Mobile ‘apps’ – do we need them all?

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Mobile ‘Apps’ (or applications as my wife tells me they should be called) are now a fact of life. As a former windows mobile user I was used to down loadable applications and had a number of them, but they were generally ‘expensive’ by current standards and I only had a few of them. Now we are able to download Apps for almost anything – and invariably there are numerous apps that do the same thing. Apple recently ‘hit’ one billion App downloads, but how many went straight in the bin?

I have apps for all sorts on my phone – pages of them, but would I miss some of them if I deleted them? Probably not!

Recent research suggests mobile users now tend to download a massive number of Apps to try –

Average number of apps per iPhone : 65
Average money spent on apps per iPhone : £60
Average cost of a paid app : £0.99
Percentage of free apps : 65% (only?)
Percentage users with ONLY free apps : 7%

Sixty five Apps per user is a lot! However users are acquiring ever more discretion about the Apps they use, with 26 percent of Apps only ever getting used once after being downloaded. In Q4 of 2010, 28% of the apps on Android, iOS, Blackberry and Windows Phone were used once, and then never again.

This makes a case for having trials available for every app, not just limited functionality or lite free versions, that often don’t resemble the commercial version. “Try-it/Buy-It” is preferable to “Buy-it/Try-it/Hate-it/Delete-It.” A good example from my iPhone is a collection of 5 or six twitter apps over the years of which I have ended up using only one – the official one.

Perhaps its time that Apple took control of the App store, it’s all very well saying there is an App for everything, but there are far too many poor Apps that don’t add anything to your phone.


The ‘E Book’ revolution

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The news this week that ebook sales have now overtaken paperback sales on Amazon’s US site do not come as a huge surprise.  Amazon’s Kindle 2 is so light and so cheap that it’s easy to see why people have rushed to buy it – and this form of ‘book’ has been available in the USA for longer than in Europe.

Beyond the device itself, Amazon has also rolled out Kindle apps for various devices, ensuring that people who have an iPad but not a Kindle can still use their books. Once you’re into the Kindle ecosystem, Amazon locks you in tightly (sound familiar?) – just as Apple does with its iTunes/iPod system.

It’s so easy to buy from Amazon’s store and the books are so cheap that it’s not worth the effort of going elsewhere (and that includes iTunes).

The general view is that the ebook market is nowhere near peaking and the expectation is that we can expect to see more and more readers move away from printed books and pick up ebooks instead. But I don’t think that will mean the death of the printed book.

There are some who prefer printed books – I for one do not feel that a Kindle or iPad would feel ‘right’ to read a book on. Plus I like having shelves filled with books collected and read over the years. To me the physical form of the book is almost as important as the words it contains.

Perhaps the way forwards would be for publishers to bundle ebooks with printed ones – in much the same way that film studios bundle DVDs with digital copies of films? I have to admit to being one of the ‘old school’ who still but CD’s and then copy them to iTunes as well. I like to have the ‘hard copy ‘ of music as well.

The printed book will survive, it has however reached a ‘tipping point’ from which there is no return.

Finally! The Beatles on iTunes!

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Apple has announced today that it has finally licensed The Beatles’ music for sale through its iTunes store, ending a stand-off that began before the invention of the iPod, with complaints that Apple was infringing the trademarks of the band’s own record label, also called Apple (although the logos were very different!). A deal has now been reached in talks between the two Apples, band members and EMI, which distributes The Beatles’ music.

Finally together...

The Beatles have therefore finally got a ‘ticket to ride the digital music bandwagon’, after many years when the remaining band members (or perhaps EMI) have resisted making their back catalogue available for download.

Apple launched iTunes to sell music for iPods and other devices in 2003, and The Beatles are the only significant artists to have refused to license their music for sale.

Apple invited the media to a secret event with the teaser: “Tomorrow is Just Another Day”. The invite included four clocks, showing the scheduled time in four countries, and evokes the Help! album cover.

This is just a sign that Apples hold on the music download market is not going to reduce anytime soon!

Holiday iPod jinx?

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I am not one normally to believe in the jinx scenario, but today I suffered an issue with an iPod that related directly to leaving for holiday – just like last year!

Today we got almost a mile from home on the way to the airport when Sam’s iPod touch asked to be connected to iTunes – it had been working fine the previous evening. Being close to home we returned and reinstalled everything on it, almost an hours work.

Bizarrely last year my wife’s iPod lost everything in it’s memory on the first day of the holiday – we were on the plane (I was not popular as it was my fault apparently).

My question is – why does this only happen on the first day of our summer holiday?

Is it a clever marketing ploy by Apple? If an iPod breaks when holidays beckon then do you just buy a new one?

If so, how the hell does Steve Jobs know I am going on my summer holiday?

Big brother is watching!