Posts Tagged ‘apple’
After months of speculation (fannying about), Apple has finally launched its iTunes Radio service, along with 200 stations of music. And it’s FREE to iphone users. Spotify probably have their heads on the desk right now, wondering whether it’s too early to have a vodka.
Of course, you’ll get all the usual annoying ads in the free service, but you can upgrade to iTunes Match for a whopping £21.99. The only problem is that you can’t choose the songs you want to listen to – only the stations. And they’ve also added a Siri feature in case you want to ask the name of the artist, which will be great if all songs are by ‘I don’t understand. Would you like me to search the web for ‘Schawirhwwfidduqleuoop’?
But it’s a huge day for Apple with the launch of their spanking new iOS7 software, which is apparently the greatest thing since the pie sandwich. It makes things bigger and sharper on your phone – with a cleaner design. It has a ‘control centre’ at the bottom of the screen that you can slide to access functions. There’s also an encrypted Air Drop box to share stuff securely. Overall, it’s easier to use, more swipey, more intuitive, and Apple are doing air punches and fist bumps about it in the boardroom.
iOS 7 and iTunes Radio represent a return to confidence for Apple, who have faced criticism for failing to innovate – and recently suffered their first drop in profits in 10 years.
In fact, at the unveiling, Apple executive Phil Schiller was almost embarrassingly triumphant, yelling ‘Can’t innovate anymore, my arse!’ to wild applause.
Because er, JIM ROYLE is the target audience?
This price-fixing allegation comes on the back of an anti-trust lawsuit by the Justice Department, which accused Apple of having a price-fixing meeting with publishers in 2009 as they readied the launch of the iPad.
Allegedly, the purpose of this meeting was to force Amazon to raise the $9.99 price it had set for bestselling ebooks. Court papers say: “Apple wanted to sell ebooks to the public, but did not want to compete against the low prices Amazon was setting. Apple knew that the major publishers also disliked Amazon’s low prices and saw Apple’s potential entry as a pathway to higher retail prices industry-wide.”
The Justice Department also accuses those at the meeting of making an agreement that, instead of selling books to retailers and letting them decide their own price, publishers would convert the retailers into “agents” who would be stopped from lowering the publisher-set retail price. This would also guarantee Apple a 30% commission on each item sold.
If that is the case, then this scheme could well have cost consumers tens of millions.
The report continues that Steve Jobs himself “conceded the price-fixing conspiracy when, the day after publicly announcing Apple’s forthcoming iBookstore, he explained to his authorised biographer that Apple had told the publishers ‘we’ll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30%, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want anyway.’”
Apple have accused the government of basing their case on nothing more than “mere allegations, faulty assumptions and unfounded conclusions.”
Elsewhere, Apple will be launching iRadio next week, as it tries to muscle in on Spotify and Google’s new music service. It seems that the service will ape the Spotify model, with subscriptions on offer as well as an ad-based freemium service. Apple are also expected to unveil iOS 7 too, but as ever, the company won’t be speculating or making comment.
Apple’s much anticipated iRadio has hit a Sony-shaped stumbling block – the major label is umming and ahhing over the deal to sign up to the new music streaming service.
Sony reckons that if iRadio is a success on a par with iTunes, then it should be offering them a better deal. At the moment Apple is offering labels a royalty of 8p per 100 songs streamed, plus a share of ad revenue and a guaranteed fixed sum in case it all goes tits up and nobody listens to it. But Sony didn’t get where they are today by piddling around over 8p. So they’ve dug their heels in and are stroking their white cats and playing with their clacking silver desk balls and saying ‘Your move, Mr Apple’ (or whatever successful businesspeople get up to these days).
It’s a bit of a blow for Apple, who have reportedly already signed Warners and and were waiting for Sony to complete the deal. But if they don’t offer the label any more than the going rate (Pandora also pay 8p for 100 tracks) the music giant, – who manages all our ‘favourite’ acts like er… John Legend, Ke$ha and One Direction – ain’t going to budge.
So come on, Apple. If iRadio is going to launch this summer, they’re going to need some Jack Donaghy style negotiation and synergy – FAST.
New figures released by research firm IDC show that Apple are still doing pretty well in the tablet market, however, on closer inspection, they have a few things to worry about.
Samsung, the world’s second largest tablet maker is growing at a much faster rate than Apple. Apple are growing by 65%, which is great, but Samsung have grown by 282%, which is definitely a cause for concern for Apple. Asus grew by 350% percent and Amazon grew by 157%. Everyone, it seems, is hot on Apple’s tail.
IDC analyst Tom Mainelli said: ”One thing that I think is particularly notable about Apple is that they restarted the tablet market. Apple has been selling an awful lot of iPads in the U.S. since 2010.”
“Apple’s share is decreasing and they’re ceding share to companies willing to sell tablets for $199, $99, or $79. It was a major concession for them to go down to $329 for the iPad mini.”
“You’ll see Apple’s commercial shipments continue to grow,” Mainelli said, “and there are still a lot more regions in the world to conquer.”
So Apple won’t be too worried, but with Samsung gobbling up chunks of Apple’s market, it’ll be interesting to see what Apple do next in a bid to stay ahead of the pack.
Apple is apparently ‘pretty close’ to signing deals with 2 major labels – Universal and Warner – to feature their music on their new live streaming music service, iRadio. It still needs Sony onside if we’re going to hear interminable amounts of Taylor Swift, so nothing’s set in stone yet. But as soon the fug of Commes des Garcons aftershave clears and everyone has digitally signed on the dotted line, the service should be a goer this summer.
At the moment, it’s all in the realm of industry inside gossip, but reports suggest iRadio will be a bit similar to Pandora, in that it doesn’t offer music on demand. BUT it will be different, because Apple is building a shedload of unique new features, including the choice to replay songs by whizzing them back to the beginning.
So, music lovers, we’ll have to wait and see how those big powerful negotiations go. What’s the collective noun for a bunch of cigar-chomping twonks?
Considering Apple hold a reported 500m credit card details, you would think that their security measures are the most robust out there. Well, they aren’t/weren’t.
Apple, along with Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft, were hit in January this year with a security breach after hackers exploited a vulnerability in Oracle’s web-browsing software which prompted the others to give their current measures a serious rethink.
Already introduced by Google, the new “two-step” security measure requires a user to send a code to their mobile phone in order to verify themselves if using a new computer to make a purchase.
The new security features can be switched on by updating your user profile over at the Apple website. Hopefully this will become the norm for every merchant that we entrust with our credit card details.
Everyone in the technology world is getting into a tizz about the idea of wearable technology and, with the rumour of an iWatch from Apple doing the rounds and Google’s smartglasses being developed, it is not surprising that more items are being developed. Or if you prefer, all the technology companies are copying each other. The product we’re likely to see first is the smartwatch, and it has been reported that Apple’s iWatch is a few years away from hitting the shelves, which is giving Google and Samsung the opportunity to get in there first. A leak suggests that Google had a patent application approved for a smartwatch last year, and that it will come with a dual-screen “flip-up display” and a camera with the patent adding that it will have a “tactile user interface” (a touchscreen to everyone else). These are mere rumours though, unlike Samsung who confirmed that they will be making a smartwatch. Lee Young Hee,executive vice president of Samsung’s mobile business, said: “We’ve been preparing the watch product for so long. We are working very hard to get ready for it. We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them.” The technology is probably the easy part for these technology giants. The tricky bit will be making something that looks nice on your wrist. We’ll just have to wait and see. It’ll probably be a series of wooden watches, with cod Nordic cool with something that looks like an iPod mini plopped in the middle.
It’s not enough that Apple Inc, can display an alleged complete disregard for employees in far flung countries, nor that they attempt to take over the world by taking all your money, but never actually selling you anything digital. Now, they are attempting to corrupt your children through the appstore.
Happy Street is a cute little game on the iPhone and iPad. It is a free game (although there are plenty of in-app purchase opportunities to allow continuous play) and invites you to build a colourful world with cute cartoon characters, who chat and interact with one another and with other users around the world. It looks fun and friendly and something you might let your children play (once in-app purchases are switched off, naturally). And with an age rating of 4+, why on Earth wouldn’t you let the cheeky little’uns have a go?
Well, possibly because the game features language that really isn’t suitable for their delicate minds. What 4 year old could possibly be pleased to learn that their juice “tastes like young virgins just mushed it with their feet”? Or worse, watch a male character threaten a female one saying “by the fist of man I will make you”. iPorn and iPunch for minors.
But of course, Apple have nothing at all to do with this children-corrupting game, and that is what they (just about) managed to convey to avid Bitterwallet reader Steve, in their broken-English response to his complaint, telling him to go speak to the game developer. No, Apple have no responsibility on this issue, despite the game having been through Apple’s ‘stringent’ approval process, Apple giving it a 4+ rating and Apple naming it in the top 6 ‘free to play’ games for iPhone in the Appstore’s “Best Apps of 2012.”
We did ask Apple for a comment, but they were too busy swivelling in their chairs, drinking virgin-crushed juice and punching women to respond. Allegedly.
Recently, the European Commission hit Microsoft with a huge £459m fine for failing to offer people different browsers when they logged into windows. If that wasn’t bad enough, it looks like PCs could vanish altogether.
According to researchers IDC, Windows 8 hasn’t been a success for the company and thanks to the rise of other tablets and such, it looks like it is curtains for PCs.
PC sales have been dropping steadily and IDC’s forecast sees fewer shipments in the future, with Samsung’s president, Jun Dong-soo, backing them up, saying: “The global PC industry is steadily shrinking despite the launch of Windows 8. I think the Windows 8 system is no better than the previous Windows Vista platform.”
Basically, the forecast for PC sales is that there’ll be zero-growth in the market over the next four years and, of course, in that time, smartphones and tablet sales are rocketing.
“Emerging market growth potential [for PC purchases] is declining and coming closer to that of mature regions,” IDC says. “2012 marked the first year that emerging markets have seen a volume decline, and while 2013 will return to growth, it is projected at less than 1%, and with modest, single-digit growth through [to] 2017.”
Netbooks are also dead in the water, so there’ll be no hope there, so with Microsoft failing with Windows 8, is there any hope for their future? Some people are pinning their hopes on ultrabooks, but they may be out of the price-range of the people who made PCs so popular over the years. If you want to fork out loads of money on a portable device, your average Joe will probably gravitate toward a luxury brand like Apple. With Android muscling in to every corner, Microsoft are up against it.
Actually, no. Recent reports in the US that Bruce Willis was suing Apple for the right to bequeath his music collection to his daughters have been grossly exaggerated, but the point is the same. As far as Apple are concerned, you are purchasing a non-transferable right to content- their terms and conditions for iTunes currently state that content is borrowed under a specific licence, capable of transfer between 5 devices, and not actually owned. Or at least not in the way ownership has been understood up til now.
Now, according to Apple Insider, the US Patent Office has revealed that Apple is seeking a patent for a ‘used’ digital rights resale service, very similar to one granted to Amazon in January. They suggest a new used iTunes store may be on its way very shortly.
The system would allow restrictions on transfer and these could be set by the publisher- for example, e-books may not be resold within a six month period or could be on a frequency of transfer, price and to whom the content is sold basis. The system may also considers any proceeds on resale and would potentially allow publishers rights over a portion of the resale value. So you can sell your stuff, but you won’t get to keep all of the selling price. Publishers, of course, are bound to think this is only right and fair, disregarding the fact that non-digital producers of, well anything, don’t get the merest sniff of a look in on second hand sales, including books. But is that only down to practicalities and the fact that digital items can now be so encumbered- the question should really be whether publishers ought to have the right to a return from their content ad infinitum? Even authors only retain copyright for their lifetime plus 70 years.
Given the recent announcement that the new Xbox will refuse to play resold games, is this likely second-hand market a good thing, or is the whole concept of digital content that you never actually own simply flawed from the outset?
Let’s all go Groovesharking.
Five-year-old Danny Kitchen asked his beloved mother and father if he could have the passcode for their iPad, which they duly gave to him. What damage could an infant possibly do?
Well, the little money drain promptly ran up a bill of £1,700 in what was probably the best ten-minutes of his little life. And all he wanted was to play Zombie v Ninja.
When he got the game (clever little sod), he found his way to the game’s online store and promptly ordered dozens of pricey add-ons which came in at a whopping £1,710.43.
His poor mother knew nothing about all this until she saw all the iTunes emails listing what he’d done. And then her credit card company phoned-up to see what the bloody hell was going on.
She explained: “Danny was pestering us to let him have a go on the iPad. He kept saying it was a free game so my husband put in the passcode and handed it to him. It worried me when he asked for the password but I had a look at the game it said it was free so I didn’t think there would be a problem.”
“We had lots of visitors in the house and were both a little preoccupied. I woke up Monday morning and looked at my emails and had loads from iTunes. I thought it must be a mistake, so I checked my bank balance online and nothing had been taken out.”
“I thought nothing of it until I my credit card advisor phoned and told me they had authorised the transaction.”
Mrs Kitchen then added, sinisterly: “I realised what happened and told Danny he’d better get ready for bed and run and hide before daddy got home. He was crying, as the rest of the children were telling him we could have bought a house with the amount he had spent.”
“He started to run and through his tears he turned back and said ‘But where can I hide?’ Bless him – that stopped me being angry but of course it’s a lot of money.”
Danny said: “It was a good game.”
Apple have said they’ll refund the money, which is nice of them.
If you were asked which were the world’s ‘Superbrands’ in 2013, you’d be able to make a pretty good stab at it. However, like all charts, the top 20 has seen some climbers this year which may make for interesting reading.
For the second year on the bounce, Swiss watchmaker Rolex has found itself at the toppermost of the poppermost, but making big leaps was Apple who removed Rolls-Royce at the top of the Business Superbrand tree.
On the consumer, after Rolex, came Apple, Microsoft, British Airways and Coca-Cola with Microsoft climbing from a lowly 45th in the table.
Stephen Cheliotis, chairman of the Superbrands Expert Council said: “As consumers remain unsettled and fearful over what feels like endless economic doom and gloom, malpractice in key institutions and a weakening position for Britain in a changing world, it is perhaps no surprise that we are turning to reassuringly-familiar brands that we have known throughout our lives – often much- loved British establishments that we still trust, despite recent problems for some.”
“In addition, voters recognise newer technology brands that make our lives simpler, happier and better-connected in these difficult times.”
Business-wise, following Apple was British Airways, Google, Visa and Virgin Atlantic respectively.
If you’re interested in what the Top 20 Superbrands are for both consumers and businesses, then click over the jump to have a look.
It looks like Apple has dropped yet another major clanger, as the post-Jobs era lurches from one catastrophe to another.
This time it’s the latest update of the fairly important iOS mobile software, which was released last week but seems to be so far doing a decent job of knacking users’ iPhones.
Reports of battery drainage and overheating are rife among those who have updated to iOS 6.1 since it was released just over a week ago, with one user saying that battery level had dropped from 100% to just 23% in about an hour and a half.
This isn’t the first time that this sort of thing has happened with an Apple software, and so far the Cupertino tech behemoth is staying quiet about it all. Here in the UK, Vodafone are advising customers against updating to 6.1 until a fix for the drainage is found.