Like many other tech writers, I was watching the Apple keynote in anticipation of something huge. Apple’s market share is something that is important to note before explaining exactly how Apple blew up the internet. Please check out our previous article on market share.
Apple’s “market share” is often thrashed on the internet by tech writers with regard to iOS. Yet, there is an intrinsic flaw to analyzing the success and domination of Apple in this way.
On May 16th, Apple announced that customers had downloaded over 50 billion apps from the App Store. To commemorate the 50 billionth app downloaded, which was Say the Same Thing by Space Inch, LLC, Apple gave Brandon Ashmore from Mentor, Ohio a $10,000 App Store Gift Card. Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services also noted that it took less than five years to hit this momentous milestone and that Apple thanks all its customers and developers for making the App Store what it is today.
The App Store has been consistently growing, with downloads over 800 apps per second. Customers are downloading over two billion apps per month on the App Store. The App Store offers more than 850,000 apps to iOS device users in 155 countries. Apple has revolutionized how we use mobile devices with the creation of app ecosystem. Apple also noted that the App Store paid out over nine billion dollars to developers. The App Store provides opportunities for developers to mold their ideas into apps, while at the same time providing users the opportunities to use these apps. It’s whole different way of doing business, right from your iOS device.
An important note is that this article is in regards to the App Store for iOS devices and does not include the Mac App Store, which provides apps for OS X.
Feel free to leave questions and comments. One question we have at The Real Mac Genius is: “What is your favorite app?”
The iPad mini
On October 23, 2012, Apple released the new iPad mini. It is said to be 23% thinner and 53% lighter than the previous iPad. It starts at $329 for a 16 GB Wi-Fi model. It is also available in 32GB and 64GB and in Wi-Fi + Cellular models. There are two color choices: Black & Slate and White & Silver. The iPad mini is very similar to the iPad, except that it is a lot lighter and can easily be held in the palm of your hand, like other tablets in the market, mostly those running Android OS. Can the iPad mini compete?
Some of the features of the iPad mini are nothing new to those who have seen or used an iPad before. It has the standard built-in apps such as FaceTime, Email, and Message, and it also has access to the App Store, which houses over 275,000 iPad apps. In terms of tech specs, it uses the fast A5 chip that provides speed and fluidity to the tablet screen. It is stated to have a 10-hour battery life as well.
One feature specific to Apple products is FaceTime. It is a built-in app and can be used over Wi-Fi or cellular data. While using the iPad mini, you can take advantage of the front-facing FaceTime HD camera or the iSight camera on the rear. The iSight camera even lets you capture videos in 1080p HD and takes full advantage of the 5-megapixels to capture photos.
The iPad mini features dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, which means faster Internet connection with download speeds up to 150 Mbps. If you do get the Wi-Fi + Cellular model, you also have access to LTE, HSPA, HSPA+, DC-HSPDA, and cellular and wireless networks.
The iPad mini also comes with Siri: the intelligent assistant, iCloud: Apple’s cloud service, and iOS 6: the most recent and advanced of Apple’s operating systems. However, the most recent iPad contains these features, so the iPad mini is essentially only a miniature third generation iPad. It has the same resolution as the previous iPad, 1024×768, but has a smaller screen to pack all those pixels. On the downside, it doesn’t have the Retina Display that most iPads have. It does have the same front and rear camera as the iPad with Retina Display, but lacks the Dual-core A6X with quad-core graphics, meaning slightly slower performance.
For approximately $170 cheaper, you can get a miniature version of the newest iPad with slightly less advanced tech specs. Whether it can compete against the iPad with Retina Display or other similar tablets, has yet to be determined. Your best bet is to go to the nearest Apple Store and try it out yourself. Who knows, you may end up walking out with a brand new iPad mini.
Apple iOS 6 to come this fall
Apple has announced that this fall, iOS 6 will be released. Most current iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users will end up upgrading to iOS 6 in hopes of new features, and we hope that Apple doesn’t let us down. Based on what Apple has announced so far, most people are excited to get iOS 6 on their devices and take advantage of the newest features. I will go over some of the new features that Apple has announced so far.
The first thing that iOS 6 will provide is an upgrade for the Maps app. For those who have used the Maps app on previous iOS, they will notice that Apple has completely redesigned the app and has made it much more vivid and detailed. The new Maps app also provided turn-by-turn directions and offers different routes if traffic conditions have changed. Maps uses real-time traffic conditions to help you avoid traffic accidents and slowdowns. The app also has a 3D view of major areas that gives you a very clear image of the location you are viewing. Siri works well with Maps to help you get to your destination. You can even tap a pin on the map and view different information about that location, especially with the integration of Yelp into the Maps app.
Siri has also been improved. Siri works in more countries, understands more languages, and will now be available on the new iPad. You can tell Siri to look up the scores for a sports game, look up movie show times, find local restaurants, and even tweet or update your Facebook. Siri can even launch apps for you. Apple is also working on getting Siri integrated in cars, a feature called Eyes Free. This will allow you to press a button on your steering wheel to communicate to Siri and allow you to call people, select music, text message your friends, and much more, without even lighting up the device’s screen.
Facebook will now be integrated into iOS 6. You can share photos from your Camera or Photos app, post your location from Maps, post your score from Game Center, integrate your friend’s profile information into Contacts and integrate events into Calendars. Facebook is now part of every aspect of your device and you can even click the Like button in iTunes and the App Store. Not only are Apple apps integrated with Facebook, non-Apple apps can also connect to Facebook. This update is definitely going to be attract those who use Facebook frequently to post updates and pictures because it adds even more convenience to the use of mobile applications.
iOS 6 also gives you the option to Share photos from the Photos app with friends and family. If they are using iCloud on an iOS 6 device or a Mac running OS X Mountain Lion, the photos you share with them are delivered straight to their Photos app or iPhoto. People can even like or comment it, similar to Facebook. If you want to share it with someone who doesn’t have an iOS 6 device or Mac running OS X Mountain Lion, they can view it on the web on the iCloud website.
A new application that Apple is adding is Passbook. Passbook is your organizer that replaces a wallet for coupons, tickets, boarding passes, etc. Passbook also takes advantage of time and location to coupons and passes will appear on your lock screen when it is appropriate, like when you are about to reach the airport or walk into the store where you will use the coupon. Airplane tickets also update if the airline announced changes. Passbook provides convenience in one simple application. The only problem is that companies need to support the app for it to be useful.
Apple has finally announced the use of FaceTime over cellular networks, instead of only Wi-Fi. This means you can FaceTime with your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Mac, wherever you are as long as you have Wi-Fi or a cellular network. This feature is something I would have expected of FaceTime previously, but it’s better late than never.
iOS 6 also improves the Phone app. This improvement will be very useful for those using the iPhone. The new feature gives you the option to send a preset text message or custom text message if you can’t answer a call. You can also set a time- or location-based reminder to alert you to call someone back. There is also a Do Not Disturb setting that will silence all incoming calls and notifications for a certain period of time or schedule, depending what you choose. It can even allow calls from specific people but silence the rest. This provides you with a whole new set of features for your iPhone.
With iOS 6, even the Mail and Safari app is updated. In the Mail app, you can set up a VIP list for important contacts. When you receive an email from someone on your VIP list, there will be a notification on your lock screen and those emails can be found in your VIP mailbox. Apple has made it easier to add photos and videos with just a few taps and allows you to use the swipe down to refresh your mailbox. Safari now has iCloud Tabs to keep track of webpages open on any device connected to your iCloud account. Safari also saves webpages in your Reading List so you can view them while not connected to the Internet. You can also post a photo or video from your Camera Roll or take a photo or video to post without even leaving Safari.
There are many new features on the new iOS, but some features will also be removed. Something of note is that Apple will remove the YouTube app with the update of iOS 6. Its license with Google to include the YouTube app has expired, but Google is already developing a standalone app for the Apple App Store. This isn’t a major difference but may be taken as a move by Apple to deviate away from Google apps.
With all these new features with the coming of iOS 6, who can wait? Improvements to many of the apps already provided by the previous iOS will make a big impact on the user experience. I’m definitely going to upgrade to iOS 6. The most exciting thing about iOS 6 for me is the new features with Maps and Phone, and the use of Passbooks. What are you looking forward too?