THIS WEEK'S SPONSOR:

Prizmo 5

The Pro Scanner App with Powerful Editing Capabilities


Posts tagged with "itunes store"

Apple Removes TV Rentals from iTunes - Customers “Overwhelmingly Prefer Buying TV Shows”

Apple Removes TV Rentals from iTunes - Customers “Overwhelmingly Prefer Buying TV Shows”

As first noted by AppleInsider, Apple has removed all options related to TV show rentals on iTunes, the Apple TV’s dedicated interface and its website, deleting a support document that detailed how users could rent episodes using credit in their iTunes accounts. .99-cent TV show rentals were unveiled last September as part of the Apple TV 2nd gen announcement, and touted as a big new feature from Apple with both ABC and Fox on board with their shows. Others, however, dismissed the initiative as a threat to the TV business model – prices were too low according to TV studios. TV shows could be rented from the iTunes Store and watched on a Mac or Windows PC, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple TV. Users had 30 days to begin watching a TV show, and 48 hours to complete it.

Today, Apple confirmed to AllThingsD that, as customers prefer buying TV shows, they’ve canceled the rental program entirely. Instead, Apple is now recommending iTunes in the Cloud, an iCloud functionality already live for customers that allows for re-watching and streaming of any previously purchased content on any device. The option was introduced with the latest Apple TV software update.

iTunes customers have shown they overwhelmingly prefer buying TV shows,” Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said. “iTunes in the Cloud lets customers download and watch their past TV purchases from their iOS devices, Apple TV, Mac or PC allowing them to enjoy their programming whenever and however they choose.

Apple is rumored to be working on a new technology to deliver video to televisions, but right now, the only option for purchasing, streaming and re-downloading TV shows remains iTunes in the Cloud.

Permalink

Apple Updates Prices Of International iTunes Stores

As we reported earlier today, the downtime of the iTunes Store last night and iTunes Connect today seems to be bringing along some interesting price changes for apps and other material available in the iTunes Store worldwide. Whilst we’re still examining the changes (which are rolling out as we speak), we’re getting the first reports of increased prices in the UK for apps (from £0.59 to £0.69 for apps sold at $0.99 in the United States) and lower prices in the Australian iTunes Store. The change for UK customers is a rather important one, raising prices for “cheap apps” – it’ll be interesting to notice how this will affect sales, as writer Craig Grannel points out.

Read more


Survey Claims iTunes Has 10% Market Share Of Online Video

In a survey based on the results of a poll of an unspecified number of “Web users” over the last week, Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney says Apple’s iTunes Store has roughly 10% of market share for online video. In the poll, the usual suspects are mentioned by users: YouTube leads with 69.2%, and surprisingly enough Facebook comes at #2 with 27.1%, leaving Netflix in the third spot with 24.5%. However, as the analyst notes, if you’re paying to watch web video, you’re using Netflix; neither YouTube or Facebook have premium subscriptions for videos in place, although Google’s video platform has tried several times in the past to expand to other possible profitable segments like live streams and movie rentals. However, the standard YouTube experience remains free and users are able to upload high-quality, HD videos without restrictions of sorts. These videos are then consumed on YouTube.com or connected devices such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Android handsets, thus making YouTube the leader of online video, without a price.

The “Hulu” seen in the graph above sits right below Netflix, but it’s worth mentioning that most of its visits come from free subscribers, and not Hulu Plus accounts. Similarly, Apple’s iTunes at 9.8% doesn’t include streaming options like its competitors – unless we consider the second-generation Apple TV as part of the reported 9.8% market share, but it’s unclear how many Apple TV units Apple sold since September 2010, and it’s also not clear which devices the users polled by Mahaney own. Apple was rumored to be planning an expansion in web video with the launch of a Netflix-like service, an Internet-connected television and a massive upgrade for iTunes video storage, though recent announcements at WWDC put the focus on iCloud as a delivery platform for iOS devices, rather than a video service. [via All Things Digital]


iBookstore Finally Comes To iTunes

With an update to the iTunes Store, Apple is now finally allowing iPhone and iPad users to download iBooks on their Macs, and send them to their iOS devices. Announced with a banner that just went live in the iTunes Store homepage, the new Books section is available here and, as you would expect from the feature iOS users have been asking for almost a year now, it’s simply the iBookstore available on the desktop.

You can browse Staff Favorites, add items to your Wish List, check out the “Best of the month” and “popular pre-orders”. Everything seen on the iBookstore for iOS has been ported to a new section in the iTunes Store for desktop computers, which doesn’t require an iTunes update. With the new “Automatic Downloads” functionality that went live earlier today, you’ll be able to buy a book on your computer and instantly see it available on your iPhone or iPad with a download happening in the background.

At the moment of writing this, there doesn’t seem to be a desktop iBooks app, which was rumored in the past months to be in the works as an alternative for the iOS ebook reader. Check out more screenshots below. Read more


Apple Orders 12 Petabytes (That’s 12 Million Gigabytes) For iTunes Store Video

After all the theories surrounding Apple’s new data center in North Carolina, and the rumors surfaced in the past months pinpointing a complete revamp of iOS and MobileMe with extensive cloud features, here comes an interesting tidbit suggesting that Apple is looking to improve capacity of the iTunes Store by ordering 12 petabytes of storage from Isilon Systems. As reported by AppleInsider, the additional storage will be used for hosting video content on the iTunes Store – although it is not clear whether this storage will also be dedicated to video streaming, future iOS or MobileMe functionalities, or just downloads for the existing iTunes Store. Currently, the iTunes Store hosts thousands of movies, TV shows and video podcasts that are available both in standard and high definition, can be streamed to an Apple TV or downloaded locally on Windows PCs and Macs. Read more


More Than 75,000 iPad Apps Are Now Available

Back in December, we ran a story about the incredible rise of native iPad software in the App Store: in nearly 260 days since the release of the original iPad in April 2010, third-party developers created more than 50,000 apps specifically for the device. As the iPad was a relatively new device in 2010, that was quite an accomplishment. Especially considering that the iPad App Store had “only” 20,000 apps in August, and 10,000 in June. By the end of 2010, Apple closed with roughly 60,000 native apps available for iPad owners.

In the past months, however, many interesting things happened in the tablet market: Apple announced and released a successor to the iPad after much speculation, Google unveiled a version of its Android OS meant for tablets, Android Honeycomb. Motorola was first to release a Honeycomb-based tablet, the Xoom, which is capable of running Android apps built from scratch for the tablet form factor – rather than blown up versions of smartphone apps. On the other hand, RIM will release its BlackBerry PlayBook onto the market in a few weeks – this one is also capable of running Android apps alongside native BlackBerry apps. Other manufacturers will follow throughout 2011 with their own vision for “the tablet”.

Back to the initial point, anyway. If there’s one segment (let’s just forget about tech specs for a minute) where Apple has a huge advantage over its competitors, that would be the App Store. Since our report from December, the iPad App Store has grown to accomodate over 75,000 native apps – even more than the ones mentioned in Apple’s press releases. Compared to 20 apps available for the Xoom, I think we can all agree that’s a huge advantage for Apple. And even if geeks can say “most of those 75,000 apps suck”, the numbers still hold true: 75,000 apps are available, the 100,000 milestone will be reached in a couple of months. And Apple will make a strong remark about that figure at their next public event. Perhaps at the WWDC itself where, and everything falls into the place, a new version of iOS will likely be announced and demoed.

75,000 apps for the iPad doesn’t come as a surprise if we consider Apple’s powerful marketing machine and the iTunes Store infrastructure. But to think the iPad came out 365 days ago and now we can choose from a selection of 75,000 different apps – I believe that says something about the current status of the tablet market.


With Apple’s New System, Popular Science Sells 10,000 iPad Subscriptions

Ever since Apple launched its new subscription system for “publishing apps” in February, there’s been a huge backlash over the implementation of the service itself, which requires publishers to give away 30% of the revenue to Apple (just like every “regular” App Store application) and allows consumers to opt-in for sharing personal data with the publisher. The new policy left many unhappy with Apple’s decision to protect the user’s privacy and ask for the same 30% cut on every subscription sold; plus, the notable rejection of the Readability app raised some questions and doubts over the whole idea of “publishing apps” and software that simply gives access to content published by others. Still, in spite of the debates and speculation, the first numbers are coming in, and they’re rather interesting.

Speaking with AdAge, VP-group publisher at the Bonnier Technology Group Gregg Hano confirmed the Popular Science iPad app sold 10,000 subscriptions since the update six weeks ago that enabled support for Apple’s new in-app subscription technology. And even if Popular Science has 1.2 million print subscribers and the iPad’s numbers are quite low right now, the publication is excited about the possibilities offered by Apple and the iTunes Store.

We really did not have any expectation of what would happen because we’re really pioneers.

We’ve been averaging 10,000 to 12,000 unit sales per month almost since the beginning,” Mr. Hano said. “Now we’re going to be above that in March. We’re inching up over that. And we look forward to continuing to see subscriptions grow. Hopefully people keep testing Popular Science on their tablets and then hopefully come back and subscribing.

The obvious downside, Hano confirms, is that they have so access to subscribers’ data:

We don’t have any information on where the subscribers are coming from or whether or not they are or are not print subscribers,” Mr. Hano said. “Nor do we at this time know the number of people who have opted in to share their data with us.

The Popular Science iPad app is available for free in the App Store and comes with in-app purchases for single issues ($2.99 for old ones, $4.99 for the latest issue) and a $14.99 annual digital subscription. A print subscription to the magazine costs $12.99 on Popular Science’s website. iPad magazines have been struggling with finding a loyal userbase mainly due to complicated subscription systems and clunky user interfaces, so an easy-to-use payment system based on the iTunes Store (Apple has 200 million credit cards on file thanks to iTunes) might really be the first step to get things started and change the way consumers think of digital publications for the iPad. [via The Loop]


Could The iTunes Store and Address Book Look Like This in iOS 5?

A new patent design uncovered by Patently Apple today gives us a hint at some interface elements Apple may implement in future versions of iOS, perhaps as soon as iOS 5 is released later this year. The patent doesn’t provide many details and the mockups realized by Apple are nowhere near the final style of an iOS product, but they can let us speculate on the interface changes several apps will likely go through.

In this patent, Apple has focused on browsing the iTunes Store and accessing the Address Book. The main concept seems to be that raw lists of items – songs, artists, and even contacts – should evolve into a visually richer experience based on “tiles”, rather than vertical lists. Does that ring a bell? Yes, at first I thought of the Windows Phone 7 UI – but the implementation Apple is envisioning here is quite different. From what we can see in the sketches posted online, the design looks like a mix of the Finder’s standard icon view and the iTunes album art screensaver: there’s a grid containing albums and songs in the iTunes Store and a different contact visualization in Address Book with a series of thumbnails for all your friends, and a bigger one in the foreground for the contact you’re currently talking to / editing in the app. Apple is calling these things “Segmented Graphical Representations”, and from a first look it sounds like they’re aiming for a more visual interaction with the OS based on thumbnails and graphics, rather than lists of text. Read more


SoundTracking: More Than Just “Instagram for Music”

Last week I decided to refine my cloud storage and music streaming setup: I bought a Dropbox Pro 50 account and extended my Spotify subscription until September. In case you don’t know, I store my iTunes library on Dropbox so I can sync my iOS devices effortlessly across all the computers I’ve installed Dropbox on. But why using iTunes and Spotify together for storing and streaming music? For as much as I love Spotify – in fact, it changed my music listening habits since I started using it – not every artist I like is available on it. That’s why I care about keeping a well-organized iTunes library with the albums and songs not available on Spotify. This library is pretty huge and stored on Dropbox together with apps, books, movies and anything else that usually goes into iTunes.

With a 16 GB iPhone, the combination of iTunes + Spotify (which also happens to have an offline cache option) gives me the possibility of having any kind of music ready for listening whenever I like. SoundTracking, a new app for iPhone I installed a few days ago, aims at giving you the tools to share the “soundtrack of your life” and discover new songs shared by your friends, directly from your iPhone.

At first, SoundTracking might sound like an “Instagram for music” – that would actually make sense after all the Instagram alternatives and third-party apps we’ve seen recently, not to mention the Instagram for video SocialCam. SoundTracking starts from the same simple concept of Instagram: you open the app, tap on a button in the toolbar and share media with your social graph in seconds. In SoundTracking, that means you’re sharing the song and artist you’re currently listening to with friends using the app you discovered by logging into Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare. But the similarities with Instagram stop at the basic concept, as SoundTracking goes really in-depth to allow you to not only share, but also discover new music and people with your same music tastes worth following. Read more