In addition to launching the new iPad Air and iPad Mini with retina display a few weeks back, Apple also launched their latest desktop operating system – OS X Mavericks. What was interesting to note is the fact that Apple is distributing the software for free to all the users who have compatible hardware and required pre-requisite software (you can even update from Snow Leopard).
Furthermore, Apple announced that all of its apps will be free to download from the App Stores on any new devices purchased. This includes latest versions of all their iLife and iWork apps on the Mac App Store and the iOS App Store. They also seem to be giving away full version of any app for which you might have a trial version or a pirated version!
This move by Apple is surprising to a certain extent given that their apps have been on the top of the leaderboards across all the App Stores. Giving up a steady and predictable source of income is never easy and must have took a good amount of time to convince the board of directors to approve the same.
However, the move is not totally unfathomable, given that all the tech companies around the world are beginning to understand that consumers generally aren’t ready to pay for software as much as they are ready to pay for hardware. Even people who buy the latest & highest capacity iPhones, iPads & Mac without a blink act thrifty when buying Apps from the App Stores. And there is nothing wrong in that. When you buy hardware, you buy something physical which you can hold and admire. You can’t do that with Software. Apple’s hardware is uniquely of superb quality. They pay a lot of attention to detail and spend a lot of time researching the best possible way of making anything. The result is that every time they exceed their customers’ expectation.
Software from Apple follows the same design philosophy and is usually minimalistic. It just works and hides any unnecessary controls or interface from the user unless absolutely required. When the iOS was first revealed in 2007, the utter simplicity & intuitiveness of the operating system awed everyone and it sold like anything. 6 years down the line, both simplicity and intuitiveness are now ubiquitous in whatever Apple does.
Until a few years back, the norm was that you buy hardware and add software to it to be able to do stuff. That scene is changing. With tablets and smartphone which are pre loaded with powerful operating systems, people expect their devices to be able to do certain things out of the box when they buy them. And the list of those things keeps growing.
While others fail to understand this, Apple is probably betting on the fact that bundling free apps with their hardware is going to attract more customers. And they are not wrong. Whenever I recommend a mac to anyone looking to buy a new laptop, the first question they ask is “Will it open my office documents?”. Well, with a free copy of Pages, Numbers & Keynote, you bet it will!
So any loss of revenue due to giving away these apps for free will be easily compensated by increased sales of their hardware. Its simple math! Its a new era of free software and it does look good for anyone sitting in front of a Mac, iPhone or an iPad.
Radio cab service provider Meru has launched its iOS and Android apps to enable users to book their cabs anytime and anywhere. The apps offer features like live map view, ICE alert and push notifications to give users more control on their cab bookings.
The overall process of booking the cabs is same as that on web. You select a time, pick up location and drop location to submit your request. In a matter of seconds, the app will let you know if your booking has been accepted or not.
The best part about the apps is the ability to view the trip live on map. This will help you tell the driver the way to your home as you can see where the cab is in real time. You can also see the cab moving live in real time in the map view while sitting in the cab! Another great feature is the ability to specify emergency contact who can be automatically notified about the cab details as soon are you board it and start the trip. This can be used in case of emergencies.
After a little over a year, flipkart is shutting down its flyte digital music store in India. We first reported about flipkart’s launch of flyte digital music store in February 2012 and since then, flyte grew up to a catalogue of 15 million songs making it the largest store for digital music in India. According to flipkart, the reason for closing down flyte digital music service is the prevalent music piracy in India and lack of easy micro payments.
Here is what we think flipkart might have done to prevent this:
There was absolutely no marketing done for flyte. Everything people knew about the service was due to word of mouth or banners on flipkart.com. Things like banners on trailers of films on music channels (iTunes has been doing that since years now) make a lot of difference and help in spreading awareness about the service. There were ads for flipkart.com, however, we never saw ads for flyte either on TV or in print media.
Apart from their anniversary offer, flyte never had any promotions. I am talking about things like:
I know that its difficult to maintain margins when you have songs priced at INR 6 due to Apple’s 30% cut in the in app purchase policy, however, flyte could have at least let iOS users purchase music using a nice mobile site like amazon. The sad part was that they have a mobile site for physical products, but no mobile site for digital products.
iTunes has been doing this for some time now. Instead of charging a user’s card when he has purchased just one or two songs, wait for a few days for the user to purchase some more songs and then charge the card for a bigger amount. That way, it is easy to overcome the issue of micro payments. It also helps reduce the number of calls made to the payment gateway. And if the user doesn’t purchase more songs in the next few days, just charge for that song. It will still lower the number of transactions on the card.
In any case, I am sure that the decision was taken considering many other things which we might not know about. We wish the flyte team good luck and hope that they will come up with a better and more profitable digital music store in the future.
We all know that mapping the world is not easy. Google has done a great job in developed countries but collaborating with the authorities. However, for developing countries like India, where establishments and points of interests change as frequently as every 6 months, it is difficult to just rely on the government authorities to provide accurate up to date data.
In an effort to enhance the Google Maps data for India, Google India is running a Mapathon where anyone with a Google account can improve the Google maps data for their neighborhood or places they are familiar with. Google India is also offering attractive prizes for people like 10 Samsung Galaxy Note 800 Android Tablets, 40 Samsung Galaxy S II GT I9100 Android Phones, 50 Flipkart gift coupons worth Rs. 5000 each and 1000 Google Mapathon 2013 t-shirts and certificates (includes the top 100 above and another 900 people).
Imangi Studios surprised everyone by releasing Temple Run 2 – the sequel to their wildly popular game, Temple Run. The original game was a huge hit because of its immersive and thrilling, yet simple gameplay. The sequel is no different. It improves upon the prequel with astoundingly better graphics (which are, apparently, built using a much better graphics engine this time), new power ups, new stunts, yet using the same simplistic controls.
You can download the iOS version from here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/temple-run-2/id572395608?mt=8. The Android version will be released in some time.
Gaana.com has launched its mobile apps for all major platforms which let you stream unlimited music over 3G or WiFi. The apps have been developed by Times Internet and are available at the App Store, Google Play Store, and also for Blackberry, Nokia and Java based phones.
The iOS app offers a neat and simple player design which is pretty intuitive and smooth in operation. The player includes all the features from the gaana.com website such as playlists, search, music discovery, favorites etc.
The apps lets you enjoy gaana.com’s huge catalog on the go. The only thing we found missing in the iOS was AirPlay support in the app. Although you can beam the music to AirPlay devices at the system level by double pressing the home button and swiping left twice.
The apps put gaana.com neck to neck with their competitors like saavn and Dhingana. Hopefully the next round will be on the quality of the streaming audio.
Cleartrip is famous for its neat and simple, yet amazingly powerful UI. Oh, and seamless ticket bookings as well . When it comes to user experience, cleartrip clearly is one of the best case studies. They are always on their toes to keep innovating and setting new standards.
Keeping with the tradition, cleartrip is now supporting Apple’s passbook format for all your bookings. Users can now send their bookings to their iPhones & iPod touches (with iOS 6 or above) and keep all the tickets, and passes handy. Apple’s passbook is a nifty app that serves as a digital folder for all such things. Think of it as the digital equivalent of your document kit. Learn more about it here.
Unfortunately, airports in India currently do not support paperless boarding passes. So you will need to collect one from a counter. However, the pass should work as a paperless ticket, which, apparently, the airports are beginning to accept now. Pretty good move by Cleartrip.
[via Cleartrip blog]
Google has finally released its maps app for iOS giving relief to a lot of users around the world. After many embarrassing turn of events for Apple, it was inevitable for Google to work on and release an awesome app to users facing too much inconvenience. And they have delivered well.
The new app is beautifully designed and has all the elements one would need from a maps app. The app looks slick and minimalistic, however, it is feature packed with turn by turn voice navigation, transit directions, walking directions, live traffic view and reviews for restaurants in addition to some personalization features. I tried turn by turn voice navigation in India and found it to be pretty accurate.
However, the distance units are not in metric which is a bit inconvenient. To make the distance units show up in metric system, go to Settings -> General -> International and change the Region format to India. Also, there seems to be lags here and there when the app speaks out directions. Even with all these quirks, the app is a welcome for anyone who was used to using the native Google maps apps before iOS 6. The app has already replaced the native Apple maps app on my home screen.
Download the new app from the app store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google-maps/id585027354?mt=8
Apple dug it’s own hole by replacing the much Beautiful Google Maps with its crappy Apple Maps (powered by TomTom) on iOS6 – There I said it.
The sheer disaster is very obvious from the tweets all over the world. Some of the non-techies woke up with a surprise with the features that they lost like public transit details/biking/walking directions etc which were replaced with a less-used Fly over maps (Again just for the US).
Here’s a comparison between how it was (Google Maps), and how Apple Maps (with no data). It’s almost as if the whole area has been demolished over night by Apple destruction crew. Our only hope is that Google comes back to the rescue of the poor (not $ wise) iOS6 users.
Google Maps (Before)
Apple Maps (After)
Here are two ways to get back Google Maps that we’ve tried out.
Well, I am not really breaking any news here. Just for those folks who might’ve missed this.
Google Maps now shows Live traffic information. This is a sign of relief for Indian users who were only relying on Waze at the moment. The traffic data isn’t too accurate at the moment. But as we all know the more the users the more the accuracy (it’s crowd sourced).
The UI is very intuitive and this traffic information is also available on the Google Maps applications on Android and iOS (probably on other OS with traffic layer support too).