Raise a virtual glass on St. Patrick’s Day with iBeer Free

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 17th, 2014, 09:10
Category: App Store, Apple, Apps, Fun, Holiday, iOS, iPhone, Review, Software

iBeer iconFirst off, Happy St. Patrick’s Day from O’Grady’s PowerPage!

I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to tie the holiday into a post, but then I ran across iBeer Free. I’m not sure this is the type of app that gets used on a regular basis, but it can be fun to pull out as a fun way to demonstrate how the iPhone’s accelerometer works. As you can imagine, the app turns your iThing into a virtual glass of beer, or other beverages via in-app purchases. Tilting your iPhone to your mouth as you would a glass makes the simulated beer magically drain away as if you had consumed a refreshing beverage. By default, you get to choose between four simulated types of beers and some green mouthwash, which at first I thought an odd addition, but then I realized it would be perfect for St. Paddy’s Day to give the appearance of chugging some green beer. For $0.99 you can get rid of the ads (highly recommended) which also adds coffee to your list of beverages.

(more…)

Apple TV software gets updated to 6.1…but what does it do?

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 10th, 2014, 23:57
Category: Apple, Apple TV, Features, Opinion, Software

upgrade-apple-tv_?Earlier today we announced that the long anticipated iOS 7.1 update was released. Hot on its heels were a few other updates including one for Xcode (5.1) which adds support for iOS 7.1, an update to the Remote app (4.2), and an update for the Apple TV. The thing is, I can’t seem to find out what the new 6.1 update does, at least not much. Everyone and their grandmother has mentioned the new ability to hide the channel icons directly on the Apple TV menu screen, which previously required you going into the Settings to do this.

(more…)

Happy Monday! iOS 7.1 is here!

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 10th, 2014, 15:20
Category: Apple, iOS, iPad, iPhone, iTunes Radio, Software

7.1_icon_trMondays don’t generally offer much to get excited about what with the return to the harsh, fluorescent lighting of the workplace, the annoying commute, and the reminder that you stayed up too late drinking on Saturday AND Sunday; but at least Apple there for you this week with a shiny, new iOS update. Yep, 7.1 is here, a little later than expected, but still in time to beat the iTunes Festival. Seeing as how this is a “major” update, you should probably have iTunes make a backup of your device before pulling the trigger on the 7.1 update. If you can’t wait, because maybe you are stuck in a boring meeting, you can update over-the-air too, but you’ll probably need around 2 GB free on your device.

(more…)

iOS 7.1 may be right around the corner

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, March 5th, 2014, 18:51
Category: Announcement, Apple, iOS, iPhone, Rumor, Software

ios7logoInitially hinted by John Gruber of Daring Fireball, in connection with the first iTunes Festival in the US, several sources say that the release of an iOS 7.1 update is imminent. Previous reports had indicated that 7.1 was likely to arrive in March and adding to the fact that Apple has recently released new deployment tools for use in business and education environments, it looks like they are on track for the release soon. Apple is expected to update its iTunes Festival iOS application to support live streaming of the concerts from the SXSW festival, which runs from March 11th to the 15th, and according to Gruber, the new app requires iOS 7.1. That’s not a lot to go on, but it seems pretty solid, so keep your eyes peeled and software update button ready for the next few days.

Stephen Hawking documentary ‘A Brief History of Time’ is now on iTunes

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, February 27th, 2014, 17:32
Category: Amazon, History, iTunes

A Brief History of TimeIn preparation of its release on Blue-ray, the Criterion Collection has made Errol Morris’s documentary about Stephen Hawking available on the iTunes Store. The 1991 film tells the story of Hawking’s struggle with the degenerative disease that paralyzed him. From the description;

“Errol Morris turns his camera on one of the most fascinating men in the world: the pioneering astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, afflicted by a debilitating motor neuron disease that has left him without a voice or the use of his limbs. An adroitly crafted tale of personal adversity, professional triumph, and cosmological inquiry, Morris’s documentary examines the way the collapse of Hawking’s body has been accompanied by the untrammeled broadening of his imagination. Telling the man’s incredible story through the voices of his colleagues and loved ones, while making dynamically accessible some of the theories in Hawking’s best-selling book of the same name, A Brief History of Time is at once as small as a single life and as big as the ever-expanding universe.”

The film won numerous awards including 3rd place for Best Documentary from the National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA 1993. The movie can be purchased on iTunes for $19.95 (HD), $14.99 (SD), or rented for $3.99 (HD), $2.99 (SD). The Blu-ray/DVD edition can be pre-ordered on Amazon for $24.99 and will be released on March 18.

 

 

Apple celebrates The Fab Four with new Apple TV channel

Posted by:
Date: Monday, February 10th, 2014, 08:15
Category: Announcement, Apple, Apple TV, iTunes Music Store, music

Beatles_50thIf you don’t know who The Fab Four are, you can stop reading now. You might also consider getting out once in a while. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles debut in America, Apple has added an Apple TV channel dedicated to the lads from Liverpool. The channel allows users to view The Beatles’ groundbreaking performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” for a limited time, and also offers download links to The Beatles’ U.S. releases, which are available digitally for the first time on iTunes. Steve Jobs was a known admirer of The Beatles and struggled for years to strike a deal with record label EMI. It may not have helped that for years Apple battled Apple Corps Ltd., founded by The Beatles themselves in 1968, for the right to use the name “Apple”. The dispute was settled in 2007, after which users anticipated Apple to announce The Beatles music catalog to be available in the iTunes Store. Frustrated music lovers were finally rewarded in November 2010 when it was announced that Beatles music would at last be available for download. The group’s music went on to sell 2 million songs and 450,000 albums in its first week on the iTunes Store.

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.

12 Days: Day 6 gift

Posted by:
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.