In 2009, Apple introduced iTunes LP content as an enticement for music fans to purchase full albums. The format bundled an album with additional material like bonus tracks, liner notes, videos, and other extras. Earlier today, the UK-based website Metro reported that it had seen an email message from Apple to music industry professionals announcing that it will not accept iTunes LP content after March 2018, which Apple subsequently confirmed to The Verge.
While iTunes LP submissions will end this month, existing iTunes LPs will not be depreciated. Not only will these iTunes LPs continue to be available, but users will still be able to download any previous or new purchases of iTunes LPs at any time via iTunes.
The decision to no longer offer new iTunes LP content is not surprising in light of the decline of music sales industry-wide and the rise of streaming services like Apple Music.
Roger Fingas, writing for AppleInsider:
Following a false start in September, Apple on Monday launched an expected "Spoken Editions" section on the iTunes Store, letting people hear audio versions of written content from online publishers.
The section currently includes articles from over 40 sources, such as Reuters, Wired, IGN, Jezebel, Playboy, and the Huffington Post. People can also access the material from Apple's dedicated Podcasts app.
I like this idea, and could see myself subscribing to some Spoken Editions when it expands to other publications, particularly those in Australia. I listened to a few Spoken Edition articles, and whilst the recording quality was generally quite good, I was a little surprised to hear some obvious pronunciation errors and general reading mistakes which hadn't been edited out.
The Spoken Editions are featured on the front page of the Podcasts section of the US iTunes Store, but they are also accessible via this link (which will also work even if you are outside the US).
Last week, Billboard's Shirley Halperin and Ed Christman published a story on Apple's rumored plans for a new music streaming service. A paragraph from the piece stood out to me:
Other clues suggest a major scrub to the iTunes store, which will rid itself of thousands of titles including soundalikes and certain covers, all at Apple's discretion, say insiders. Moreover, the disallowed music includes artist rerecordings, favoring original or best-of versions and, critics contend, the major labels that retain those rights. Additionally, featured-artist sliders, previously chosen editorially, may now be determined by sales velocity, leaving some to wonder if iTunes is becoming less like a Tower Records and more of a Target – limited selection and a focus on hit titles. “Until now, iTunes has been good to the indies,” contends one vet. Conversely, an Apple source says such case-by-case house-cleaning to eliminate duplicative and deceptive versions is routine.
The “scrub” to the iTunes Store has been previously reported, and, as Halperin and Christman note, it has, to an extent, been performed in the past as well.
I have, however, a hard time believing Apple will transform featured recommendations into Top Charts-like carousels determined by “sales velocity”. The company has traditionally taken a lot of a pride in its editorial curation with sections refreshed on a weekly basis and highlighted on the front page of iTunes. They bought Beats Music last year, which included an in-house editorial team of music curators and critics. And, they recently hired Zane Lowe, well known for his excellent taste in emerging artists and classic albums. If Apple is indeed planning to abandon editorially curated sections on the iTunes Store, all signs point to the contrary.
An interesting and well documented experiment by The Typist: a visualization of four years of purchases on the iTunes Store, and particularly the App Store. I can't imagine the amount of effort that went into this (sifting through 90 emails, recalculating prices based on past currency conversions, etc.), but I hope I'll have the patience to do the same someday.
The Typist makes a great point about iOS games:
So what does that mean for games? Of the 34 that I’ve purchased, only 5 games — worth $18 — are currently installed on either of my iOS devices. Of the $111.66 that I’ve spent, $93.71 worth of games are on neither of my devices. Almost 84% of the money I’ve spent on games is now in the cloud.
Does that mean I wouldn’t have bought any or most of them? Not necessarily: That would be like not going to the movies because you pay $12 for 120 minutes that you can’t “reuse”. Most forms of entertainment are ephemeral by nature.
Unlike console games, I can't remember any old iOS game that I intentionally redownloaded to play it again like I do for, say, Nintendo or Squaresoft classics. Maybe it's just me, or maybe it's the nature of mobile games. Also worth considering: old iOS games that don't work properly on current versions of the OS, that don't have Retina assets, or that rely on third-party services no longer in existence (the last one is a problem common to console games, too).
Created by Jeremy Mack and Ryann Pierce and launched during EmberConf yesterday, fnd is a new iTunes search tool that allows users to search for any kind of iTunes content through a fast and responsive web app available at fnd.io.
While Apple’s iTunes and App Store clients for OS X and iOS ship with search and browse functionalities built-in, they aren’t, arguably, the fastest or most efficient ways to scroll through hundreds of items and find a specific song or app on the iTunes Store’s vast catalogue of content. On desktop computers, search through iTunes is slow, clunky, and based on an old iOS 6-inspired design that is inconsistent with Apple’s revamped iTunes Store and App Store apps on iOS 7. On the iPhone, the native App Store client received solid improvements in iOS 7, but search is still limited to cards; in general, given the lack of an iTunes app for iOS devices, there’s no unified solution to search for any kind of iTunes media in a single app/service on iOS, and that’s one of the areas that Mack and Pierce focused on with fnd.
"In August 2013 I became enamored with Launch Center Pro. However, the App Store search was entirely broken, by no fault of Launch Center Pro", Mack told me over email earlier today. When I asked about the reason fnd came to be, he recounts how the first quick prototype evolved into the final project: "I wanted something better, so I made a prototype using Ember in three hours. I almost shipped the prototype and called the problem solved. However, over the next week using fnd, I discovered there was something amazing about having a web experience for the App Store that worked on all devices. Being able to share a link with a friend that doesn’t this and then this to happen. I pitched the idea to my talented designer-friend, Ryann Pierce. She loved the idea and wanted to team up on the project. Our collaboration drove fnd to what it is today." Read more
The iTunes Store used to have a Power Search link in its page footers. You could choose to search specific types of content, and enter search terms in appropriate fields, such as Artist for music; Author for books; Actor for movies; etc. With iTunes 11, this link disappeared, but there’s still a way to get to it.
I had forgotten about this tip shared by Kirk McElhearn. If you want a faster way to access Power Search in iTunes using AppleScript, Doug Adams shows you how.
Good roundup of iTunes Store numbers (with subsequent inferences) by Horace Dediu.
I meant to include the following chart in our Q2 2013 overview, but I didn't have time to create it. Below, you can see how the 850,000 App Store apps Apple touted last week are divided across the iPhone and iPad after the launch of each device's App Store (July 2008 for iPhone, April 2010 for iPad).
The increase you see after the iPad's 30th month corresponds to October 2012 -- when Apple unveiled the iPad mini.
(click for full size)
Good find by Macworld's Jonathan Seff. I'd love to see more download options for the App Store as well -- such as something similar to CameraSync's location monitoring, but for app downloads.
As noted by AppleInsider, Apple has removed iPod click wheel games from the iTunes Store, pulling a link to the category from the App Store's dropdown menu inside iTunes, and also removing listings for those games that users could play on a click wheel-based iPod. It's not clear when Apple made the change exactly, but it appears to be recent. Apple updates the App Store's homepage every week with new features, banners and links to special sections, and the removal of iPod Click Wheel Games (which had their very own category) might have been part of a weekly refresh. There were around 50 games for click wheel iPods in the iTunes Store, including classics like Vortex and Klondike, or other titles like Song Summoner by Square Enix.
Click wheel games were compatible with the iPod classic, as well as older versions of the iPod, iPod nano and iPod mini. They allowed users to control games using an iPod's touch-sensitive click wheel, and they're still mentioned on Apple's iPod classic Features page. Development of click wheel games never really took off with third-party developers, as Apple didn't make a software development kit publicly available.
The FAQ page for iPod Click Wheel Games has been marked as "archived" and "old article" by Apple on September 21, 2011. The article still reports click wheel games are available in the iTunes Store, but old direct links for such games aren't working anymore, and games no longer appear in iTunes' search results.
The removal of click wheel games comes amidst rumors of the discontinuation of the classic and shuffle iPod lines, quite possibly with a formal announcement as early as next week at Apple's October 4th keynote. The iPod classic was rumored to be nearing discontinuation before, as Apple didn't announce a refresh at last year's music event in a clear focus on iOS devices (and the updated iPod nano). Apple's Steve Jobs allegedly confirmed in an email to a customer that they had no intention to cease production of the iPod classic, which remains the only iPod to offer high capacity with 160 GB of storage. Speculation surrounding the iPod suggests Apple would axe the Classic to make room for a new 128 GB iPod touch, although this year's iPod touch refresh is believed to be a minor one and there have been no signs of a 128 GB iPod touch in the past months. A 64 GB iPhone prototype surfaced earlier this year, if this can be an indication of Apple looking to bump the storage sizes of its iOS devices.
In 2010, the iPod classic was the 5th most popular MP3 player in the United States.