Square Stand launches in Apple, Best Buy retail locations

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Mobile payments company Square today announced the launch of the Square Stand in Apple and Best Buy retail locations. The Square Stand holds an iPad and turns it into a “complete point of sale,” allowing for the scanning of credit cards and processing of those payments.

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iOS App Store celebrates 5th anniversary, discreetly makes select apps free

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Apple has quietly made some of its most popular games and applications free, perhaps in conjunction with the iOS App Store first launching five years ago this week. With original prices ranging from $0.99 to $19.99, the applications seem to be hand selected as some of the store’s most popular and successful.

The App Store will celebrate its fifth birthday on July 10th and Apple has already begun sharing statistics to show how far it has come. At WWDC earlier last month, the company announced that it had accumulated 575 million app store accounts. These users are selecting from a catalog of apps surpassing 900,000.

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ProPublica Launches Mobile Magazine

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Photo via NPR

Investigative website ProPublica is the latest in a growing group of companies that’s looking to mobile for new projects and growth. In the case of ProPublica, this means the launch of ProPublica The Magazine on Apple’s Newsstand for iOS devices.

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Apple looks to lead music stream service with iTunes Radio

itunes_logo__130610220741-275x241In addition to the announcement of iOS 7 at WWDC 2013 yesterday, Apple also introduced iTunes Radio, a new music streaming service. While Apple’s venture into the space has been long rumored, this is Apple’s first iteration of a radio-like service. iTunes Radio will be free to all iOS device users and available in the fall.

iTunes Radio will provide a service exactly like Pandora, as it identifies users taste to find and play similar music. Users of iTunes Radio will gain access to the entire iTunes catalog which currently stands at over 26 million tracks. Prior to iTunes Radio, Apple used a tool called Genius, a playlist builder in iTunes which compiled similar sounding music in a user’s library.

With the introduction of iTunes Radio, Apple seems to be making a push in becoming a leader in streaming music.  iTunes Radio will include access to the entire iTunes library, but will not have on-demand streaming capabilities similar to Spotify or Rdio. iTunes Radio also lacks the social component that is offered with other music streaming apps.

For many music streaming applications, users who do not want to receive ads can subscribe to the service for a monthly fee. Apple currently provides a subscription-based service called iTunes Match that shares a user’s iTunes music via iCloud. Unlike Spotify, which allows users to simply stream anything from its robust library, iTunes Match requires users to own all of their music via iTunes purchase or uploaded data.

The strength of a service like this resides in the library, which iTunes has in its favor. Working with Sony, Universal and Warner, Apple has compiled a much stronger music catalog than its competitors. As mentioned before, iTunes has a library of over 26 million songs while Google Play only has 18 million and Pandora has 20 million.

By being able to offer music that is not available elsewhere, iTunes Radio may provide a service that cannot be duplicated. Apple has built a strong enough library of music to make a significant impact on the space.

Google closes on deal for Waze

Waze logoGoogle has acquired crowd-sourced mapping application, Waze, as announced from the company’s official blog.

It was long rumored that both Facebook and Apple have shown interest in acquiring the Israel based startup, but have been beat out by Google. While acquisition price is still up in the air, it has been speculated at 1 billion to 1.3 billion dollars.

The Waze product development team will still operate separately in Israel for the time being and plans on using each mapping application complementary to each other. Google also plans on focusing on the Waze community who is seen as the “DNA of [the] app”.

“The Waze community and its dedicated team have created a great source of timely road corrections and updates,” said Google’s Brian McClendon, Vice President of Geo, in a statement. ”We welcome them to Google and look forward to working with them in our ongoing effort to make a comprehensive, accurate and useful map of the world.”

According to AppData, Waze is currently the #2 of top free navigation app for iOS. With Google Maps” at number one of top free navigation apps, Google has taken a significant stronghold of the navigation app landscape.

Apple debuts iOS 7; an end-to-end redesign for iOS devices, photo sharing capabilities

Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 12.14.32 PMApple has debuted the newest iteration of iOS at its annual developers conference in San Francisco today. iOS 7, which releases in beta for iPhone today, will receive an official release for current iOS devices in the fall.

With iOS 7, Apple has done a major overhaul both in design and feature set. The updated mobile operating system boasts a completely new look which highlights a flatter design; a new color palette; different, hybrid font; and updated stock app icons. The lockscreen also has a new look, where the slide to unlock bar is now transparent and the notifications center is accessible without unlocking the device. From a functionality standpoint, all of the stock applications have also been updated with new gesture-based, sliding navigation.

Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 1.49.37 PM (more…)

Google Translate Review

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Google Translate is an Android and iOS app from Google. It was recently updated to version 2.0 on most Android devices, while the iOS and older versions of Android continue to run a previous version. It is available for free on Google Play and the iTunes App Store and carries no additional in-app purchases.

Google’s ability to translate words, phrases, and webpages has become a useful tool for users of all interests and professions. The Google Translate app presents all the same functionality of Google’s web translator on a mobile device, allowing users to translate text and voice in over 70 languages on the go. Android users get the added bonus of camera functionality, which allows the user to take a picture of text, and have it translated on the spot.

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Apple gains platform market share, Android and iOS combines for 91% of smartphone user base

ComScore logoAlthough Google’s Android operating system remained the top smartphone platform, Apple once again gained market share, according to ComScore’s March 2013 Mobile Subscriber Market Share report. Also, the Android OS and Apple’s iOS combined for 91 percent of the U.S. smartphone user base of 136.7 million.

During the three month period from the end of December 2012 to the end of March 2013, the smartphone market penetration was up 9 percent to 58 percent, translating to 136.7 million users owning smartphones, with 71.1 million users who own Android smartphones and 53.5 million who own iPhones.ComScore top smartphone OEMs March 2013

The Reston, Va.-based analytics firm reported that Apple claimed the No. 1 spot as the top smartphone original equipment manufacture (OEM) with 39 percent — up 2.7 percent — of the U.S. smartphone OEM market share. Samsung nabbed the No. 2 position with a 21.7 percent market share, up 0.7 percent. Keep in mind that it won’t be another month or two before Samsung’s market share sees an effect from the recently launch Samsung Galaxy S4. Rounding out the bottom of the top smartphone OEMs chart was HTC with a 9 percent market share, Motorola with 8.5 percent and LG with 6.8 percent.

As per usual, the Android OS was the top smartphone platform with 52 percent market share, down 1.4 percent. Apple’s platform share rose once again, increasing 2.7 percent to 39 percent. BlackBerry came in at No. 3 with 5.2 percent share, falling 1.2 percent. Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS increased 0.1 percent to 3.0 percent and Accenture’s Symbian OS dropped 0.1 percent to 0.5 percent.ComScore top smartphone platforms March 2013

Apple counts down to 50B app downloads milestone

apple250In today’s weekly App Store refresh, which Apple does every Thursday, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company added a countdown to 50 billion app downloads.

Apple did a similar countdown in February 2012 when the App Store was reaching the 25 billion mark for downloads. To celebrate the 50 billion downloads achievement, Apple will be awarding a $10,000 App Store gift card to the user who downloads the 50 billionth app, and the following 50 users who download an app will receive a $500 App Store gift card.

In early January, Apple announced that its App Store exceeded the 40 billion downloads mark (excluding re-downloads and app updates), with approximately 20 billion downloads occurring in 2012. December 2012, in particular, was a record-breaking month in terms of app downloads, where the company saw more than two billion apps downloaded during the month.

Here are the top 25 free and paid apps of all-time for iPhone and iPad: (more…)

Apple App Store has now paid out $9B to developers

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Apple announced on its earning call today that the Apple App Store has now paid out $9 billion to developers. This means that the Apple App Store has earned a total of $12.8 billion over its lifetime, with Apple earning $3.8 billion from a 30 percent cut of sales. Apple also shared that $4.5 billion of that amount was gained in the last four quarters alone. This means that Apple now pays developers over $billion per quarter.

The Apple App Store, available in 155 countries, now hosts more than 850,000 iOS apps and 350,000 dedicated iPad apps, adding 50,000 apps since Apple’s last reported figure from its earnings report in January.

The App Store, which exceeded 40 billion downloads in the last fiscal quarter, has now reached 45 billion downloads, meaning it now sees a staggering 800 app downloads per second.

 

 

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