Thus far video game retailer GameStop has stayed out of the Apple market in general and iOS sales in particular. That appears to be changing, though, as a picture of the store’s inventory system shows a new entry for iPod trade-ins. As of right now there are no listed prices for the devices, but it seems that GameStop will soon be set to accept everything from Shuffles to Touches for cash or store credit.
If true, then this will be quite a surprising development seeing as how the chain doesn’t currently deal in Apple products. While GameStop once accepted PC games and DVD movies for trades, the company slimmed down its policy a few years ago to only focus on console games. This would indeed be a strange reversal of fortune.
There is some speculation that GameStop may begin selling iPod Touches, marketed as handheld gaming systems, but that seems unlikely. The store derives most of its profits from used game sales and another big chunk from new software. Selling a piece of hardware where all content is delivered digitally and directly to the consumer seems like a bad business move for GameStop, which thrives on being the middle-man between publishers and consumers. The store hates the very idea of digital distribution, so why would it want to take a small cut of hardware sales with no future earnings potential?
The more likely scenario is that the chain is prepping for some sort of holiday promotion which will give customers hard up for cash another opportunity to earn a bit more credit toward the season’s hottest games. We’re expecting a trial run for the holidays, with performance dictating whether or not the company makes accepting iPods a standing policy.
So far neither GameStop nor Apple has commented on the rumors, so we’re forced to wait and wonder. In the meantime, what are your thoughts? Would you trade your iPod in at GameStop, or are you worried that given the chain’s questionable pricing of used games that you’d only get ripped off?
In an effort to automate check-ins at Apple Stores and provide customers with yet another reason to pull out their iDevices and wave them around, Apple is developing a new Concierge app. According to reports, the app will allow customers to wirelessly report in when they enter the store and direct them to available associates. On the flip side, Concierge will also send push notifications to store staff, letting them know when customers with appointments are in-store and awaiting assistance.
For customers, Concierge will activate when they enter the store and ask if they have an appointment. If so, the user may check in, see approximate waiting time and even be sent a photo of the store associate they’ll be meeting with that day. Apple is also releasing a companion app called Scout which store managers can use to keep track of room-by-room locations so they know exactly where checked-in customers are browsing.
While the app seems very useful it’s kind of funny that even when you’re in a position to talk to someone face-to-face Apple would prefer you communicate via your iDevice. How hard is it to walk into an Apple Store and check-in for an appointment? Apparently too hard, as now you’ll be able to do it digitally rather than walking 20 feet and taking care of it in person. How long before all Genius Bar requests are handled via text message even as you sit across the desk from the associate? Maybe they’re right and modern tools such as text messages, emails and IMs are eroding our communication skills.
There’s no specific timeline for when Concierge will roll out but it will likely be soon. The service went live yesterday for Apple Store employees so it should be available in at least a select number of stores over the coming weeks. We fully expect the service to be nationwide in time for the holiday rush, so if you’re heading to an Apple Store to do some shopping don’t worry, you won’t have to talk to an actual person unless you want to.
Angry Birds developer Chillingo may cease to be an indie darling in the near future, as EA has bought the company. Reports put an the deal at $20 million cash, but the future of all the studio’s properties are still up in the air.
Chillingo was already a hot commodity after Angry Birds, but the massive success of the recently released Cut the Rope has truly turned the UK developer into a den of rock stars. While companies like Activision, Gameloft and even Intel were vying for the studio, EA was able to close the deal.
“By acquiring Chillingo, EA Mobile is increasing its market leadership on the Apple Platform as well as reaffirming its position as the world’s leading wireless entertainment publisher,” EA’s Holly Rockwood said in a statement.
It sounds like EA wants to keep Chillingo in the mobile space, but we can’t help but wonder if the studio will be asked to dabble in consoles and handhelds as well. EA has dabbled with physics games by publishing Boom Blox on the Wii, but the series has stalled and perhaps the company is looking for a new franchise to bring to non-Apple audiences. There’s also the distinct possibility EA could request a totally new IP from Chillingo, one which could be backed with a big budget and marketed across all platforms.
Where things may get tricky is in regards to ownership rights of games published under the Chillingo banner. Rovio created Angry Birds, while ZeptoLab made Cut the Rope, and, at least according to Rovio, the development studios still own those properties. A Rovio spokesperson says his company “controls the Angry Birds brand and any future products,” so at least that franchise may remain apart from this deal.
At any rate, let us be among the first to congratulate Chillingo and wish them the best of luck under the new ownership. They’ve already proven what talented, dedicated people can do when they put their minds to it so they deserve all the success and wealth they’ve earned. Well done guys, keep up the good work.
Have you been thinking about upgrading your old iPod Nano to a shiny new Touch? If so, then you may want to head to Toys R Us this week as select stores are accepting old iPods for trade-in credit towards the purchase of a new model. Customers can trade in up to three old iPods and each device will be appraised up to $100 depending on conditions such as model, functionality and overall appearance.
For a deal like this there must be strings attached, and on this one there are plenty. First off, the offer lasts for one week only, so you’ll have to get your devices traded-in by no later than October 23. Also, not all stores are participating, so you may have to call around to the stores in your area to determine who’s on board with the promotion and who’s sitting it out. The offer also isn’t available online, so don’t think you can do some sort of web-based trade-in, you have to actually go to the store. Finally, Apple itself is not involved in any way, so if you don’t like the price Toys R Us offers for your iPod don’t go crying to Steve Jobs, he doesn’t care.
In spite of the restrictions, this sounds like a potentially intriguing offer for folks looking to upgrade their iPod. If video game retailers like GameStop have taught us anything it’s that a lot of people love to trade in their old stuff for something new. Of course if Toys R Us massively undervalues iPod trade-ins the way GameStop handles console games then this promotion may not be as well-received as they would like, but if they offer a fair price we could see a nice spur in iPod sales this week.
Anyone planning to take advantage of this promotion? I’ve got a couple Nanos lying around myself and it would be awfully nice to transform them into an awesome new Touch. Anybody else thinking the same thing?
Discount retailer Costco has confirmed plans to remove all Apple-related products from its stores, effective immediately. The retailer held an emergency conference call informing staff to begin removing all Apple-related product inventory and kiosks from all US and Canadian stores. At this point it appears Costco stores will go ahead and sell their existing stock of iPods, but will not be ordering more units once current inventories expire.
While no specific reason for the action has been given, speculation holds that Costco is angry with Apple for not including the retailer as an approved outlet to sell the iPad, so Costco’s actions are basically a measure of retribution.
Examining the situation it’s hard to tell if it’s a worse deal for Apple or Costco. The retail chain is indeed quite expansive and popular, but it’s hard to tell how many people head to a Costco for electronics purchases in general and iPod shopping in particular. On the other hand, it’s one less outlet where Apple can peddle its devices, and losing such a chain will bear a significant hit on the company’s bottom line over the long haul.
Of course, this whole issue may be little more than bluster, as it likely boils down to Costco’s attempt to make a stand and demand distributor rights for iPads. If Apple relents and adds Costco to the list of iPad retailers then this will all go away quickly. If not, then don’t plan on picking up a new Touch while shopping for gallon jars of mayonnaise and one-pound bags of cereal.
We here at 148Apps would like to welcome you to the new iPhotographer column. What exactly is the point here? That is a mighty fine question.
We will bring you tips, tricks, and reviews geared directly at photographers of all skill levels. There will be tips and tricks on how to perform tasks on an iOS device that just might have you questioning the need for a laptop. We might even delve into some photo techniques and how these techniques can take your iPhone photography skills even further.
Now the question becomes one of credentials. I am an IT professional who ditched his education in computers for life behind a camera. I am a self-taught photographer who is looking to continue to grow my skill set while helping others along the way.
My name is Chris Nitz and I started my own photography business. I have read more articles on shutter speeds, rule of thirds, lighting, and white balance than I can ever care to remember. I have a passion to see the world from a viewfinder. I am by no means a photography elitist or so called expert. I’m here to learn right along with you, and encourage your comments and suggestions at the end of every article.
Let’s get to the meat of this column with a small review. This review is trimmed down, as you will see this app show up in future articles. The app I am referring to is Filterstorm
Filterstorm takes programs like Aperture or Lightroom and brings them right onto your iPad. Filterstorm contains all the goodness of tonal curves, noise reduction, saturation, and so much more right to your finger tips.
Filterstorm’s interface is easy on the eye while maintaining simplicity in navigation. Firing up the app will have the basic controls on the left side of the screen. Loading up a photo is as easy as choosing it from your photo library. Those with a camera connection kit can even bring in photos straight off a memory card.
Once the photo is in the app the real work begins. All edits are made without destroying the original photo. There is even an apply button you have to hit before the changes are made. You can easily test how the changes will look without racing for the undo option.
Filterstorm also gives you options for what to do with your photos once you’re done. FTP, Email, and saving directly to the iPad are all options. While this maybe a small list, it does continue to grow with each new update.
Filterstorm is not perfect, though. While the interface can be tucked away, it still takes up a decent portion of the screen. No Facebook, Flickr, Smugmug, or Picasa integration might have some people crying foul. There are also some funny quirks, like locking a photo into place when you are editing it. This creates a longer workflow process as the changes have to be made, applied, photo moved, and changes reproduced. Good thing there is a way to record the process and store it as a macro.
The light at the end of the tunnel is that the developer is very active with users on Twitter and various internet forums. This program has come a long way since version one and is looking to make bigger changes with upcoming releases.
Filterstorm is by no way shape or form going to take over from the likes of Lightroom on your desktop, but it will give you the perfect option for making quick edits while on the road. Programs that are far more expensive don’t offer this much flexibility. This is worth its weight in megabytes on your iPad. Those of you with an iPhone, this app is currently being migrated to iPhone 4 and 3GS. Look for it to hit the app store soon.
The event of the day started out with Steve Jobs introducing his “partner in crime,” Steve Wozniak, who was in the audience. After a quick welcome, Steve Jobs started with a recap of new Apple Store retail locations including Paris, China, and London. The London store marked the 300th Apple Store and they are now in 10 countries. The foot traffic volume is amazing. Apple now sees on some days over a million total visitors combined coming through their stores. Another interesting stat — over 50% of Macs sold in Apple Stores are still to new Mac users, aka Switchers. A stat that has amazingly held for years.
120 million potential Angry Birds players.
Next up for the day is a recap on how iOS is doing. Steve took pride in noting that there are over 230,000 new iOS activations per day. This does not include upgrades. This goes well over and above the Google quoted 160,000 Android devices activated every day. That brings us up to a total of over 120,000,000 active iOS devices. That’s a staggering number for a new platform that is not even 4 years old.
How about some stats on apps? There have been over 6.5 billion apps downloaded so far. That’s over 200 downloaded each and every second. Also quoted was that the App Store recently surpassed 250,000 applications available, which is a number we’ve been tracking over at 148Apps.biz App Store Metrics page.
If you’re looking to buy a new BMW or a Mini, take note. There’s an iOS 4 feature you’ve probably never heard of that you’re going to love.
Car manufacturer BMW has announced that it will be supporting iPod Out in iOS 4. What’s that? You say. Hidden among the many exciting features in Apple’s latest mobile operating system, the relatively obscure iPod Out is a way for iPhone and iPod models to show the iPod interface on a connected display, in this situation, the dashboard of a car.
While many docking stations and other accessories offer this facility already, this is an Apple-endorsed way of showing and controlling the classic iPod screen and album artwork on an external device and should translate very nicely to in-car entertainment. In the case of BMW, the in-built “infotainment” systems will allow control and playback of a connected device through the car’s existing controls and will even allow access to and creation of Genius and custom playlists.
BMW said of its iPod Out support “Future vehicles equipped with this technology will be able to adapt more quickly to the software lifecycles of iPod touch and iPhone”, basically taking the pressure off them to remain compatible with Apple’s mobile devices as they are updated.
BMW refers to “future” vehicles in its press release so existing owners may miss out on this upgrade, however iPod and iPhone owners in the market for a new car should certainly bear a BMW or Mini in mind when on the forecourt.
The Hulu Blog today confirmed what many have been murmuring about online for some time. Hulu is bringing its streaming TV service to the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. The aforementioned murmurs also questioned how this delivery of most of America’s top TV shows would be paid for, they too were given an answer with the introduction of the Hulu Plus subscription.
Formerly only available via a PC or Mac, the Hulu Plus app and subscription service will combine to deliver episodes from current and classic TV shows on iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 as well as the iPad and third gen iPod touch.
At present the service is working on an invite-only basis (apply for one here) and will cost users $9.99 per month but, for this fee you do get a good deal of benefits. Full seasons of TV shows will be available including big hitters such as Family Guy, 30 Rock and The Office with up to 720p HD resolution available. Through the Hulu Plus app, users will be able to browse, search and resume playback at the same point on different devices. For iPhone and iPad users, you will even be able to stream over 3G!
While we’ve not had the chance to fully test Hulu Plus yet, this sounds like the service Apple’s portable devices have been crying out for and one that will likely bring about a few discussions inside Apple HQ. With the recent acquisition of media streaming startup Lala, it is rumored the company is gearing up to introduce a cloud-based iTunes service that could include streaming TV shows to iPhones and iPads.
The Hulu Plus app is available for free on the App Store and includes a bunch of freebies that don’t need a subscription in order to try out. The movie Super Size Me is included as well as clips and episodes from a number of TV shows as well, so it’s worth sampling the app for these bonuses alone.
Now here’s a clever idea. Forget about meeting people on Twitter who you think might be cool to get to know, find them based on their musical taste by comparison to yours.
MeetMySong is a new social networking service and app that matches your iPhone music library with other users of the app and even lets you see them and their sonic selections in real time using augmented reality. The app scans your iPhone’s music library in order to create your Music Personality and then creates feeds based around the songs you play. Not only does MeetMySong show you what music your friends are currently listening to, it also lets you know what’s being played locally, based on your GPS location.
The existing social networks aren’t ignored either with the ability to post your currently playing track to Facebook and Twitter as well as import your friends from both services. Ideal for this kind of app is the integration with your iPhone’s iPod app, which means you don’t have to leave the application to control your music, which is monitored by MeetMySong to further develop your profile.
What’s instantly enjoyable about MeetMySong by comparison to other social networks out there is that you don’t need to type a word, just listen to the music that you feel like listening to in order to interact with the community. Of course, there is a messaging option built in, but your audio picks are what are important here. Another huge benefit is the exposure to new music that you’re probably going to like. With friends based on your preferences, their tastes should throw up a selection of new bands for you to sample and you can even preview and buy songs from within the application. Sadly, if you use Pandora or Spotify on your iPhone for music, there’s little integration to be had with MeetMySong and, until iPhone OS 4.0 this will likely be impossible. However, with some clever coding and the addition of multitasking to the next iPhone OS, it might not just be iTunes music the app pins your tastes on.
More so than Twitter, we can also see this app bringing people together through a mutual love of music, especially given the apps location aware nature and, as the network grows in numbers another interesting element, likely to pique the interest of record labels, will appear. The Top Artist feature that creates a sort of unofficial top 20 chart that could help track artist performance on a play-by-play basis or pick out musical trends in real time.
We’ve only just started using MeetMySong and so far have found it an interesting, interactive alternative to simply playing music from your iPhone. Judging by the “on air” activity within the app it seems like others are enjoying MeetMySong in a number of locations worldwide too. MeetMySong is free to download from iTunes and requires a quick account creation process in order to get it up and running. Once you are done, new songs and friends await you.
If you love your music, this app is certainly worth a go although we’re a little worried that our closest MeetMySong match is currently only 41% compatible. Then again, perhaps that’s just down to our taste in music…
Something is going horribly wrong with Apple’s legendary veil of secrecy. Following the highly documented iPhone prototype leaks already this year, it now appears that a prototype iPod touch has escaped into the wild as well. The same Vietnamese website that, to the best of our knowledge, still has an iPhone 4G prototype is now posting images of a prototype iPod touch with a built-in 2 megapixel camera. As before, Tinhte.vn has also posted a video of the device in action that appears to be running some kind of diagnostic tool with some very un-Apple graphics, but it does show the camera working. Last time we posted about Tinhte.vn we mentioned the dramas Jason Chen of Gizmodo encountered when showing off video of an Apple prototype and urged a little caution. The guys in Vietnam obviously missed that post or simply don’t care, this time they even include footage of them walking into their office!
While this is clearly a prototype model, it may not be that new. Apple is alleged to have scrapped an iPod touch with a camera shortly before its iPod event in September 2009 where it instead launched the iPod nano with video. Images circulating on the web around that time also looked very similar to these. Mac Rumors claims that the codename N18 on the sticker one of the images makes this model a third-generation iPod touch prototype, manufactured in June 2009. Whether or not Apple is planning to return to the iPod touch with camera remains to be seen but these pictures at least prove that they have tried it.
And meanwhile, across the South China Sea, more iPhone prototype information is being spilled. Taiwanese website Apple.pro has posted what appear to be shots of the next generation iPhone’s front fascia. This isn’t exciting in itself, given that we’ve seen what we expect to be the finished product already, but what is interesting is one of these front panels is white. Apple already sells the iPhone with a black or a white back panel and, if these images are true, now plans to sell a completely white version as well. We’re not sure we like the idea of an all-white iPhone, especially if the aluminum seen on the black prototype is included on this white version. We may well think differently when we see the final product, however, with Apple being a company synonymous with beautiful products. Then again, Apple used to be a company synonymous with pre-launch security…
We’ve been closely following the buzz surrounding Square, the latest tech startup from Jack Dorsey, Co-Founder and Chairman of Twitter and now it’s live worldwide with its app available on the App Store.
Square is an ingenious app and payment service that allows anyone from a single user to businesses to accept credit card payments anywhere using just an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Those who sign up to the free Square service available at Squareup.com will receive a free card reader that plugs into the audio jack of your device and allows for cards to be swiped. Card details can be entered into the app manually if no reader is present. Receipts and photo verification are included with the service so users are sure of secure transactions with signatures signed on the iPhone screen.
In an open letter on the Square website, Jack Dorsey said:
“Square intends to bring immediacy, transparency, and approachability to the financial world. We want to enable all people to accept payments instantly, with access to all the information they need, in a way that feels amazing and engaging.”
This service will come as a great benefit to smaller businesses or mobile vendors who no longer need to put complex payment systems into place to complete transactions on the road or in person. Square is also keen to point out that, while attractive to the business market, the service is ideal for personal use too and uses the example of a man selling a sofa to his friend using his iPhone and Square.
The environmental benefits of the service are also clear with no paper bills or receipts created from any transaction. Square also points out that it can inform businesses of its repeat customers meaning loyalty cards may be a thing of the past.
So what’s the catch for this free service? It seems there really isn’t one. By comparison to other payment services, Square is a very reasonable option with no contracts or monthly minimums. Square takes a small percentage of each transaction, currently 2.75% +15 ¢ with the card present and 3.5% +15¢ when the card number is keyed in. That’s it!
Of course, a service like Square may take a little time to grow but, if it’s as easy to use as is promised and continues to offer the environmental and financial benefits it does currently, we could likely see Square becoming the default payment service in stores around the world.
After all, it’s not like Mr Dorsey’s other company is doing badly right now.
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Posted December 23rd, 2008 by Gary Lucero Our Rating: :: RECOMMENDED
eReader is a electronic book reader for the iPhone and iPod Touch. While there are other alternatives, some free and some not, eReader works well, is reliable, and makes reading a joy on the iPhone and iPod Touch.
Apple announced new iPod Nanos and iPod Touches today as expected. In addition, iTunes 8 was announced. All the stuff we knew was coming due to leaks. What we didn’t get were new features or the notification service (originally promised for this month, but pulled from developer betas recently) for the iPhone OS.
While iPhone OS 2.1 was announced, it’s a bug release fix only. Promised fixes include improved iTunes backup times, fewer dropped calls, better reception, better battery life, and fixing app crashes. We’ll see when it’s released Friday for iPhones. iPhone OS 2.1 comes on the new Touch out today so expect some reviews online in the next couple hours.
Apple has scheduled an event Tuesday. The main purpose of that event is to launch new iPod Nano and Touch models. But it’s also expected that iTunes 8 will be released with features like a Pandora-like Genius, new visualization, and grid view.
But more importantly iPhone OS 2.1 should also be released to coincide with the expected release of the notification service scheduled to be released in September. With the iPhone OS 2.1 and notification service I would expect to see Apple release a mobile version of iChat. Or at least I would hope to see it. This was rumored from the start for the 2.0 release but it seems that the notification service was not ready for that release in July.
Pocket Informant Pro has been updated to version 3.0. There is a brand new, completely redesigned interface that is beautiful and easy to use, along with a customizable event/task settings that allow you to see only the stuff you wish to see. You can even show yourself the weather in the Today, List, Week, and [...]