Thursday, March 17, 2011

Apple Rethinks Inventory Management, Scrambles Online Order Numbers

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Apple has made changes to how it handles iPad 2 inventory deliveries and scrambled its online order numbers, according to an AppleInsider report.

Sources tell the site that Apple has decided to have retail stores hold on to new shipments until the next day in an effort to ease the sales process for customers and employees.

A person familiar with Apple's retail operations informed AppleInsider this week that the new shipment of iPad 2 stock sold by some stores on Tuesday was actually delivered on Monday. Apple is said to have elected to hold the inventory for a next-day sale to grant its inventory control specialists the time to "calmly and accurately" process new shipments.

Interestingly, Apple has also decided to scramble its online order numbers to prevent analysts from using them to estimate iPad sales figures.

Last year, for the first-generation iPad launch, enthusiastic users at the Investor Village AAPL Sanity Board compared order numbers and cracked Apple's code to calculate total sales. In response, a person familiar with Apple's ordering systems explained that the company changed its Web order number generating method to a random number.




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The New York Times Launches Digital Subscriptions

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The New York Times announced today that it is launching digital subscriptions for its Web site, NYTimes.com, and its applications for smartphone and tablet. The subscription plan allows for free access to a set amount of content across digital platforms. When the monthly reading limit is reached, users who are not already home delivery subscribers will be asked to become digital subscribers.

Digital subscriptions will be available in the United States and globally on March 28, 2011. The Times is launching digital subscriptions in the Canadian market beginning today in order to fine-tune the customer experience prior to the global launch.

For non-home delivery subscribers, the basic package - NYTimes.com plus Smartphone App - will start at $15 every four weeks. The NYTimes.com plus Smartphone App package is currently available for purchase by users in Canada. On March 28, the global launch, The Times will offer three digital subscription packages, all of which include access to the Web site. Details are outlined below.

In making today's announcement, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., chairman of The New York Times Company and publisher of The New York Times, said, "Today marks a significant transition for The Times, an important day in our 159-year history of evolution and reinvention. Our decision to begin charging for digital access will result in another source of revenue, strengthening our ability to continue to invest in the journalism and digital innovation on which our readers have come to depend. This move will enhance The Times's position as a source of trustworthy news, information and high-quality opinion for many years to come."

Janet L. Robinson, president and chief executive officer of The New York Times Company, added, "As the market for and delivery of digital content evolves, we believe that supplementing advertising revenue with digital subscription revenue makes tremendous sense. The step we are taking today will further improve our ability to provide high-quality journalism to readers across the world on any platform, while maintaining the large and growing audience that supports our robust advertising business."

Details about the digital subscription:
● All users of NYTimes.com are able to enjoy 20 articles at no charge each month (including slideshows, videos and other forms of content). Beyond 20 articles and for open access to the site, users will be asked to become digital subscribers.
● On The Times's smartphone and tablet applications, the Top News section will remain free. To delve deeper into the apps' other sections, users will be asked to become digital subscribers.
● The Times is offering three digital subscription packages that allow users to choose the devices on which they want to access Times content. NYTimes.com will be included as part of any subscription. Details and pricing for these plans is available at www.nytimes.com/access. Introductory offers will be available.
● All New York Times home delivery newspaper subscribers receive free, unlimited access* to NYTimes.com and the full content on all of The Times's applications. Home delivery subscribers can go to http://homedelivery.nytimes.com to sign up for free access.
● Readers who come to Times articles through links from search, blogs and social media will be able to access those individual articles, even if they have reached their reading limit. For some search engines, users will have a daily limit of free links to Times articles.
● The homepage at NYTimes.com and all section fronts will remain free to browse for all users at all times.

In keeping with Apple's new subscription service terms, The Times will make 1-click purchase available in the App Store by June 30 to ensure that readers can continue to access Times apps on Apple devices.

Subscribers to the print edition of the International Herald Tribune, the global edition of The New York Times, will receive free, unlimited access* to NYTimes.com.

For more details about The Times's digital subscriptions, go to www.nytimes.com/access, or see the FAQ's: www.nytimes.com/digitalfaq.











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An Open Letter to Jon Bon Jovi On What’s Really “Killing The Music Business”

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By Jeremy Horwitz
Editor-in-Chief, iLounge

Hi Jon,

When my wife—a huge and long-time Bon Jovi fan—asked me to spend over $300 for two floor seat tickets to your Valentine’s Day show in Toronto, there were two reasons that I said yes. First, I really love my wife, and would do almost anything for her. Second, I looked through my iTunes collection and realized that there were more good Bon Jovi songs inside than there were for most of the musicians I “love.” Once my wife assured me that your concerts focus mostly on the songs I liked, I plunked down the cash for the seats, and spent the next four months watching my wife smile every time we discussed Valentine’s Day.

To be totally honest with you, the concert was great. We both had a lot of fun, snapped pictures and video clips from the floor, and told our friends and family how much we enjoyed it.



But now you’re putting our happy memories in jeopardy. For whatever reason, you told The Sunday Times Magazine during an interview that “Steve Jobs is personally responsible for killing the music business.” I’m not going to try and tell you all of the ways that you’re deeply, profoundly wrong. Instead, I’m just going to focus on a few of them.

(1) My wife has carried around all of your albums (and many more) on Steve Jobs’ Apple devices since she bought her first iPod years ago. I know from personal experience that she taps into your collection at home, in the car, and on vacations—literally at the drop of a hat, whenever she wants. If she hadn’t, I would have forgotten about your band back in the 1980’s. No CD player or radio station would have changed that, I can guarantee you.

(2) When we got married, her music collection became mine and vice-versa. It’s because of her collection of Bon Jovi music—and her constant access to it on Apple’s devices—that I could look at my iTunes library and realize how many of your songs I liked.

(3) We attended your concert in Toronto a month ago. Photos from that concert were uploaded to Facebook using our iPhones, and from my digital camera using a Mac. And when I was testing the iPad 2, guess what I used as examples to show off how the new version of iMovie can edit videos from digital cameras? Sample concert footage. And it looked pretty great, too.



Jon, you lead the world’s top-earning touring band, which made $146.5 million on its last tour alone. If the music business is being killed, you’re still doing exceptionally well, so it’s hard to understand why you’d be complaining about anything right now. But let me take a guess or two.

In the interview, you seem to be upset that kids no longer buy an entire album based on the cover, and suggest that people would be better off not knowing what it sounds like before they make a purchase. I’m sorry, but that’s just crazy. Yes, Apple lets people buy singles rather than entire albums. It also lets people preview tracks before buying albums, and recently extended those previews to 90 seconds per song. This way, potential customers can be sure they’re getting what they want before hitting the buy button—a good idea because those of us who aren’t making tens of millions of dollars a year don’t want to buy bad songs, or worse yet, entire albums full of junk. Singles and previewing let us pick out the tracks we like, rather than having to pay for filler. And there’s a lot of filler in the music business these days.


Taken on an iPhone 4

During the concert in Toronto, and presumably many others you’ve performed over the years, the audience clearly wanted to hear your hits. Crowd noise dimmed significantly every time you said you were going to play “new stuff,” but the energy level went through the roof whenever a classic track started to play. As an aging rock star—granted, one who puts on a hell of a show—you must hate that each stadium full of people just wants to hear the songs you put out 20 years ago. You surely want to point fingers at the system that distributes your music, the way people consume music these days, other performers, and anything other than the music itself for not catching on. At one point in the concert, you knocked Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and seemingly Madonna and Justin Timberlake for not being real musicians. As talented as you may be, it’s obvious that you’re angry about popular music for some reason.

You shouldn’t be. If you don’t realize it already, iTunes, the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and Mac have given you a platform that would have been inconceivable when you were a kid. You constantly live in your fans’ pockets, on their computers, and inside their cameras. That attachment leads them, and in some cases their spouses, to keep listening to you, watching you, and paying you for more. The more good music you make, the more Apple has empowered you to make money on it in some way, and to spread the word to others. Like me. Like the friends we reached on Facebook. And so on.



Steve Jobs isn’t the problem here. The music industry is the problem—too many bad songs are the problem. It’s the reason the audience doesn’t roar when you talk about playing a new track or two that were added for a re-release of your greatest hits. If your greatest hits were from the last three years, imagine how much money you’d be making on album sales even beyond your touring.

Speaking just for myself, the next Bon Jovi concert I’ll consider attending now will be one with a completely different set list of tracks that I like as much as the ones you released 20 years ago. All you have to do is start recording them, and I promise that my wife or I will purchase them. So will the rest of your fans. Until that happens, and other musicians start churning out great music by the album rather than the song, the industry’s going to be in trouble. And if it keeps blaming the system rather than itself, it will deserve its fate.

Best,

Jeremy

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Judge Gives Sony Access to Geohot's Paypal Account

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Magistrate Joseph Spero has ruled that Sony may subpoena Geohot's Paypal account to obtain the information of anyone who donated to him.

This is the latest in a series of questionable rulings in which Spero has allowed Sony to access Geohot's hosting, YouTube, and Twitter accounts in their quest to prosecute Geohot for jailbreaking the PS3.

Wired notes that "The latest development allows the Japanese console maker to acquire 'documents sufficientto identify the source of funds (.pdf) in California that went into any PayPal account associated with geohot@gmail.com for the period of January 1, 2009, to February 1, 2011,' Spero ruled."

It's not exactly clear but we are hoping the only information Sony can obtain is the geographical location of donators. Sony is trying to sue Geohot in San Francisco rather then in his home state of New Jersey.



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WordPress for iOS Update Fixes Over 100 Bugs, Adds Pull to Refresh

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WordPress for iOS has been updated with over 100 bug fixes and the ability to 'Pull to Refresh'

It's easy to manage your WordPress blog or site from your iOS device. With WordPress for iOS, you can moderate comments, create or edit posts and pages, and add images or videos with ease. All you need is a WordPress.com blog or a self-hosted WordPress.org site running 2.9.2 or higher.

What's New In This Version:
After three months of development, WordPress for iOS 2.7 is now available and fixes over 100 bugs, which means better performance and fewer crashes.

We've also cleaned up the user interface to make it easier to manage your blog. For example, now you can just use "Pull to refresh" to update the Comments, Posts, and Pages lists.

You can download WordPress from the App Store for free.









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Steve Jobs Offers Help to Apple Team in Japan

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Steve Jobs has sent a message to the Apple Team in Japan offering help to those who need it.

-----
To Our Team in Japan,

We have all been following the unfolding disaster in Japan. Our hearts go out to you and your families, as well as all of your countrymen who have been touched by this tragedy.

If you need time or resources to visit or care for your families, please see HR and we will help you. If you are aware of any supplies that are needed, please also tell HR and we will do what we can to arrange delivery.

Again, our hearts go out to you during this unimaginable crisis.
Please stay safe.
Steve and the entire Executive Team
-----

Click here to read an account of how Apple handled the crisis in Japan. You can donate to help here.


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Apple Posts Three New 'If You Don't Have an iPhone' Ads

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Apple has posted three new ads that all begin with 'If you don't have an iPhone you don't have...'

Take a look below.










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iPad 2 Smart Cover Doubles As Refrigerator Mount

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The iPad 2 Smart Cover can double as a refrigerator mount for your iPad, a MacRumors forum member discovered.

Steven let us know about his unique use for the iPad 2 Smart Cover. Try at your own risk.

Check it out below...


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Boy Genius Switches Back to AT&T From Verizon

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The Boy Genius Report has published an interesting article about their experiences with a Verizon iPhone. Jonathan S. Geller (aka Boy Genius) was ecstatic about the new Verizon iPhone only to discover that it didn't perform as well as he expected.

"In the end, my personal experience with Verizon’s iPhone in and around New York City ended up being about the same as it was when I was on AT&T. This, combined with other advantages AT&T’s network has, has made me finally decide to switch back. Literally moments before I wrote this article, I synced up my Verizon iPhone and restored it to my AT&T iPhone (I can do this because the OS on the Verizon iPhone is lower than the AT&T iPhone — if I ever wanted to switch back, I couldn’t restore my data until the Verizon iPhone OS is updated to version 4.3). I missed the ability to talk on the phone while data is still flowing (even though I hate talking on the phone). I missed AT&T’s extremely fast data speeds. I missed knowing that if I ever travel outside of the country, I don’t have to get a new phone (even though I hate flying — no, seriously, try me). I missed feeling like I’m in the digital age instead of the stone age."

Has your experience with Verizon's iPhone been better or worse than AT&T? Let us know in the comments!


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New Connection Bar in Gmail for iPhone

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Google has introduced a new 'Connection Bar' in Gmail for iPhone that lets you know the status of your connection and mail activity.

Using Gmail in Safari on your iPhone gives you access to fast search, conversation view, stars, labels, and more. But it’s sometimes frustrating not knowing whether your email has been sent or whether your phone has a functioning internet connection at all. To address this, we recently introduced the "connection bar." The connection bar appears at the bottom of the screen when needed to give you the info you want— and then gets out of the way.

The connection bar appears when the app launches and is checking for new mail. It also appears when your phone is offline, back online and sending, and then again when it finishes sending all messages.

Take a look by visiting gmail.com on your iPhone.







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Case Prototypes Show No Change in Shape of iPhone 5

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HardMac has obtained renderings of iPhone 5 cases from a 'reliable' source which show no change in the shape of the device.

This information has not been confirmed but since our source is reliable, we take the risk of publishing it. These cases would be prototypes of the iPhone 5 cases, based on the mockup that was provided by Apple. There is apparently no fundamental change on the placement of the buttons and the SIM card slot.

iDealsChina recently posted design drawings that they believe to be for the upcoming iPhone 5 which show a larger edge-to-edge screen while keeping the same body shape.




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