A new report from research firm IHS suggests that Apple’s iTunes share of “consumer spending for movie electronic sell-through (EST) and Internet video on demand (iVOD)” grew during the first half of 2011, the first time since 2009, despite an increase in competition from Walmart and Amazon. iTunes had a 65.8% market share during the first half of this year, up from 64.9% during the first half of 2010. It also had the largest increase in revenue growth among its competitors. “Much of iTunes’ success can be traced to the rising usage of Apple’s AirPlay system, which allows wireless video streaming to consumer electronic devices including televisions,” said IHS research director Arash Amel. “This has expanded the reach of iTunes to new platforms, boosting sales of movies from the system.” Microsoft’s Zune Video Marketplace maintained the second largest share of consumer spending in the market with a 16.2% share, down from 18.5% during the first half of 2010. Walmart’s Vudu service saw the largest share increase among market leaders: it jumped from a 1% share during the first half of last year to a 5.3% share during the first half of 2011. Sony’s PlayStation Store now has a 4.4% share, down from 8.2%, and Amazon’s share grew slightly from to 4% from 4.2%. Read on for the full report. More →
Sonos released a new sibling in their audio lineup recently, and it’s called the PLAY:3. You can think of it as a smaller PLAY:5 (what used to be called the S5), and it is definitely up to par with the level of quality that Sonos is known for. There isn’t an actual subwoofer, rather a tweeter and a couple mid-range speakers, though the unit does offer decent bass and low-end performance. You can also create a stereo pair with two PLAY:3 units if you’d like, using one for a left channel and one for the right channel to fill your entire room with audio. The fact you can add all kinds of music services like Spotify, Pandora, Napster, Rhapsody, Rdio, Last.fm, iheartradio and many more, including your local iTunes library, is straight up mind blowing — all your music in true Sonos fashion is at your fingertips, and it just works. At $299, the PLAY:3 makes jumping into a Sonos setup relatively inexpensive, and a setup consisting of a few PLAY:3 units and PLAY:5 units can really create the perfect music listening experience in your home.
Apple’s upcoming “iTunes Replay” service is indeed in the works, but the company has yet to sign “cloud agreements” with at least four of the top-six film studios in Hollywood that are necessary in order to launch the service, CNET News reports. As such, the site calls earlier reports that suggested an imminent launch premature. Apple is reportedly working on a service that will allow iTunes users to stream and re-download movies purchased through iTunes. Such a service would require Apple to sign new licensing agreements with motion picture studios in order to secure the appropriate rights that would allow Apple to serve content from the cloud and to multiple devices. According to CNET News, negotiations for these rights could “drag on for months.” The report also mentions a possible hurdle for Apple: HBO. HBO has agreements in place that grant it exclusive digital distribution rights to new movies from three of the six major film studios — 20th Century Fox, Universal and Warner Bros. — for a certain period of time. HBO’s deals have caused problems for streaming services in the past, and it looks like Apple could be the latest victim. More →
Enjoying a quiet Saturday? Well, Apple has just released iOS 5 beta 5 for developers. While the update continues the tradition of bringing OTA updates to iOS devices, beta 5 will require your device to be erased before being able to update — a little frustrating, though it’s obviously not meant for the general public. Apple also released an updated iTunes 10.5 beta 5 and Apple TV beta 4.
- I have noticed the ability to send a photo from the camera roll directly to the Messages app for iMessage or MMS, additionally the inclusion of a camera button in the camera roll to skip back to the camera after viewing a photo.
- The terrible autocorrect algorithm seems to have been fixed.
Apple is preparing to launch a new service that will allow iTunes users to re-download previously purchased music, movies and TV shows for free, AppAdvice reports. The service may also support some streaming functionality according to the report, though such functionality may be limited. In the past, iTunes users who lose content from their libraries were forced to either purchase the content again or essentially beg and plead with Apple customer service until they agreed to assist with free content restoration. This ridiculous practice is now in the process of coming to an end. AppAdvice claims to have confirmed the imminent launch of the iTunes Reply service with multiple sources, and such an offering has rumored to have been in the works from Apple for quite some time. According to the report, we can expect iTunes Replay to “go public in the coming weeks.” More →
Apple issued an update to its Apple TV product on Monday that will allow users to stream purchased high-definition TV shows directly from iTunes. Specifically, Apple says the update will enable:
- iTunes TV Shows: Purchase your favorite TV shows directly from the iTunes Store, and watch the shows you already own, commercial-free in HD.
- Vimeo: Browse and play videos from Vimeo, access your video inbox, and mark videos you want to watch later.
When Apple first launched the Apple TV, it only allowed users to rent movies and shows and there was not an option to purchase titles for permanent ownership. For users in the U.S., Apple has also rolled out preliminary iCloud support with this update, allowing users to re-download some purchased television shows, though movie support is not yet available. More →
Following our exclusive report from Thursday suggesting Apple plans to release iTunes 11 in September alongside the iOS 5 and iCloud, a new report claims iTunes 11 will feature a redesigned layout and deep iCloud integration. IDownloadBlog on Friday cites a reliable source in stating that the next major release of iTunes will be “revamped from the ground up.” The report claims Apple’s new version of iTunes will feature a brand new user interface as well as iCloud integration. Mobile device app data and backups will also reportedly be integrated with iTunes 11, effectively mirroring iOS device backups and app data/settings that are automatically synced to iCloud. Apple has made major investments in its iCloud service, including the billion-dollar data center it built in North Carolina, so it would certainly be a logical move to showcase the service right out of the gate when it launches this fall. More →
Nokia recently announced that its Ovi Store has served a record 7.62 million downloads in a single day. The figure is a large jump from the 3 million daily downloads Nokia said the Ovi Store was serving in October of last year. The phone maker attributed its app store’s popularity to the decision to remove a registration and login requirement from the shop. In addition, Nokia said downloads more than tripled in India, the top country in terms of overall download volume. To put the Ovi Store figures in perspective, earlier this month Apple announced that its iTunes App Store had served a total 15 billion downloads. By Business Insider’s math, that’s about of 13 million downloads per day. More →
Amazon has updated its Kindle for iOS application with support for magazine and newspaper subscriptions. iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users can now browse, purchase, and read from more than 100 newspapers and magazines, complete with high resolution color photos, and the company confirmed that more content is on its way. Amazon customers with existing subscriptions can find recent issues under the “Archived Items” menu inside the application. The update also removes Amazon’s Kindle Store button from the the app now allows users to share quotes and passages with Facebook and Twitter friends. Kindle for iOS version 2.8 is available in the iTunes App Store for free.
Apple on Friday released the fourth beta version of its iOS 5 operating system, and this one brings about plenty of goodies that developers have been waiting for. The fact that the update can be applied over the air is a huge addition, of course, but there’s plenty more to be found buried within iOS 5 beta4 for the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad, iPad 2, and third and fourth-generation iPod touch. Wondering what’s new in this build? Apple’s full change log for iOS 5 beta 4 follows below. More →
Apple finally approved the official Google+ application for iOS on Tuesday. Google took the wraps off of Google+, its new social network, on June 28th and immediately made an Android application available to its users. Thankfully, it didn’t take long for Apple to approve the iPhone version. Google+ for iOS is supported on the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 4, provided that the device is running iOS 3.1 or later. There’s no word if a dedicated iPad version is in the works. More →
Apple has initiated a new seven day return policy in Taiwan in accordance with the country’s consumer protection laws, MacRumors reported on Friday. Taiwanese iTunes App Store customers can now receive a full refund on purchased applications within a seven day window after the purchase date. Specifically, Apple’s iTunes App Store, iBookstore, and Mac App Store terms now state:
You may cancel your purchase within seven (7) days from the date of delivery and iTunes will reimburse you for the amount paid, provided you inform iTunes that you have deleted all copies of the product. Upon cancellation you will no longer be licensed to use the product. This right cannot be waived.
Apple doesn’t currently offer that option to customers in the United States. Instead, consumers must approach Apple and request a refund on a specific app. That request will then be reviewed and Apple grants refunds as it sees fit. Google’s competing Android Market allows users to receive a full refund within a 15-minute window after downloading a new application. We’d certainly love to see Apple provide this sort of refund process in the United States, but we’re not holding our breath. More →
Apple on Monday released a new build of its iOS 5 beta software to developers. The new build — iOS 5 beta 3 — is available for all applicable iOS devices including the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, Apple TV, and third and fourth-generation iPod touch devices. Apple also released the third beta of iTunes 10.5 alongside the new iOS release of course, and it will be necessary for developers to install iTunes 10.5 beta 3 in order to load the new iOS beta on their devices. Hit the break for the full change log included with this release. More →