Pebble debuts its new appstore later today

Posted by:
Date: Monday, February 3rd, 2014, 09:38
Category: Accessory, Announcement, App Store, Apple, Apps, iOS, iPhone, Software, Wearables

Pebble_notificationsLast Friday, via its Twitter account, Pebble announced that the release date for the new Pebble appstore would be today, Feb 3rd, at 10 AM PST. So, only a few hours to go until Pebble owners can start playing with the new goodies. The announcement indicates that only the iOS update to the Pebble companion app would be released today, with an Android update arriving soon. For those already using a Pebble smartwatch with their iPhone, you should see the update appearing in the iOS App Store app, ready for download, or automatically installed if you have background updating enabled.

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Acquisitions and the annoyance of abandoned apps

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Date: Friday, January 31st, 2014, 13:00
Category: App Store, Apple, Apps, Business, Developer, Google, iPhone, Opinion, Services, Software

pirate_skull_crossbones_square_sticker-r77418cb09c3345e7b8854da982e2526a_v9wf3_8byvr_512Yahoo! has just acquired Incredible Labs, which developed the Donna personal assistant app for iPhone. The latest update on the Donna blog makes it clear what the fate of the app and service will be;

“The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close shortly. Following closing, Donna will be removed from the app store and discontinued as a service.”

No date has been given, but they are likely to follow the model where users will be given a window of a few months in order migrate their data and find a new solution. I’m not personally a user of Donna, however if I was I’d be pretty upset.

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Facebook launches Paper app on Feb 3rd

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 30th, 2014, 09:50
Category: App Store, Apple, Apps, iOS, iPhone, Social, Software, User Interface

facebook-appFacebook announced that come February 3rd, its new iOS app called Paper should be hitting the US AppStore for iPhone only. So what is Paper? It seems that it is intended to be a number of things, although Facebook seems to be emphasizing the angle that is for news reading, not just from your friends, but from a variety of feeds that Facebook makes available within the app. Whether Paper is intended to eventually replace its current app hasn’t been mentioned, but from the looks of the demo video it comes close.

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What’s coming up on the PowerPage?

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Date: Tuesday, January 28th, 2014, 16:13
Category: Announcement, App Store, Apple, Features, Hardware, Interview, iOS, iPhone, Mac, Review, Software, Uncategorized

PP bolt logoI thought I’d take some time out to mention one of the things we have planned for the PowerPage this year. As a result, you may see things get jumbled around a bit while we figure out the best way to organize it.

We’ll soon be doing more software and hardware reviews as regular features. The hope is to bring more detailed information and feedback so that our readers can make better choices about the things they need. We are also hoping that readers will send us requests on what they want to see reviewed. How’s that for interaction! Separately, we’ll also be doing regular reviews of iPhone and iPad apps to help wade through the billions of apps piling up in the AppStore.

What? There’s more?! Now, I’m not promising anything, but we’d like to bring you some interview content, in either audio or video form, from Macworld/iWorld in March. Sounds like I’m going to be busy.

Tim Cook hints at possible mobile payment feature

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 28th, 2014, 13:40
Category: App Store, Apple, Business, iOS, iPhone, iTunes, Retail Store, security

touch-id-iconApple’s earnings numbers weren’t the only thing that came out of Monday’s call. As is typical, analysts were given the chance to put some questions to CEO Tim Cook. Also typical, Apple’s answers were fairly vague. When asked about Apple’s plans for entering the mobile payment space and how Touch ID technology might be applied, Cook responded;

“[...] we’re seeing that people love being able to buy content—whether it’s music or movies or books, from their iPhone using Touch ID. It’s incredibly simple and easy, and elegant, and it’s clear that there’s a lot of opportunity there.

The mobile payments area in general is one that we’ve been intrigued with. That was one of the thoughts behind Touch ID, but we’re not limiting ourselves just to that. So I don’t have anything specific to announce today. But you can tell by looking at the demographics of our customers, and the amount of commerce that goes through iOS devices versus the competition that it’s a big opportunity on the platform.”

A number of reports have speculated that Apple plans to offer the ability to purchase online and physical items through a user’s iTunes account, which for most iPhone users already has their credit card information. Touch ID would be used as an added layer of security by not exposing the credit card info itself, simply passing off the transaction to iTunes. In the light of the recent hacking of Target’s customer credit card info, along with other similar incidents in the recent past, iPhone users may find mobile payments more appealing. Authorizing transactions with Touch ID then steps in to make payments quick with additional protection of a customer’s information. This could give Apple some leverage to increase the adoption of their iBeacon technology. If you’ve ever used the Apple Store app on your iPhone to buy something at their retail stores, you’ll have a pretty good idea of how it would all work together. Now the only thing you need to do is not feel oddly guilty when you grab a product, scan it with your iPhone, and walk out the door without talking to anyone.

How Apple can protect kids against predatory IAPs #TAC

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 16th, 2014, 16:29
Category: App Store, Apple

Tom’s under the weather, so I wanted to pitch in and cross-post a few of my ZDNet posts. In this one I discuss an issue that’s near and dear to my heart. My kids have accidentally purchased lots of In-App Purchases (IAPs) from the App Store because of Apple’s 15-minute no password window and nefarious developers that riddle free apps with ads and coerce kids into clicking through to bogus add-on purchases in Freemium apps.

Here are the suggestions I posted on The Apple Core:

  1. Offer the ability to require a password for every transaction.
  2. Offer the option to require a password for free downloads.
  3. Actively track the amount of refund requests in apps targeting kids and set a low threshold for penalizing developers that prey on young users with IAPs. (i.e. if your app generated more than 10 refunds in a day your App comes off the App Store for a day, and so on…)
  4. iTunes Store emails should be sent in real time as purchases occur.
  5. Offer the option to send an SMS or push notification to the account owner’s iPhone or iPad immediately after a purchase
  6. Make refunds easier to requests. Currently you can only request a refund within the desktop version of iTunes, and it’s extremely difficult to find
  7. Add more detail to IAPs in Recent Purchases UI by naming the host app in which the IAP occurred

The problem is that Apple took in $10 billion in revenue from the App Store in 2013, so there’s a strong disincentive to them doing anything that curbs its ferocious rate of sales. (Read more at ZDNet).

What’s your take?

Apple’s iOS App Store nets $10 billion in 2013

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 10th, 2014, 09:26
Category: Announcement, App Store, Apple, Apps, Business, Finance, iOS, iPhone, Software

apple-moneyAccording to an announcement by Apple on Tuesday, the company took home more than $10 billion last year from iOS app sales. Christmas sales put them over the top with customers downloading almost 3 billion apps, making December Apple’s most lucrative and successful month in the App Store’s history. BusinessWire’s coverage of the record setting sales quoted Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue;

“We’d like to thank our customers for making 2013 the best year ever for the App Store. The lineup of apps for the holiday season was astonishing and we look forward to seeing what developers create in 2014.”

Apple also reported that iOS developers have now earned a collective $15 billion from sales on the App Store.

Apple buys SnappyCam

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 7th, 2014, 08:54
Category: App Store, Apple, Apps, Developer, Digital Camera, iOS, iPhone, photos, Software

3015176-inline-i-1-snappy-cam-faster-appleNo more than a week into 2014 and Apple is already scooping up another small technology company. This time it’s an iPhone app called SnappyCam and its developer, John Papandriopoulos. Don’t go looking for it in the AppStore though, it has unfortunately been removed, so if you ‘snapped’ it up (couldn’t resist) consider yourself lucky. As for everyone else, wait a while and you may see the benefits of the app showing up in an iOS update. So what was so amazing about SnappyCam?

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More iOS purchases over Christmas than on Android

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 31st, 2013, 09:36
Category: Android, App Store, Apple, Apps, Holiday, iOS, iPhone, Mobile Phone, Software

iOS-vs-AndroidBefore we ring out 2013, we probably want to slip in that Apple did extremely well against Android over the holiday season. Regarding apps, it appears that the AppStore did quite a bit of business around Christmas as compared to Android. IBM’s latest Digital Analytics Benchmark Report found that purchases made from iOS devices accounted for about 23 percent of the online shopping done on Christmas Day in the U.S.

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12 Days: Day 6 gift

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Date: Tuesday, December 31st, 2013, 09:17
Category: App Store, Apple, Holiday, iTunes, iTunes Music Store, music

Day6ApplegiveawayThe watch for free gifts from Apple continues. For day six of its 12 Days promotion, Apple is offering one song and one video from Avicii’s New Years Eve Mix. With less than 24 hours to go until New Years, this seems like an appropriate choice. Keep watching the PowerPage as we run-down each giveaway until the last on January 6th. Maybe I’ll listen to it while I’m working NYE.