Cydia tweaks: Customize iOS notifications and multitask using the volume keys

Everybody knows that the iOS notification system is way overdue for a much-needed refresh. It needs to be rethought from the ground up, if fan-made concepts are an indication. In the meantime, you can customize the look and feel of of the boring blue iOS notification alert using AlertArtist, a tweak for jailbroken devices available on the Cydia store.

The program lets you customize a number of elements, such as typeface and the color of border, font and shadow. Or, you can quickly switch between one of the pre-installed templates. If you’ve been on the lookout for the ultimate multitasking tweak for your jailbroken device, look no further than Physwitch (video below)…

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Hearst in iPad deal with Apple

Publisher Hearst has agreed to selling subscriptions to their iPad magazines through iTunes, after months of negotiations with Apple, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Starting with their July issues, iPad apps for Esquire, Popular Mechanics and O, The Oprah Magazine, will be available through a service from Apple that allows customers to sign up for subscriptions inside the apps and get billed automatically. Subscriptions to all three publications will be sold for $1.99 a month or $19.99 a year.

Hearst has also confirmed plans to eventually begin selling newspaper apps (perhaps The San Francisco Chronicle and Houston Chronicle?) and other content through in-app subscriptions. The news leaves Condé Nast as the only major magazine publisher out there not participating in Apple’s new iOS subscription service. However, it’s only a matter of time before Condé Nast joins other big publishers. Last week, Time Inc. reached a deal with Apple enabling them to offer print subscribers digital magazine subscriptions at no additional cost.

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The Daily: $10 million loss in the last quarter

The Daily, an iPad-exclusive digital magazine that launched February 2, has been a money-losing business for Rupert Murdoch-owned media empire so far. According to Peter Kafka of The Wall Street Journal’s MediaMemo blog who chatted with op-chief Chase Carey during an earnings call, the magazine lost ten million dollars last quarter. What’s surprising is the mention of just 800,000 downloads. Even though those downloads don’t equal paid subscriptions, it’s still a disappointing figure for such a high-profile digital publishing operation.

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Spotify takes on iTunes with iPod syncing

Streaming music service Spotify has made an interesting move with a new version of their desktop application that can sync your playlists with iPods without having to go through iTunes. Just connect your iPod shuffle, iPod nano or iPod classic to a computer and watch it automagically appear in the Devices section in the Spotify sidebar to easily sync your iTunes music and playlists.

The Swedish startup wrote in a blog post that an updated version of their free app for iOS and Android devices provides the same functionality over your local WiFi network so you can wirelessly sync your MP3 playlists in Spotify from your computer to your phone. Plus, it’s now possible to wirelessly sync these playlists to an iPod touch.

Spotify also took the battle to Apple’s home turf with a new music download service that undercuts iTunes’ three-tier pricing model with 50p per track pricing in MP3 bundles. All the aforementioned goodies will be rolled out to all users, including those using an ad-supported free music streaming, as part of an automatic update. Check out iPod syncing in a video after the break.
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Survey: Apple will sell $3 billion worth of apps in 2011 (Android: $425 million)

According to a yesterday survey of the app store economics by IHS iSuppli, Apple will grab more than two thirds of the overall market for mobile application stores this year. People will spend an astounding $3.9 billion this year alone on apps for their homescreens, a 78 percent year-on-year revenue increase. For comparison, when the App Store launched back in the summer of 2008, the market for mobile applications was worth just $206.1 million that year ($830.6 million in 2009). The App Store is projected to hit $2.91 billion in revenues this year, equaling to a 76 percent revenue share and a healthy 63.4 percent year-over-year growth. Total market for mobile apps will be worth an estimated $8.3 billion by 2014, iSuppli predicts.

In 2011 Android users are projected to spend a cool $425 million buying apps (why note more?) versus about $200-$300 million for the users of BlackBerry App World and Ovi Store. The App Store’s market share will shrink due to the growth of other mobile platforms, but Apple is still expected to command a 60 percent revenue share for mobile apps by 2014, running at an annual rate of five billion dollars.

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Google debuts Chrome Canary for Mac

If you’re a Chrome fan and love experimenting with early releases, Google has you covered with Chrome Canary for Mac. Arriving nine full months following the Windows release in August of last year, the new Cannary for Mac channel is live with pre-developer builds of Chrome. You know what that means: Highly unstable code, features that come and go, potential security-related problems and headache in general.

On the upside, however, you’ll get access to experimental new capabilities as they’re being developed, not all of which end up in the developer version or trickle down to beta or stable builds. If you’re willing to take the plunge and peer around technological corners for a sneak peek of what’s next in web browsing, why not download Google Chrome Cannary for Mac and take it for a spin.

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