apple app store LogoIt would seem people really enjoy downloading apps to their iPhone and iPod Touch units.

  • 85,000 apps
  • 125,000 app developers
  • 6.6 million apps downloaded a day

That’s what the statistics look like for the Apple App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch.  It was just a little over 2 months ago that the App Store passed the 1.5 billion download mark, and here we are at 2 billion.  And before that, it was only this past April that they surged past the 1 billion downloads mark.

“The rate of App Store downloads continues to accelerate with users downloading a staggering two billion apps in just over a year, including more than half a billion apps this quarter alone,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “The App Store has reinvented what you can do with a mobile handheld device, and our users are clearly loving it.”

I think the big question at this point is what is the user engagement and retention on these apps?  Just because they get downloaded doesn’t mean they are being used on a regular basis.  This has been the source of many studies at this point, and almost all of them find that after the initial download, the users tend to dwindle off the usage of them pretty rapidly.  Of course this doesn’t matter on Apple’s end, but it is still interesting to think about, especially on the paid apps.  Apple did not specify the number of free-to-paid apps downloaded, which I think would actually be a far more interesting number to look at, but something I doubt they will ever announce.

Either way, congratulations Apple!

Categories: Apple   
 

google voice logoThe insanity that is the rejection of the Google Voice application by Apple for inclusion in the iPhone app store just gets odder with each passing day.

For those of you haven’t been following this drawn out battle, earlier this summer Google submitted an application for its Google Voice service to Apple.  This application was to be reviewed for inclusion in the iPhone and iPod Touch application store, but was ultimately rejected for unknown reasons.  What followed was a blame game of epic proportions with AT&T also being dragged in as the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the United States.  The fight got to such a level that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided to step in and start asking questions of all the parties involved as to what exactly happened.

As the war of words continued, things have now escalated even more as Google has decided to broadcast its reply to the FCC that does not paint Apple in a very favorable light.  You can read the full reply at the FCC site (PDF link), but it boils down to Google is saying this is 100 percent on Apple’s head for just being stuck in the mud’s over the fact they felt the new app would duplicate core portions of the iPhone’s functionality.

The issue here is that many consumers are crying out for the iPhone to be open and that it should run any software that is put out for it without question.  Some are even using the analogy that what if Microsoft told you what you can and can not run on your Windows based computer?  You’ve paid for the item, it belongs to you, you should have complete control over what you use it to do.  Well, I have another analogy for you … how much luck are you having running a Nintendo Wii game on your Microsoft Xbox 360?  I mean, you’ve paid for it, you own it, you should be able to run anything you want on it, right?

When you purchase an item such as a video game console or a cell phone, you are making a conscience choice that some higher power has a say over what software you are going to be allowed to run on it.  For Google, or consumers for that matter, to say that the government should force a company to allow certain things on to its equipment is ridiculous.  You are making a decision, a hopefully informed one, before you make that purchase.  No one forced you to buy an iPhone, you chose to buy it.  No one forced you to choose it over the other options out there, you decided to go with a phone manufactured by Apple, powered by Apple and ultimately serviced by Apple.

The government should have no say in such a situation.

Categories: Apple, Google, Mobile Phones, Opinion   
 

9/11 numbersYou know there is an iPhone application for everything when there is one simply entitled “9/11 Numbers”.

As many in the United States seem to come out of their 9/11 mourning period, it is nice to see that some people can remember what that day meant to some, and how they can turn that in to something we could all use as a reminder.  Stalefish Labs has created an iPhone application named 9/11 Numbers (iTunes Link) that presents a very tastefully done representation of statistics from that fateful day.

The application is filled with numbers, each representing a different aspect of the event, and is then followed by a short explanation of what that number means.  All of this is presented over a very lovely photo of the Tribute in Light, dual beams of light that are projected to represent where the Twin Towers once stood.

While we do not normally comment on individual applications around here, we felt this one was worthy of being mentioned.  Stalefish Labs is to be commended for creating such a nice little memorial and reminder.  We also applaud them for releasing it for free and with no advertising attached to it.  This is an application that is obviously made out of love and concern, and while we’re not sure if you really need it on your iPhone or iPod Touch 24/7, it could serve as a nice reminder of a day that no American should ever forget.

Categories: Apple   
 

iPod Family 2009With new iPods out in force, how do you judge if it’s time for you to upgrade your current model, buy new or which one to give as a gift this upcoming holiday season? Hopefully we’ll be able to help you with all of those questions.

The new iPods for 2009 were announced yesterday, and while there weren’t a tremendous amount of upgrades to the overall line, it can still be difficult to pick one out.  Our first recommendation would be to go back and read our post from last year, How To Choose An iPod, as all of the questions it asks are still relevant.  After you read that, come back here and we’ll get down to the nitty gritty of this year’s models and what we recommend for each.

-sips coffee while he waits for you to read the other article-

Done reading the other article?  Good, here we go!

iPod Shuffle 09

iPod Shuffle

The iPod Shuffle is a bit of an odd duck in the iPod family of devices because it is the only one to feature actual buttons on the body of it. All the controls are operated from the headphones, and you have no way of seeing what songs are next and so on. While it is certainly the “kiddie” version of an iPod, it would be a good choice for someone who is rough on devices, young children, good for the gym due to potential accidents with weights and so on. For anyone over the age of 12, in general we would recommend a different model as the Shuffle is just too small for most people’s purposes.

Should I upgrade if I have an older model? I wouldn’t bother, nothing has really changed, and if you have a Shuffle with buttons, I would be reluctant to give it up.  If you have an older Shuffle, and you do have a hankering to buy a new player, I would highly recommend moving on to a completely different iPod unless you have really serious reasons to have a Shuffle.

iPod Nano 09

iPod Nano

The iPod Nano got the most serious upgrades this year, and become a better all around solution for your casual music listner, and is also sure to be a hit with teens this year due to the addition of the camera.

Holding either 8GB or 16GB of media, the Nano is a great choice for those with a decent sized music collection of music, and the wherewithal to actually sort out what songs they want to take with them when they leave the house or office.

With the additions of the built-in video camera, pedometer, FM tuner, microphone & speaker and other new items, the Nano has quickly become a whole lot more than a music player.  Due to its small physical size, the Nano fits so many scenarios such as travelling, being carried in a purse, strapped to your arm in the gym, slipping in your pocket and a whole lore more.

Should I upgrade if I have an older model? I would say this would be tempting this year just due to the addition of the camera.  The size of the camera lens troubles me some, but if you just want to shoot party videos or the like, this thing is perfect!  You can entertain the party AND photograph it at the same time.  I would recommend to anyone who buys a Nano this year go for the 16GB version, though.  The 8GB version costs $149, and the 16GB is only $30 more at $179.  Not springing for the bigger one could be a decision you very, very quickly regret, especially with the video function in the mix now.

iPod Classic 09

iPod Classic

The Classic is the work horse of the iPod family.  Sure it can play videos and display photos, it’s number one job is playing music, and lots of it.

The Classic is the only iPod to retain the original form factor of the popular device, and it hasn’t changed in quite a while now except to get thinner and bigger hard drive.  That is the other thing about the Classic, it is the only iPod to still run on a physical hard drive as opposed to flash memory like all of the other members of its little family.

While the Classic first had a 160GB hard drive in 2007, it fell back in size to 120GB in 2008 to keep its thickness down.  Well, this year it is back to 160GB while retaining the 120GB price of $249.

This iPod is only for people with giant music collections and no desire to sort what they take with them while on the go.  (-cough- guilty, party of one over here)

Should I upgrade if I have an older model? Only if you’re older one is broken, otherwise there is about zero reason to buy this year’s model.

iPod Touch 09

iPod Touch

The iPod Touch was introduced in 2007, and since then it just hasn’t changed that much.

Introduced as a simpler version of the iPhone (or simply an iPhone for people who didn’t want to deal with AT&T), the fancy iPod just isn’t getting updated like other members of the family over the years.  In 2008 the Touch received an external speaker, a memory bump and physical volume buttons.  This year it received an increase in processor speed and an increase in the memory capacity.  Why it didn’t receive a camera is a mystery, but there was no sign of it in the newest information.  (some rumors say there were technical problems, but that has still yet to be confirmed, and doubtful it ever will be as Apple is a very secretive company.)

This particular iPod fits in perfectly with college students who have frequent access to Wi-Fi, and is also great dor business users who want some of the benefits of the iPhone while not giving up their current phone.

Should I upgrade if I have an older model? I wouldn’t.  If you have a first generation (2007), maybe consider it, but if you have a second generation (2008), it is really pointless to do so.  Here’s hoping something significant will happen next year with this product.

Categories: Apple, Gadgets, How To, Shopping   
 

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, finally came back to the spotlight today after his medical leave that resulted in him receiving a live transplant.  Far be it from Steve to return empty handed though, as he also brought along a complete iPod line update for the 2009 holiday season.

iPod Shuffle 09

iPod Shuffle

The iPod Shuffle is considered the entry level device, and as such, it rarely gets many updates. Last year it went to its current buttonless format, and nothing has changed about that this year.  The only difference is that there will be more headphone options available for it now that will include the built-in controls like those found on the currently included earbuds.

  • $59 for 2GB
  • $79 for a 4GB
  • $99 for a a silver special edition 4GB
  • Getting more headphone options this year

iPod Nano 09

iPod Nano

The iPod Nano was the big surprise this year with it receiving the most updates by far.

While it has been heavily rumored that the iPod Touch would receive a camera this year, it was actually the Nano that was bestowed with that particular gift.  For a “mid-range” device, it was surprising to see it full video shooting capabilities.

  • $149 for 8GB
  • $179 for 16GB
  • New video camera
  • Now with an FM tuner
  • Built-in pedometer
  • Built-in microphone and speaker

iPod Classic 09

iPod Classic

The Classic is the last iPod to still use a physical hard drive, and that had led many to believe that this particular model was doomed to not be produced this year.

Well, it still got produced, but the only thing to happen to it was that it increased from 120GB to 160GB, but retained the price of $249.

There is something to be said for the Classic and people that have enermous music collections (i.e. me).  Some of us don’t want to have to pick and choose what music we carry with us because it is such a subjective thing.  Your modds change, and with your moods, so does your choice in music.  I personally hope we will continue to see the Classic for some time, but my gut tells me that it is going away within the next 2 years for sure.

iPod Touch 09

iPod Touch

This was probably the biggest let down of the day.

The iPod Touch had been heavily rumored to receive possible a camera and a microphone, but in the end it received neither of these things.  The only things that did end up happening with this particular model was that it received increases in processor speed and bumps to its memory capacity.

There have been some rumors that Apple had problems getting the cameras to work in the Touch, but that seems hard to believe since that would have meant a quick retooling of the bodies.

  • $199 for 8GB
  • $299 for 32GB
  • $399 for 64GB
  • Faster processor upping the speed by 50 percent

We’ll be back with our annual How To Choose An iPod guide tomorrow so you know which one, if any, is right for you this year!

Categories: Apple, Gadgets   
 

apple logoCould it be time to say good-bye to the classic click wheel style iPod? At least one person thinks so.

The iPod Classic is the last iPod to retain the original form factor, and it is also the last one to use a physical hard drive. In 2007 the iPod Classic went up to a 160 GB at its highest capacity, but at the 2008 iPod event, the largest size dropped down to 120 GB, and that seemed to be the first indication that the hard drive based iPods were probably on their last legs.

Well, Marco.org is playing arm-chair quarterback leading up to the iPod event this coming Wednesday, and the article makes some compelling arguments for why the Classic is probably already dead.  Sadly the biggest argument is that there just aren’t enough people who need that much space on their iPod any more…

-cough-

As someone who carries a 160 GB iPod Classic, I would argue that point!

I do see their point, and they say the big push is now going to be towards the iPod Touch being the main part of the product line, but I see some real problems with that.  Ignoring the whole space issue, there is the navigation problem with the device.  The click wheel is simple and always ready for commands, but with the Touch you need to start it up, unlock the screen, navigate to where you need to be, etc.  This is going to be a lot tougher when using it in the gym, while walking or especially while driving.

The Classic may be on its way out, but there is something to be said for simple navigation devices, and for that reason I will miss the Classic.

Categories: Apple   
 

ipod event 2009

Well, it shouldn’t come as any great shock to readers of this blog, but Apple has officially announced a music themed event for September 9th in San Fransisco. While they don’t specifically mention the iPods, trust us, it’s iPod related. (as if the image on the invitation didn’t give it away) Be sure to check back here that day for a complete run down of what exactly Apple has in store for us this year.

Categories: Apple   
 

apple logoIf you’ve been planning to buy an iPod any time soon… don’t.

As we previously reported, it looked like Apple is planning a media event for September 9th.  Well those rumors have picked up even more speed, and now reports are coming in from multiple sources that Apple has allowed stocks of the current models dwindle to non-existent levels, if not allowing them to be completely unavailable.

None of this has come as a really big surprise as Apple has used an early announcement in September for the past four years to announce line refreshes to the iPod family of devices.  While last year’s upgrades were pretty disappointing, this year seems to have some definite bite to it.  Rumors are all over the place that the iPod Touch and iPod Nano lines will be receiving cameras, and there are even some rumors that the iPod Classic, the last iPod to still use a hard drive, may be getting a camera as well.  The Classic rumor seems a bit far-fetched, but we’ll see.

In short, if you are in need of an iPod, wait another week and a half and see what exactly Apple is announcing for this year.

Categories: Apple   
 

facebook3It only took a few tries, but it looks like the full Facebook experience is finally making its way on to your iPhone.

While the Facebook application has dominated the most popular free application slot on the Apple App Store for ages, it has been lacking in a whole lot of functionality that users would like to have.  Well, thanks to the 3.0 update, all of that has changed, and Facebook was kind enough to spell out everything that the new version will do.

  • See your upcoming Events and RSVP
  • See your friends’ birthdays
  • See Pages and post updates and photos to Pages you administer
  • Write Notes and read your friends’ Notes
  • Upload videos from an iPhone 3GS
  • Upload photos to any album
  • Complete photo management (create albums, delete albums, delete photos, delete photo tags)
  • Change your Profile Picture
  • Zoom into photos
  • Like posts and photos
  • See the same News Feed as the Facebook website
  • Visit links in a built-in web browser
  • See all of your friends’ friends and Pages
  • See mutual friends
  • Easily search for people and Pages
  • Make friend requests
  • Become a fan of Pages
  • Quickly call or text your friends
  • Create shortcuts to your favorite friends and Pages
  • Friends sorted by first or last name according to your settings
  • Chat friends sorted alphabeticaly

In short, this new app will basically allow you to do everything you do on the full site, but on a mobile device.  If you thought the old version of the app was popular, this one should just be explosive.  It is available now, but it still needs a bit of time to show up in everyone’s iTunes and your iPhones and iPod Touches.

Categories: Apple, Social Networking   
 

itunes-logoIt looks like we can all look forward to the announcement of new iPod models being announced on September 9th.

For the past four years Apple has used a day in September to announce the new iPods for the upcoming holiday season.  Well, rumors point to this holding true again for this year, and it looks like September 9th will be the day.

So far the biggest rumors are that the iPod Nano and iPod Touch will be receiving cameras, but the big news is centered around the rumor that iTunes will receive social networking compatability.  No clue yet how exactly that will be executed, but my gut is telling me “Send the music track you are listening to out on Twitter” is probably a safe bet.

We will cover all of the latest news, but if you are thinking about buying an iPod right now, hold out a couple of weeks!

Categories: Apple   
 
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