Category: Apple


BEYONC

Apple Inc. has begun pressuring the major record companies to offer new releases exclusively through its iTunes store – a move that would initially block availability on streaming services such as Spotify or Beats Music, according to several people familiar with the matter. Apple executives contend that on-demand music services have begun to cannibalize download sales, and its representatives are demanding the labels create a period reserved for digital purchasing. Music industry insiders, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals from the industry’s dominant retailer, said Apple’s push for a new release window – similar to the one that some Hollywood studios impose for films newly released for home viewing – shows the Cupertino, Calif., tech giant is scrambling to retain its competitive advantage in an evolving digital music market.

Read the full story at The Los Angeles Times.

Xcode_icon

Apple’s Developer Center is finally back online, after taking a break for over a week. The developer site went down after a hacking attempt mid-week last week, and stayed down without any kind of return for multiple days. The hack was reportedly one that only affected developer accounts, after an intruder attempted to secure personal information.

Apple said at the time that it was possible personal information including developer names, mailing addresses and email addresses could have been accessed, but no credit card data was leaked. Apple offered no time-table for return at the time, but did create a system for tracking the status of the site after a week of downtime, and started bringing things back online slowly.

A researcher reported that he’d possibly prompted the down time after probing the dev center and reporting bugs regarding vulnerabilities in it and the iAd Workbench site, but we’ve reached out to Apple for more specific information about the return and what steps led to it, and will update with a response if we receive one.

Update: Here’s the full text of the email sent to developers by Apple about the outage.

We appreciate your patience as we work to bring our developers services back online. Certificates, Identifiers & Profiles, software downloads, and other developer services are now available. If you would like to know the availability of a particular system, visit our status page.

If your program membership expired or is set to expire during this downtime, it will be extended and your app will remain on the App Store. If you have any other concerns about your account, please contact us.

Thank you for bearing with us while we bring these important systems back online. We will continue to update you on our progress.

154438180 520x245 Following a recent fatality, Apple publishes Chinese web page encouraging use of official chargers

Following two back-to-back accidents in China believed to be iPhone-related, Apple has added a page to its China website dedicated exclusively to informing consumers about its chargers.

A message at the top of the page states that Apple has always placed the safety of its consumers as a foremost concern, and that all of its products, including the iPhone and iPad, must go through rigorous testing for safety and reliability.

The passage then reads (translated from the Chinese):

When you charge your iPhone or iPad, we suggest that you use all USB power adapters with correspondingly-labeled USB cables. These adapters and cables can be purchased as individual items from Apple and authorized Apple retailers.

Below the message, the page features detailed pictures of the power adapters for some of Apple’s latest devices, with specifications for the each adapter’s corresponding power cord and red arrows pointing to the official Apple guarantee labels on each device.

AppleAdapterChinaPics 730x332 Following a recent fatality, Apple publishes Chinese web page encouraging use of official chargers

The appearance of the page, which is unique to Apple’s China site, is almost certainly in response to two life-threatening incidents in China purportedly involving counterfeit Apple device chargers. Earlier this month Ma Ailun, a 23 year old woman from Xinjiang, died tragically from electric shock when she allegedly used her iPhone 5 while connected to an unauthorized charger. Just days after that, a man from Beijing fell into a coma after allegedly inserting a third-party charger into his iPhone 4. Both incidents made international headlines.

Following Ma’s death, Apple issued a statement expressing condolences to the Ma family, and pledged to investigate the matter and cooperate with authorities.

By publishing the webpage, Apple is making a concerted effort to show support for its customers in a year in which it received several towel-whippings from the Chinese media. The company came under scrutiny in April, when the People’s Daily (China’s foremost party-mouthpiece newspaper) issued reports accusing the company of shirking on its warranty policy in China. The incident prompted Apple CEO Tim Cook to issue a formal apology.

In its latest earnings report Apple revealed that its revenues in China dropped 14 percent year-on-year, but this statistic is best understood as a temporary lull. The company remains bullish towards the Middle Kingdom, with Tim Cook stating earlier this year that China is Apple’s most important market, and that the company intends to double the number of Apple stores in the country within two years.

Top image credit: Feng Li/Getty Images

154977547 520x245 European Commission accepts Penguins proposals to scrap Apple ebook agency agreements

The European Commission has accepted book publisher Penguin’s proposals to scrap all of its existing ebook agency agreements – including its deal with Apple, most importantly – and refrain from adopting any similar partnerships for the next five years.

Penguin, along with competitors Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, Hachette, Holtzbrinck, were all criticized for working with Apple and damaging the European ebook market by switching to an agency model.

This allowed the publisher, rather than the retailer, to set the sticker price seen by consumers in digital storefronts. Given that Apple takes a 30 percent cut of each sale regardless, this suited both the publishers and iBookstore vendor just fine. It also prevented other retailers, such as Amazon or Google, from undercutting these prices.

It differs from the wholesale model, whereby retailers are able to negotiate with publishers for the general rights to an ebook and then sell it at whatever price they like. The European Commission has concluded that Apple may have been trying to control ebook prices – a breach of antitrust rules in the European Union.

Under the new agreement, a two year “cooling-off” period will be instigated, by which all retailers will be able to discount Penguin ebook titles as they see fit.

The book publisher is also banned from using the so-called Most Favored Nation (MFN) clause – which meant publishers had to price ebooks on Apple’s services at least as low as the cheapest price offered by any other retailer – in all necessary renegotiations.

Joaqu n Almunia, Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy, said: “After our decision of December 2012, the commitments are now legally binding on Apple and all five publishers including Penguin, restoring a competitive environment in the market for ebooks”.

A similar antitrust case in the United States came to a close in May this year when Pearson, Penguin’s parent publisher, confirmed it would pay $75 million in consumer damages. A US federal judge has since ruled that Apple truly did conspire to raise the price of ebooks across the market.

Apple has since confirmed that it plans to appeal the decision. “Apple did not conspire to fix ebook pricing and we will continue to fight against these false accusations,” company spokesman Tom Neumayr said. “When we introduced the iBookstore in 2010, we gave customers more choice, injecting much needed innovation and competition into the market, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry.

“We’ve done nothing wrong and we will appeal the judge’s decision.”

Image Credit: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

apple iphone4s top 520x245 Apple is reportedly creating its own speech tech for Siri to eliminate dependence on Nuance

We may now know why Apple quietly set up shop in Boston earlier this year, if a report from Xconomy is to be believed. According to the site, Apple is developing a team of top speech technologists in Boston to eventually eliminate its dependence on Nuance for Siri.

The likelihood of this is actually extremely high – we’ve illustrated why below.

As a reminder, Nuance is the Boston-based multinational software maker which powers Apple’s voice recognition feature in Siri. Nuance has recently seen at least two of its speech scientists leave the company and join Apple. In other words, Apple is pulling talent from Nuance and putting them to work in its own backyard.

Currently, as Xconomy details, Apple’s Boston team publicly includes former Nuance employee Gunnar Evermann, who has a history of developing speech recognition technology; Larry Gillick, whose title is “Chief Speech Scientist, Siri at Apple;” and Don McAllaster, another ex-Nuance employee whose title at Apple is simply “Senior Research Scientist.” There are also a handful of other former Nuance employees currently at Apple, but not based in Boston, including Caroline Labrecque and Rongqing Huang.

Given how clear these titles are (again: “Chief Speech Scientist, Siri”), Apple is certainly developing some sort of speech technology in Boston. The only thing that’s currently unconfirmed is if Apple is strategically distancing itself from Nuance. Apple has a history of eliminating third-party ties to become self-reliant, and Nuance just might be next on Apple’s list.

Apple has recently made an announcement that app screenshots has been locked in the iTunes Connect at the time of approving app. New screenshots will be added when developers will submit their binary for updating the existing app or also for the new apps.

This act of Apple will protect from scam tactics to attract the people from screenshots stolen from non-iOS games or other popular games. The past scam of Halo 4, which is just a simple racing or chess game and not any functional “Pokemon Yellow” application, has forced Apple to take immediate action. Many of the scam developers usually get their app approvals by adding fake screenshots and adding fake description at time of first submission and later they change store description. This scam tactic will no longer hold in iTunes.

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Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft is releasing another Office app for iOS, kind of. The new Office Web App for iPhone and iPad is designed for businesses who use Office 365 to access the full functionality of Outlook Web App. Although Microsoft has been supporting a web version of this previously, the software maker has packaged it up into a “native” app for iOS. If your work place subscribes to Office 365 then the benefits are clear, but if it’s not then it’s useless for those thousands of Exchange servers that run in enterprises today. The app does package together Mail, Calendar, and people into one neat package though. There’s also a navigation screen that includes Live Tiles of information. Microsoft has built in voice input too, allowing users to executive commands like “open Calendar for tomorrow.” Most of the UI is very similar to the existing Outlook Web App for Office 365, and apps for Outlook will work here too.

Read the full story at The Verge.

Smart shoes by Apple track the wear and the usage and also help you to identify that when the shoes need to be replaced. This works via built-in LED lights, displays, speakers etc. This works by embedding the processor and other mini electronic devices in the heel of the shoe. This can also be embedded in any part of the shoe which clearly indicates how the shoe is damaged out. This can also reveal that for how long the shoe has been used. This shoe also indicates the user of the shoe if he has crossed the suggested time of the walk by wearing those shoes. The sensors include motion detectors that easily detect the motion of the person wearing smart shoes.

The smart shoe also helps the users to decide when they need to replace their shoes. The qualities of this shoe are that these shoes provide comforts, protection moreover stability for users when they are engaged in physical activities like sports etc.

This also displays the weight. Sensors are given power by the built-in battery or with the help of generator. Apple has also launched such shoes before that was an excellent way to check their workouts by monitoring their actual activities. This was moreover focused on health directly. Whereas, the smart shoes launched by Apple now is not focused on health directly but it can be worn for viewing the workouts, activity habits that tells that how many time you wear your shoes.

So many companies are in future expecting to look for smart watches which will embed on person’s body and it will be invisible so that people around us won’t be able to see it. These inventions don’t give any guarantee. But these inventions are expected to grow in the coming future as it will be a concern of the electronics consumer and the electronics maker.

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App Store

There’s an emerging view among iOS developers that both the amount of work involved and value created by app development merit higher prices for apps. But a new study shows that developers test pricing tend to lower the price of their apps – or even charge nothing at all. New research published Thursday from mobile analytics firm Flurry, which looked at app pricing over the past four years for 350,000 apps using Flurry’s mobile analytics service, found that developers are charging less for their apps over time, and many times, end up going completely free. (The results are weighted to account for number of users for each app.) The result is more ad-laden apps. But Flurry says purchase habits show that user demand is higher for apps that will cost them nothing, even if there are ads as a result.

Read the full story at Giga OM.

Locationary

Apple has acquired the Toronto-based Locationary, a small Canadian startup, backed by Extreme Venture Partners and Plazacorp Ventures. Multiple sources familiar with the deal tell AllThingsD it closed recently and includes Locationary’s technology and team, both. The price of the acquisition couldn’t immediately be learned. Apple spokesman Steve Dowling confirmed the deal with the statement the company typically releases when news of one of its acquisitions surfaces: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” Apple’s plans in this case are fairly obvious: Beef up its new mapping service. The troubled launch of Apple’s home-brewed mapping software last year sparked a world-wide consumer backlash capped by a rare apology from CEO Tim Cook.

Read the full story at All Things D.

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