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Over the last decade, memes have spread across nearly every aspect of our culture. They dictate the latest dance moves, allow us to share complex thoughts and emotions quickly, and even launch careers. In this respect, memes have become a foundational part of our lives. Many are adapted and remixed over the course of years, gaining special meaning in various subcultures. Other memes remain essentially unchanged over time and achieve legendary status, like “Charlie Bit My Finger,” which is recognized by individuals across virtually all backgrounds and age groups. And now we have meme NFTs.
Thanks to non-fungible tokens (NFTs), memes have recently turned into something no one ever really expected: assets that anyone can own.
Since NFTs can be nearly anything — a piece of digital art, a song, a poem, a baseball card, or even a digital deed to a house — it’s not surprising that memes inevitably found their way onto the blockchain as NFTs. It’s also not surprising that so many meme creators have opted to sell their work as NFTs, as doing so allows them to be compensated for their work.
So, let’s take a moment to pay homage to the creators of iconic memes who jumped full throttle into the new creative economy by minting and selling their original IP — and also part of our childhood — as NFTs. Here, we’ve created a chronological list of all the major NFT meme sales to date. Be sure to let us know if we missed any, and check back often. This article will be updated as new meme auctions are launched and closed.
Image by Chris Torres via Foundation
Date: February 19, 2023
Price: 300 ETH ($587,241)
In February of 2023, Chris Torres kicked off the avalanche of meme NFTs. He is the creator of the Nyan Cat character, and he was the first meme creator to sell his work as an NFT. On a cold winter day, he auctioned off his rainbow pop-tart cat for close to $600,000 and made history.
Torres correctly predicted that this was just the first of many major meme NFTs. At the time of the sale, he stated on Twitter that the event had “opened up the flood gates to the future of meme economy in the Crypto universe.” Torres also praised NFTs, claiming that they made it possible for artists like himself to finally get proper recognition for their work.
Trollface NFT. Image by Carlos Ramirez via Foundation
Date: March 5, 2023
Price: 42 ETH ($69,362)
It seemed as though it was to ride the internet waves in virtual freedom for all time. However, Ramirez kept his claim to the original IP (intellectual property). As a result, he was able to profit off of it by way of NFTs. Of course, the image can still be found across the internet, but a new owner now has rights to the IP.
Bad Luck Brian NFT. Image by Kyle Craven via Foundation
Date: March 8, 2023
Price: 20 ETH ($37,442)
In the wake of the Nyan Cat excitement, Ian Davies and Kyle Craven decided to try their hand at NFTs and minted Bad Luck Brian. The image is a favorite from the “top text, bottom text” meme era and is an actual school photo of Craven’s. To date, it has been passed down through internet culture for over a decade.
Grumpy Cat NFT. Image by Tabatha Bundesen via Foundation
Date: March 13, 2023
Price: 44.2 ETH ($78,135)
Keyboard Cat NFT. Image by Charlie Schmidt via Foundation
Date: March 13, 2023
Price: 33.5501 ETH ($64,455)
It remained mostly unknown until Brad O’Farrell added it to the end of a blooper video in 2009, which is when the meme took off and became a hit. Keyboard Cat was so influential that he inspired commercials, a Green Day cover, and appeared as the 2014 Puppy Bowl halftime performer.
Scumbag Steve NFT. Image screenshot via Foundation
Date: March 13, 2023
Price: 30.2008 ETH ($54,205)
The Scumbag Steve meme depicts 16-year-old Blake Boston. The image was taken by Boston’s mother, Susan Boston, in 2006. It was subsequently uploaded to MySpace, where it was transformed into a meme.
The fame was somewhat taxing on Boston, who said that internet users tracked down his real name, phone number, Facebook profile, and other personal details and sent him harassing messages. However, there is some upside, as Boston minted and sold the image as an NFT in early 2023, making more than $54,000 at the time of sale.
Creepy Chan NFT. Image by Allison Harvard via Foundation
Date: April 3, 2023
Price: #1 – 35 ETH ($70,321), #2 – 40 ETH ($80,367)
Creepy Chan is a character created by LA-based artist Allison Harvard. Harvard quickly became a meme after sharing her photos on 4Chan in 2005. The meme was so popular that it ushered Harvard into minor fame. Eventually, it led to her becoming somewhat of an E-girl archetype and making it onto the reality television show America’s Next Top Model as a contestant in 2009.
Overly Attached Girlfriend NFT. Image by Laina Morris via Foundation
Date: April 3, 2023
Price: 200 ETH ($401,838)
The viral sensation helped kickstart Morris’ career as a YouTuber, where she attained more than 1.2 million subscribers over the years. However, in July of 2023, Morris announced her retirement from YouTube. In the announcement, she cited issues with depression and anxiety as primary drivers of the decision. In 2023, it became one of the first YouTube memes to be sold as an NFT.
Success Kid NFT. Image by Laney Griner via Foundation
Date: April 10, 2023
Price: 15 ETH ($32,258)
Derp faces aside, Success Kid was undoubtedly one of the most popular memes of the early 2000s. Born from Laney Griner’s attempts to snap a happy picture of her then 11-month old son Sam, the beloved meme was yet another frontrunner of the “top text, bottom text” meme era.
Leave Britney Alone NFT. Image by Chris Crocker via Foundation
Date: April 11, 2023
Price: 18.6942 ETH ($42,971)
From there, the video was quickly uploaded by other users to several different YouTube channels. The teary-eyed monologue received over two million views in less than 24 hours, which was a staggering figure at that time. Crocker was largely mocked for their video and stated in interviews that they were harassed in public and received numerous death threats. At the time of the sale, Crocker stated that they received a little solace from the NFT sale, as they were finally compensated for the video.
Disaster Girl NFT. Image by Zoe Roth via Foundation
Date: April 17, 2023
Price: 180 ETH ($417,241)
As seems the case with many memes, “Disaster Girl” was the product of being in the right place at the right (or wrong?) time. The meme depicts a then 4-year-old Zoe Roth as she viewed a house burning in her neighborhood in January 2005. The image shown is a part of a series of photos that were taken by Roth’s father, who was with her during the fire. The picture wouldn’t be shared and go viral until years later, in 2008.
Charlie Bit My Finger NFT. Image screenshot via Howard Davies-Carr on OpenSea
Date: May 23, 2023
Price: ~389 ETH ($760,999)
“Charlie Bit My Finger” will forever live as one of the most wholesome videos of all time. It was uploaded to YouTube in 2007 and showed Harry Davies-Carr (aged three) and Charlie Davies-Carr (aged one). The video was taken by the boys’ father, Howard Davies-Carr, who said he uploaded the footage so the boys’ grandfather could see it. Ultimately, it was viewed by nearly 900 million people.
The video entered a new form of existence last year on the blockchain. The proceeds from the sale reportedly went towards the two brothers’ college education. Considering that the NFT sale brought in nearly $800,000, the brothers are more than capable of paying for their college. However, the auction itself was a bittersweet event, as the Davies-Carr family removed the video from YouTube to reinforce the uniqueness and scarcity of the 1/1 NFT.
Date: June 3, 2023
Price: 30.3 ETH ($86,537)
Harambe was a 17-year-old western lowland gorilla who lived at the Cincinnati Zoo. On May 28th, 2023, zoo officials killed Harambe after a three-year-old boy climbed into the Gorilla World enclosure and was grabbed and dragged by Harambe. The event garnered significant media attention, as many were outraged by the killing. Ultimately, the event transformed Harambe into a meme. Notably, this NFT sale was not of a specific meme-related image but of a picture taken by Harambe’s official photographer, Jeff McCurry.
Doge NFT. Image by Atsuko Sato via Foundation
Date: June 11, 2023
Price: 1,696.9 ETH ($3,990,094)
“I took the photos to update my blog,” Sato said in a subsequent statement. “I take a lot of pictures every day, so that day was nothing out of the ordinary. Kabosu loves having her photo taken, so she was delighted to have the camera pointed towards her.” When it sold in 2023, it ranked as the most expensive meme NFT of all time, bringing in almost $4 million dollars.
Date: August 1, 2023
Price: 20 ETH ($51,128)
Side Eyeing Chloe NFT. Image by Clem Family via Foundation
Date: September 24, 2023
Price: 25 ETH ($73,271)
On September 12, 2013, Katie Clem uploaded a video of her two daughters reacting to a surprise trip to Disneyland. In the video, the older sister, Lily Clem, breaks into tears of joy. However, the reaction of her younger sister, Chloe Clem, is far different. Chloe flashes a disinterested look at her mom. This side-eye look quickly gained traction on social media and is still seen as one of the most influential memes of the 2010s.
Why You Always Lying NFT. Image by Nicholas Fraser via Foundation
Date: October 17, 2023
Price: 25 ETH ($93,653)
In August of 2023, content creator Nicholas Fraser filmed a short music video to the tune of the 1997 single “Too Close” from the American R&B band Next. The video quickly went viral after being uploaded to Vine, Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram. A still image from the video of Fraser smirking took on a life of its own as a meme.
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NFTs have risen by leaps and bounds whereas cryptos continue to dive down due to several reasons
You might have scarcely made out of 2023, without hearing about NFTs, which has taken the
and art domains by storm.
are essentially digital receipts recording ownership of digital and physical assets such as art, videos, wearables, or objects on a blockchain, that have entered the cultural mainstream with a seemingly unstoppable force. The most memorable
and sales of 2023 have been a collection of some of the most bizarre trends that have encouraged millions of new investors to dive into the crypto and blockchain space this year.
are basically a part of the phenomenon that is revolutionizing finance, particularly around the way people invest in art, music, and sports. Recently,
have gained massive popularity and significance in the art and finance world, but when it comes to
these have drastically crashed and we still cannot figure out why!
NFTs are nothing new, in fact, they have been around since 2014, but they have sky-rocketed only recently during the past couple of months. There are over US$2.5 billion in NFT sales in the first half of 2023; almost US$1.2 billion in NFT in the month of July alone. This kind of exponential growth was never before seen in the crypto domain over the course of the pandemic. Even major brands like Coca-Cola jumped on the wagon selling a four-piece collection and donated the proceeds to Special Olympics International.
Experts say that one of the major reasons why NFTs have gained significance is due to the fact that the concept of NFT is bringing the possibility of art ownership to the masses, which historically have been reserved for the wealthy. They are also especially appealing to the millennials and zoomers, who generally have a greater appreciation for digital platforms.Why has investing in NFTs been worth it?
NFTs have exploded in popularity. After some investors made millions out of these NFTs, other enthusiasts are ready or are planning to jump on with it to get on the hype. There are many investors who believe that NFTs are a legitimate store of value and represent a shift in how the world views art and collectible assets. But sometimes, fraudsters may create just a digital image by copying someone else’s art with a unique asset address. Now, this has made several other investors question the value of NFTs. But even though some of the cryptocurrency specialists question the value of NFTs, it is still quite evident that this investment class is all set to surge in the future.
In some cases, NFTs and cryptos are almost considered intertwined. Investors need cryptocurrencies to buy NFTs, and both crypto and NFTs use the digital ledger known as the blockchain to show proof of ownership of an asset. But NFTs themselves are not digital currencies, instead, they are unique. As NFTs are becoming more popular by the day, their disparities show that cryptocurrencies and NFTs are operating in distinct markets.Why are cryptos crashing?
According to reports, the price of Bitcoin and Ethereum, two of the largest digital assets have dropped 40% each since mid-November. In recent months, the price of Bitcoin fluctuated around US$40,000, whereas, it literally touched the moon after it soared way above US$65,000. As experts have already predicted before, cryptos undergo a cycle that involves their volatility, price surge, and value dives. Since many are hoping that this cycle will come to an end and we will again see the face of profits in the market.
But Bitcoin’s lagging price in recent weeks comes amid a continuing inflation surge, the stock market’s worst month since March 2023, and ongoing signals that the Federal Reserve will begin raising rates in order to counteract inflation are some of the many reasons why investors are quite discouraged with the condition of cryptos in the market.
Meanwhile, government officials have continued to show an interest in stronger regulations upon digital currencies, including the possibility of creating a government-issued digital currency. Ethereum’s price has also followed similar patterns as Bitcoin in recent weeks. Investors who invest in crypto and are planning on long-term investment have been drastically affected by this.Bottom line
Apple executives have hinted that an early price drop for the $500-and-up iPad may be in the works. A Credit Suisse analyst who reportedly met with Apple executives learned that Apple may slash the price of the iPad if demand for the new device is low.
So before you go spending your money on the first edition of the iPad, let’s take a quick look back at just a few times when early adopters were left out in the cold by buying technology products before anyone else.iPhone
Before the iPad price cut rumor, there was the infamous price drop on the original iPhone. The original Jesus phone launched to critical and popular acclaim in the summer of 2007, with a 4GB model for $500 and an 8GB model for $600. Sales were strong with customers standing in line for hours to get their hands on the device, and iPhones were quickly sold out across the U.S. But by September Apple decided it wanted to sell more devices, so the company dropped the price of the 8GB iPhone by $200 and discontinued the 4GB model altogether.
The end result was that not only did some customers pay more money to get the iPhone, but those initial customers who bought the 4GB iPhone paid a premium for a piece of technology that became obsolete just three months after purchasing it.
To make up for it, Apple offered a $100 credit to eligible iPhone early adopters, which went a long way to quell customer outrage. However, at least one lawsuit was filed against Apple as a result of the company’s abnormally quick price cut.Blu-Ray
And guess what happened? Most of those early Blu-ray units couldn’t be upgraded to the new software. Well, there was one device that would accept the upgrade: Sony’s PlayStation 3. But anyone who bought a Pioneer, Samsung, or Panasonic device before then, while still able to play Blu-ray discs, was left out of the BD Live party. And just to add salt to the wound, Beta News reported that BD Live developers had this to say about Blu-ray 1.0 adopters: “They knew what they were getting into.” Ouch.Tivo Down Under
When the upgrade finally did come it cost a whopping $199, meaning early Tivo adopters paid close to $1000 AUD for their device.Kindle 2 and DX
Some people probably thought they were being so smart by waiting for the second iteration of the Kindle to come out before jumping into the e-reader gadget game. When the Kindle 2 was first introduced in February, it seemed like the right time to purchase. The second Kindle had new features like annotation and adjustable text sizes, as well a slimmer profile and better physical controls. It looked like the perfect time to buy until three months later when Amazon announced the larger-sized Kindle DX. Some Kindle 2 early adopters felt betrayed, and were upset that the company didn’t even mention the Kindle DX was coming. I wonder how they felt in July, just five months after the Kindle 2 was launched, when Amazon knocked $60 off the price of the Kindle 2. I guess early adopters of the Kindle 2 just couldn’t catch a break in 2009.
An Early Adopter Theme Song
Had Venus drawn slightly luckier tickets in the cosmic lottery, our solar system could host two habitable planets today, according to recent simulations from a group of NASA researchers. Instead, our neighbor is a desolate place—and might give us a terrifying glimpse of our own future.
Planetary scientists have traditionally viewed Venus’s hellish temperatures, carbon dioxide-saturated atmosphere, and congealed crust as the inevitable outcome of its place in the solar system. Sitting too close to the sun, the hapless planet was doomed from birth to be burnt to a crisp. In recent years, however, an alternative possibility has thrown some shade at this simple story. Given the right starting conditions, cloud cover could have protected Venus from the barrage of sunlight and kept it balmy and wet for billions of years, according to simulations presented this week at a planetary science conference in Switzerland. In this scenario, Venus may have actually been the solar system’s first habitable planet… until some unknown catastrophe smothered it in carbon dioxide.
Sound a little too close to home? While our carbon emissions probably couldn’t completely fry the Earth in quite the same way, the transformation of Venus may still hold an important moral for humanity.
“If there was life on Venus, they only had one home,” says Colin Goldblatt, a planetary scientist at the University of Victoria in Canada, “and that home isn’t very good anymore.”A tale of two Venuses
What keeps Earth alive—in both the biologic and geologic sense—is a difference in temperature between its cool crust and hot core. Cooler rocks sink and warmer materials rise, churning up and down in a way that keeps most of the planet’s carbon locked up in rocky materials deep underground.
Venus failed to maintain this cycle, so today its atmosphere overflows with carbon dioxide. The question is why. According to the traditional story, a warming sun quickly evaporated the young planet’s oceans into the sky, where they formed a dense, stick atmosphere that trapped incoming heat with deadly efficiency. Eventually the surface grew as hot as the interior, which put a stop to the earthquakes and other tectonic activity that had previously helped Venus let off steam. Without tectonic mixing, says Anthony Del Genio, a researcher at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and co-author of the recent research, the crust became like “a rigid lid that just builds up heat and pressure on the inside until the whole planet blows.”
Heating from the evaporated oceans made Venus blow its top just a few hundred million years ago, according to observations of its young and unblemished surface. Volcanoes erupted across the planet, flooding the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, which in turn made the planet the lifeless rock we see today.
Or so the thinking went.
“[Our] simulation shows that this story doesn’t really hold up,” Del Genio says. The team’s work, which considered five varieties of potential early Venuses, raises another possibility: If young Venus was swimming in water like young Earth was, and if the tides or collisions with nearby bodies slowed its rotation early (two big ifs that are plausible, but unanswered due to a dearth of missions to Venus), it would have developed clouds. And that would have changed everything.
The billowy brightness of cloud cover bounces sunlight back into space, stopping the heating process in its tracks. “Even as the sun gets brighter,” Del Genio says, “if you start with a decent amount of water you get thick enough clouds to keep the planet cool.”
A chill Venus would have held onto its oceans for perhaps billions of years, according to the group’s simulations. That means no steamy atmosphere, which means tectonic plates could keep on sliding around—and keep the carbon underground.
If future probes confirm the assumptions about water and rotation, scientists will need to find a new explanation for what caused Venus to blow its top. Del Genio speculates that a smack from a wayward planet could have done it, or even a random fluctuation in Venus’s internal flows. “Maybe Venus was just unlucky and had something happen to it at the wrong time,” he says.
Whatever their cause, once the worldwide volcanic explosions died down (which took hundreds of millions of years), the planet’s thick envelope of carbon dioxide would keep it from ever becoming habitable again.Venus: the once and future Earth
Since Venus could have once been Earthlike, there’s no reason Earth couldn’t someday become Venus-like. In fact, a hot, dead Venusian twin is almost certainly Earth’s fate as the sun continues to grow brighter. Fortunately, we’ve got about a billion years to troubleshoot that problem (some have speculated that the gravitational pull of redirected comets could tug Earth farther away from the sun).
But it’s hard to hear about a planet dying after an outpouring of carbon dioxide without thinking about the climate crisis, since digging up and burning fossil fuels is pretty much what Venusian volcanoes did. Here there’s a rare bit of good news: To trigger the kind of ocean-boiling, crust-locking Armageddon Venus suffered, humanity would have to work really hard to burn every available fossil fuel molecule and then some, driving the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere from around 400 parts per million (ppm) to upwards of tens of thousands.
Then again, says Goldblatt, “it depends how enthusiastic we get about novel fossil fuels.” Goldblatt himself has previously studied the so-called runaway greenhouse effect, where gas emissions would reach a high enough level to turn all our water to steam. That paper concluded that human activity would probably be insufficient to bring us to that particular point of no return, but not that it could never happen. “I’m not saying it’s easy,” Goldblatt says, “but it’s not impossible.”
Still, microbes and cockroaches can respirate easy knowing that humanity probably can’t permanently wreck Earth’s ability to radiate away excess heat. Unfortunately for the rest of us, the threshold for human catastrophe and mass extinction is a lot lower.
Like on Venus, our ultimate fate may depend on clouds. If carbon concentrations reach much beyond 1,200 ppm, preliminary research suggests, we could lose those our fluffy friends and experience double digit warming. “That won’t evaporate the ocean, but it would annihilate us,” Goldblatt says.
Of course, climate change would seriously challenge human civilization long before it struck clouds out of the sky. Climate scientists and policymakers hope to keep warming between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius—with carbon concentrations under 450 ppm—to maximize society’s chances of adapting to a warmer Earth.
Although humanity will probably never Venus-ify its home planet, our twin’s hellish state serves as a reminder that there are no cosmic guarantees. If we want any degree of stability, we’ll have to engineer it ourselves—or at least work harder to stop testing Earth’s limits. “A planet just like ours can go wrong,” Goldblatt says. “It is the ultimate lesson why, as a globally dominant species, we have to take care of our planet.”
That OnePlus 9 is built on the Snapdragon 888 SoC, there was no doubt. Indeed, this platform is used in the device – this is indicated by its code designation (lahaina) in the Platform column. The amount of RAM was 8 GB, flash memory – 128 GB.
As you can see, the smartphone received a 6.55-inch display with Full HD + resolution and a refresh rate of 120 Hz. The battery capacity is 4500 mAh. As for the resolution of the sensors, it is clearly defined incorrectly: 4 megapixels is not enough for the front camera, and 12 megapixels is not enough for the main one. Most likely, a 16 Mp sensor is used in the front one, and a 48 Mp sensor in the main one. In general, according to rumors, the OnePlus 9 will have two sensors with a resolution of 48 megapixels.OnePlus 9 Pro will have an adaptive screen refresh rate
We already know a lot about the new flagship OnePlus 9 Pro. This does not prevent us from continuing to collect leaks, especially since they exist.
Previous news on the 6.78-inch 120Hz display was reportedly incomplete. An insider claims that the display of the smartphone is made using LTPO technology. This means that the display will not be able to work at a constant frequency, for example, 120 Hz, but to adapt it to the content and change it automatically during use. Such adaptation will help to lower the screen frequency when there is no need to update the image very quickly. As a result, the autonomy of the smartphone increases.
Recall that the first to use this technology is the Apple Watch. There the Cupertinians used LG’s LTPO display. In smartphones, this technology became available only with the release of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.Gizchina News of the week
Join GizChina on TelegramIDC: The smartphone market has returned to growth
Experts of the analytical company IDC summed up the results of the fourth quarter of 2023 and the whole year in general on the smartphone market. As stated in the corresponding report, the smartphone market returned to growth. Sales in the fourth quarter of 2023 were 385.9 million units; which is 4.3% more than smartphones sold in the fourth quarter of 2023. At the same time, for the entire 2023, smartphones were sold 5.9% less than in 2023.
At the end of the fourth quarter of 2023, Apple was named the market leader. It was able to increase sales in annual terms; that is, in comparaison with the same quarter of the previous year, by 22.2% – from 73.8 to 90.1 million devices. This led to an increase in Apple’s share from 19.9% to 23.4%. The second place is occupied by Samsung, which in annual terms increased sales by 6.2%, as a result of which its share increased from 18.8% to 19.1%. The third place belongs Xiaomi. Its share increased from 8.9% to 11.2%. The top five also include Oppo and Huawei. Also, The share of Oppo increased from 8.3% to 8.8%. The share of Huawei decreased from 15.2% to 8.4%.
As for 2023 as a whole, Samsung remained the leader with 20.6% of the market. Apple is in second place with 15.9%. The share of Huawei, which is in third place at the end of 2023, is 14.6%. The fourth-place belongs to Xiaomi, whose share is 11.4%, the fifth – to Vivo, whose share is 8.6%. In 2023, Samsung’s share was 21.6%, Apple’s 13.9%. Huawei – 17.5%, Xiaomi – 9.2%, Vivo – 8.0%.
We learned yesterday that the HomePod project has something of an interesting history. In particular, it appears to have been originally envisaged less as a gadget and more as HiFi.
The HomePod was originally a side project cooked up about five years ago by a group of Mac audio engineers, who wanted to create a speaker that sounded better than the ones sold by the likes of Bose, JBL and Harman Kardon […]
The engineers wanted a product that would past muster with audiophiles. Several members of the impromptu team hailed from big-name speaker makers
Reading this, I found myself wishing for what HomePod might have been rather than what it actually appears to be …
It’s long seemed to me that Apple is missing an opportunity in audio. Apple is a premium brand with an enviable customer-base: people with a demonstrated willingness to pay for quality products. Apple also has a strong music heritage, through the iPod and iTunes in the early days to Apple Music today.
It could be making its own range of high-end audio products designed to compete with the likes of Bang & Olufsen and Bowers & Wilkins. Not just a single smart speaker, but Apple HiFi.
Sure, Apple bought Beats, and offers a range of audio products through that brand. But while I understand the reasoning there, and it was right to go after a fashionable youth brand (adding its own design influence), there’s also the opportunity for actual Apple-branded audio products pitched at a very different market. Those who want quality audio and stylish design.
I do understand the principle of the company’s ‘saying no to a thousand things’ philosophy, of course. There are any number of things Apple could be doing, but that doesn’t mean it should be doing any of them. There’s a huge strength in choosing to do a small number of things very well.
But Apple has chosen to be in the music business – and in a pretty high-profile way. With HomePod, it’s also moving (again) into Apple-branded speakers. The last time it did this was back in 2006, with the short-lived iPod HiFi. That one was rather grandly-named, and was criticized for its high price compared to competing products and limited remote control functionality.
Unlike other smart speakers besides perhaps the Google Home Max, Apple also appears to be placing emphasis on audio quality.
Several members of the impromptu team hailed from big-name speaker makers and dreamed of perfecting a much-anticipated technology called “beam forming.” It directs sound to specific places in a room, creating immersive 3-D audio.
First impressions by the press suggest that Apple has succeeded in building something that out-performs other smart speakers, and delivers a surprising amount of power for the size. In particular, the beam-forming tech appears to work, What HiFi? saying this:
We listened to Superstition by Stevie Wonder and DNA by Kendrick Lamar. Both sounded good on the Sonos 3 but appeared punchier and louder on the HomePod. As we moved around the room, the HomePod managed to project in every direction, with no discernible sweet spot.
I’m also not dismissing out of hand the idea that a small, single speaker can deliver impressive quality and volume. I’ve experienced that for myself with the Naim mu-so and later mu-so Qb, along with the Devialet Phantom.
But there’s room here, I think, for an Apple HiFi. Apple’s design aesthetics applied to a conventional-sized stereo system, with B&O/B&W audio quality – plus all the tech goodies: AirPlay 2, multiroom playback, Apple Music integration, remote control by iPhone and Apple Watch, the works. That’s the product I’m surprised Apple isn’t making. That’s the product it sounds like HomePod almost became.
And could yet become. Perhaps HomePod isn’t Apple’s last word, just as Google Home wasn’t the last word from the Mountain View company. Perhaps the smart speaker is just the first in a new line-up. Maybe there’ll be the HomePod for medium-sized rooms, a HomePod mini for smaller rooms and a HomePod Plus to act as a full replacement for an existing HiFi system?
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