Yahoo unveils new search engine for iOS apps

Apple’s App Store is a nice venue to discover iOS software, but it’s far from perfect – especially when browsing its virtual shelves on your device. The iTunes Preview site – as well as other web and smartphone tools like AppShopper – all help find that needle in a haystack, but they also impose annoying limitations.

Not surprisingly, Google and Microsoft wouldn’t drill through their index in order to create a dedicated search page for mobile warez so Yahoo! took it upon themselves to fill the void (after all, they don’t have a mobile platform of their own to protect). Today, Yahoo! unveiled new search tools that help seek apps for your iOS device easier than ever before. The initiative consists of a dedicated search engine called Yahoo! App Search and an iOS app dubbed Yahoo! AppSpot.

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App income projected to exceed iTunes music sales within next three years

With flat music sales and booming app ecosystem, iOS app revenue should zoom past song sales by 2015 the latest.

By one estimate, iOS developers and record labels together have pulled some $16.6 billion in cumulative revenues on Apple’s iTunes content store since its inception, according to an interesting analysis by Asymco’s Horace Dediu. Even if it involves a lot of guesswork and peering inside the crystal ball, the author’s thinking is determined by known iTunes milestones and revenue data from Apple’s quarterly findings. For example, Steve Jobs told us at WWDC 2011 that Apple so far paid out $2.5 billion to app developers.

The combined “sales rate” is a remarkable $665 million per month. By the slope of the trend lines, it would appear that app income will exceed music income within three years. Another perspective is the number of downloads per device per month. This shows that the rate of consumption of apps is increasing and is now about six apps per device per month.

“Each iTunes account has ‘consumed’ about 67 songs but also 62 apps. Remarkable parity in such a short time. And the trend speaks for itself”, Dediu concludes. Plus…

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Mac App Store helped shape the layout of Apple's retail stores

Apple Store software wall at flagship Apple Store following June ’11 changes (Image: Jason C.)

The following is a guest post from reader Danny (@iDannyOcean):

Apple retail stores undergo several updates each year to refine the shopping experience for its customers.  These changes vary as Apple tries to continually innovate their stores, but one trend has been consistent; Apple is decreasing the presence of Mac software.

When Apple opened the doors of its first retail store in 2001 it had a substantial amount of Mac accessories and software.  The software section was comprised of aisles going down the center of store as recent as 3 years ago.  The Mac App store wasn’t released until January of 2011 but Apple began to shape the layout of their stores around its arrival beginning in 2008.  Personal setup tables and open floor space to accommodate more visitors have replaced rows of software titles:

It seems the amount of available Mac titles decreases with each visual “overnight” Apple retail conducts.  This trend was punctuated last night when Apple stores underwent an update and were left with one small section of Mac software. Apple is slowly shaping the public’s ways of installing software via a disc and promoting the use of their download-only Mac App Store. This trend will reach its summit this July when Apple’s next generation Mac operating system, OS X Lion, will exclusively be available through the App store.

The notion of delivering all Mac software via download makes sense for Apple for several reasons. First, their customers have grown accustomed to utilizing the App and iTunes stores for their media and iDevice applications.  The Mac App Store will help recent PC switchers feel comfortable installing software.  This helps decrease new user frustration. Second, it provides Apple more shelf and inventory space to sell Apple accessories, which bring in higher profit margins.

Finally, Apple will save a tremendous amount of money on software packages, shipping, bags, and paper receipts (which have been optional the last few years).  These savings can be passed to the consumer.  A great example of this is that OS X Lion will be available at launch for only $29.  No one should be surprised if this time next year Apple does not have a dedicated area to Mac software. Indeed, it appears Apple’s plan to reduce our dependence on optical drives began years ago, which is evident in the evolution of their retail stores’ layouts, Apple’s download only software releases, and MacBook Air.

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Facebook planning Instagram-y photo sharing

TechCrunch received numerous screenshots and documents outlining a brand new iPhone app from Facebook focused solely on photo sharing. The program is allegedly code-named either “Hovertown” or “WithPeople” and could be released either as a standalone download for iOS devices or integrated into Facebook’s existing iPhone app. Author MG Siegler says the screenshots look “amazing”, adding:

Either way, based on the images in front of us, the best way to think about it appears to be Path meets Instagram meets Color meets (Path’s new side project) With — with a few cool twists.  And obviously, it’s built entirely on top of Facebook’s massive social graph.

With an astounding six billion photo uploads each month and a total of staggering hundred billion photos (or about 150 photos per user on average), a photo sharing app from Facebook would easily become a smash hit. Count us officially thrilled.

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iOS features Apple "borrowed" from jailbreakers

Steve Jobs isn’t afraid to publicly admit that “good artists copy, great artists steal”. He purposefully reflected on that Picasso adage numerous times in the past, as shown in a short video snippet taken from a 1984 interview included for your reference below the fold. This very saying instantly popped into our mind when we saw the new Notification Center Apple debuted in iOS 5. As anyone knows, lock screen notifications are hardly a novelty to avid jailbreakers (or Android users). In fact, we were glad to see Apple wasn’t too proud to pull Android’s notifications. Though, of course, they can never say that Android has stolen the iOS look and feel from Apple again. But Notificaton Center via a pulldown gesture isn’t the only thing Apple borrowed from others…

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