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All posts tagged "itunes"

Friday, February 6, 2009

Mobile Banking and iPhone a Pretty Good Match

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 10:00 AM

"You may not want to learn how much smaller your bank account has gotten. But banks are making it easier than ever for consumers to access account information on their mobile devices."

Bank of America and Chase are a couple banks that have specific apps for free in the iTunes store, but even those without apps are getting into the mobile banking scene. I use Wells Fargo as well as Washington Mutual (yes they are both still in business) and both have mobile interfaces with custom icons that work very well with the iPhone. They make it very easy to transfer funds and check balances among other things; much more usable than using SMS to get information. The iPhone, for me, has become very indispensable when it comes to my banking needs.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

iPhone Users Got Game!

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 12:00 PM

"New data from ComScore showing that 32.4% iPhone owners have downloaded at least one game - compared with only 3.8% for the average cell phone owner - sparked some fresh analysis of the booming iPhone (and iPod touch) game market."

Photo Credit: Apple

I've never been a huge fan of playing games on the iPhone, but I admit I do fall into the mix with the other 32.4% of iPhone users that have downloaded at least one game (most of my gaming is done on my Xbox 360). The stats do speak for themselves however, and it appears that the iPhone/iPod Touch is leading the charge in mobile gaming.

iPhone 2.2.1 Firmware Problems Reported

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 10:00 AM

"Drip, drip, drip. It seems like a lot of people are getting very s l o o o w backups when syncing their iPhones again."

I haven't experienced this problem on a regular basis, although my first backup was very slow after I updated my iPhone to version 2.2.1. It appears there is some discussion on the Apple boards about it, even more about the update causing some problems with iTunes. I haven't read anything about a fix so far, other than some guesswork as to the cause being related to DRM music.

Friday, January 30, 2009

iTunes Plus Available for Individual Tracks

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple News" @ 02:00 PM

"If you've been skipping the daily double-wet-cappuccino in order to save enough money to upgrade your iTunes library to the DRM-free iTunes Plus format, you can put coffee back on the menu. Apple has dispensed with the iTunes Store all-or-nothing upgrade policy."

A welcome change to say the least. You can still "buy all" or just go down the list and purchase upgrades individually. I wasn't about to upgrade the Hannah Montana song (my 14 year old daughter bought it, honest!) but I definitely wanted to upgrade some others.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

New iPhone Ads With a Twist

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 10:00 AM

"As if Apple hasn't already launched enough iPhone ads, they have introduced two more this week. These ads, entitled Fix and Read, are much like the typical ads in that they only contain the iPhone and that perfect hand. However, they are a little different in what they discuss."

The ads go at it from a different angle, focusing on tasks instead of single applications. I think I prefer these ads, so I can see what the iPhone is capable of doing. For instance in the Fix ad, they show an app called "MultiLevel", which functions much like a bubble level using your iPhone on its side or face up. Wild.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Chess Pro for iPhone

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 10:00 AM

Product Category: Games
Manufacturer: 99 Games
Where to Buy: iTunes
Price: $3.99 USD
System Requirements: iPhone / iPod Touch with Firmware 2.0 or later


  • Menus and Sub-Menus are very responsive once game loads;
  • On Screen hints help you learn the game of chess;
  • Option to play couple different types of chess games;
  • Two Player mode is nice touch if you want to compete with friends.


  • Easy is perhaps too easy;
  • Occasional delay in responding to touch or tap when in game.

Summary: Good overall game, especially if you're just learning how to play chess, with the built in "legal moves" option.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Amazon is Number Two... By a Mile...

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple iPods" @ 02:00 PM

"After its first full year selling tracks from all four major labels, Amazon's digital music store has become the second-largest a la carte service, according to industry estimates," Billboard reports. "But it's a very distant second to iTunes," Billboard reports. "Major-label sources say that they had hoped the company would have fared better than it did."

I both use and like Amazon's MP3 store. They're the first non-Apple service to get the integration with the iPod ecosystem correct and they do a damn good job of it. That being said, Amazon is almost never my first choice. You can't buy MP3's on remote devices (ie: the iPhone and iPod Touch) and browsing is nowhere near as intuitive as it is in iTunes (although the search feature on Amazon is infinitely better than the garbage Apple cranked into iTunes).

The bottom line is that the music industry was terrified of Apple becoming an online music monopoly so they gave Amazon things they wouldn't even give Apple to keep them at bay. While that may have scored them some "zing" points, it didn't really knock it out of the park from a business perspective and it didn't create the iTunes destroyer they hoped it would.

Amazon will continue to do well, but it's going to take a long time to knock iTunes off that pedestal, particularly in a time when we aren't even talking about iTunes being only the number one online retailer of music, and are now comparing it to the likes of Wal-Mart and others in the brick and mortar world.

Tags: apple, itunes, amazon

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rumor: iTunes Store Going DRM-Free Today

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple iPods" @ 08:00 AM

"Apple is believed to be on the verge of an end-of-year push that would start by finally offering unprotected iTunes Store music from all major labels and would switch a special post-holiday campaign giving away music and videos to Europeans. A report from last week brought to AppleInsider's attention by French technology site ElectronLibre asserts that it's now "clear" Apple will spark new interest in its music store by removing DRM from tracks published by Sony, Universal and Warner on December 9th. The site doesn't point to specific sources but is careful to note that Apple is moving cautiously on the matter following difficult negotiations that allegedly had the labels hoping to negotiate what EMI had done for the launch of iTunes Plus in 2007, when it successfully negotiated prices higher before ultimately agreeing to reduce the price to Apple's standard 99 cents. Labels had also been hoping to switch from a monthly reporting of iTunes sales stats to live data, the earlier story suggests."

I'm not believing this one at all, but it won't take long for us to find out if it's true or not; after all, it's supposed to happen today! It would be huge if it did, but I'm not holding my breath. Anyone else want to weigh in?

Tags: apple, itunes, drm

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Apple Announces "Best of 2008"

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Talk" @ 12:00 PM

Apple has announced the "Best of 2008" from iTunes and, as could probably be expected, there isn't a whole lot of greatly big revelation going on. The music, television shows, and songs are all pretty much what you expected because it's all from a raw numbers angle. The interesting (or not so interesting, actually) part is the podcast section which is loaded with the same podcasts (for the most part) as it is year after year from the same providers. Everyone you would suspect is rightfully represented there, but the most disappointing part is how much of the podcast section is mainstream media outlets. I'm totally bummed at how podcasting has been taken over by the mainstream media outlets and big LA and NY producers like MSNBC, NPR, and so on. Essentially the best of 2008 on iTunes is the best of the mainstream with very little surprises or interesting additions.

I don't fault iTunes for noting raw numbers, but numbers aren't the whole story and in most cases they aren't even that interesting. Frankly I'd like to see a whole lot more and a whole lot less NPR, for example.

What do you think? Is this a representative sample or a bit too self-congratulatory for your tastes?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Apple Releases iTunes 8.0.2

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (OS X)" @ 05:49 AM

"iTunes 8 includes Genius, which makes playlists from songs in your library that go great together. Genius also includes Genius sidebar, which recommends music from the iTunes Store that you don't already have. With iTunes 8, browse your artists and albums visually with the new Grid view; download your favorite TV shows in HD quality from the iTunes Store; sync your media with iPod nano (4th generation), iPod classic (120GB), and iPod touch (2nd generation); and enjoy a stunning new music visualizer.

iTunes 8 and iTunes U are now accessible with VoiceOver on your Mac. iTunes 8.0.2 improves stability and performance and provides a number of important bug fixes, including: Addresses a quality issue creating MP3s on some computers; Fixes a connectivity issue with the iTunes Store when using some Internet proxies with Mac OS X; Improves accessibility with VoiceOver."

The paragraph above says it all. Mostly just a maintenance release. Apple seems to be getting everything all shiny and cleaned up for the holidays, huh? :-) iTunes 8.0.2 is available in Software Update and doesn't even require a restart after installing!

Tags: update, itunes, 8.0.2

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rubber Ducky, iTunes is the One

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Talk" @ 02:00 PM

"Fans of Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Bert and Ernie and the Count will be able to see episodes and clips of the show in three ways [iTunes Store, YouTube, Hulu], according to a statement released by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit group once known as the Children's Television Workshop and that started Sesame Street," MacMillan reports. "The announcement comes on the same day that 'Sesame Street,' which is broadcast in 140 countries, celebrates its 39th year on the air."

Sesame Street? On iTunes? I'm SO there. So what if I'm 32 years old? I'm already whistling "C is for Cookie, that's good enough for me," and "Rubber Ducky... You're the one!"

Anyone else going to be getting their muppet on when these start popping into iTunes? I know I will be. Even if it's only a few episodes and strictly for *cough* research purposes *cough.* At Apple Thoughts, we do the hard work so you guys don't have to.

Apple Introduces $4.99 Movies on iTunes

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple News" @ 10:00 AM

"Joining the ranks of their 99¢ movie rentals and mirroring their "Albums of the Week" for bargain hunters, Apple has introduced "Movies of the Week" on iTunes. Each movie will be available for the duration of the week at a lowered price of $4.99 to own. To kick it off they're highlighting Terminator 2: Judgment Day as the "movie of the week" and offering an additional nine titles: Total Recall, Last Action Hero, Red Heart, Air America, Basic Instinct, St. Elmo's Fire, The Karate Kid, Air Force One, A Guy Thing"

Not a bad deal, honestly. $4.99 - $9.99 is probably a lot closer to what digital download movies should cost anyway. I have a feeling this is a test balloon for Apple, and if this takes off, they're going to push studios to accept lower per-purchase prices on iTunes. Do any of you see this as an opportunity to try out the iTunes store or are you just not interested?

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