Apple has enjoyed a recent burst of success in China, with the new iPad mini selling out faster than supplies can be replenished, but rather than sitting back and enjoying the regional boom, the company is going on the offensive with a new Chinese New Year Gift Guide. M.I.C. Gadget reports that the new buyers guide is included in Apple’s online store in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia.
Not surprisingly, the iPad mini is feature prominently in the guide, along with both first-party accessories like the Smart Cover and third-party wares from the likes of Logitech and Plantronics. Prices are displayed in the appropriate regional currency, and each Apple gadget on the page is accompanied by a bounty of related products. Apple is also promoting free shipping and gift wrapping as part of the holiday guide.
Apple has announced that app screenshots will be locked in iTunes Connect once an app is approved. New screenshots can only be added when developers submit a binary for an updated to an existing or new app.
This move will help combat a common scam tactic that tricks people into buying fake apps with screenshots stolen from more popular or non-iOS games. Past examples include fake descriptions for various apps titled Halo 4 that were actually just a chess or racing game and a non-functional “Pokemon Yellow” app. Many scam developers managed to get past App Store monitors by using different screenshots when they first submitted their apps for approval and then later changing the store description
When I think of search I pretty much think of Google. I have tried Bing, and while it is pretty, a lot of my searches just don’t turn out as well as they do on Google. If you’d like to try something completely different, let me suggest you get a look at Izik, which is free. Izik is not a front end for Google or any other search engine, but it has its own search technology and methodology from Blekko, the company that created the Izik app.
The searches are very visual, yet powerful. I was getting very good results from some obscure searches. Search results get nicely divided into categories that appear at the bottom of the screen, and those categories are context sensitive. For example, if I’m searching in politics, I can easily pull in conservative or liberal stories, breaking news, etc. It’s all very organized, and rich in content.
The iPhone is so popular and widespread that even the name “iPhone” is practically a generic term for a smartphone. But while Apple is still the go-to brand for most folks’ smartphone needs, there’s been a noticeable market shift in recent months: iPhones are costly, and that’s one major reason why Android phones are rapidly gaining popularity. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Apple has noticed in a big way, and is developing a cheaper iPhone in response.
The report mentions that Apple has been considering a cheaper build of the iPhone since 2009, but the rapidly-changing market prompted the company to hold off on finalizing any plans. It seems that the less costly iPhone might be ready to go, however, and we could wind up seeing it in the second half of 2013. There’s no word on the device’s specs, but according to the Wall Street Journal’s sources, Apple will reportedly cut costs by using parts from older phone models as well as a polycarbonate plastic casing instead of the iPhone 5′s lightweight aluminium.
If Apple is in fact working on a more accessible iPhone, it’s not hard to fathom the reasons why. Affordable iPhone alternatives, especially Android-driven models from Samsung, have exploded in popularity. Android handsets are especially popular in China, and in countries with fledgling mobile markets.
Giga-retailer Walmart made waves this holiday season by offering the iPhone 5 for well below its suggested retail price. Now it’s going to start offering Apple’s top-of-the-line smartphone unlocked and on prepaid Straight Talk plans beginning January 11.
The iPhone 5 will cost US$649 in a 16 GB configuration — or the same price of the phone from Apple, unlocked. Walmart will also sell an unlocked iPhone 4 8 GB for $449. Customers will be able to use either phone on a Straight Talk unlimited voice, text and data plan for $45 per month, with unlimited international calling added in a $60 per month plan.
To coincide with the deal’s rollout, Walmart will offer customers an option to pay for their handset on a promotional $25 per month financing plan. All prices will be good online and in retail stores.
Add Hyundai to the list of automakers who are jumping onboard the Siri bandwagon. The Loop reports that at CES, the company announced that the Eyes Free mode added to Siri in iOS 6 will be deployed in unspecified future models.
In June, we reported that the Chevrolet Sonic and 2013 Spark from GM are supposed to have the Eyes Free feature, which allows users to interact with Siri through a voice command button on the steering wheel. Other automakers with plans for Eyes Free integration include BMW, Toyota and Honda.
Remember when Apple fired retail head John Browett at the end of October? Well, his job is still open in the company, and as AllThingsD’s John Paczkowski notes, Apple may be taking its time to replace Browett because they can’t afford to make another mistake hiring a senior VP for this critical position.
The retail stores are a key to Apple’s success; in the fourth quarter alone, the 390 worldwide Apple Stores generated an average of $6,050 per square foot. That’s huge — Tiffany & Company stores only earn about half that amount.
Where would the video game world be if there were no princesses to rescue? The plot has proved amazingly durable, and Scribble Hero is the latest version of it in a long line going back to Donkey Kong.
In Scribble Hero, a kid named Sketch is pursuing his beloved Dot, who gets abducted by ten evil monsters. Sketch has to fight his way through fifty levels to get her back– though since the whole game takes place within the pages of a sketchbook, we may just be participating in his active fantasy life.
Smartphones account for a little over half (53 percent) of all mobile phones in the US, and comScore’s latest numbers show that Apple’s iPhones now account for 18.5 percent of the smartphones in the hands of American mobile users.
That number, from November 2012, is up 1.4 percent from three months earlier, representing the largest jump for a smartphone manufacturer. Samsung still holds the largest share of mobile subscribers at 26.9 percent, up from 25.7 percent three months earlier. Manufacturers LG, Motorola and HTC all saw small declines in share during the survey period. Apple overtook LG in the No. 2 spot on the list.
It’s getting harder for original gaming properties to gain a foothold on the App Store’s top paid charts, according to a report by BGR. The site points out that a majority of the best-selling paid gaming apps are either a year (or more) old or based on franchises that were established on iOS several years ago. Fresh new titles do make the top 10, but are soon pushed back out by old standbys.