January 27, 2012

Apple Store is down

The yellow sticky note of doom has appeared, and the Apple Store is currently down. What sort of updates will this bring? Since it’s early Friday on the East Coast, most likely maintenance. But with Macworld, it could be anything. We’ll let you know of any changes once it’s back up!

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

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.


Ron Johnson seeks to bring Apple Store savvy to J.C. Penney

By Daniel Eran Dilger

Published: 05:37 PM EST (02:37 PM PST)
Apple’s former retail chief Ron Johnson has outlined plans for revitalizing the 110 year old retailer J.C. Penney, which he now heads as chief executive.

Johnson introduced his plans to improve the performance and allure of the company’s more than 1,100 department stores by getting rid of clearance sales and advertised promotions and instead promoting everyday low prices, “best prices” and month long deals.

The company also plans to introduce “store within a store” merchandizing that Johnson pioneered at Apple as a brand. The effort sounds similar to plans being taken by Target to replace a huge shopping experience with a series of boutique areas, usually focusing on a particular brand or designer.

The company printed a full page ad in the Wall Street Journal, introducing the company’s new efforts as “No more pricing games. Just great prices from the start,” and stating “we’re not interested in being the biggest store or the flashiest store. We want to be your favorite store.”

The ad has parallels to Apple’s “Think Different” campaign, which attempted to reconnect the computer maker with its audience.

A decade after launching its own retail stores, Apple has reported $ 6.1 billion in quarterly revenues, along with plans to partner with Target in opening 25 new “stores within a store” locations this year.


Apple has now paid $4 billion to App Store developers

By Daniel Eran Dilger

Published: 09:10 PM EST (06:10 PM PST)
The value of Apple’s platforms is reflected in the amount of revenue the company’s App Stores pays its developers, a figure that has now hit $ 4 billion.

Apple first announced having paid out over $ 1 billion to developers in June 2010, after just over two years of App Store sales involving over five billion app downloads.

Last summer, the amount paid to developers had jumped to 2.5 billion, more than doubling in both size and pace in just one year.

Four months later in October at the iPhone 4S launch, Apple stated it had sold 250 million iOS devices and that the App Store had seen a total of 18 billion downloads, paying out over $ 3 billion to developers.

Apple has now reached $ 700,000 in payments to developers in just a quarter, pushing its cumulative payouts to developers above $ 4 billion.

Google recently reported matching Apple’s milestone of 250,000 mobile device sales across all of its Android licensees, but Apple has upped its number above 315 million iOS devices, due to sales of 67.87 million iOS products in the holiday quarter.

In December, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt predicted that mobile developers would “prioritize” Android development over iOS in the first half of 2012, stating that “ultimately, application vendors are driven by volume, and volume is favored by the open approach Google is taking.”

Commercial developers in general appear to be more interested in revenue than volume distribution of their code, but Google itself has pursued a strategy that favors volume over revenue, giving away its software in hopes of establishing a broad advertising platform.

Last October, Google reported a mobile revenues “run rate” approaching $ 2.5 billion annually, with much of that revenue coming from iOS devices, not just Android. Apple’s $ 13.06 billion in profits for the holiday quarter was greater than Google’s entire revenue of $ 10.6 billion.

One year ago, Google’s Android platform manager Eric Chu said that his company was “not happy” about the limited number of apps actually being purchased by Android users, and described plans to turn those figures around.


Apple By The Numbers: iCloud, App Store, Education, Retail And More

Apple By The Numbers: iCloud, App Store, Education, Retail And More

Apple held its Q1 2012 fiscal earnings call this afternoon, and the company reported record-breaking numbers across the board. Revenue reached $ 46.33 billion with a net profit of $ 13.06 billion, more than doubling Apple’s profit since this time last year.

We’ve got a roundup of interesting numbers from this afternoon’s call for you to check out.

  • There were 140 million App Store downloads on Dec. 25th alone.
  • 1.5 million iPads are already in use in education institutions.
  • 600,000 copies of iBooks Author have been downloaded since last week’s announcement. 3 million copies of the iTunes U app have been downloaded as well.
  • There were more than 62 million total iOS devices sold in the last quarter, totaling a staggering 315 million iOS devices sold to date,
  • iCloud has 85 million customers
  • $ 4 billion has been paid to developers from App Store sales.
  • There is an average of 22,000 visitors per Apple store each week.
  • Apple has $ 97 billion in cash, with over $ 60 billion offshore. Apple said, “We’re not letting it burn a hole in our pockets.”
  • Tim Cook noted IDC’s research saying that the tablet (iPad) is expected to overtake PC sales in the US.  Cook said, “We’ll continue to innovate like crazy in the tablet area.” He said, ”People thought it was going to be the year of the tablet. It actually was the year of the iPad.”

[image via Jason Snell]

Cult of Mac

Your Local Apple Store Is Probably Worth Just As Much As The White House [Trivia]

Your Local Apple Store Is Probably Worth Just As Much As The White House [Trivia]

What’s more valuable: the White House or the Apple Store? The most iconic and easily identifiable residence in the country might seem like the safer bet, but guess again: it’s actually worth just about as much as any one single Apple store.

CNN did the math today and calculated that Apple’s sales-per-square-foot value was around $ 4,709 annually, just $ 43 dollars less than what the White House’s retail value is per square foot.

Not only does the house that Apple built stack up favorably with the White House, it completely blows away the competition, Tiffany’s, which has a sales-per-square-foot value of a mere $ 2,974.

Apple’s not doing bad for a company that opened its first retail location just 11 years ago, is it?

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is news editor here at Cult of Mac, and has also written about a lot of things for a lot of different places, including Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, Gizmodo, Kotaku, Lifehacker, AMC, Geek and the Consumerist. He lives in Cambridge with his charming inamorata and a tiny budgerigar punningly christened after Nabokov’s most famous pervert. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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Cult of Mac

Apple Store almost worth as much as the White House

There are several different ways to judge the success of a company. You have earnings reports, brand value and market value. For retailers, there’s sales-per-square-foot which places a monetary figure on the sales and the size of a store.

CNN calculated Apple’s sales-per-square-foot value and determined its flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York City (US$ 4,709 per square-foot) is worth almost as much as the White House ($ 4,752 per square-foot). It’s also significantly more valuable than #2 Tiffany, which has a sales-per-square-foot value that’s 40% less ($ 2,974 per square-foot) than Apple’s.

Apple opened its first retail store eleven years ago, and it’s been a rocket-ride to the top of the retail market for the Cupertino company. It now has over 350 stores, which occupy three million square feet and generate $ 14.1 billion dollars a year. The secret to Apple’s success, says analysts, is its flawless retail execution which dictates everything from how the store looks to how its employees interact with customers. Apple products also command a higher than average retail price which helps to boost the company’s bottom line.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Briefly: iTunes U support, first Netherlands Apple Store

By Mikey Campbell

Published: 07:35 PM EST (04:35 PM PST)
Apple rolls out a support page for the newly refreshed iTunes U and the Netherlands puts the final touches on its first Apple Store located in Amsterdam.

iTunes U support page

Apple on Monday opened the digital doors to its iTunes U support page, giving educators and students access to information about the company’s recently-retooled educational suite.

The section is not yet as robust as other Apple support pages, but the information provided gives a somewhat brief overview of the program’s various apps, publishing and course management tools. Support sections include a “Welcome” page, “Using iTunes U,” “iTunes Course Manager” and iTunes U Public Site Manager.”

In addition to the Apple-provided information, forums have also been created for both students and instructors to facilitate a support community.

iTunes U was announced in a Jan. 19 Apple event and has expanded from a selection of podcasts in the iTunes Music Store to a new way for schools to create and disseminate information. The revamped system has an iOS app that handles class materials, a syllabus and even teachers’ schedules.

Apple is looking to tie iBooks 2, also announced at the recent event, into iTunes U to create a one-stop-shop ecosystem where students can sign up for courses, buy and manage materials and connect with teachers.

First Dutch Apple Store

Thanks to blustery Netherlands weather, a tarp covering the entryway of what is to be the country’s first Apple Store was blown away(machine translation) on Sunday, giving the public a sneak peek of the outlet that is scheduled to open in February, reports Dutch language Apple blog iPhoneclub.

The Leidseplein Square location in Amsterdam will apparently sport a spiral glass staircase leading up to the store’s second floor, which is covered by a glass pyramid as in Apple outlet in the Louvre.

The blog also claims that it has received reports from the building’s cleaning company that employees are being trained for a a mid-February opening, however the rumors are unconfirmed.


First Apple Store in the Netherlands to open in February

A strong windstorm gave some bloggers in the Netherlands a chance to view the progress of construction at the new Apple Store on the Leidseplein in Amsterdam. The wind blew away part of the barriers around the new store, and Apple fans in the city quickly took advantage by shooting some great photos.

According to iPhoneclub.nl, the store is expected to open next month. The bloggers are thinking that Saturday, February 18 may be the opening date. That speculation is based on finding out that a company that will take care of the building cleaning is expected to start work at the site in mid-February, and that training of employees has been scheduled.

Like the Apple Store at the Louvre in Paris, the Leidseplein Apple Store has a pyramidal glass roof. A circular glass staircase (see photo at top) will connect the two floors of the store, which will be the first Apple Store in the Netherlands.

And now, a picture of Dutch Apple Pie to go along with the Dutch Apple Store — after all, who doesn’t love pie?

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

How to backup your Mac App Store apps

The excellent ReadNow application, which allows you to easily read articles from your Instapaper and Read It Later articles on your Mac, has been pulled from the Mac App Store “…because of an infringement letter.” Developer Michael Schneider added “[i]n my current situation I’m not allowed to provide any further information.”

The good news is that if you have already purchased the app, you can still download it from the “Purchases” tab in the App Store.app even though the iTunes page for ReadNow now leads to the message, “Your request could not be completed.”

However, as I waited for the Mac App Store to load on my iMac this morning, I found myself wondering “What would I do if I couldn’t re-download it from the Mac App Store?”

Fortunately I have the app on my MacBook Air, so I could go to /Applications/ReadNow.app and then select File » Compress “Read Now” (or control+click the app and choose “Compress” from the menu).

Terminal option

If you wanted to make a copy of ReadNow (or any app) on the command line, I believe that your best option is using ditto like this:

sudo ditto -v --keepParent -kc ReadNow.app ReadNow.zip

(I don’t claim to be a ditto expert, but I can tell you that worked for me. The -k option tells ditto to make zip archives. The –rsrc –extattr and –qtn options are all the default, so they don’t need to be explicitly specified.)

I then copied the ‘ReadNow.zip’ file to my Dropbox so I would have it, just in case Apple removes the option to download it.

This should work for all Mac App Store apps (Xcode and “Install Lion” excepted), but may not work for other apps which use an installer and may install other files besides the ones in /Applications/.

Show me all of my Mac App Store apps

Speaking of the command line, if you want to see a list of all the Mac App Store apps that you have installed on your computer, you can run this command in Terminal.app:

find /Applications \
-path '*Contents/_MASReceipt/receipt' \
-maxdepth 4 -print |\
sed 's#.app/Contents/_MASReceipt/receipt#.app#g; s#/Applications/##'

Note: this won’t show you Xcode, because Xcode is an unusual case. It is an installer which installs Xcode and then the installer is removed.

An ounce of prevention

There has been no indication that Apple will remove ReadNow from your list of Purchased apps, I just wanted to have a backup ‘just in case.’ Hopefully the “infringement letter” issue will be settled soon and it will be available again. However, if the iOS App Store is any indication, eventually jettisoned apps will become unavailable for re-download. Also, the upcoming sandboxing requirements may lead to some existing applications being removed.

As always, it’s good to have your own backups rather than relying on being able to re-download anything from “the cloud.” I wrote a small shell script which will look in /Applications/ for any applications which have the Mac App Store receipt, and create a .zip file for each of them. (While I have tested it myself and it works for me, YMMV, use only at your own risk, etc.)

To use it, download the script to your Desktop (or wherever) and then run:

chmod 755 ~/Desktop/backupmas.sh

And then run it via


(Obviously if you saved it somewhere else, use that path instead of ~/Desktop/.)

It may ask for your administrator password. If so, that’s the one you use to log in to your computer, not your Mac App Store password.

TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog