mean that Dropbox hasn’t been preparing behind the scenes to make a move of their own.

Shortly after Google made their official Google Drive launch announcement, Dropbox CEO Drew Houston sent this bombshell tweet. We reached out to Drew for more information.

The search engine will be called Searchbox. It is described as the “Dropbox of Google Search”. When we asked Drew to give us some details of the search engine, here’s what he had to say.

We can’t give you all the details just yet. But basically, we made a fantastic multi-platform web search engine. It’s very simple. It has a logo and an input box right below it. You can type in anything you want and within a split second, you’ll receive a paginated list of the most relevant web pages based on your search terms. But the killer feature is that the search results will sync between all of your devices – iOS, Mac, Windows, etc. So for example, I could search for “nyan cat” using Searchbox on my laptop, open up the Searchbox app on my iPhone and view the results. We think this will monumentally change the way you search the web.

A press release is expected to be released shortly with the official announcement.

Google Voice updates service; Adds no features

Google’s name has been synonymous with innovation for the last decade. Beyond improving search, they’ve changed the way we collaborate with documents, the way we browse the web, and the way we buy non-apple smartphones. When Google announced that they were buying Grand Central and releasing it as Google Voice, it showed that Google was also going to change the way we use our phone numbers.

But many have been disappointed with the service over time. Although its tough to predict where Google is going to take any product, they don’t seem to have added any features to the service since the acquisition. And the features that remain seem to continually degrade in quality. It turns out that this is not a mistake. We spoke with the project’s lead and hipster advocate Hugo Fixies.

Products today are all about the new. What can we do that’s different. It’s all crap man. The best stuff has already happened. All the best records have been pressed. All the best t-shirts have been printed and are on sale at The Buckle. So one day it hit us. What if we wen’t backwards. Instead of innovating, we denovate.

Don’t you remember texting in the good old days? You couldn’t just text a video to someone. You couldn’t even text a picture. You had to describe it in 160 characters. Remember when you would get the same text from a friend every day for a week because the service glitched out. We want to recreate that feeling for people.

Fixies continued to talk about more directions Google could take its phone service to better serve the nostalgia market, which consists of Blackberry and Motorola Razr users. Adding T-9 text input to the app and ala cart pricing per text. When speaking about his vision he added, “I would consider it a real achievement if we could get analog static noise in the background of calls for customers who had bad signal. It would be real man. Just like the old days. That’s what we’re working towards. Past is the new future.”

Ridiculously photogenic guy gets his own photo app

Zeddie Little was just another runner until he was caught on camera running a 10K. Zeddie’s photo stands out among the more serious and focused faces of his competitors. Zeddie is now ready to go the distance with his own mobile application.  “RPG and Me” inserts Zeddie’s beaming face into your personal photos. Take Zeddie to the zoo. Zeddie at Mt Rushmore. Zeddie at Aunt Cathy’s birthday party at Bucca di Beppo. Zeddie does love Italian. 

Ironically enough, Zeddie was planning on becoming an app developer anyway. Although he thought he was learning Objective C, he was actually just completing reCAPTCHAs for 6 months, meaning that time was not entirely lost. Zeddie’s original revenue model was to create value for users that they would pay for, but he will now be using the much more reliable aquisition strategy. Dave McClure of 500 startups has lauded this strategy as genius, and is planning on giving the fourth offer to buy RPG and me.

Zeddie’s business partner and startup homeless person Brody “TheBomb” Dotcom is handling these negotiations.  “In order to maximize the profit for our investors, we will be turning down the first six offers without hearing them.” One of the essential parts of the business strategy is to keep the actual number of users secret. “Traditionally, the cards you hold close to your chest are revenue. Since revenue isn’t even a factor anymore, we have to be able to keep some kind of secrecy. We’re going to do that by not releasing the size of our userbase, or the location of our developers. We’ve actually moved them from Daly City to a third world country to keep them from being poached”

When asked if this revenue strategy might not work if there is a new tech bubble, Dave McClure responded by putting a black bag over my head, throwing me in a van, and I was never heard from again.

Hologram of Apple’s Steve Jobs To Appear At iPhone 5 Keynote [RUMOR]

We received a juicy rumor today that Apple is planning to bring Steve Jobs back to life in the form of a hologram to announce the next iPhone at Apple’s upcoming keynote event. According to our source, Apple has been working with AV Concepts, the team that created the incredible Tupac Hologram which made its appearance just last week at Coachella. They are digitally recreating Steve Jobs’s body and voice, allowing Apple to create entirely new product announcements that the hologram of Steve Jobs can lead, creating the illusion that Steve Jobs was brought back to life on stage.

This is a very calculated move by Apple, as the last keynote lead by Apple’s new CEO, Tim Cook, lacked the spark, excitement, and famous “reality distortion field” that only Steve Jobs could deliver. Many believe Steve Jobs’s charisma and presentation prowess was a key contributor to Apple’s massive turn-around over the last decade. This is a natural move for Apple, allowing the company to continue to create the “must have” reaction and instant emotional product attachment that Jobs consistently produced.

We reached out to a Dave Carbon, a tech editor at the Wall Street Journal for a comment. “Apple is smart. They know they are missing the famous ‘reality distortion field’ and it’s only a matter of time before this begins to affect Apple’s brand. It’s only natural that they evolve the ‘reality distortion field’ to include Steve Jobs’s existence. There’s some sort of ironic serendipity there.”

How will everyone react? Some may feel its in poor taste – others will be blown away at the illusion of Steve Jobs’s revival. Will this hurt or help Apple’s brand?

BREAKING: MySpace buys Oldify for $1 Billion

Today, MySpace is making headlines with a substantial buyout of popular iOS app Oldify. This move seems to be a defensive play, as Facebook just announced their $1 billion Instagram acquisition. Oldify is an iOS app that allows users to upload pictures of themselves, friends or family and apply visual effects to make them appear much older than they are. The application exploded in the App Store and quickly rose to the Top 10 most popular Free iOS apps.

Mike Jones, CEO of MySpace believes that Oldify plays a crucial role in the company’s long-term strategy. “Old is the new young. We believe that integrating the Oldify filter into our profile pictures will really bring some maturity and elegance to our service,” said Mike. “This is just the beginning for the new MySpace. Oldify aligns with our vision for the future of MySpace, at the crossroads of Social Networking and self-expression.”

It was reported that the Instagram acquisition took only two days from start to finish. When we asked Mike how long the Oldify acquisition took, Mike said, “About 30-45 minutes. We downloaded the app, made ourselves look like geezers and all shared the ah-ha moment. I looked at our CFO and said ‘Make the call’.”

MySpace is spending a hefty $50 per Oldify user. When asked why MySpace valued each user at such a large sum, Mike replied “What?” He had trouble hearing me. I repeated the question much louder, and Mike stared at me with an expression that portrayed a combination of fear and confusion. He just stood up and walked out of the room.

Macaulay Culkin Becomes Latest Celebrity Startup Investor

20120414-154142.jpg

Macaulay Culkin is most well-known for starring in the blockbuster Home Alone movies in the 1990′s. Macaulay has since explored many acting roles, none of which could help sustain the initial super-stardom the actor experienced as a child. His latest move has taken him into the world of angel investing, as Macaulay has now funded more than 14 companies.

Macaulay is starting to create some waves in the startup world, quickly taking on many new investments, seemingly with no regard for financial or market potential. His latest investments include Paint Can Pendulum, LLP, a color swatch sharing social network, Mini-Auto Trader, a Hot Wheels marketplace, and Dancing Mannequins, Inc, a natural-language machine learning algorithm.

We asked Culkin what he looks for in a Startup. “I look for technologies I can associate with. If it means something to me, it will likely mean something to many others. I’m an emotional investor, and there’s a real need for that in this industry”, he said.

What will Culkin invest in next? “I’m looking for some companies that are disrupting hardware retail, pizza delivery and feather machine distribution channels. These are ripe for innovation.”