Code tucked away deep within Apple’s latest version of iOS provide some of the first hints that a radio service is on the way.
There’s a hint that Apple has something new in the pipeline, and the company appears to have tucked it away inside the latest version of its iOS software.
Discovered last night within a freshly jailbroken iPad: a set of buttons and code references for “radio,” a feature found in iTunes on Macs and PCs, but not on the iPad or iPhone. Making things more interesting is another button suggesting you can make purchases via the radio feature, presumably from iTunes.
The buttons, which were spotted by 9to5Mac, hint at Apple’s much-rumored radio service, a product that will let people stream music much like they do on the popular Pandora service, but with deep ties to Apple’s iTunes library. Rumors that Apple has been working on such a service have floated for years, but heated up last year as talks with labels advanced.
The discovery follows a high-profile jailbreak of iOS 6.1, the updated system software Apple released just last week. A team of developers came up with a tool that gives users deep system-level access to do things like install applications from third-party app stores, change the look and feel of iOS, and add new software features.
Disney owns the kids entertainment market — except when it comes to video games, and so will launch “Disney Infinity” – June 2013, a series of games aimed at the console game players, Xbox 360, Sony’s PS3 and the Nintendo Wii.
Infinity is a series of games linked together via a virtual “toy box”, so players can swap and modify characters from one game, and bring them into another. Which means Sully from Monsters University can jump into a Pirates of the Caribbean game, etc.
The games also incorporate real world collectible toys, which players use to unlock characters, games, etc. And you can also buy “power up” packs and other modules to boost/alter your games.
Or, for those of you who know kids of a certain age: This is a lot like Skylanders, except with Disney/Pixar characters that you can mash up. For the rest of you: Skylanders is a super-successful franchise from Activision that has generated $500 million in retail sales in a couple years along with sales of the toys of the characters. Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure is a video game that is played along with toy figures that interact with it through a “Portal of Power”, that reads their tag through NFC.
Disney gaming chief John Pleasants stated:
“We’ve been fairly clear in our communications with folks that we have made a fairly big shift into online, mobile and social,” he says. And Infinity won’t change that.
Disney has properties like Marvel and Star Wars and will most likely incorporate those characters into this gaming initiative. Plus, it’s something Disney can easily market on its cruises, television channels, radio programs, and theme parks. From everything I’ve seen, it’s not a matter of Disney Infinity becoming a success, but rather how massive a success.
But since people are still spending an awful lot of time on console games — and Sony et al are prepping the next generation of those machines — there’s no reason to abandon the market.
Nielsen: TV Still King In Media Consumption; Only 16 Percent Of TV Homes Have Tablets
Nielsen, which examined how Americans have been consuming content over the course of the past year. The report found that of the 289 million U.S. TV owners, 119 million own four or more television sets, making TV still the device to beat when it comes to watching and recording programs, among other things.
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The TV-owning audience can also be further split up by how they access their programing and what sort of things they use their TV for, besides live viewing.
33% have satellite subscriptions, and 52% have cable; broadcast/over-the-air only is down from 16% in 2003 to 9%
86% have a DVR
75% have an HD-capable TV
56% play video console games
4% have Internet-enabled TVs
However, when it comes to how Americans are consuming media, it’s TV that’s still far in the lead. Traditional TV viewing eats up over six days worth of time per month, the report found. Everything else – from computers to smartphones – is a much narrower slice of that overall pie:
Internet on a computer: 28 hours, 29 mins.
Online video: 5 hours, 51 minutes
Video on mobile: 5 hours, 20 minutes
Game console: 6 hours, 26 minutes
DVD/Blu-ray: 5 hours, 13 minutes
Time-shifted TV: 11 hours, 33 minutes
Computers also had a massive footprint in the U.S. with 212 million of the 278 million internet users active online in 2012. 94% of computer owners accessed social media in 2012, says Nielsen. In terms of time spent on the computer, 20.1% was used for social networking and blogs – the most of any other category. Time spent for other categories is as follows:
8.1% online games
5.2% video and movies
3.0% software sites
Looking at those numbers for search and social, it’s hard to not see why Google had to develop a social platform with Google+, to take on Facebook. Even back in 2009, Facebook was eating up users’ time, accounting for over six hours of web usage per month to Google’s two hours, 24 minutes.
But one area where Google tops Facebook is online video, with 136.1 million uniques to Facebook’s 22.6 million watching videos on the site. Also showing: Yahoo with 37.9 million, VEVO with 37.8 million, and AOL (disclose: TechCrunch parent) with 24.9 million engaged in video.
In addition, as previously reported, Nielsen found that smartphones trump feature phones in terms of U.S. mobile adoption. Fifty-six percent of mobile subscribers owned a smartphone (as of Q2 2012), where Apple sees a 35% share, and Android and Apple combined account for 52% of smartphone devices. BlackBerry still holds a 7% share and “others” fills out the remaining 6%. The smartphone market is still growing, too: In a separate report from earlier today, Deloitte estimated that 2013 will be the first year that the industry ships 1 billion smartphones worldwide, bringing the total installed base of smartphones to nearly 2 billion. And yet another report – this one from Accenture – warned that the days of the feature phone are numbered, with decreasing ownership reported over the past several years.
Nielsen, too, sees feature phone declines, down from 82% ownership in 2009 to 44% in 2012 here in the U.S. Worldwide, Accenture reported 84% and 64%, respectively indicating feature phones’ still large install base in non-U.S. markets, and specifically developing countries, around the world.
Smartphone owners use their devices for shopping, says Nielsen. And specifically, this seems to refer to real-world shopping. 78% use the phone to find a store, 63% check prices, while 22% comment on purchases. Shoppers’ favorite apps are eBay (13.2 million unique users), Amazon (12.1 million), Groupon (11.9 million), Shopkick (6.5 million) and LivingSocial (4.3 million).
Tablets, meanwhile, were found in 16% of TV households, and 17% of connected device owners had an e-reader, too. Brand-name recognition matters to tablet owners, with 65% buying because it was a “trusted” brand. Fifty-seven percent considered screen size, 54% performance features, and 44% cared about the app and media marketplace.
Facebook makes a move to in the mobile space in the continuing battle to gain share of the messaging services on the phone, adds voice messenger capabilities. Facebook is seeking to own the communication lines as its best path to growth.
The company will launch an update to its Messenger app for iOS and Android on Thursday afternoon, allowing users to send short voice messages to one another inside of the application, up to a minute in length.
Adding voice messenger is a key move since this will bring Messenger up to par with Apple’s iMessage service (which lets users send voice messages via the voice memo app), and BlackBerry Messenger, while giving it a leg up on basic SMS.
Also it is key to note that as of today Canadian users on iOS can start using Messenger to make VOIP calls inside the app. So based on a successful test, looks like Facebook Calling will be next to launch in U.S.
LG announces two new Google TV models prior to the upcoming 2013 International CES. The LG GA7900 and GA6400.
The GA7900 is the higher end of the two and will come in 47- and 55-inch versions. Both were designed with a minimized bezel to give the impression of a borderless display. Meanwhile, the GA6400 will be offered in 42-, 47-, 50-, 55- and 60-inch models.
LG says the revamped Smart Home screen provides easier access to on-demand video content, such as HBO Go, YouTube and other apps, which can be organized in folders. A new My Interest Card also displays real-time information, such as weather and personalized news.
All the TVs will ship with LG’s redesigned Magic Remote, which has an integrated microphone so users can search for content using Google TV’s voice search capabilities. You can also perform searches with the built-in physical keyboard.
Android users will have the extra advantage of being able to send video clips from their smartphone or tablet to the TV via Wi-Fi. The GA7900 and GA6400 also support OnLive’s cloud-based gaming platform.
As previously reported in this Blog, the rumors are true regarding the Apple’s new ipad Mini. It is a smaller version of the company’s popular iPad tablet, with a screen that measures 7.9 inches diagonally.
New iPad Mini
The new model comes in both black and white. The 7.9-inch screen with 4:3 aspect ratio gives the iPad mini a size advantage over 7-inch competitors. The area measures 29.6 square inches to 21.9 on a 16:9 7-inch tablet. It has the same resolution as the original iPad and iPad 2, at 1,024 x 768. For fans of retina displays, however, that’s not even close, at just 163 pixels per inch (ppi).
The iPad mini packs an A5 chip, the processor that was first seen in the iPad 2, and it’s the same chip that powers the current iPod touch. It has a front-facing FaceTime 720p camera, with 5-megapixel camera in back. It also includes Apple’s new Lightning connector, which first debuted on the iPhone 5.
At 10.9 ounces, the iPad mini is less than half the weight of the full-size iPad. It’s just 0.28 of an inch thick.
The iPad mini starts at $329 for the Wi-Fi-only version with 16GB capacity. Higher capacities and 4G LTE options are available. Prices for Wi-Fi-only versions are: $429 for 32GB, and $529 for 64GB.
As reported By Linda Sandler, Brian Womack and Douglas MacMillan – Bloomberg, Oct 10, 2012
When Facebook Inc. (FB) filed its proposal Feb. 1 to go public, it touted the effectiveness of ads linked to customers’ friends, citing research from Nielsen, the audience-counting company.
Barbara Jacobs, an assistant director for corporation finance at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, was skeptical, as she and her staff vetted the filing to ensure Facebook had disclosed all material information to investors. The claim appeared to be drawn from marketing materials, not a Nielsen study, she wrote to Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman, 42.
She gave him an ultimatum: Produce the study and provide Nielsen’s consent for use of the data — or don’t use it, she wrote to Ebersman on Feb. 28. Facebook dropped the reference after initial resistance.
The incident was part of a two-and-a-half-month volley of messages among SEC officials, Ebersman and Facebook’s law firm Fenwick & West LLP. A dozen letters, published a month after the May 17 IPO on the SEC’s website, depict a management team hesitant to disclose information and still guessing at even rudimentary aspects of its business just weeks before the company held the largest-ever technology initial public offering. Many of the issues raised by the SEC and now unnerving investors were foreshadowed in the then-private correspondence between the SEC and Facebook.
“They were given the benefit of the doubt when they went public that they were ready for prime time,” said Michael Pachter, a managing director at Wedbush Securities Inc. “They still haven’t proved that they are.”
The shares dropped 2.9 percent to $19.64 at today’s close in New York.
Most pundits believe Apple’s 7-inch tablet, the iPad Mini, will most likely launch on Oct 17, and Apple will finally be able to offer a $199 tablet.
Anticipated to be a pure consumption device that will rival Kindle’s Fire HD, Barnes & Noble Nook HD and Google Nexus 7; the new mini-iPad sets the stage for Apple to grab those book reading and high-speed streaming consumers. Note: Amazon having the more established ecosystem than Barnes & Noble and Nexus.
The allure of the 7″ size is that it less cumbersome than the full size iPad and fits right within a one-handed grasp. The full-sized iPad has always been both consumption and creation. People write stories, build presentations, make music, and create artwork on the big iPad (along with reading, browsing the web and watching movies). Consumer’s behaviors with the smaller tablets, are to download via wifi and then travel onto planes and read offline.
The iPad Mini will be about reading books, browsing the Web, listening to music, watching movies. It will support many, but not all, of the iPad’s apps, but will not have the same horsepower.
Steve Jobs was adamantly against a mid-sized iPad. Current Apple CEO Tim Cook venerates Job’s memory, but that doesn’t mean he won’t go his own way: “Steve taught us to not focus on the past,” said Cook earlier this year, “Be future-focused.”
I think it’s now safe to say the future of tablets includes 7-inch devices.
ThinkNear connects advertisers to consumers based on their location
ThinkNear helps advertisers target mobile ads based on location and real-world context – solving hyper-local.
Founded in January 2011, ThinkNear connects advertisers to consumers based on where they are, what they are doing, and what is happening around them, “situational targeting,” and it allows advertisers to talk to consumers while taking into account their real-world situations.
Situational targeting is the mechanism in which advertisers can connect to consumers with relevant messages based on where they are, what they are doing, and what is happening around them. ThinkNear uses the most precise location targeting capabilities, with 100 meter granularity, and combines it with various real-time data, such as weather, traffic, population density, and local events, in order to engage users with perfectly relevant ads to their exact situation. These ads are presented to consumers on mobile apps and websites that they are already using.
Precise location: Accurate within 100 meters of any location
Reporting: Map-based reporting so you can see where your clicks happened
ThinkNear’s CEO, Eli Portnoy, states that “to really do hyperlocal campaigns of scale, you need to start off with a very big base of impressions. In that sense we’re a universal buying club when we’re plugging into a bunch of different inventory sources, and providing advertisers with one access point, to go out and get that inventory.”
Google revamped its core product — search — in a major way a couple of weeks ago. Now it looks like the change is paying off.
Since the introduction of its Knowledge Graph on May 16, overall search activity has increased, Google representatives told The Wall Street Journal.
The company didn’t offer any numbers, but did say people are interacting more with their search results, and performing more searches.
It only takes half a second for Google to return a search based on keywords you type in, but there’s a whole lot more happening behind the scenes to give you the results you need. Google on Monday launched a video that explains the science behind how the massive search engine actually works.
Matt Cutts, software engineer head of Google’s webspam team, details in a YouTube video how the search engine giant thoroughly scours the web on a daily basis to provide the most up-to-date results to users.
“There are three things you need to do to be the best search engine in the world. First, you need to crawl the web comprehensively and deeply, then you want to rank or serve those pages and return the most relevant ones first,” Cutts said.
Although Google crawls the web on a daily basis, that wasn’t always the case.
“We used to crawl for 30 days… and then index for about a week and push that data out — and that would take about a week,” Cutts said. “Sometimes you would hit a data center with new data and sometimes you would hit a data center with old data.”
But this method wasn’t optimized since a lot of the information would be out of date. In 2003, Google switched to crawling a significant amount of the Internet each day. By scouring the web each day for new content, it incrementally updated its index.
“We have gotten even better over time, and at this point, we can keep it very fresh,” Cutts said.
To do so, page rank is the key deciding factor as to how likely you are to see a link: “We basically take page rank as the primary determinant and the more page rank you have — that is, the more people that link to you and the more reputable those people are — the more likely it is that we will discover your page relatively early in the crawl,” Cutts said.
Google also places a lot of emphasis on word order. For example, a search for pop singer “Katy Perry” will look for results with those two words next to each other, rather than having “Katy” and the word “Perry” show up in different parts of the content.
Finding the right balance between word proximity, page reputation and links pointing to it is the key.
“That’s kind of the secret sauce,” Cutt added.
Google then sends that query out to hundreds of different machines all at once, which look through their fraction of the web that has been indexed to find the best match.
“We say, ‘what’s the best page that matches this query across our entire index?” Cutts said. “We take that page and we try to show it with a useful snippet, so we show the keywords in the context of the document and get it all back in under half a second.”
How do you think companies can use this information to better show up in Google search results? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Online design retailer Fab Inc. is in advanced talks to raise $250 million to $300 million in venture capital in a deal that would value the fast-growing but unprofitable company at $1 billion not including the new capital, people familiar with the matter said. […]