Graham Spencer

701 posts on MacStories since January 2011

Graham is a regular contributor to MacStories, a law and economics student at university and connoisseur of great TV shows. With a particular passion for telling stories with the aid of data and visualizations, there is a high likelihood that he wrote a story if you see a graph on MacStories.

|


Apple Claims to Support 629,000 European Jobs, European Developers Take 32.5% of App Store Revenues

As first noticed by 9to5 Mac, Apple has published a webpage dedicated to promoting the impact that they have had in creating or supporting 629,000 jobs in Europe (defined as EU member countries plus Norway and Switzerland). They break the numbers down a bit more, attributing 497,000 to the App Store, 132,000 to jobs directly or indirectly supported by Apple, 116,000 jobs created at other companies as a result of Apple's growth, and 16,000 Apple employees.

Throughout our history, we have created entirely new products - and entirely new industries - by focusing on innovation. This has resulted in nearly 630,000 European jobs at Apple and at developers and businesses supported by Apple. In addition, the App Store has created hundreds of thousands of jobs that previously did not exist in the European economy, enabling developers to launch new companies and earn $6.5 billion from App Store sales worldwide.

Interestingly, they reveal that $6.5 billion in App Store revenues has been paid to European developers, given that $20 billion has been paid to developers in total, this means the share of App Store revenue taken by European developers is 32.5%. Apple has previously revealed US developers have received $9 billion, but that figure hasn't been updated since late last year, so can't be used to calculate an accurate share of revenues taken by US developers.

Share of App Store Revenues

Europe (32.5%) - Rest of World (67.5%)


The 1986 Apple Collection

Update: Reader Rick Henson got in contact and let me know that he uploaded scanned copies of the entire collection, which you can view here. The other pages feature everything from Apple-branded paperclips, lapel-pins, Swiss knife, and of course, an Apple watch.

Dug up by The Trad, The Apple Collection is an amazing look at what Apple—a company often hailed for its tasteful, minimalist design—thought was awesome back in the ’80s. Namely, gaudy belts, logo-covered baseball caps, and the word “Apple” written in as many different variants of ugly lettering as the company could find. Sadly, no black turtlenecks or jeans are on display; Steve Jobs had been ousted from the company the year previous by former PepsiCo CEO John Sculley, and wouldn’t return for another 11 years. [The A.V. Club]

The Trad originally posted this back in 2011, but I only just saw it today when The A.V. Club linked to it. Suffice to say, the above image is just a taste of what you'll get see if you view the full collection - which you're going to do, right?

[via The A.V. Club]

Permalink

Apple, Samsung Agree to End Patent Suits Outside U.S.

The agreement shows Apple and Samsung may be nearing a conclusion to what has been a drawn-out and occasionally nasty worldwide patent fight, which has sprouted alongside the booming market for touch-screen smartphones. Apple has accused Samsung of copying its iPhone designs, while Samsung has countered that Apple is using pieces of its wireless-transmission technology without permission. Neither has won a decisive decision and judges have repeatedly urged the two companies to reach a settlement rather than play out their dispute in court.

Today's announcement, sent to Bloomberg and other media organizations, means that all disputes between Apple and Samsung outside the United States are being abandoned. The international disputes had been fought for years in Australia, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Netherlands, the U.K., France and Italy.

“Apple and Samsung have agreed to drop all litigation between the two companies outside the United States,” the companies said in the statement. “This agreement does not involve any licensing arrangements, and the companies are continuing to pursue the existing cases in U.S. courts.”

Permalink

Making the Switch from Aperture to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

Adobe yesterday published a six-page document outlining a workflow for those users who want to transition from Aperture to Lightroom. Its an interim measure for those users who want to switch to Lightroom now, but Adobe also affirmed their commitment to develop a proper migration tool for Aperture and Adobe Lightroom.

At Adobe, we’re working on a migration tool to help you bring your photos into Adobe Photoshop Lightroom from Aperture, but if you’re eager to switch before the tool is ready, this guide can help ease your transition. We recognize that this migration may be a challenging process and offer the following resources and methodology to help get you up to speed with Lightroom and provide a road map for successfully migrating your photos.

This all comes after Apple announced in late June that it was ending development of Aperture. Apple is instead focusing its development efforts on the new Photos app, launching on Yosemite early next year.

Permalink

A Preview of the SpeakerSlide, A Kickstarter Project

Over the past few years Apple has continued to improve the speakers in the iPhone and iPad quite significantly, except for the fact that they continue to be directed out to the side rather than the front. In fairness, this is probably the most practical location for Apple but it has meant that I've purposefully cupped my hand around the iPad's speakers to help redirect the sound on a number of occasions. It is exactly this weakness where a Kickstarter project, the SpeakerSlide, is trying to improve things. It's a simple plastic (polycarbonate) accessory that redirects the sound out to the front of the device. The SpeakerSlide team were able to ship me 3D-printed evaluation models of the SpeakerSlide for both iPhone and iPad, so I gave the product a test run over the last week.

I first tested the SpeakerSlide with the iPad Air and I can honestly say that the effect it had was instantly noticeable and fairly significant. Sound coming from the iPad actually sounded like it was directed to me, which shouldn't be surprising, but what was surprising to me was how much more natural that felt. When I started taking the SpeakerSlide on and off to try and hear the difference, the effect was even more noticeable. It almost felt like the sound (without the SpeakerSlide) was muffled because of the direction of the speakers. Because the sound is being directed at you with the SpeakerSlide, it also means you don't need to have the volume as loud as you would without it, and that shouldn't be underestimated.

Read more



Yep, Apple’s ‘Stickers’ Ad Gave MacBook Sticker Sellers a Huge Boost

When Apple published their new 'Stickers' ad for the MacBook Air last week, I presumed it would be a boon for sellers of MacBook stickers and decals. So earlier this week I decided to reach out to a few sellers of MacBook stickers and decals to see what kind of impact the ad from Apple has had on their store visits and sales.

Now this was not an in-depth investigation and the result is probably what you would have guessed: visits and sales rose dramatically last week when Apple's ad was released. It was the universal reaction I got from the sellers I talked to.

One of the sellers that was willing to give me more detailed information was Benjamin Clark from The Decal Guru. They saw a quadrupling of orders for MacBook decals since the airing of Apple's ad. In terms of unique visitors they saw an increase from a steady 500 per day (prior to the ad) to 4,500 at its highest last week.

Read more


Apple Refreshes Retina MacBook Pro With Faster Processor, Doubled RAM on Two Models

Apple this morning refreshed their MacBook Pro with Retina display models with the latest generation of Intel's Haswell processors. All things considered, it's a minor update with each of the five base models receiving a 0.2GHz processor speed bump. All that means is the base model goes from 2.4GHz to 2.6GHz, whilst the most powerful preconfigured model goes from 3.5GHz to 3.7GHz. The other notable hardware change is the doubling of RAM for the base model 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro (from 4GB to 8GB) and base model 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro (from 8GB to 16GB). Finally, the 15-inch 2.5GHz model gets a price drop of $100, now selling for US$2,499.

“People love their MacBook Pro because of the thin and light, aluminum unibody design, beautiful Retina display, all day battery life and deep integration with OS X,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The MacBook Pro with Retina display gets even better with faster processors, more memory, more affordable configurations and a free upgrade to OS X Yosemite this fall.”

Also worth noting is that Apple today also dropped the price of the MacBook Pro (without the Retina display) by $100, so it now sells for $1,099. For those of you considering purchasing one of the new MacBook Pros, and live in the northern hemisphere, keep in mind that Apple's Back to School promotion is currently running. So if you purchase one of these new Retina MacBook Pros (or any other Mac) before September 9 you'll get a $100 Apple Store card.

Read Apple's Press Release or view the new models on Apple's website.


A Candid Look at Unread’s First Year

Unread for iPhone has earned a total of $32K in App Store sales. Unread for iPad has earned $10K. After subtracting 40 percent in self-employment taxes and $350/month for health care premiums (times 12 months), the actual take-home pay from the combined sales of both apps is: $21,000, or $1,750/month.

Considering the enormous amount of effort I have put into these apps over the past year, that’s a depressing figure. I try not to think about the salary I could earn if I worked for another company, with my skills and qualifications. It’s also a solid piece of evidence that shows that paid-up-front app sales are not a sustainable way to make money on the App Store.

The story of Unread is not one of failure, we were big fans of the app and it has made money. But for the creator of Unread, Jared Sinclair, it has not been a success either. The income that Unread has generated just isn't sustainable on a long-term basis. The story about Unread's first year is fascinating thanks to Sinclair's transparency and I'd highly recommend you read it, particularly if you are developer considering to go 'indie' on the App Store.

Sinclair's story clearly hit a nerve because since his post earlier today, there have been a number of others who have written about the situation with their own perspectives. For example, Benjamin Mayo makes some perhaps obvious points that I think deserve reinforcement:

Betting on apps of incredibly large scale means you bear proportionately more risk, with the possibility of no return whatsoever. If you want to maximise your profitability, make small apps that do a few things well. The amount of effort you put into an app has very little to do with how much of the market will buy it. This means that making big apps exposes you to substantially more risk, which is not fairly counterbalanced by significantly higher earnings potential.

At this point, you may be despairing at the reality of the situation and Cezar Carvalho Pereira offers some commentary on that, in a sense giving a reality check on what it means to go indie on the App Store:

So, while I believe the mythical indie is far from dead, I think the path to going indie is a lot less glamorous than what most have come to expect. A beautiful idea followed by a great execution doesn’t necessarily guarantee success.

If you want even more, Stephen Hackett, Tyler Hall, Ben Brooks, and Brent Simmons have all also posted stories on a similar theme today.

Permalink

What Makes a Name in the App Store?

I looked at the top 200 apps in each category for both paid and free iPhone apps, 8400 apps in total. Although some developers use up to 49 words (and all 255 characters), the majority are around 4-5 words (24-35 characters). Around one third of apps use a delimiter / separator like 'Flipboard: Your Social News Magazine'.

Stuart Hall takes a brief but interesting look at what exactly makes a name for apps in the App Store. Specifically, he is talking about the full app store name such as 'Wish - Shopping Made Fun'. Whilst Apple allows a name with as many as 255 characters (remember a tweet is only 140 characters), a big chunk of developers stay under 30 characters - which is about as long as it can be on an iPhone before the App Store cuts the name.

Hall also offers some suggestions for coming up with an app name, which are fairly straightforward and make a lot of sense. But one thing missing from the post (through no real fault of Hall's) is some anecdotal evidence from App developers who may have experimented with different length or style of App names - I'd love to hear how it affected their sales (if at all).

Permalink