Consumer Confidential: Verizon iPhone, new Gap logo, job market improves (slightly)
Here's your think-about-it Thursday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:
--Bloggers have frothed about it for months. Verizon has all but denied it. But now the Wall Street Journal is weighing in with a story that says a Verizon iPhone is a done deal, and that Verizon iPhones will be available early next year. Of course, all signs have been pointing toward such a development as phones equipped with the Google Android operating system increasingly grab market share, and as AT&T -- now the exclusive service provider for iPhones -- lays the groundwork for a post-iPhone world. The Journal says the Verizon iPhone would essentially be an iPhone 4 but with some new innards to meet Verizon's network needs. I know a lot of people who have been waiting for just this moment to take the iPhone plunge.
--The Gap has a new logo, and it's not meeting with much enthusiasm. The old Gap logo is one of the iconic images of the marketing world, with the company name simply presented in a big blue box. The new logo offers a streamlined version of the company name and the blue box now a visual afterthought. Some say it looks like the logo of a phone company. Some say it looks like the logo of a software maker. I say never mind the logo -- just go back to making the classic clothes that people liked, not the whatever it is the company sells these days. What do you say?
--A hint of good news? Applications for unemployment benefits fell last week for the fourth time in five weeks. The Labor Department says initial claims for jobless aid dropped by 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 445,000. That's the lowest level since the week ending July 10 and down from 504,000 initial claims in mid-August. This is clearly a sign that the job market is improving. But economists say employers will have to bring a whole bunch more people on to put a dent in the nation's 9.6% unemployment rate.
-- David Lazarus