Apple nears ‘iRadio’ streaming deal with Warner and Universal in a dozen markets, royalties on par with Pandora rates

We’ve heard no end of rumors of a streaming Radio player from Apple.  We even found pay radio buttons in the iPad’s music player app code earlier this year:

The Apple radio service, once rumored for late 2012 to Q1/2013, has now been pushed back to mid-late 2013 because of difficulty signing the labels. Today the Verge says that Warner is all but signed up at rates comparable to what Pandora pays the labels  – which is to say a lot. Earlier reports put Apple’s asking price much lower.

Apple is expected to sign its first interner radio licensing agreement with a major record label perhaps as soon as next week, multiple sources with knowledge of the talks have told The Verge…Apple initially offered to pay 6 cents per 100 songs streamed, or about half of what Pandora pays. Now, Apple will pay rates nearly “neck and neck” with Pandora, one of the sources said.

Update: CNET reports that Universal is also close to signing and that Apple is hoping to go into a dozen territories by summer:

The press has dubbed the service iRadio, in negotiations with the labels Apple is referring to it as its “new streaming service,” says a source…Apple is building some unique features, such as the ability to jump back to the beginning of a song…Apple is hoping to quickly unveil the service in up to a dozen territories, according to sources, including the U.K, France, Germany, Australia, and Japan.

We’re hoping that Apple has an announcement to make at WWDC, if not earlier.

Apple Stores pushing new table-based sales strategy, minor emphasis on third-party product support

2993840919_908679e149_o

Apple is slowly rolling out a new customer service initiative across its retail stores called ‘table selling.’ With the new strategy, Apple Store employees are assigned a product table where they are responsible for working with groups of customers with different needs, albeit the same device, according to people familiar with the strategy. Previously, customers were individually helped on a first-come, first-serve basis and organized by an “iQueue” system that often resulted in lengthy wait times and customers walking out.

Read more

Corning Gorilla Glass 2 to debut at CES 2012: Will latest innovation be on iPad 3 or iPhone 5?

Corning Inc., announced today its plan to unveil Gorilla Glass 2 at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week, and the company said more product details would be made available Jan. 9.

The Corning, N.Y.-based company plans to “showcase the critical role of highly engineered specialty glass in addressing emerging trends” at CES 2012. Some of the highlights include increased functionality from smaller form factors; connected devices in new applications; touch technology; and, large-format design aesthetics.

However, the main attraction to the Corning booth will be the introduction of Gorilla Glass 2, which is the next generation of the damage-resistant cover glass found on practically every consumer electronic today. CES attendees will have access to Corning experts and products featuring the latest Gorilla Glass applications.

The timely debut of Gorilla Glass 2 comes just before the rumored early-2012 launch of the iPad 3, as well as the rumored summer-to-fall launch of the iPhone 5, leaving room for Apple to include the latest technology on its upcoming devices.

Although not confirmed, it is worth speculating whether Corning supplied Apple, before today’s announcement, with Gorilla Glass 2 for iOS device production. The idea does not seem far-fetched considering the nature of both companies’ relationship…

Read more

Apple Store Grand Central closer to opening

Apple is beginning to prepare for the upcoming holiday shopping season by putting the final touches on several retail locations and reinventing the way their visitors buy Apple gear.  Most notable is opening up a flagship store in New York’s iconic Grand Central Station.  Why is Grand Central such a big deal, especially when there are already Apple Stores in New York in affluent neighborhoods?  Here are some quick facts on Grand Central:

  1. 750,000 people pass through Grand Central daily and over 1,000,000 people during the holidays
  2. Mean household income for Grand Central Terminal commuters is $95,800; 50% of household incomes are over $100,000, and 20% are over $200,000.
  3. The captive shopping population of more than 326,000 neighborhood office workers earn a combined $11.3 billion a year.
  4. An average 7,500 people an hour pass the corner of 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue, making it one of the busiest intersections in the city.
  5. 21.6 million out-of-town tourists, with a mean income of $62,000, visit Grand Central each year.
  6. Grand Central is served by Metro-North commuter trains, 31 commuter and 15 city bus routes, 7 subway lines, buses to and from the area’s three airports, and two million taxis a year.
  7. Grand Central Terminal subway station is the busiest stop in the New York City subway system.

The future Grand Central Station Apple Store is progressing towards an end of November opening.  Future employees for the store have been going through their “Core” training for the past several weeks at a hotel in Times Square, Midtown Manhattan… Read more

W3 Innovations pays the FTC $50,000 for collecting children’s info in iOS apps

The FTC filed a lawsuit against W3 Innovations Friday, the parent company of Broken Thumbs Apps, for collecting the personal information of children in their apps. Broken Thumbs Apps have been downloaded more than 50,000 times in the iTunes App Store, and titles include  Zombie Duck HuntTruth or Dare, and Emily’s Dress Up. Monday, the company settled with the FTC for $50,000.

The FTC’s complaint includes W3 storing more than 30,000 children’s (probably parent’s) emails and personal information on their servers. In one game, the company asked for the child’s name. In the game Emily’s Girl World, it gave children the opportunities to make comments on a related blog, which were stored on a server.

The FTC says since these apps were directly marketed to children and transmitted information over the internet, the apps are in violation of the Children’s Online privacy Protection Pact (COPPA), and the FTC’s COPPA rules. Besides settling, the company agreed to delete all of the children’s personal information off of their servers. (via Ars Technica)