Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.
You might not think that a smartphone app that plays background sounds to help people sleep could be particularly lucrative or innovative. But then you would be underestimating both the market and the vision behind the app.
TMSoft, a small software company based in Crystal City’s 1776 space, released version 7.0 of “White Noise,” its flagship app, over the summer. The update pushes the app in the direction of being a social network, of sorts, for ambient sound.
White Noise, as we’ve previously reported, was released in 2008, just after the Apple App Store started letting iPhone users easily download third-party apps to their phones.
“When I first started I didn’t think anyone was going to download the thing,” said its creator, Ballston resident Todd Moore. “I just ran around my house with a recorder and recorded eight different loops: a bedroom fan, the outside crickets, rain, my HVAC [system]” and so on.
Thanks in part to media exposure — it was written up in the Washington Post, featured on the Today Show and made fun of by Jimmy Fallon — and a first-mover advantage, it became the No. 1 free app in the App Store. Through in-app advertising and a paid-for “pro” version, it was soon bringing in enough revenue that Moore quit his otherwise lucrative R&D job to focus on apps full time.
“I was making more money in a week than I was making all year at my job, and I said to myself, why don’t I quit and do this full time,” Moore recounts.
White Noise remains popular to this day, with the main app and its variants — including a “White Noise Baby” version for parents that includes a built-in baby monitor — generating the bulk of TMSoft’s revenue. (The company has some popular games and novelty apps in its catalog, but none were sustained smash hits on the scale of White Noise.)
“Putting people to sleep is our bread and butter,” Moore quipped, although White Noise is also used by those who want to use background sounds to help them work or study. “It was definitely the story of an app that bootstrapped a company.”
“The goal is to catalog the world’s sounds,” Moore said. “I want every country covered and every sound available.”
Why do that when a simple fan or rainstorm noise will usually suffice? User feedback, Moore said, has made him realize that the most impactful sounds represent a specific time and place in people’s memories.
“People are most comforted by sounds of their childhood,” Moore said. Thanks to user submissions, if someone wants to find a loop of a certain type of frog they heard once upon a time in Bermuda, for instance, there’s a sound for that.
Version 6.0 of White Noise introduced the feature that allows users to record sounds on their phone and, through an algorithm, seamlessly loop the sound so that it can play on repeat without distracting clicks or pops — no small engineering feat.
With version 7.0, users can now upload those sounds — and mash-ups of existing sounds — and download others from a marketplace that can be searched geographically. Users can then “heart” and comment on each other’s sounds.
The Clarendon Apple Store (2700 Clarendon Blvd) has reopened after nearly six months of renovations.
The updated look isn’t too radical departure from the previous design. MacBooks, iPads and iPhones are still arranged on large tables for customer to try out; purchases are still made with the assistance of iPhone-toting employees rather than at registers.
One thing noticeably absent: any sign of an Apple logo near the entrance.
The Pentagon City mall Apple Store is up next for a redesign. The store closed on Sunday for several months of renovations.
Arlington won’t be temporarily without an Apple Store, after all.
In an email sent to local customers this afternoon, Apple said its Clarendon store, which has been under renovation since April, will reopen this weekend. A grand reopening is planned for Saturday, Sept. 24 starting at 10 a.m.
“You’ll love what we’ve done with the place,” the iPhone maker said in the email and on the store’s website.
“There’s a lot more to see at your new Apple Store in Arlington,” the email continued. “Stop by on September 24 to take a look at what’s changed and try the latest Apple products, including iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2.”
Some exterior work was still underway outside the store today.
The Apple Store in the Pentagon City mall is scheduled to close for renovations starting this coming Sunday, Sept. 25.
Hat tip to Chaz P.
The Apple Store in the Pentagon City mall has announced that it will be closing for renovations starting on Sunday, Sept. 25.
“We’re making the Apple Store you love even lovelier,” the announcement says.
Meanwhile, the Clarendon Apple Store remains closed due to renovations and no reopening date has been announced. The renovations may have been hampered by a large electrical fire at the Market Common Clarendon shopping center.
The new iPhone 7 launches this coming Friday, Sept. 16, leaving only 9 days to get one before the Pentagon City store shuts its doors. Other Apple Store locations in the D.C. area include Georgetown, Tysons Corner and Bethesda.
Update at 9:30 a.m. — A number of readers have said that they’ve received emails or had conversations with employees at other Apple stores indicating that the Clarendon store will reopen on or around Sept. 24. The store’s website and phone number still does not list an opening date, and no opening date was posted on the store’s exterior on Monday.
In two weeks, the always-busy Apple Store in Clarendon (2700 Clarendon Blvd) will close for renovations.
The store will be closed starting Sunday, April 3, according to a sign in the store. An employee was unable to say how long the renovations would take.
That means that customers will only have a couple of days to get a new Apple iPhone SE at the store before it closes. The new smaller, cheaper iPhone was unveiled by the company today.
Update at 9:55 a.m. — Various readers report being told by Apple Store employees that the renovations would take about 6 months to complete.
(Updated at 10:50 a.m.) Police tackled and arrested a theft suspect inside the Clarendon Apple Store on Tuesday.
The incident happened around 4:15 p.m., at the store at 2700 Clarendon Blvd. We’re told that the suspect tried to use stolen credit cards at the store, then tried to flee when police arrived. He was tackled and taken into custody.
As police confronted the suspect, one officer erroneously radioed that he had a gun. That prompted a large police response to the scene, but ultimately no gun was found.
“While officers were attempting to arrest the suspect, he resisted arrest violently and during the struggle, one of the officer’s ammunition magazines became dislodged from its carrier,” Arlington County Police Department spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm told ARLnow.com. “The officer, who was still struggling with the suspect, saw the magazine and believed it to be from the suspect so he requested additional backup. After the suspect was taken into custody, they were able to quickly determine that the suspect was not armed.”
Just two hours later, three more suspects were arrested at the Apple Store for “attempting to obtain iPhones through false pretenses,” Malcolm said in an email.
“As the iPhone is viewed by many to be a valuable commodity, there are many attempts to fraudulently obtain or steal them from Apple Stores in the region,” he said. “Because there are a high concentration of Apple Stores in our region, suspects will often travel to the D.C. metropolitan area to perpetrate these crimes.”
No injuries were reported.
Photo (left) courtesy Clayton Lott
Joe Tenne packed his black Tundra truck full of camping supplies Wednesday night, said goodbye to his wife and son — and then headed to the Clarendon Apple store.
Tenne, 43, was first in line at the 2700 Clarendon Blvd. shop to buy the new iPhone 6. The Woodbridge resident, who got a tweet of support from William Shatner, arrived Wednesday at 8:00 p.m.
He was followed by hundreds of Apple fans who waited for the phones Friday morning.
“It’s a whole social experience, in addition to getting the phone,” Tenne, who runs an I.T. company, said minutes before the product went on sale.
The line at 8:00 a.m. snaked around the Market Common Clarendon complex, nearly reaching the Crate & Barrel store.
A photo of Tenne with a camp chair and cooler caught the eye of Shatner on Twitter Thursday afternoon.
“If you’re by the Clarendon Apple store & see this guy-bring him a coffee or offer to stand in for a bathroom break,” the actor tweeted.
Tenne said he used the restroom in the Apple store and at the nearby Starbucks, and ordered pizza with the second and third people in line — a couple from Alexandria who arrived at the store on Thursday at 11:00 p.m. Tenne, who has staked out the tech outpost for new products for the past three years, said he appreciated the sense of community.
“I’ve met all the store managers and made a lot of friends.”
Before 8:00 a.m., Apple employees ceremoniously removed black curtains from the shop windows, counted down the remaining seconds and then let a first set of customers rush inside.
Tenne bought the thin, fast iPhone and shook the hand of a staffer as he headed to his truck.
“See you next year,” she said.
Asked how he would spend the rest of the day, Tenne said he was headed back to Woodbridge.
“I’ll probably go home and play with it for 15 minutes and then go sleep for eight hours,” he said.
On Monday afternoon, an alleged thief stole two items from the Clarendon Apple Store and fled the scene in a customized BMW coupe.
From this week’s Arlington County crime report:
ROBBERY, 140324046, 2700 block of N. Clarendon Boulevard. On March 24 at 4:10pm, an unknown suspect fled the Apple Store with two items without paying. He fled the scene in a early nineties model dark blue BMW coupe, with a slightly faded bumper and lower body kit. The suspect is described as a Hispanic male, approximately 35 years old, and was wearing blue jeans, a light grey hooded sweatshirt with a black jacket on top and tan Timberland boots at the time of the incident.
Early Saturday morning, two men at Darna Lounge (946 N. Jackson Street), near Clarendon, allegedly flashed badges and claimed to be police officers.
IMPERSONATING A POLICE OFFICER, 140322003, 900 block of N. Jackson Street. On March 22 at 12:43am, police responded to a report of two bar patrons displaying badges and claiming to be officers. Samuel Wesley Aples, 40, of Alexandria, VA was charged with impersonating a police officer and private security violations. He was held on a $5000 bond. Austin James Jones III, 30, of Woodbridge, VA was charged with private security violations and was released. Both were banned from the establishment.
The rest of the crime report, after the jump. All named suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.
Steve Jobs Memorial Grows — The Post-it-Note memorial to Steve Jobs at the Clarendon Apple Store is getting bigger. Since we arrived at the Apple Store yesterday morning, the memorial has grown from zero to dozens of hand-written notes for the late Apple founder.
Favola Takes Aim at Merrick on NRA Rating — Republican State Senate candidate Caren Merrick was given an “A-” rating in a new candidate “scorecard” issued by the National Rifle Association. Democrat Babara Favola, meanwhile, received an “F” rating. But it was Favola who took the offensive. It’s “not a grade my opponent should be proud of,” Favola Tweeted. Said Favola campaign manager Adam Scott: “Caren Merrick is supported by the Tea Party, the NRA, and anti-choice extremists who want to chip away at a woman’s right to choose in Virginia. That’s just not what we need in the state Senate.”
Relocated ‘Nine’ Starts Tonight — The Arlington Players production of ‘Nine’ starts tonight at the Kenmore Middle School Theater. The musical — which was made into a Hollywood movie two years ago — was originally scheduled to be held at the Thomas Jefferson Middle School Theater. It had to be relocated, however, due to earthquake damage at the theater. [The Arlington Players]
Lots of Events This Weekend — There’s plenty of stuff going on in Arlington on what promises to be an absolutely beautiful fall weekend. If you want to support a high school car wash, or attend an Oktoberfest, or party with artists, check out our Events Calendar.
Photo courtesy @btrpkc
A memorial to the late Apple founder Steve Jobs has formed outside the Clarendon Apple Store.
Store employees and Apple fans have been leaving heartfelt notes of condolence for Jobs, who passed away yesterday after a battle with cancer. He was 56.
Hailed as a visionary for the way he helped to revolutionize personal computers, smartphones and digital media, Jobs is being mourned at Apple Stores around the country. In Clarendon, flowers, digital printouts, a dozen hand-written Post-it-Notes and a lone apple adorn the entrance to the store.
“I cried last night,” admitted one Apple fan, as reflected upon what Jobs and his company has meant to him over the years.
The Apple stores in Clarendon and Pentagon City are certainly no exception. Customers in Pentagon City started lining up as early as 5:00 a.m. this morning to get their hands on the coveted tablet. By the time the store opened at 9:00 a.m., the only iPads left were the 64 gigabyte version with Verizon connectivity — the most expensive model at $829.
Arlington’s Apple stores get iPad shipments every weekday, according to employees, meaning that the early morning scene at the store today gets repeated daily. Before the store opens, employees will hand out claim tickets for those in line, entitling them to no more than two specific models in stock.