January 27, 2012

App Store sales result in average revenue gains of 19% for iPad, 22% for iPhone

By Josh Ong

Published: 09:45 PM EST (06:45 PM PST)
App publishers on Apple’s App Store typically see a significant first-day revenue jump of 52 percent for iPad apps and 41 percent for iPhone apps and and 19 percent and 22 percent overall, respectively, when they put their software on sale, according to a new analysis.

Netherlands-based Distimo published the results of a study tracking app sales and spotlights for top 100 apps across the App Store for iPad and iPhone and the Android Market during the fourth quarter of 2011. According to its findings, apps on the Android Market benefited the most from being featured, while App Store apps on average saw a higher jump in revenue on the first day of a sale.

During the first three days after being featured by their respective stores, iPad apps jumped 27 ranks in the top 100, iPhone apps rose 15 spots and Android titles leapt up 42. Over the course of seven days, Android Market offerings had an average gain of +65, compared to +15 for iPhone apps and +28 for those for the iPad.

The study acknowledged that rank jumps correspond to vastly different uptakes in downloads depending on where an app started on the top 100 list, so it included a graph depicting relative rank changes in terms of percentage with a seven-day average. For instance, an app that jumped from 10 to 5 saw a 50 percent increase in rank, while one that went from 50 to 25 counted as a 100% increase.

Distimo found that about one-third of iPad apps jumped 200 percent in ranks while being featured and approximately 50 percent of Android apps gained 100 percent when spotlighted. The report noted that positive effects continued even after the featured period ended, as iPad, iPhone and Android apps were on average up 145 percent, 75 percent and 828 percent, respectively, five days after.

As for app sales, Android Market software experienced gains of just 7 percent on the first day of a sale, compared to 52 percent for the iPad and 41 percent for the iPhone. During the length of the sale, however, Android apps passed up their iOS counterparts in terms of revenue increase. Revenue for Android Market apps went up 29 percent during a sale, while revenues for iPhone and iPad apps went up 22 and 19 percent.

According to the report, some applications actually lost revenue by going on sale. For example, 44 percent of iPhone applications saw a decline in revenue during a sale. The study found that steeper discounts often resulted in higher revenue gains.

“In general, we noticed that the tipping point happened when the price was cut in half or the application was offered in tier 1 ($ 0.99) or tier 2 ($ 1.99),” the report read.

Apple announced this week that it had reached a new milestone of $ 4 billion paid out to App Store developers. The company had previously reported a $ 3 billion figure last October during the iPhone 4S launch. The App Store has grown to 550,000 iOS applications, including over 170,000 specifically for the iPad.

A separate study last month found that among top apps with both iOS and Android versions, iOS apps generate 300 percent more revenue than their Android counterparts.


Apple exploring MagSafe data, headphone connections for iPhone, iPad

By Neil Hughes

Published: 09:03 AM EST (06:03 AM PST)
Apple’s standard 30-pin iPod cable and even its headphones could be replaced on future iPhones and iPads by new magnetic cables, much like the MagSafe power adapters currently used on MacBooks.

Apple’s interest in a magnetic data and power cable for portable devices was revealed this week in a patent application discovered by AppleInsider. Named “Programmable Magnetic Connectors,” the filing describes a series of “coded magnets” found in both a portable device and a data and power cable.

The filing includes an illustration of an iPad 2 with a forward-facing camera and associated cable that are described as having a “coded magnetic structure.”

In its application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple notes that current coupler designs, like with the 30-pin dock connector or headphone jack found on existing iPhones and iPads, prevent a device from being properly sealed. This is why the connector port and headphone jack feature water sensors, to determine if water entered the device through one of these openings.

The use of MagSafe connectors not only for the data and power cable, but also headphones, could allow Apple to properly seal its devices and make it more difficult for moisture to damage the valuable electronics.

Apple’s filing also notes that the male half of a data and power cable usually has pins or prongs that are exposed when it is not coupled to a device.

“Due to this exposure, the pins or prongs may be damages and render the connector/cable unusable,” the application reads. “Additionally, many connectors are device and/or purpose specific. For example, they may have a certain number of pins or prongs that are configured in a particular manner. As such, each device may have multiple unique cables and connectors that are not compatible with other devices.”

The solution proposed by Apple is a new universal cable, much like the existing 30-pin iPod connector, but one that features programmable magnets. These coded magnets, found inside both the cable and the portable device, would share identifying information on the device with the cable.

By sharing information from the magnets about the device, the cable could appropriately connect to it and provide the correct number of pins. The application describes a controller that would repurpose one or more of the pins on a cable to connect certain communication channels.

“The magnets (would) create a universal port that detects the coded magnet ‘signature’ of a particular cable type and reconfigures itself accordingly,” the filing reads.

The magnets found in the device and cabling could also be used to “repulse, eject, and/or prevent coupling of certain cables.” In one example, a heat sensor is triggered and the device is automatically ejected.

The filing also describes a unique, magnet-powered headphone connector. In Apple’s concept, the male headphone plug has multiple segments, but its full size would be concealed until it is paired with a smart magnet found on an iPhone, iPad or iPod.

Connecting the plug to a headphone jack would then fully extend the plug, revealing all of the connectors and segments, and allowing it to receive stereo audio and transmit microphone data.

Much like the pins in the data and power cable, the size of the audio plug could be determined based on the needs of the device as transmitted through the programmed magnet. In this way, a smaller device, like an iPod nano, could have a shallower headphone port, while larger devices could accommodate the full plug and all of its available connectors.

The application, made public by the USPTO this week, was first filed in July of 2011. It is credited to Brett Bilbrey, Aleksandar Pance, Peter Arnold, David I. Simon, Jean Lee, Michael D. Hillman, Gregory L. Tice, Vijay Iyer, and Bradly Spare.


Photostream is helping a man find his stolen iPad

We’ve heard a lot of stories about Find my iPhone helping people track their lost and stolen iOS devices, but here’s one of the first stories involving Photo Stream. It all started late last December at the DFW airport in Texas. Ken McLellan had just arrived home from a business trip. While he reached to pick up his bags, he put down his iPad along with carry-on bag. You probably can guess what happened next. With bags in hand, he turned to pick up his iPad, and it was gone.

Like any loyal Apple user, McLellan has an iPhone and an iMac. He’s also one of 85 million people using iCloud and had, rather fortuitously, turned on Photo Stream sharing. Imagine his surprise when new photos from his iPad began to hit his iMac a few weeks after his device was stolen. He’s collected the photos of the people who currently have his device and posted them to Facebook. He’s hoping to identify them and possibly get his iPad back.

Getting his iPad back might not be that easy, though. It’s possible the thief resold the device to these unsuspecting buyers who don’t realize it was stolen. It’s also possible the thief returned the stolen iPad to Apple for a new device. A recent report details how a savvy thief can use Apple’s generous repair policy to get a new device and leave the stolen one behind. It’s also possible the people with the iPad are the ones who lifted the device and will run for the hills once they spot their photos on Facebook.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Brazil gives tax exemption to Foxconn, iPad production may follow

Not very long after Tim Cook said that Apple sees a “huge opportunity” in Brazil, it turns out the company’s CEO may have had more than sales on his mind. Brazil has granted iPad assembler Foxconn special exemptions from Brazilian excise and other taxes, clearing the way for iPad production to begin in South American factories.

For several months in 2011 it looked as though iPad production might begin at Foxconn-owned factories in Brazil, but the proposed US$ 12 billion deal fell through in September when Brazil failed to meet Foxconn’s expectations for tax breaks. Brazilian officials characterized Foxconn’s demands as “crazy,” but there appears to have been a change of mind. It remains to be seen how Foxconn’s secondary worry of Brazil’s lack of skilled labor will be addressed.

Mercado reports the tax exemption applies to “tablets with touch screens, no keyboard and weighing less than 750 grams” — at 600 grams, the iPad 2 comes in comfortably below that limit, as do several competitors’ products. “Accessories, cables, power supplies and manuals that are related to the tablets” also fall under the exemption rules.

Our Brazilian readers have said that high local prices for Apple’s gear haven’t stymied demand for the devices. If produced locally, Brazilian prices for the iPad could fall considerably since import duties will no longer be levied against them, and that could potentially send Brazilian demand for the iPad into the stratosphere.

With a population of 200 million, Brazil represents a great opportunity for Apple to expand its operations in an area of the globe that consumer electronics companies haven’t traditionally viewed as a high priority market.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Daily iPad App: Triple Town

Triple Town was originally a Facebook game, so it does have some weird freemium elements that are kind of annoying: There are some weird turn mechanics where you actually need to “buy” turns, either with in-game gold or real money, that can get annoying after a while. And the graphics themselves do look as though they were created with HTML 5 — they’re serviceable, but the game definitely doesn’t take advantage of all of the power of your iOS device.

All of that said, however, Triple Town still comes with this sparkling recommendation: I first fired it up late one night last week before going to bed at 3 am, and found myself still playing it two hours later. It is a really incredible take on the match-3 genre: instead of switching items around, you instead place them down on the board, and then three of any kind (in any direction) will automatically combine into one of the next kind up the hierarchy, so grass combines into bushes which combines into trees, then houses, and so on. Bears appear on the screen and need to be blocked out into tombstones, which then combine into churches, which combine into larger churches which can earn extra points.

The game is turn-based and simple to play, but very tough to master, and it has that extremely addictive “just one more turn” quality. Triple Town is really a great title — it doesn’t quite outgrow its Facebook roots, but there’s more than enough game here that it’s definitely worth the free, universal download. Just be careful starting it up late at night — you might find yourself losing as much sleep as I did.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

iPad takes 96% of tablets, iPhone 53% of phones in Good mobile enterprise study

By Daniel Eran Dilger

Published: 07:05 PM EST (04:05 PM PST)
Enterprise mobile services vendor Good Technology reported that iPad accounted for 96 percent of tablets and iPhone 53 percent of smartphones activated by the more than 2,000 companies using its services in the fourth quarter, giving iOS a 71 percent share of all mobile devices.

Good provides push messaging, device management and security products for corporate mobile users, serving as an alternative to RIM’s BlackBerry Enterprise Server. As such, Good supports mobile platforms outside of RIM’s own, including Microsoft’s Windows Mobile, Symbian, iOS and Android.

Good reported that of the top ten devices it saw activated in the last quarter, Apple’s five iOS models accounted for the top five slots. The new iPhone 4S took the lead, quickly jumping to 31 percent of all activations in the quarter.

iPhone 4 was next, followed by iPad 2, the original iPad, and iPhone 3GS. The top Android device was Samsung’s Galaxy S II, which placed sixth. Windows Mobile/Windows Phone 7 and Symbian were pushed out of Good’s top ten devices a year ago by iOS or Android, just one year after Good added support for the new mobile platforms.

Good said Android activations had initially gained some ground in October but “trailed off as activations of the iPhone 4S rapidly ramped up.” Overall, iOS took 71 percent share of all mobile activations in the winter quarter, up from a 65 percent share in the year ago quarter.

Good’s customer base of enterprise users includes half of the Fortune 100. The company said just over a third of all mobile device activations are made by the financial services industry.

The company also pointed out that businesses representing Life Sciences “witnessed the highest rate of growth” and an increase in iPad deployments, which it said “fits with anecdotal data around iPads begin deployed proactively to sales forces in that industry, notably among Pharmaceutical companies.”

Across all of 2011, Good reported that Apple’s initial launch of iPhone 4 on Verizon gave Apple a boost in the first quarter, while the launch of iPad 2 increased iOS’ showing in the second quarter. After gaining some ground in the third quarter, Android fell back in the fourth quarter during the blockbuster launch of iPhone 4S.

Apple enjoys a higher market share among enterprise users because its integrated products are easier to support and cover a variety of features, ranging from Exchange Server to IPSec VPN clients, that Android-based devices do not consistently support. Android’s open ecosystem of devices and their manufacturers’ and carriers’ various proprietary software layers also add security issues and complexity barriers to making them usable by enterprises.


Foxconn gets Brazil tax breaks, looks to start iPad production

By Mikey Campbell

Published: 05:37 PM EST (02:37 PM PST)
The Brazilian government has approved tax reductions or exemptions pertaining to tablet production that will allow Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn to start iPad production in the country.

Brazil’s Inter-Ministerial Decree 34, which allows for a reduction or exemption from taxes for certain tablet computers, was signed on Monday and published in the country’s “Official Gazette” on Wednesday, clearing the way for Chinese manufacturer Foxconn to begin production (machine translation) of Apple’s iPad, reports Portuguese language newspaper Folha.

Specifically, the decree states that companies investing in the research and development of keyboardless touchscreen tablets weighing less than 750 grams qualify for IPI (Excise Tax), PIS (Social Contribution Tax) and COFINS (Federal Contribution Tax) incentives. Also included under the decree are accessories, cables, power supplies and manuals associated with tablet computers.

In September 2011, it was reported that the Taiwan-based electronics manufacturer’s $ 12 billion deal to build iPads in Brazil was in jeopardy, with one government official saying that Foxconn had been making “crazy demands” for tax breaks.

Production was scheduled to begin in July, but that date was pushed back twice as negotiations reportedly broke down, however it seems the two parties have reached a consensus and Foxconn is expected to ramp up iPad production as soon as possible.

Apple in December launched its popular iPhone 4S model in Brazil as part of the fastest handset rollout in the company’s history.

The Cupertino, Calif., company is hoping to penetrate the growing Latin American market, and has reportedly hired former Sony Ericsson U.S. President Anderson Teixeira to head up the region’s operations. There are also rumors that Apple is looking to build a flagship Brazilian retail outlet, though no official announcement has been made.


Install Apple’s Stock iPhone Apps On Your Jailbroken iPad With Belfry

Install Apple’s Stock iPhone Apps On Your Jailbroken iPad With Belfry

Some of Apple’s stock iPhone apps would work wonderfully on the iPad, such as Clock, Stocks, Weather, and Calculator. But the Cupertino company seems to have no plans to port these apps over to the larger device. After all, I’m sure if it did we’d already have them by now.

But thanks to a new utility for jailbroken iPads called Belfry, you can port them over yourself.

Developed by Ryan Petrich, the developer behind popular jailbreak tweaks like DietBar and Activator, Belfry automatically installed six of the iPhone’s stock apps on your iPad; including Clock, Calculator, Compass, Voice Memos, Stocks, and Weather.

All of them work well on the iPad, allowing you to use them in the same way you would on the iPhone. Though there is one caveat: While Clock and Stocks run in native resolution, the other apps are stuck at iPhone resolution in “2x” mode. Check out Belfry in action:

The best thing about Belfry? It’s completely free and available to download now from the BigBoss repo in Cydia.

[via iDownloadBlog]

Killian BellKillian Bell is a freelance writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also writes for TechnoBuffalo. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell, or through his website.

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Cult of Mac

Apple Confirms Kindle Fire And Other ‘Limited Function Tablets’ Have No Impact On iPad Sales

Apple Confirms Kindle Fire And Other ‘Limited Function Tablets’ Have No Impact On iPad Sales

Despite being labeled the first real competitor to the iPad, it seems Amazon’s 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet still has a long way to go before it can lure tablet users away from Apple’s device. Although it seemed to be incredibly popular when it launched last year, largely thanks to that attractive $ 199 price tag, Apple CEO Tim Cook says the Kindle Fire, and other “limited function tablets,” had no impact on iPad sales whatsoever.

When probed by one analyst during the company’s quarterly earnings call about the impact budget tablets have had on the iPad, Cook highlighted that Apple sold a record 15.4 million iPads during the last quarter, and declared that the company does not consider “limited function tablets and e-readers to be in the same category as the iPad.”

We strongly believe in optimizing applications from day one to take advantage of the larger canvas. There are only a few hundred apps designed for the competition, versus more than 170,000 apps designed specifically for iPad. People who want an iPad won’t settle for a limited function tablet.

And of course, the Kindle Fire isn’t the first device that has attempted to steal some of the iPad’s market share. Since its release in 2009, Apple’s tablet has influenced a whole host of slates powered by Android, BlackBerry, and the webOS operating system.

But the HP TouchPad, which was discontinued by HP last summer and sold off for as little as $ 99 in a fire sale, proves that no one really wants just any old tablet — they want an iPad. And Apple isn’t about to let its popularity slip away. Cook announced that the company plans to “continue to innovate like crazy” in the tablet market to ensure its device remains the world’s best-selling tablet.

[via MacRumors]

Cult of Mac

iPhone vs. Android a tight race but iPad puts iOS ‘way ahead’ in mobile OS war

By Mikey Campbell

Published: 07:53 PM EST (04:53 PM PST)
Apple CEO Tim Cook outlined his thoughts on the company’s iOS device performance during Q1 2012 and sees iPhone sales momentum closing the gap with rival handsets running Google’s Android platform, while iPad and iPod touch are in a league of their own.

During Apple’s Q1 2012 earnings conference call on Tuesday, Cook made it clear that he believes iOS is a key component to the company’s future, saying that the success of the iPhone 4S and iPad is indicative of a slow move away from the desktop PC.

When asked if iOS versus Android was becoming a two-horse race similar to the Mac and Windows rivalry, Cook explained that the mobile device market is much more nuanced and is a very important facet to Apple’s sustainability.

“The Mac has outgrown the market for over 20 quarters in a row, but still has a single digit percentage of the worldwide market,” Cook said. “iOS, you look at phones, tablets, the iPod touch, we’ve sold over 350 million iOS devices. Over 62 million of those were done in the last quarter alone.”

In looking at recent data from analytics firms, the iPhone has been showing steady growth when compared to Android handsets. Despite a shortage of supply, Apple managed to move 37 million iPhones last quarter.

For the Oct./Nov. period in the U.S., which accounts for only a portion of iPhone 4S sales, NPD saw Apple’s smartphone holding a 43% market share while Android had 47%. A following report from Nielsen, which adds in month of Decemberm shows iPhone market share slowly increasing to 45% while Android holds steady at 47%.

“It seems like all of the data that I’ve seen in the U.S. would say that it’s a very close race in iPhone [and Android],” Cook notes. “I wouldn’t say it’s a two-horse race, there’s a horse in Redmond that always suits up and always runs and will keep running, and there’s other players that we can never count out.”

Cook said that Apple will somewhat ignore how many “horses” there are in the crowded mobile marketplace and focus on innovating to “make sure [it's] the lead one.”

In looking to the future of iOS products, Cook commented that tablets like the iPad will one day surpass the PC market, and sees Apple’s offering as being peerless among a litany of models running on Android, Windows and other platforms.

Citing recent IDC data that shows desktop sales in the U.S. were trumped by tablet sales during the last quarter of 2011, Cook claims that there are different indicators for significant momentum in the space.

“We’re really happy with the 15.4 million iPads that we were able to sell,” Cook said. “This is consistent with our long-term belief that we’ve had since before we introduced the product that this is a huge opportunity for Apple over time.”

The Apple chief doesn’t see other tablets like Amazon’s Kindle Fire or similar Android models as threats to the iPad’s crown. Cook notes that consumers want to use their tablets in a variety of ways and the “limited function” tablets and e-readers simply don’t have Apple’s robust ecosystem of over 170,000 iPad-optimized apps.

“I think on the iPad side, although I don’t have specific numbers to share from third parties, I think that all of us inherently believe that iPad is way ahead there,” Cook said, adding that “there’s really no comparable product to iPod touch out there, so iOS is doing extremely well. What we focus on is innovating and making the world’s best product.”