Apple just made a major enhancement to their 'iTunes Connect' service which is where app developers download sales reports, among other things. Before, the service was a utilitarian, mundane web page, with basic sales data, but was weak on charting and analysis. This gap in functionality spawned a variety of service providers who would crunch your sales reports and create elegant graphs including revenue and rankings. I can't share my sales data or any proprietary screens, as it might be covered by Apple's non disclosure rules for developers, but here is a screenshot from Apple's official iTunes Connect documents on their public-facing website.
The current Apple TV device turns two years old in March, and throughout those years, speculation about the development of a more robust Apple TV has been ongoing. The latest educated guesses predict a new Apple TV with Time Warner support by April, as detailed by my colleague Jim Karpen on February 13. Presumably, that box will replace your existing cable DVR box while making it easier to access content from iTunes and other Internet channels like Netflix. If anyone can make the cable guide more appealing, it's Apple. It would be ironic if the next iteration of Apple TV were to actually embrace cable and be sold or rented directly from your cable company, when so many people look to devices like the Apple TV or Roku to "cut the cord" and eliminate their cable bill altogether.
It might not be Apple news, but at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung unleashed a ton of news that will certainly impact Apple. While Apple has yet to release an "iWatch" (if you don't count the 4th generation iPad nano, which I sometimes wear as a watch) Samsung is already on the second version of their Samsung Gear. One of the biggest complaints about the Gear was it only worked with one particular Samsung device, the Galaxy Note 3, and not other Android phones or the iPhone. Now, the Gear 2 works with more Samsung devices. Samsung also announced a lighter version without the camera, dubbed the Gear 2 Neo, as well as the Galaxy Fit, a sleeker model that focuses on health and fitness, and can work standalone or with your Samsung devices. In an about face, the Gear 2 watches no longer run Android but instead run Samsung's own Tizen operating system, and the Gear Fit uses an undisclosed O.S. to make the battery last even longer.
I've never been a fan of memorializing the date of someone's death, especially if they left us too soon. A birthday is a much more positive day to celebrate, and today, February 24th, marks Steve Jobs' birthday. Apple CEO Tim Cook reminded us, not only of this fact, but of some of Steve's sayings, in a couple of tweets today.
I've written about uNu before, as I've been using their battery cases for my older iPhone 4. Now that I have an iPhone 5s, I still need that extra juice throughout the day, especially when I'm traveling. Fortunately, they have a version for the Lightning-based iPhone 5, but their AERO model ($99.95) goes even further. In addition to providing extra power and letting you charge the case by microUSB, you can charge the case wirelessly!
Wearable computing is here, as was evident at CES 2014. One of the most evident applications of this trend is health and fitness gear. There were a lot of bracelets on display, but I already wear a watch and don't want another thing on my wrist. The ibitz is a handy and compact fitness tracker that clips to your belt or clothing and you can forget about it. And thanks to Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, it can last for months without recharging.
As a developer and journalist, I get a ton of email. Every day people want me to review their app or gadget, or some app advertising firm wants me to use their services to "monetize" my apps. And of course I have to support my six million customers, at last count. Usually, I ignore the unsolicited spam, but a "personalized" email came across my computer the other day and I had to pursue it.
The subject was "I bet $1.00 I can beat you in WAR OF GEARS"
Another year, another State of the Union speech. Two years ago, Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Steve Jobs, was an invited guest. Last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook was Michelle Obama's guest, and Apple figured prominently in the speech itself. In 2013, the focus was on returning manufacturing to the U.S., and sure enough, the new Mac Pro is now being assembled stateside. The components may come from outside the U.S. but it's a good start. And with a $3000+ computer that doesn't sell in nearly the volumes of an iPhone, the Mac Pro is an easier device to make in America, absorb any potential margin issues, and meet the more measured demand.
Recently, I wrote about the XSPIN, a handy gadget that connects to your stationary bicycle (or traditional bicycle on a stationary mount) but I wanted an expert opinion. My colleague, Dennis Wurster, is both an avid cycler and a Mac and iPhone expert. Here is his expert review: