Beginning today, just in time for the holidays, PayPal will be opening the doors (or the URL) to the PayPal Digital Gifts store.
What is PayPal Digital Gifts? It is a store that will give people the chance to purchase digital gift cards from a host of our partner merchants. We have one marquee merchant in the store today and will be adding more very soon!
Right now, the new store is limited to iTunes codes for the US iTunes Store. It’s nice that Apple is making it easier to buy iTunes credit online, but the regional restrictions are curious (an euphemism for awful): unless your PayPal account (not just the iTunes one) is a US one, you can’t send an iTunes code as a gift to someone else — not even if your account is configured with USD. PayPal’s Digital Gifts store would be very convenient to me and I hope that these restrictions will be removed soon.
Last night, I started getting an error in iTunes for Mac every time I tried to sign in to browse the Store or download app updates — “The iTunes Store is temporarily unavailable”. I looked everywhere and tried every trick in my arsenal, including an obvious restart of my Mac and even Keychain First Aid. I eventually found an Apple support document but that didn’t help either.
This morning I came across this discussion on Apple Support Communities and followed the instructions provided by Jerome Colas on September 30, 2013. I don’t know if this is a new problem with Mavericks or Safari 7, but it worked for me, so check it out if you’ve been having the same issue lately.
When I write on my iPad mini, I often need to look up and reference price of apps that I already own. That's a surprisingly hard thing to do on an iOS device, so I decided to remove the annoyance caused by this problem with an Editorial workflow. I call it “Get App Price”.
If you own an app, searching for it in the iOS 7 App Store won't show you the price information alongside the app's icon and description – you'll only get an Open or Install button. Unlike the Mac App Store, there is no separate pricing field in the app information at the bottom of the screen, which usually forces me to go to a developer's website to find out what the price of an app is.1 There wouldn't be any problem if Apple allowed Safari to open iTunes web previews without redirecting them straight to the App Store, which is what they do on OS X. I have tried to force Safari to open web previews, and I even downloaded browsers that can set a modified user agent string to trick iOS into thinking they're desktop web browsers worthy of a web preview – eventually, the App Store app always opened, displaying no price.
I set out to create a simple workflow to fetch an app's title and price directly from iTunes with no clipboard import or other middleman. I later found out that you can tap on the “Related” tab in the App Store or gift an app to view its price, but I had already created a workflow that's faster than opening the App Store and tapping a bunch of buttons just to get a price. I'm a free man, and I deserve my own App Store lookup solution.2
Apple has today announced that they reached 1 billion podcast subscriptions in iTunes:
From comedy to hard news to sports to innovative educational content and so much more, podcasting has transformed the global media landscape. Podcasts on iTunes launched in the summer of 2005 and since then, we’ve seen countless episodes downloaded and streamed. But the heart of podcasting is finding your favorite voices in this exciting field and subscribing to the best ones. To celebrate 1 billion podcast subscriptions, we’re highlighting some of the most popular podcasts of all times, as well as a collection of captivating new shows.
Apple is celebrating the milestone with a custom iTunes page that features podcasts under Classics, What’s Hot, and New & Noteworthy. The Classics include This Week in Tech, This American Life, and Stuff You Should Know, among others.
Also new in iTunes 11.0.3 is an update to the app’s AppleScript dictionary that adds support for controlling AirPlay speakers. The AppleScript additions contain several options: you can check on an AirPlay device’s name, activity, availability on the network, kind (computer, Apple TV, other AirPlay device, etc), network address, and even if it supports audio or video.
This is a particularly welcome addition as it has been requested by users willing to script iTunes’ speakers for years now. Previously, the best option was to rely on GUI scripting to enable/disable speakers; as I wrote in December, it’s good to see Apple is still actively supporting AppleScript on OS X.
Released in late November 2012, Apple today updated iTunes to version 11.0.3. The new version, available through the Mac App Store’s Software Update panel, brings a redesigned MiniPlayer, an improved songs view, support for multi-disc albums, and performance improvements.
The biggest change of iTunes 11.0.3 is the new MiniPlayer. Sporting a progress bar, the MiniPlayer now also comes with a larger artwork view that can be activated by clicking on the artwork thumbnail in the bottom left corner. The new artwork view will turn the MiniPlayer into a widget reminiscent of desktop music controllers like Bowtie and CoverSutra, with the usual controls to adjust volume, hide/view Up Next, and access an additional contextual menu. In the image above, you can see a composited screenshot of the new MiniPlayer views.
iTunes 11.0.3 is available now on Software Update and through Apple’s website.
I recently got annoyed by the fact that Google Chrome couldn’t open iTunes links in the iTunes app on my Mac, so I decided to look for a solution.
I haven’t been following Chrome’s (numerous) updates in quite a while, so I don’t remember when the app got a redesigned Settings page. In spite of the cleaner look, though, there’s still an option to manage “protocol handlers”, which are the settings that determine how Chrome should work with webpages that request to open other applications installed on a computer, such as Apple’s iTunes Preview website and iTunes. (more…)
Ahead of the 10th anniversary on April 28th, Apple has today posted a dedicated page on iTunes called “A Decade of iTunes”. Available here, the page consists of an interactive timeline with 10 tabs for 10 years, and two charts on the right side with top-selling songs and albums “based on worldwide data”.
As Apple writes:
Celebrate 10 years of iTunes — a decade marked by stunning musical and technological evolution. From historic iPod release to the debut of groundbreaking artists, our timeline captures key moments in our history. Plus, take a look back at the defining albums and songs that hit the top of the charts each year.
Key events are indeed listed in Apple’s timeline. From the introduction of the first iPod and the billionth song sold on February 23, 2006, to the iPad announcement in January 2010 and Justin Timberlake’s recent new worldwide record for album sales with The 20/20 Experience, it’s fun to click through the years and remember important events and releases of the iTunes Store’s first ten years.
The timeline can also be viewed from iOS devices (it’s currently featured on the iTunes Store’s front page), with a nice custom layout on the iPhone.
At its Q2 2013 earnings call yesterday, Apple said that iTunes’ solid media ecosystem helped them achieve more than $4 billion in revenue for iTunes, software, and services in the quarter.
With a press release, Apple today announced 25 billion songs have been sold on the iTunes Store. The 25 billionth song was downloaded by Phillip Lüpke from Germany, who won a €10,000 iTunes gift card.
We are grateful to our users whose passion for music over the past 10 years has made iTunes the number one music retailer in the world,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “Averaging over 15,000 songs downloaded per minute, the iTunes Store connects music fans with their favorite artists, including global sensations like Adele and Coldplay and new artists like The Lumineers, on a scale we never imagined possible.
As detailed by Apple, the iTunes Store offers a catalogue of over 26 million songs in 119 countries. As we showed in our look at various entertainment ecosystems, Apple's iTunes Store is the most popular one worldwide. The iTunes Music Store opened on April 28, 2003, which according to Wolfram Alpha is exactly 9 years, 9 months, and 9 days ago (3572 days).
Dividing by 3572 days, the iTunes Store averaged 6.99 million downloads per day, 81 downloads per second, and 4860 downloads per minute.