[UPDATE: Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr has denied this report in a statement to Recode, simply saying it’s “not true.”]
A report from Digital Music News today citing sources close to Apple claims the company is currently considering a plan that would see it shutdown its iTunes Store music download business within two years. The move would mean the company would stop selling downloads of music from iTunes and instead focus entirely on monthly subscriptions to its Apple Music streaming service.
However, on top of the rather fast two year timeline quoted for exiting from the downloads business, the report does add that a 3 to 4 year timeline is also something being considered by Apple executives:
The latest evidence of the continued trend away from music downloads toward streaming services was provided by Kobalt, a company that collects music royalties on behalf of thousands of artists, reports TechCrunch. Income from Spotify overtook that from iTunes for the first time in Q1 of this year, putting Spotify 13% ahead of iTunes.
While Kobalt operates only in Europe, there is no reason to believe that the trend would be different in the U.S. …
Apple’s worldwide digital music sales through iTunes have dropped up as much as 14% in 2014, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal citing sources close to the situation. That’s a big decrease, as the report points out, when compared to data available for digital sales last year:
As part of an extensive hands-on by Ariel Adams, the piece shines some light on how the Apple Watch is controlled and managed. At the media event, Apple showed a wide variety of watch apps … but did not mention how they get onto the watch itself.
Adams’ post says that users download Apple Watch apps through a central hub app on the iPhone. Rather than having an App Store UI on a tiny watch screen, users install content on the device from their phone. This is similar to how iPods are managed via the iTunes app on a Mac or PC.
Apple Watch users will install an Apple Watch app on their iPhone, which will be used to download apps onto the watch as well as likely manage Apple Watch settings. A user’s iPhone is also used to help with computational demands. Apple cleverly pushes a lot of processor needs to the phone in order to preserve Apple Watch battery life.
Apparently, the phone will also dedicate some of its processing power to handle complicated or computationally-intensive tasks. This means that the Apple Watch battery can be drained as little as possible. For instance, the iPhone may do the deep analysis of incoming health data sending only the results to the Watch, for display. Apple has vaguely suggested that the Apple Watch will have about one day of battery life.
After announcing the release of the Office for iPad apps late last month, Microsoft announced today that the separate Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps for iPad have collectively reached 12 million downloads a week after release. The number also included downloads of the OneNote app for iPad, which has been available for a couple of years leading up to the release of the Office apps, but Microsoft didn’t provide a breakdown of sales by app.
Apple subsidiary FileMaker announced today that it has reached over 1,000,000 downloads on the App Store of its FileMaker Go database management app. The news follows the release of FileMaker 13 in December, which came alongside a streamlined iOS companion app for iPhone and iPad with new features including barcode scanning, native iOS behaviors, gesture-based navigation and much more.
“Businesses are using the FileMaker Platform to create solutions that manage everything from sales contacts and inventory to medical data on iPad and iPhone,” said Ryan Rosenberg, vice president, marketing and services, FileMaker, Inc. “With the recent launch of FileMaker 13, customers will find it easier than ever to design innovative mobile solutions.”
The FileMaker Go for iPad and iPhone App is part of FileMaker’s comprehensive lineup of desktop, server and iOS software for creating custom business solutions that run on iPad, iPhone, Windows, Mac, and web browsers. The FileMaker 13 Platform includes expanded support for native iOS behaviors (such as popovers and slide controls) and new features (such as bar code scanning) that speed data capture on iPad and iPhone. FileMaker Go is now a single app for both iPad and iPhone.
What happens when your app gets featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, the TV show where rich investors listen to pitches from wannabe entrepreneurs looking to raise funds? For app developers Egos Ventures it means shooting up hundreds of spots on the App Store charts to become the top paid app in the store overnight. The developers behind the hands-free panorama app called Cycloramic were able to capture a $500k investment from two of the Sharks on last night’s episode. We spoke to the developer who appeared on the show last night, Bruno Francois, to find out a little about the experience and get some stats on downloads following the investment.
For the first time since the iTunes Store in 2003, digital music sales have declined over the past year, reports Billboard. Specifically, individual song downloads took the biggest hit, dropping to 1.26 billion—a 5.7% from the previous year’s total. Entire albums fared substantially better, with only a 0.1% drop overall from 2012.
So far there are no official numbers on streaming music, so it’s quite possible (and likely) that streaming solutions such as iTunes Radio have actually overtaken purchases as the preferred method of listening. In fact, shortly after iOS 7’s launch, Pandora reported in influx of new users, even as Apple moved many of its own users to its new streaming platform.
Digital downloasds aren’t the only thing that’s declined over the past year. Physical CD sales have also dropped 14.5%, although that hardly seems unexpected. What is unexpected is the fact that vinyl sales have actually increased by 31% in the past year. What’s old is new again…
And in case you’re wondering, Robin Thicke took the title of most-downloaded song of 2013 with his hit “Blurred Lines.” Second on the list was “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
BlackBerry revealed via the official BBM Twitter account that in the first eight hours since launching BBM for iPhone and Android, the app has been downloaded over by over 5 million customers across both platforms. The app is also now the #1 free app on the iTunes App Store.
That number could actually be much higher, as the 5 million applies only to the number of users whose accounts have been activated for use. BlackBerry did not specify how many more users were still waiting to be activated, if any.
According to data from App Annie’s latest download and revenue report, Google Play for the first time surpassed the App Store in app downloads during the second quarter of 2013. While Google was able to move past Apple with about 10 percent more downloads during the three month period, the report notes the App Store brought in nearly 2.3x the amount of revenue.
App Annie says that Google Play’s growth was driven by emerging markets including Brazil, India, and Russia, and while the App Store still leads by revenue, Google Play closed the gap slightly compared to last quarter and years past.
Google Play saw Brazil climb two spots to join India and Russia as another emerging market in the top 5 countries by downloads for Q2 2013…The United States, Japan and United Kingdom remained the leaders in the iOS App Store when looking at revenue generation, and Australia climbed to #4 after a strong Q2. iOS App Store revenue was driven primarily by the United States and Japan, which combined to account for about half of the total iOS App Store revenue in Q2.
App Annie’s report also includes its Games Index tracking mobile games on iOS and Android, which now account for around 40 percent of all downloads on both platforms. During Q2, Gameloft’s Despicable Me: Minion Rush grabbed the top spot for most downloaded iOS game, while publisher Tiny Piece took the honour on Google Play.
As for non-gaming apps, Vine increased by three positions to become the most downloaded app during the quarter on iOS, followed closely by YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram.
The screenshot above shows the screen that Apple presents most users with when launching the App Store on their iOS device for the first time. Curiously, on iOS 7 beta 3, the recommended free apps screen includes Apple’s iWork suite in addition to other paid apps such as Garageband, iMovie, and iPhoto. In the past, Apple has only included free apps in the pop up such as iBooks, iTunes U, and Podcasts. This could signal Apple has plans to offer its premium apps for free in the future…
In just over a year since its 25 billion milestone, Apple’s App Store has just crossed the threshold of 50 billion downloads. As a reminder, the App Store launched just shy of five years ago, on July 10, 2008. The App Store has celebrated three major milestones since its launch, the first for the 10 billionth download in January of 2011, followed by 25 billion just a little over a year later.
In a press release this January, Apple noted that over 40 billion apps had been downloaded, meaning that one-fifth of all downloads from the App Store have already come in 2013. It remains quite remarkable that five years after launch, the App Store is still seeing such accelerated growth.