Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘apple’ Category

Apple App Store Price Increases

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The BBC is reporting that Apple is expected to shortly raise prices for what it charges for apps in select countries, including the UK, India, and Turkey.

The increase is about a 25 percent one over previous currency conversions, which for the UK was 79p.

Now, Apple intends to numerically match the U.S. cost, meaning a $.99 app in the U.S. will now be 99p in the UK.

9to5 Mac asserts that the rising prices for both apps and in-app purchases is due to changes in exchange rates and taxation policy. Call it “The Brexit Effect,” which has led to weakened pound exchange rate post-Brexit.

Also figuring into the equation is the UK’s 20 percent value-added tax.

Apple app developers should check the official documentation for the full details and breakdown of the app cost increases.

Written by turbotodd

January 17, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Posted in 2017, apple, apps, developers, iPhone

Apple Developing Content, Facebook Goes To J-School

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If you’ve been wondering how Apple is looking to expand its profit-seeking horizons, Apple Insider may have the story for you.

They’re reporting that Apple is looking to get into the “original programming” business, which would include serialized drama and feature-length pieces.

Apparently the company already has three projects underway, including a “Carpool Karaoke” spinoff, a “Planet of the Apps” reality show focused on developers building….wait for it….apps….and an apparent semi-biographical show about Dr. Dre entitled “Vital Signs.”

Book that table for the Golden Globes as early as possible.

If you’re more interested in the journalism route, Facebook’s also making its own moves, introducing its “Facebook Journalism Project.”

The rationale:

we’re announcing a new program to establish stronger ties between Facebook and the news industry. We will be collaborating with news organizations to develop products, learning from journalists about ways we can be a better partner, and working with publishers and educators on how we can equip people with the knowledge they need to be informed readers in the digital age.
– via media.fb.com

The program will include three primary segments, one focusing on the collaborative development of news products, one for training and tools for journalists

You can get the full details here.

Written by turbotodd

January 12, 2017 at 8:52 am

Posted in 2017, apple, facebook, journalism

Year Of The Fire Rooster

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Happy New Year!

It’s hard to believe it’s already 2017. Then again, if you’re like so many others I know, it was seriously goodbye and good riddance to 2016.

May the new year bring you much prosperity and happiness. And if you follow the Chinese zodiac, you should know it’s the “Year of the Rooster.”

Specifically, 2017 is a “Fire Rooster” year, one that comes along every 60-year cycle.

The Rooster ranks tenth among the Chinese zodiac animals, and represents fidelity and punctuality (remembering the rooster wakes people up on time). People who are born in the year of the Rooster are generally kind-hearted, hard-working, humorous, and honest.

Speaking of China, there’s been a few related news tidbits worthy of passing along.

One is that Kathy Chen, the managing director in Greater China, is moving along to greener pastures.

Chen explained in a Tweetstorm what the story behind the story, which in a nutshell seems to be that everything is good with Twitter’s business in China (despite Twitter continuing to be blocked by the Great Firewall), but that they’re moving their Greater China business back to Hong Kong.

Apparently it’s not the year of the Twitter Rooster.

Maybe the NFL will pick up some traction. It just announced it’s hoping to expand its presence with a new deal that gives Sina Weibo (China’s version of Twitter) the rights to live stream select games on its network, including the Super Bowl.

The deal marks the first time a sports league will live stream games on the service.

And just in case you were sleeping through the holidays, there was David Barboza’s piece in The New York Times entitled “How China Built ‘iPhone City’ With Billions in Perks for Apple’s Partner.”

Call that one the “Golden Rooster.”

Written by turbotodd

January 3, 2017 at 1:59 pm

Posted in 2016, apple, china, twitter

Not A Pro Battery

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If you’re still looking for those holiday stocking stuffers or gifts under the tree, you might want to grab a copy of Consumer Reports before you invest in a new Apple MacBook Pro.

The company just conducted their most recent evaluations, and while the new Pros did very well in measures of display quality and performance, “the models varied dramatically from one trial to another.”

As a result, CR went on to explain, “these laptops are the first MacBooks not to receive recommended ratings from Consumer Reports.”

CR acknowledges that complaints about MacBook Pro batteries have been raised since the laptops first went on sale in November, and Apple’s guidances was that these computers “should operate for up to 10 hours between charges.” Only users in Apple support forums reported they were only able to use their laptops for three to four hours before the battery ran down.

You can see CR’s full read out here.

Written by turbotodd

December 24, 2016 at 9:58 am

Posted in 2016, apple

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BlackBerry’s Uphill Battle

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So, tomorrow’s the big day.

Research In Motion is formally introducing its BlackBerry 10 operating system.

Will the industry yawn and wonder what part of the mobile wilderness that RIM the BlackBerry has been wandering, or will it welcome the potential for new innovation with open arms?

We shall see, but there’s been no end of speculation and expectation appearing in the blogosphere.

For IT professionals, The Wall Street Journal’s Clint Boulton indicated CIOs should be prepared to ask (and get answered) a few key questions.

They center around pricing, upgradability of BlackBerry’s Enterprise Server, interoperability with iPhone and Android, and the like.

The broader question is what will drive demand? Will the market be receptive to the new phones and software behind BlackBerry 10, or are iPhones and Androids “good enough?”

Plenty of tech and mobile companies have had their time “in the wilderness,” and there’s nothing to focus innovation and R&D like dwindling market share.

I was a faithful BlackBerry subscriber for several years, before the lure of the more user-friendly environment of the iOS operating system drew me away from my last RIM device, the BlackBerry Bold.

Looking back, there were a few things I especially liked about RIM’s earlier offerings.

Most notably, the real-time, secure email capability. At a time when I was traveling extensively, there was nothing like being able to walk off the plane and crank up my Bold to find out what had happened in my world the prior 10 hours I was in the air.

I also liked the ability to synchronize with my work calendar — nothing like missing a meeting because you didn’t know it was even happening.

What I didn’t like? The inability to easily introduce new applications and content, most notably music and video (vis a vis iTunes), and yes, that all important road warrior time killer, games. I could only take so many bouts of “Bricks” or “Breakout” (It’s been so long, I forgot what the game was called!)

The application universe also always seemed so limited with RIM, so if they are going to “break out” of the wilderness, that app ecosystem is going to be key.

But only if the OS is up to the task.

CNET’s Roger Cheng explains we can expect two new devices at least, the Z10 and X10, a touchscreen and keyboard version, respectively, and that they’ll be available in February.

As far as apps are concerned, Cheng indicates BB 10 will launch with 70,000 apps.

Though that pales compared to the number of iOS and Android apps currently available, it’s a start, and the real key will be are they the RIGHT apps (the ones that help the mobile warrior stay productive, informed, entertained, and sane on the road, and yet have enough attraction to pull in other demographics).

Creating awareness through marketing will also be key to RIM’s renaissance. The “mindspace” for mobile has been increasingly dominated by the Apple and Google juggernauts over these past few years, and we can hardly turn our heads without seeing Samsung’s TV spots suggesting the iPhone is your our parent’s geriatric mobile device.

RIM hasn’t been part of the conversation for…well, years.

But I think RIM’s challenges are much bigger than awareness. The proof is going to be in the pudding, or in their case, in the user experience.

Design of a useful, attractive and compelling user experience may not have been MORE important in a new product launch in eons, because despite having the early advantage in the mobile smartphone space, now every new experience (including the BB 10 is) going to inevitably be compared to another, existing experience like iOS and Android.

Between that, the desire for a rich apps ecosystem, and getting the word out to a skeptical public — well, over the next few months, let’s just say we’re going to find out how much Motion their Research has as they try to convince loyal, “pry this mobile device out of my cold, dead hands” users out of their comfort zone and into the land of the unknown BlackBerry.

Written by turbotodd

January 29, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Holiday Shopping And Streaming

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Santa brought Turbo a new (used) set of vintage 1988 Ben Hogan "Redline" blade golf clubs...whether or not they'll do anything to help lower his handicap remains to be seen!

Santa brought Turbo a new (used) set of vintage 1988 Ben Hogan “Redline” blade golf clubs…whether or not they’ll do anything to help lower his handicap remains to be seen!

Well, I hope you and yours are having a happy holiday season, wherever in the world you may be.

I just returned from a wonderful visit to see my parents and some extended family up in my hometown of Denton, Texas, where we were treated to our first white Christmas in three years, the snow billowing down starting around mid-day Christmas Day, and plunging the Dallas/Ft. Worth roads into a virtual ice skating rink.

As for the Christmas holiday shopping season, Sarah Perez with TechCrunch just reported that Amazon.com once again came out on top, in terms of online satisfaction.

No big surprise there.  I conducted a large portion of my own holiday shopping via Amazon, and received everything I ordered within a few days. I also treated myself to a set of Ben Hogan 1988 “redline” blade golf clubs, which I discovered on eBay for a very agreeable price. Unfortunately, the weather in Texas has kept me off the golf course (now back in Austin, I hope for that to change in the next few days!).

Of course, if you were trying to watch movies on Netflix on Monday, you might have found yourself watching a blank screen. Due to an Amazon Web Services outage, Netflix viewers were treated to bags full of coal starting around 3:30 PM on Monday, AWS’s third major outage this year.

Myself, I went on a “Redbox” binge over the holiday, discovering some recent titles for $1.20 a pop (including the latest Spiderman!), only to discover they’ll be bringing some competition to the streaming realm with the introduction of “Redbox Instant,” expected to go into private beta sometime soon. Redbox Instant is expected to match Netflix’s monthly streaming subscription price of $8 U.S.

Whatever your preference, it certainly looks like more and more Americans will be viewing filmed entertainment on devices other than their TVs. Another TechCrunch story reports that one in four Americans now owns a tablet computing device, with such devices now even having overtaken the number of e-reading devices like the Kindle (again, I did my fair share here over the holidays, giving out two Kindle Fire HDs as family gifts. Now I can only cross my fingers my family will use them!)

Regardless of your preference, the story goes on to say that one in three people in the U.S. now owns some kind of tablet or e-reading device, and this data before the full gamut of holiday shopping data has hit analysts’ spreadsheets.

One such analyst, Strategy Analytics, has Apple’s iPad still leading the pack, with Amazon and Samsung quickly narrowing that lead.

So what did Santa bring YOU for Christmas, and better yet, what did Santa YOU give others???

Written by turbotodd

December 27, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Big Commerce In China

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China's Taobao is just one of thousands of Chinese-based e-commerce properties helping propel China into the world's single largest digital marketplace. So far in 2012, Alibaba (Taobao's parent company) has generated over $157 billion U.S. in gross merchandise volume, making it the largest e-commerce property in the world.

China’s Taobao is just one of thousands of Chinese-based e-commerce properties helping propel China into the world’s single largest digital marketplace. So far in 2012, Alibaba (Taobao’s parent company) has generated over $157 billion U.S. in gross merchandise volume, making it the largest e-commerce property in the world.

You read in my last post about last Monday’s “Cyber Monday” tidings according to the IBM Digital Benchmark.

Well, TechCrunch is reporting from comScore data that the holiday shopping juggernaut continues well beyond Cyber Monday.

comScore’s data found that e-commerce spending for the first 30 days of this November-December 2012 holiday season has amounted to a respectable $20.4 billion, a 15 percent increase over the same time period last year.

During the past week alone, comScore reported three individual days surpassing $1 billion in spending, according to the TechCrunch post by Leena Rao, with the peak, of course, coming on Cyber Monday at $1.46 billion.

Of course, all that might seem like chump change when you hold it up against some e-commerce numbers coming out of China, via a post on VentureBeat.

China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba alone has sold an estimated $157 billion U.S. in gross merchandise volume this year, which VentureBeat observes surpasses Amazon and eBay combined.

In fact, Alibaba is believed to have garnered a $3 billion single sales day earlier this year.

But the real story here may be Jack Ma’s “Alipay,” Alibaba’s payments processing unit, which now has over 700 million registered users.

According to a recent report from the folks at eMarketer, China’s antiquated banking system and low usage by consumers of credit cards is benefiting the e-commerce industry there.

Alipay, now China’s largest third-party online payment solution, essentially provides escrow payment services that not only facilitate e-commerce transactions in China, but also reduces risk to consumers, because with Alipay, they have the ability to verify whether or not they are satisfied with their purchases before releasing funds to the seller.

And Alipay isn’t just limited to the Chinese marketplace. It now handles transactions in 12 foreign currencies, including in U.S. dollars, Japanese yen, and the euro.

According to the eMarketer report, Alibaba is also upgrading its COD payment infrastructure, investing some $79 million U.S. in a portable device that Alibaba says will consolidate logistics records with credit/debit card payment information in a single terminal.

It’s Alipay’s intent to install thousands such devices across China’s first- and second-tier cities (think Beijing, Shanghai, etc.) by the end of this year, which will help with China’s broader goals of fomenting increased internal consumer consumption.

Of course, if you’re News Corporation, and you’re in the iPad publishing business, no amount of Chinese e-commerce facilitatin’ payment devices are going to help a fledgling business model.

Earlier today, News Corp. finally bifurcated its publishing and entertainment businesses, and seemingly as a minor sidebar, also conceded defeat of its The Daily iPad app effective December 15.

The Daily had been News Corp’s digital pride and joy, a valiant attempt at delivering a daily news publication via the iPad only 100,000 people wanted.

At 99 cents a week, that apparently was not revenue enough even close to maintaining a viable business, so The Daily will now be put to bed.

Ever-reliable media critic website Poynter noted The Daily had two key lessons of failure from which we could all learn.  One, they had no clarity on its intended audience (I thought that was supposed to be iPad users!), and two, one platform, the iPad, just wasn’t enough in a multi-device world.

Perhaps they should have instigated a Chinese edition? Surely they could have drummed up a few more hundred thousand from a population of 1.3 billion!

Written by turbotodd

December 3, 2012 at 11:34 pm

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