Apple held an event celebrating 50 billion App Store downloads where the person who downloaded app 50,000,000 would win a $10,000 App Store gift card and the next fifty downloaders would win $500 App Store gift cards. Well Apple passed that milestone today. Didn’t download an app today? Don’t worry, that didn’t decrease your odds of winning at all.
Apple’s marquee iOS 6 feature “Flyover” has been available in most major cities now for quite some time. However, there has been at least one major exception, and that’s Paris, France. As noted by the good folks over at 9to5Mac, that changed today, and you can now witness the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and Notre Dame in their 3D glory. In truth, Paris, like many older cities in Europe, is remarkable to view in Flyover mode, primarily because of how different it looks as compared to modern cities. Whereas a city like New York rises many stories into the air, Paris, having been inhabited a thousand years before New York would be settled as New Amsterdam, lays almost flat by modern standards. This makes prominent landmarks such as the aforementioned Eiffel Tower truly stand out, as there are few structures challenging its height. We’re not sure when the iOS 7 team is finding time to update Maps, but while we wait for WWDC to get here, go check it out!
I promised myself I wouldn’t write another post about Apple’s advertising. It is ridiculous, when you think about it. Companies, Apple included, pay millions and millions of dollars for prime marketing spots on television, in newspapers, and on billboards all over the world. Apple has a sizable, focused marketing budget as well, though it pales in comparison to certain competitors (we’re looking at you, Samsung). But where does the insanity start? That begins whenever Apple releases a new ad. The whole blogosphere erupts with stories about the new ad. Is it good, is it insanely great? Even The Wall Street Journal‘s tech blog offshoot AllThingsD gets in on the game. It is an incredible phenomenon that probably doubles and triples the effective reach of Apple’s marketing dollars. So, even though I’m obviously a big Apple fan, I promised myself I would avoid writing additional posts about Apple’s ads. Everybody else does it, it doesn’t really help anybody, and it’s free advertising for a for-profit company that can certainly afford their own.
Yesterday’s earnings call was at once more boring and more interesting than most earnings calls have been. Tim Cook was frank with investors, acknowledging a slow down of growth in Apple’s overall business this fiscal year, lower profit margins, and the fact that the iMac would have been better released at the beginning of 2013. There were, of course, a wide variety of astounding figures released, and ultimately the company performed better than analysts expected. Most interesting to me, however, were two statements Tim Cook made early in the call. First, he mentioned an “exciting new product category.” Pick your poison on whether you believe this to be the oft-fabled iTV, the more recently-rumored iWatch, or something else all together (toaster fridge?), but it’s nice to hear Cook publicly acknowledge that there is an entirely new line of product being developed in Cupertino – something to look forward to!
Apple announced the dates for WWDC 2013 this morning. Apple’s annual developer conference will be held June 10th-14th in San Francisco, California. Tickets are $1,599, and they are available to participants of Apple’s developer program. Not a developer, why should you care? Because WWDC is generally where new software is announced, and we are due for news on iOS 7 and OS X 10.9.
The Apple Pop-Up Museum came to Atlanta this weekend and brought an incredible look at Apple’s history. The Pop-Up Museum was brought in conjunction with the Vintage Computer Festival Southeast 1.0 and was on display April 20th and 21st in Roswell, Georgia (Ars Technica has the story of how the exhibit came together here). Going into it, I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew I’d see some old Apple hardware, didn’t know what to expect past that. What I got was a comprehensive exhibit of Apple’s history spanning from Apple Computer’s inception to Apple’s iOS-driven present. It was well worth checking out, and I hope the exhibit finds a permanent home and/or encourages Apple to open a museum of their own.
Twitter #music launched this morning for iOS bringing music discovery to one of the world largest social media platforms. The concept behind Twitter #music is simple: you can discover and share artist based on what’s trending, what people you follow are listening too, and what artists you follow. The music is provided either by iTunes Preview, Spotify, or RDIO, depending on what services you use (you can listen to entire songs with premium Spotify or RDIO accounts, or snippets without them).
Apple’s refurbished product store is well known for offering small discounts on products that are essentially the same as the ones you buy in an Apple Store. Although the refurbishing process is a little bit different for each product, it often includes a new screen, battery, and the like, in addition to fixing any cosmetic issues and restoring the original one-year warranty. The latest version of Apple’s popular iPod Touch has thus far been a holdout, never appearing in the refurbished store – until this week.
After being pulled from the App Store ten days ago, AppGratis has made it clear they have no intention of going down without a fight. Although the app can no longer be downloaded by iOS users, those who already have it installed are free to continue to use it – and AppGratis claims over 12 million people are in that position. Therefore, in addition to taking their story to the press, AppGratis is also fighting back against Apple’s judgement from within their own app, hitting users with a series of splash screens telling “their side of the story” and asking for support. On the “Save AppGratis” website, the developer claims to have received over half a million expressions of support from users.