In about three weeks, Apple is going to talk a lot about how great iCloud is for everyone, and hopefully demonstrate a few ways that it’s gotten even better. Gus Mueller explains a few simple ways to verify.
Finally. Just when I was beginning to question whether the “Drop Flash Support” movement had lost a little steam or motivation.
The “App Store needs free trials/paid upgrades/higher prices” discussion is going around again, and I think that’s a good thing. Apple has been pitching third-party apps as a headline feature of the iPhone and iPad practically since the first day of the store’s debut in in June 2008. But in terms of fixing the problems of longterm sustainability for developers and usability for customers, it hasn’t improved a thing in nearly five years.
Marco isn’t sure that adding free trials to the App Store and pushing prices up into desktop ranges like $30 and more is the solution, and I agree. After all, most mobile software is, by definition, a streamlined experience that doesn’t offer as much of the power or flexibility of desktop OSes.
But I wonder if paid upgrades could be the key to balancing the equation. Some regular 99¢ apps could bump their prices up to $2-4, then charge 99¢ later when the major 3.0 update lands. Heck, 99¢ apps could charge 99¢ again months or a year down the road. Customers can continue paying the extremely low prices that fuel the massive App Store economic boom, and developers get a realistic way of creating sustainable apps instead of throwaway, gimmicky, empty App Store calories.
Why wait for the incumbent TV and cable operators to wake up?
If you’ve never heard of The Hawkeye Initiative, I’ll just paste the sidebar explanation:
Created in December of 2012, The Hawkeye Initiative uses Clint Barton as well as other male comic characters to illustrate how contorted and hyper-sexualized women are commonly drawn in comics.
To everyone’s surprise, Marvel gave the project a small nod with a recent update to its Avengers game on Facebook.
Living in Chicago, I’ve been on the hunt for a good community service that gives members a place to organize and talk about what’s new and going on in their specific, neighborhood slice of the city. EveryBlock was great until NBC unceremoniously pulled the plug with no warning. Nextdoor looks promising but it’s taking a while to get traction, and it’s not integrating with much existing data or services. BlockAvenue is the new kid on the, erm… circuit, and it looks promising.
BlockAvenue collects quite a bit of local review data from Yelp, Foursquare, and others, but then again, so do lots of other services. Where it gets interesting is adding more community data and features, including schools, local discussions, crime reports, and a per-block and neighborhood rating system compiled from all this stuff. Got a question about a neighborhood you want to visit or move to? Need to report a problem (potholes, graffiti) to the city? Bam.
Of course, BlockAvenue is in its early stages so it feels heavily weighted to all the existing data it pulls in from other services. But as BlockAvenue improves its tools that add value—discussions, location-based ratings, and more—it could become more useful than EveryBlock was as a one-stop shop to research neighborhoods and organize with the people and businesses in them.
I’m not sure how many more of these good pieces we need about the fundamental problem with the App Store and its terrible sustainability equation for third-party developers. Clearly, we needed at least one more.
If we—and Apple—ever want to get away from this empty calorie culture of throw-away 99¢ apps, option 4 absolutely has to happen. Option 5 really needs to happen as well. But Addey’s right: the ball is and always has been in Apple’s court, and it hasn’t made a move for nearly five years.
Some good analysis and observations from Casey Johnston at Ars Technica.
AT&T’s All In One brand will likely offer unlimited talking and texting and a data allotment (it’s unclear how much)
The state of marketing and both blogging and journalism: we repeat the claim of unlimited and, in the same breath, note that we’re not sure how unlimited this product will be without batting an eyelash.
The App Store took about four years to hit 25 billion downloads. It just doubled that in a single year.