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.


Valve debuts free Steam Mobile iPhone app

Valve has released Steam Mobile for iOS, a free app for the iPhone. According to Valve, “With the free Steam app for iOS, you can participate in the Steam community wherever you go. Chat with your Steam friends, browse community groups and user profiles, read the latest gaming news and stay up to date on unbeatable Steam sales.”

That’s the promise of the app, anyway; Steam Mobile has launched in “limited beta,” meaning you first need to input an activation key on your PC or Mac. Entering your username and password into the Steam Mobile app is apparently enough to “express interest” in the beta, but for now that’s pretty much all the app does until you receive an activation key.

It’s interesting that this app was approved; Apple has traditionally frowned on apps that require users to register for access in this manner, so it’s odd to see Valve granted an exception.

Also worth noting is that Steam Mobile will not serve as a front end to Steam selling games for the iPhone. All Steam Mobile will allow you to do is access the community and buy games for your Mac or PC from your iPhone.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Daily iPhone App: Vintage Radio

Vintage Radio is an interesting idea for an iPhone app: It’s a ton of various old-time radio recordings (more than 34,000 mystery, horror, comedy, and other old 1930s and 1940s radio shows), all accessible to stream on demand. The app allows you to browse and search shows, set up and save playlists or even share shows on Facebook and Twitter. The selection is really amazing. I like a lot of old-time radio, and this app does have pretty much everything you need. If you have a lot of long car trips or plane rides, it can really help fill the time.

Unfortunately, Vintage Radio’s biggest problem might be a dealbreaker. The app uses a very confusing subscription model to make money. Basically, you buy the app for $ 3.99, and get access to a certain amount of the shows for that price. After that, you have to pay a subscription to listen to more shows — about $ 1.99 a month, or a little cheaper if you subscribe for a longer period. I also ran into some issue with the app where I only got a certain number of plays on it, and it’s not entirely clear when you browse which shows are paid or free.

Even paying the subcription is probably cheaper than actually buying all of these shows. Even if you have to pay the subscription fee, if you actually spend a year listening to these recordings, it’s probably worth it. Vintage Radio is a nice idea that’s not implemented well, but if you’re a fan of old-time radio, it’s definitely worth a look.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Check Out The Original iPhone Film Festival Winners [Macworld 2012]

Check Out The Original iPhone Film Festival Winners [Macworld 2012]

OIFF Founders at MacWorld. @Cultofmac.

SAN FRANCISCO, MACWORLD / iWORLD 2012 — The inaugural edition of the Original iPhone Film Festival (OIFF) gave out awards to small-screen Steven Spielbergs.

OIFF founders Corey Rogers & Matt Dessner were on hand to talk about common iPhone filmmaking problems, like getting release forms and copyright snafus. (If you want to take your iPhone videos from crappy to snappy, check out our exclusive interview with some great tips from Dessner.)

Nancy Lee – Music Video from The Original iPhone Film Fest on Vimeo.

Looking to laud the people who harness the power of the iPhone to become walking Fellinis, the contest received hundreds of entries, about 75 percent from amateurs, from countries including Iraq, Peru and the Philippines.

• The Grand prize winner, featured above,  is “Nancy Lee” Directed by Alen Petkovic.  It’s an old-school music video featuring band Vintage Trouble, shot with four iPhone 4s at once.

• Fiction: “The Latter” Directed by Micah Moss

• Non-fiction: “Kalapukan (Mudplace)” Directed by Michael Guhil.

• Brand film: “Veuve Cliquot – Wish You Were Here” Directed by Melissa Martens.

You can check out all the finalists here.

The second edition of the OIFF is already in the works, the organizers hope to grow the community of iPhone filmmakers around a new blog called iphonefilmaker.com.


Nicole Martinelli is a San Francisco native who has lived in Milan and Florence, Italy. She’s written for Wired.com, The New York Times and Newsweek. You can find her on Twitter , Facebook and Google+.

If you’re doing something new/cool that’s Apple related, email her about it.

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Cult of Mac

iPhone 4S accounts for 89 percent of iPhone sales

Despite multiple media outlets painting it as a “disappointing” update immediately after its debut, the iPhone 4S is Apple’s most popular iPhone by far. A consumer survey by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (via AllThingsD) suggests that the new iPhone 4S accounted for 89 percent of all iPhones sold in Apple’s most recent quarter. The US$ 99 iPhone 4 and free iPhone 3GS were both barely blips on the radar, with 7 percent and 4 percent of overall sales, respectively.

iPhone 4S unit sales follow a predictable pattern, with the lowest-priced model being most popular:

  • 16 GB: 45 percent of sales
  • 32 GB: 34 percent of sales
  • 64 GB: 21 percent of sales

Some other metrics found in CIRP’s research give some further insight into demand for the iPhone 4S:

  • 19 percent of iPhone 4 owners upgraded
  • 42 percent of iPhone 4S buyers broke their existing contract for an early upgrade
  • 19 percent of iPhone 4S buyers sold their old device

I’ve inputted CIRP’s results into a spreadsheet and compared them against the iPhone unit sales and revenues in Apple’s own earnings. The numbers I got for total revenues when going by CIRP’s survey results are only about 6 percent higher than Apple’s actual reported revenues, so CIRP’s numbers look to be quite close to what actually took place.

Keeping that margin of error in mind, unit sales of the iPhone break down approximately as follows:

  • iPhone 3GS: 1.48 million
  • iPhone 4: 2.59 million
  • iPhone 4S 16 GB: 14.8 million
  • iPhone 4S 32 GB: 11.2 million
  • iPhone 4S 64 GB: 6.9 million

This distribution of unit sales hews very closely to my own analysis of Apple’s iPhone sales. Of note, the iPhone 3GS is still the third-most popular smartphone overall, and with just under 1.5 million units sold it outsold all competing Android handsets (considered individually, obviously not in total).

The iPhone 4S is also eating the iPod touch’s breakfast and stealing its lunch money; with approximately 10 million iPod touch units sold last quarter, the 16 and 32 GB iPhone 4S models each outsold the iPod touch all by themselves.

Siri, define “blockbuster.”

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

iPhone 4S accounts for 9 out of 10 US iPhone sales, 42% of customers break contract to buy one

By Mikey Campbell

Published: 04:10 PM EST (01:10 PM PST)
Despite the customary price drop of Apple’s last generation iPhone 4 and the free-on-contract iPhone 3GS, the company’s newest handset dominated sales and has seen strong numbers not only from early adopters, but “conventional” smartphone users as well.

Citing a recent survey by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, All Things D reports that since the debut of the iPhone 4S in October 2011, some 89 percent of all U.S. iPhone sales can be attributed to the newest Apple smartphone.

The CIRP survey shows that iPhone buyers weren’t put off by the $ 399 price of the top-of-the-line 4S, which boasts up to 64 GB of storage, and reports that an impressive 21 percent opted for the highest capacity model while the 32 GB and 16 GB versions garnered 34 percent and 45 percent of sales, respectively.

A deeper look into the figures reveals that recent iPhone buyers are bucking the trend of waiting the two years for their current contracts to expire before buying the popular device, and suggest that a majority of 4S adopters bypass cheaper legacy models for the newer Siri-enabled device.

“An amazing 19 percent of all iPhone buyers upgraded from the iPhone 4, a phone barely a year old at the time of the launch,” said CIRP co-founder Mike Levin. “Forty-two percent of iPhone buyers broke existing carrier contracts to get the new iPhone 4S. And 19 percent of these iPhone 4S buyers sold their old iPhone in the secondary market. Early upgrades, broken contracts, and selling used phones — all allow buyers to purchase the new iPhone 4S, when conventional wisdom suggests that these users would follow the two-year contract cycle, or at least purchase the cheaper models.”

The news comes on the heels of Apple’s Q1 2012 earning’s call on Tuesday, which outlined the company’s best performance ever and the second best quarterly corporate performance in U.S. history.

The iPhone 4S has seen amazing success after a longer than usual product refresh cycle built up customer demand to unprecedented heights. Sales were so strong that CEO Tim Cook said during the after-earnings conference call that Apple failed to too small.

The iPhone 4S rollout was the fastest in company history and the product line continues to set records for both Apple and mobile carriers such as AT&T’s 2011 holiday quarter where the iPhone represented 80.8 percent of all smartphones activated. Verizon recorded 4.2 million iPhone activations which represented more over half of the number one U.S. carrier’s smartphone sales.


How To Make iPhone Videos That Don’t Suck [Macworld / iWorld 2012]

How To Make iPhone Videos That Don’t Suck [Macworld / iWorld 2012]

SAN FRANCISCO, MACWORLD/IWORLD 2012 — If your iPhone videos are so lame that even your loved ones won’t watch them anymore, we’ve got some advice for you.

Cult of Mac talked to Matt Dessner, co-founder of the Original iPhone Film Festival (OIFF),  about choosing a subject, keeping it steady, getting enough b-roll and what he calls the Golden Tip of Editing.

The OIFF is about to announce 2012 winners here; with a little practice you might win next year’s competition and a MacBook Air.

Cult of Mac: What’s the best way to shoot steady with an iPhone?

Matt Dessner: Ahh, the puzzling question: “To mount or to grip?” Like many challenges, there are often several good solutions.

When shooting with an iPhone, it always helps to have something to steady the ship. One way to go is to use a mount like ALM’s mCam. I really like this mount because it has 1/4” holes to put it on a tripod or mic stand and additionally offers so many additional spots to add a light, mic or anything else you can screw into a 1/4” hole. Without going into a full-on review, I assure you it should be one of the first mounts to consider.

The other option is a lightweight run-and-gun grip, like one from Zacuto called the iPhone zGrip. It’s simple to use and you can literally point your iPhone and shoot with one hand — and get the steady shots you could never do unassisted and one-handed…If you intend to attach other iPhonefilmmaking accessories and build a rig, go mCAM. If you’re on the run and want something simple you can keep in your bag for those eyewitness moments – grab a zGrip.

CoM: What makes a good subject for an iPhone film – since you’ve got some limitations with the field, etc.?

MD: A good subject is always something the iPhonefilmmaker feels passionately about. Yes, it sounds a bit Tony Robbins or Hallmark-like, but  if you are not 100% committed your audience will pick up on it immediately. So when picking a subject to shoot, if your passion is in place then there are really no limitations. The emerging ecosystem of iPhoneFilmmaking accessories and apps are amazing and can provide a solution for most challenges.

The iPhone in many ways is like a blank canvas; as a filmmaking device it can be dressed up in many ways to achieve amazing cinematic imagery.

CoM: Where do you stand on the “zoom” issue – is using it good idea for an iPhone video or better to  take separate shots?

MD: This really relates to shooting style and what is the best way to capture a shot that forwards the story being told.
I’m a fan of separate shots. It’s just the way my mind works and the way I see a story being built. I actually visualize a storyboard in my mind and see the shots broken down in sequence.  Every shot is a unique step in the staircase of the narrative that fits in a certain spot.

Zooming has its place but it often is overused and reminiscent of home movies shot on camcorders. Now if zooming is something that is integral to your style of shooting, then I’d look into a lens adapter like one that encinema makes. You can that pop on a DSLR lens and really control your zoom without having to artificially blow up the frame with a digital effect.

CoM: Do you have any editing shortcuts/tips?

MD: I come from a post-production background having designed, edited and animated TV commercials in New York City. So post is one of my favorite parts of making a story come to life. Whatever the flavor of the month is in the production world, one rule holds true: “garbage in, garbage out.” That simply means that you can’t rely on the old adage “We will fix it in post.” You need to get good shots in the can.

So now here is the golden tip..wait for it,wait…OK here it is: When it comes to iPhonefilmmaking, make sure that when you offload your footage onto your drive (assuming you are cutting on a computer not the phone) you want to grab the UNCOMPRESSED footage off the iPhone.

This will ensure you are starting with the most pristine version of the digital file. A great app to do that with is the Photo Transfer App. You can pull the uncompressed raw files over to your mac and it works wirelessly. Just brilliant.

CoM: The best advice I ever got from a producer was “b-roll, b-roll, b-roll!” (meaning you can never have enough supplemental/extra footage), does this hold true for iPhone films? What makes good iPhone b-roll?

MD: B-roll is always great because it visually fills in holes that can act as a bridge between cuts/shots. Good b-roll starts with having it in the first place. Remember to remain a “first-time viewer” when making your story. People are not as familiar with your subject as you are. Bring out the details of the story by showing the viewer some of the things they would observe as if they were actually experiencing the shot in person.

Naturally, we don’t lock our eyes on one point of view when we witness and experience something. We look around, we notice…we take stock. We see that the blue collar worker we are talking to has rough skin on his hands from working all day outside. Or that the child eating a lollypop telling a story had thrown the wrapper halfway into his jeans pocket and it’s sticking out. Get a shot of the hands to cut away to during your edit! Get a close up shot of the wrapper poking our of the jeans pocket and use it – these details are the moments between the shots that engage us.

So b-roll can really elevate the production value and provide a deeper emotional connection for the viewer.

Cult of Mac

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.


More than 80% of smartphones activated at AT&T were Apple’s iPhone

By Sam Oliver

Published: 09:26 AM EST (06:26 AM PST)
Apple’s first carrier partner remains is strongest, as AT&T revealed on Thursday that it activated a record 7.6 million iPhones over the holiday 2011 quarter.

The 7.6 million iPhones activated on AT&T represented 20.5 percent of the total 37 million iPhones Apple sold in its own record quarter, the results of which were announced on Tuesday. AT&T followed up Thursday with its quarterly earnings, in which consolidated revenues were up $ 1.1 billion to $ 32.5 billion.

The iPhone was dominant at AT&T, accounting for 80.8 percent of the 9.4 million smartphones sold through the carrier.In the previous quarter, the iPhone represented 56 percent of AT&T’s smartphone activations with 2.7 million units.
The wireless carrier revealed that a majority of the 7.6 million iPhones it activated in the quarter were the iPhone 4S. That aligns with what Apple executives said on Tuesday, when they revealed the latest model of their smartphone was by far the best selling.

The 7.6 million iPhones activated on AT&T also easily bested the 4.2 million iPhones Verizon activated during the same three-month span. The iPhone accounted for 55 percent of smartphone sales at Verizon.

AT&T also said it was a strong quarter for its Android-based handsets, as Android smartphones also set a new record over the holidays. Specific sales figures for Android and other platforms weren’t provided, but would remain among the remaining 1.8 million non-iPhone smartphones sold in the three-month period. Total smartphone sales were the best ever seen at AT&T, blowing past its previous quarterly record by 50 percent.

The nation’s second-largest wireless carrier added a total of 2.5 million wireless subscribers in the quarter. That means most of the 7.6 million iPhones activated over the holidays were to existing AT&T subscribers.

AT&T saw 10 percent growth in wireless revenues, and 19.4 percent growth in wireless data revenues. It said that 82 percent of its postpaid sales were smartphones.

Computing devices, including the iPad and other tablets, reached 571,000. That was the company’s best-ever quarter, and the carrier now has 5.1 million subscribers with those 3G-connected devices, up almost 70 percent from a year ago.


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.