Archive for October, 2009
Photoshop.com Mobile app for iPhone and iPod touch is now available in the iTunes app store for free. The Photoshop.com Mobile app allows you to edit and share photos directly from your iPod touch or iPhone. It connects to your online Photoshop.com account if you have one, or you can use it to edit the photos stored directly on your device. If you don’t already have a Photoshop.com membership, the free basic plan will give you 2GB of online storage. A Plus membership is $50 per year and gives you 20GB of storage.
I don’t have an iPhone, but I have been playing with the app on my iPod touch and I think Adobe did a really nice job with this app. I can access all the photos synced to Photoshop.com from Photoshop Elements, as well as the photos I have synced to the iPod’s storage. You can also upload photos from your device to your Photoshop.com account–a useful feature for those who have an iPhone with built-in camera. (more…)
Citing anonymous sources, the Apple news site says the functionality of the application will be similar to what Apple built into the iPod Nano. That includes the ability to pause live FM transmissions and fast-forward when you resume playing.
According to 9 to 5 Mac, the delay in getting the app to market is Apple’s decision to integrate it with the iTunes Store, which is built into the devices. With this integration, people will be able to tap on a song they hear on the radio and buy it through iTunes.
Of course, Apple wouldn’t be the first company to offer some type of FM functionality on the iPhone. Applications like Wunder Radio have been around for over a year and enable people to stream Internet radio to their iPhone and iPod Touch.
The big advantage Apple would have is linking its application to the iTunes Store, which creates the potential for more
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that AT&T is still working to fine tune its network before allowing iPhone customers to tether computers to their mobile device.
“Whenever we offer new features, we want to offer the best possible customer experience,” an AT&T spokesperson told the publication. “For tethering, we need to do some additional fine tuning to our systems and networks so that we do deliver a great experience.”
Earlier this week AT&T announced that it will support voice applications using the iPhone’s 3G network connection. Applications like Skype and Google Voice were previously barred restricted to using only WiFi connections, as we reported this summer.
AT&T did not announce a time frame when customers would be able to use the iPhone’s tethering feature.
With its large subsidies to Apple, AT&T doesn’t break even on iPhone accounts with high data-usage until the 17th month of a 24-month contract, according to a new report from Yankee Group.
The report, titled “The Golden Subsidy Egg’s Goose is Cooked: Welcome to the Brave New Subsidy-Free World,” looks at the downside of subsidies paid to manufacturers by cell phone carriers. The report cites AT&T’s iPhone contract with Apple as a prime example.
Subsidies have typically helped mobile carriers offer customers free or low-cost devices in order to lure them into buying long-term service contracts. Smartphone owners are happy because they’re getting the latest devices at rock-bottom prices. But the surge in data use and the rising cost of grabbing new customers are cutting profit margins for providers, says Yankee Group.
With the mid-2008 launch of the iPhone 3G, AT&T struck a subsidy deal with Apple that slashed the price to consumers to $199 for the low-end version but forced the carrier to bear the upfont costs of each unit. Several published reports have estimated that AT&T’s subsidy is at least $300 per phone. (Neither AT&T nor Apple responded to requests for confirmation.)
At the time, AT&T acknowledged that the new deal would impact profit margins and dilute earnings. The company’s second-quarter results did show a dip in both revenue and earnings.
AT&T went along with the subsidy because it felt that lower iPhone prices would bring in more customers. But in a catch-22, more customers have also put a strain on the carrier’s network, both for voice and data. Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets, said in August that AT&T’s wireless data usage jumped almost 5,000 percent from 2006 to 2009.
That strain has made for some unhappy iPhone users and has forced AT&T to scramble in order to beef up its wireless infrastructure.
Removing the subsidy for AT&T would win the company a total return of 33 percent over a two-year contract and reduce the break-even point to eight months, Yankee Group said.
Moreover, unless mobile carriers in general can cut their reliance on subsidies, Yankee Group noted, they may see profit margins fall even further.
“Until now, North American operators have been kings of the devices market, controlling distribution and bearing many of the risks,” Andy Castonguay, Yankee Group director and author of the report, said Thursday in a statement. “Rising customer acquisition costs, exclusivity fees and flat-rate pricing are squeezing margins for coveted smartphone users. To reverse this trend, operators must spread the control and risks across OEMs and retailers to offer more affordable options and establish greater levels of clarity and trust with consumers.”
As an avid coffee consumer, I make serious attempts to stay away from two types of the “good ole Joe” — decaf and instant. I joke that both are a waste of money, because when I want a cup of coffee, I mean I want a “real” cup of coffee.
Eight months ago, Starbucks introduced its first instant coffee, simply called “Via,” to stores in Seattle and Chicago. Based on its success, the corporation is now ready to make Via available for purchase from coast to coast in the United States and Canada. (As a side note, the company would not release its exact sales of its opening campaign but promised that sales
Starbucks has a tough crowd to please. Statistics echo my sentiment towards the instant drink, as Americans in general seem willing to wait the extra minute for the drip brew, because they associate it with higher quality, according to Fox News. Europeans however, seem to prefer instant coffee to drip brew, as 80 percent of coffee sales in the UK are instant coffee, according to Fox News.
But, the company is confident its elaborate campaign will prove successful. To launch Via, Starbucks arranged for a large-scale distribution of Via to over 1,500 sites outside of its stores, according to Fox News.
I cannot speak for everyone, but one thing I do know that is when I go to Starbucks, very rarely do I buy plain-old coffee. If I am taking to time to go out for some good java, I plan to spend the extra couple of dollars on a shot of espresso with a little bit of flavoring.
The company is making the right decision by exporting Via to places other than chain stores. This is where Starbucks will make the majority of its profits. When I shop for groceries, I always think convenience. What I can purchase that takes the least amount of preparation possible? I will venture to say most of us as college students make purchases with this question in mind. For this reason, I think sales of the Via will spike in the college demographic, at least for a little while.
Even though I jokingly consider myself a coffee connoisseur, I have purchased Folgers’ Instant Coffee in the past. And I must admit, it satisfied my taste buds, and gave me a needed caffeine rush. But I cannot promise I could live off it every day.
Certainly Starbucks will make a decent penny off of Via. But will Starbucks Via truly be a success? Instantly, yes. But its popularity will fizzle out once people realize they just want the real thing.
One sector of the online economy that has been quietly growing for some months now is that of online coupons. As with most print advertising, the traditional coupon is in decline, so advertisers have moved to the web to distribute enticing offers of discounts.
The recent launch by search engine Ask.com of Ask Deals, a massive coupon clearinghouse, means that companies doing business through the new site utilize search engine optimization (SEO) to boost the online profile of their discount offers. Ask Deals will also work via Facebook and Twitter to offer online coupons to interested customers.
Experts say that search engine optimization (SEO) could prove pivotal in driving traffic to a company’s internet coupons. Large conglomerations of coupons like Ask Deals will, necessarily, have to be easily searchable, and the volume of coupons on the site will lend itself to intelligent efforts at SEO.
As search engines merge more and more deeply with online commerce, search engine optimization (SEO) will become a more and more critical function to help businesses develop and maintain a customer base.
Maybe the idea of using Bing for search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t such a big deal after all.
While many have touted the importance of a Microhoo deal which would give Bing and Yahoo a significant portion of the search engine market and make the combined entity more important in the world of search engine optimization (SEO), it seems that Bing has hit a snag.
According to figures released last week from StatCounter, Bing saw its market share in the U.S. and around the globe drop for the first time since it was unveiled earlier this year. In what may make matters worse for the Microsoft/Yahoo partnership, Yahoo also saw its U.S. market share drop more than a full percentage point in September.
Both Yahoo and Bing’s drop appears to be a direct gain for search behemoth Google. According to StatCounter, a combined Bing/Yahoo search presence had 20.14 percent of the U.S. search market in August, compared to 77.83 percent for Google. But in September, Yahoo and Bing saw their share drop to 17.91 percent while Google increased to 80.08 percent.
“The trend has been downwards for Bing since mid-August,” said StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen. “The wheels haven’t fallen off but the underlying trend must be a little worrying for Microsoft.”
However, it may be too early to count out Bing as last month Nielsen reported that the Microsoft product held 10 percent of the search engine market.
For the lovers of the iPhone, it’s like daddy and mommy are getting a divorce. If that wasn’t the case–if Apple and Google weren’t calling it quits–why would Apple buy a mapping company?
Steve, tell us it isn’t so!
The tight integration between the iPhone and Google, especially its mapping products, is a big part of why people love their iPhones. Hearing the Apple has bought its own mapping company, Placebase, is unsettling.
The deal, which supposedly happened in July, added talent to a supposed “Geo” unit inside Apple. Nothing wrong with that, but before Apple starts messing with Google Maps on iPhones, it needs to think very seriously about the consequences.
If a new Apple mapping product is to replace Google Maps, it needs to be done by offering customers a choice of mapping providers. If Apple is good enough, people will switch and eventually the rest can be moved over by force, if necessary. But, only after Apple Maps does everything that Google Maps does–and then some.
There are reasons why this may be a much ado about very little. Apple can find plenty of location-based applications or features to add to iPhone and Mac OS that could run on top of Google Maps. New mapping apps might use new Apple technology while the existing ones could remain on Google Maps and be improved upon.
There doesn’t have to be a conflict here, but we’re sure Apple and Google aren’t as chummy as they once were. Apple’s penchant for secrecy makes matters worse and leads to speculation that perhaps exceeds reality.
As for Placebase, the Los Angeles startup was founded to sell a mapping system to businesses, which is hard to do when Google offers such a service free. GigaOm has a nice story that explains what founder Jaron Waldman hoped to accomplish. Here is an example of Placebase and its PushPin Java API in action at a site called PolicyMap.
Waldman’s LinkedIn profile says he now works at Apple, after four years at Placebase.
There is a strong possibility that Apple didn’t actually buy Placebase, just hired Waldman (and others?) when the company failed. That’s the rumor inside the mapping business and makes as much sense as anything else. Regardless, Waldman’s arrival at Apple demonstrates that the company is seriously interested in mapping.
There is much to be done in the mapping space and Google has brought tremendous value to the iPhone with its cool mapping application. Apple is rarely a stupid company, so I have to guess it will think long before dumping Google Maps for something created in-house.
While Apple may someday offer a mapping platform of its own, the company would be wise to remain tied to Google until it has something truly incredible to offer.
Google Maps will be much easier to add value to than for Apple to beat.