Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

Apple reported 10 millions registered users (of its 800 millions iTunes accounts) for its Music service following the first month (June 30 to end of July). We can suppose there were additional 5 millions registrations in August, then 3 millions in September, and 2 millions the first half of September. This could then match with Apple’s announce mid October stating their were 15 millions still opened Music accounts (and 6.5 millions paid accounts among these).

Apple offered an option to disable automatic renewal of Music subscription, then many users diddn’t wait the 3 months trial ending to cancel (or not) their subscription, they just let it stop by itself in case they wouldn’t renew. Did Apple take into account the users that  left the automatic renewal on for its 6.5 paid accounts ?

On one hand their may be 100% of early “subscribers” (the about 5 millions ones that entered trial bewteen June 30 and mid July) that let their subscription stop by mid October, that could explain the 15 millions active accounts (from 20 millions total trials) reported at that time.

On another hand there should have been at least the same amount that would have renewed their subscription to reach the stated 6.5 paid accounts (most of them would have choosed to renew a few days to one week before trial ending, that is early to mid October). Apple offered an option to initially extend and pay for many months, however few users may have opted for this. Then these same users couldn’t both have renewed and let stop their subscription.

Apple then may have taken into account users that let the automatic renewal option enabled. There shouldn’t be more than 2 millions users that did renew their subscription for some months, that is only 10% of users that entered the trial (and 0.25% of Apple’s iTunes users).

Considering the deceiving quality of the service (iTunes Store is much better and many songs or artists weren’t present in Music service), Apple should lower the price, replace the service by access to the full ITMS catalog, and provide songs in lossless format (a new HD audio format is expected by Apple early 2016).

Also many would have used the trial to copy most of songs (using Soundflower), then Apple shouldn’t provide a Trial (as users still can try iTunes Store by listening to long tracks samples).


Apple : executives reorganization

Posted: October 30, 2012 in Apple
Tags: ,

Scott Forstal was forced to leave Apple after the iOS6’s new Maps application problems (great interface and 3D vector rendering – lighter than Google’s -, however data weren’t all reliable). He originated the iOS era (from Core Animation to WebKit’s CSS effects, and more recently Siri and Maps) however there wasn’t much innovating recently in UI design (notably iOS features added to OSX – like the launchBar – didn’t brought real value).

Since Micosoft’s new system (merging desktop and mobile, and inspired from Apple’s old Hypercard from 1988, and OpenDoc from mid-90s), Apple had to rethink its UI design strategy. Moreover there was strong competition with other lead members.

Then Jonathan Ive will take leadership and direction for Human Interface besides his role as leader of Industrial Design.  Eddy Cue will manage Siri and Maps (also iTunes Store, the App Store and iCloud). Craig Federighi will manage both iOS and OSX, and Bob Mansfield will lead the wireless team.

While Google I/O ended (we can find a live coverage of the keynote here), and that Google stated “If we did not act, we faced a draconian future where one man, one phone, one carrier was the future. That’s a future we don’t want.” (in the same manner they had said that we shouldn’t prevent them from using our personnal data if we haven’t anything – faulty – to hide), here are some facts to consider :

– the unveiled WebM codec is only a slight evolution derived form VP8 and OggVorbis, and is still far from H264 in terms off efficiency (closer to BaseLine profile, and far from Main and High profiles) and encoding speed, do no provides yet hardware accelerating. And more important, it is reported that it may face lawsuits from MPEG LA about patents infrigments on H264.

– Nexus One launch was a commercial failure. Newly presented Google TV shouldn’t do better than the orignal (AppleTV).

– Chrome Store seems (from first screenshots at least) even less elegant than Microsoft’s one…

– FTC will investigate about personnal Wifi data collecting by Google during Street View data acquiring process (Google recognized publicly its fault, however they may not think it is just ok then).

-In another story (automated/batch books scanning without asking for rights owners agreement) Google still had tried to force the way through (same with Youtube, majors had finally to conclude deals, after videos had been put online without legal checking).

– AdSense revenues redistribution by Google is opaque (no way to verify given numbers – same known problem as with artits royalties), the algorithm is proprietary (not public) and indeed presented as no perfect (can be usefull). Relegatations may be more frequent than thought, while more and more companies are paying to appear in early search results. Then relevance of search is suffering, and by the end liberty, as all that don’t appear at the expected/deserved rank (or is too far) simply do not exist…

On the Apple side we have a company that always followed traditional market rules (while having succeeded to revolution the way of buying music, and now applications and entertainment – and it may be just a start) : owners rights protection through DRM (asked by the majors), protection of creators revenues (AppStore), polished products and softwares (while Google provides – for free – beta softwares, and even recently some in research stage).

Then Apple brings elegant/polished experience/UI, ensures a robust solution (iTunes), while Google don’t want to accept any responsability, as with an amateurish company (or worse, some that is above the laws).

What if Apple will restore the power balance, by using Microsoft’s Bing for search, and providing ads revenues through iAds. These are probably the reasons of Google’s anticipated attack, that lacks subtely, in the same way as Adobe’s poorly reasoned answer. After all, nobody seemed offended 15 years ago when Microsoft put pressure on developers to invest on MFC Api, that did hurt Mac platform. To remember, Adobe created Photoshop and Illustrator on Mac exclusively in early 90s – because such application couldn’t be achieved using Windows 3.x.

About one year ago, Jonathan Rentzsch posted a twit about a new Apple JS framework, Gianduia : essestially is browser-side Cocoa (including CoreData) + WebObjects, written in JavaScript. In this WWDC reporting we could also find : an amazing approach to handling Ajax and client-side programming in a logical and powerful way. This framework is still used by Apple for its One-to-One service (in-store assistance), its iPhone reservation system, and its Concierge service (reservations for Genius Bar).
We can access to the many JS frameworks used by Apple here, what leads to think that Apple still has no plans for a unified solution, like Cappuccino is, that was unveiled two years ago (it benefits from its language, that has a higher level of abstraction, and that allowed things like CP2JavaWS bridge, using an elegant way – proxy through forwardInvocation).

Steve Jobs published an open letter about Flash, that lists the 6 main reasons (another one being strategical) of lack of Flash on iPhone and iPad. Indeed it has been proven that solutions heading to the (low) common denominator aren’t compatible with the mac experience, as we can see on some iPhone application, and previously on mac (Eclipse, OpenOffice, games ported using Cider). The main interest of Apple’s solutions against Windows or Android resides in these few innovative applications. Some have still undestood this and make full use of OSX features : idSoftware, Blizzard, and recently Valve.

As a paradox, the same companies that claim about cross-platform development (and that took 10 years to migrate to Cocoa) forced Apple to cancell the Yellow Box (worked also on Windows), and to provide Carbon, some of a compromise. Advanced object concepts from AppKit and ObjC runtime aren’t likely to be easily unified with MFC programming and even Java.

The iPad User Guide (web application) was made using a new framework, ADLib, developed by Apple. It is based on HTML/CSS/JavaScript and it reproduces the controls and effects from the UIKit. Apple still had developed such framework for the iPhone, PastryKit, as well as more recently TuneKit to make iTunes Extra and iTunes LP contents. We can then hope an announce of a finalized solution in June (during the WWDC), the only way for Apple to catch up with Cappuccino (or they will have to buy it, and merge best ideas from both solutions).

We learn that Apple will be able to use its patents about key features of the iPhone :
– multi-touch interfaces of the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch,
– virtual keyboard concept,
-error correction for a multi-touch surface,
– Cover Flow, the album browsing interface Apple acquired several years ago,

All this will certainly hurt other mobile companies (HTC, etc.), that still cannot catch up 3 years later (not easy without Core Animation…)