Amazon.com Stories September 7, 2015

Waiting for offline Netflix viewing? The company thinks you can’t handle it …

If you, like me, have been wondering when Netflix is finally going to get around to allowing offline viewing, so we can stock up our iPad when traveling, the answer would appear to be: not anytime soon. When Gizmodo asked the company why, when Amazon Instant Video does so, a company spokesman gave the unconvincing reply that it thinks we can’t handle the awesome complexity of clicking a download button.

According to Neil Hunt, Netflix’s Chief Product Officer, Netflix users won’t be able to handle the complexity the added choice will bring […]

“Undoubtedly it adds considerable complexity to your life with Amazon Prime – you have to remember that you want to download this thing. It’s not going to be instant, you have to have the right storage on your device, you have to manage it, and I’m just not sure people are actually that compelled to do that, and that it’s worth providing that level of complexity.”

There’s also the content owners who may not have stipulated that their content can be downloaded. Hunt didn’t discuss that but its likely a big concern.

There is some small hope of being able to view Netflix content when traveling, says Hunt.

As an example, what if we can put Netflix in a rack box that essentially contains all of Netflix content that you could imagine putting in an airplane server, right along with our existing offerings? That for me is a more interesting thing; can we make Netflix work on a plane, can we make it work on a train, in hotels?

But that seems to me a ridiculous way to offer a half-assed solution, and it’s merely an idea, not a plan.

Hunt did make one good point: not all of Amazon’s content is available for downloading, and it can be frustrating when one show is and another isn’t. Amazon already has enough issues with its seemingly-random selection of videos available to Prime members on desktop but not mobile, mobile but not desktop or only for purchase.

But with Netflix increasingly focusing on producing exclusive content, it could at least make a decent start by offering its own shows available for downloading.

Amazon.com Stories June 25, 2015

after

[Update: Apple has confirmed the policy with us. Statement below.]

[Update #2: Reports are now surfacing that Apple is now reinstating some apps with the Confederate flag to the App Store. The company is working with developers who use the Confederate flag, but not in a mean-spirited manner.]

[Update #3: TouchArcade specifies that affected games are able to change their app icons and App Store screenshots to avoid removal.]

A couple of days after Zac Hall called for Apple to join large retailers like Walmart, Target, Sears, Amazon and eBay in withdrawing from selling items featuring the Confederate flag, Apple appears to be working on doing just that.

Touch Arcade noticed that many Civil War games like Ultimate General: Gettysburg and the Hunted Cow series have all disappeared. An App Store search for ‘Confederate’ on Tuesday found plenty of games featuring the flag, while the same search today appears to show only apps dealing with the history (such as the reference work shown) above. All of the games shown in Tuesday’s search (below) have been removed from the App Store …  expand full story

Amazon.com Stories April 29, 2015

watch

Amazon and Target won’t be the only major retailers on your wrist for long: sources say that Apple is finishing up work on a version of its Apple Store application for the Apple Watch. The Apple Watch app will come “soon” as part of an update to the Apple Store iPhone and iPad application, and will likely enable customers to make certain types of Apple Store purchases from their wrists, as well as receiving Apple Store-related notifications. As the Apple Watch does not have a keyboard, more involved orders will require the user to move over to the iPhone app. Apple will ask employees to push Apple Store app installations for the Apple Watch to customers this summer, when the Watch goes on sale in Apple’s own stores. Until then, retail employees will be encouraged to show off the Apple Store app on demo Apple Watches.

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Amazon.com Stories December 16, 2014

ebook-trial

Some of the judges in Apple’s appeal of last year’s ebook trial verdict appear sympathetic to the company’s argument that its deals with publishers helped, rather than hindered, competition, reports Reuters.

Circuit Judge Dennis Jacobs asked a Department of Justice lawyer why it was wrong for the publishers to get together to defeat a “monopolist” that was using “predatory pricing.”

“It’s like the mice getting together to put a bell on the cat,” Jacobs said.

The court had earlier heard evidence that at the time Apple entered the ebooks market, Amazon held a 90% market share …  expand full story

Amazon.com Stories December 15, 2014

Amazon pushed out an updated version of its Kindle for iOS app today bringing a list of new features to the reading app.

Kindle for iOS now includes integration with Goodreads, the social cataloging service it bought last year, allowing readers users to share book progress and completion status, quotes, and more Kindle to Goodreads. iPad Kindle app users now have access to Amazon’s Book Browser to view book descriptions and customer ratings; Kindle Unlimited customers (30-day free trial) can download books directly from the Book Browser. The new version also adds a feature called Audible Progressive Play, which allows audiobook listeners using the Amazon-owned Audible service to play content as it downloads.

The update also adds new ways for users to access information and details about Kindle books. Check the extensive change log of the latest version below for more information: expand full story

Amazon.com Stories November 26, 2014

holiday gift guide smart home products 2014

I wondered earlier this year whether Apple’s HomeKit system would bring home automation to the masses. The good news is that you don’t need to wait for HomeKit to start bringing smart home technology to your family and friends – and we’ve put together a gift guide covering some of the main products that might bring a smile to their faces during the holidays.

With the right gadgets, they will be able to control lighting, heating, cooking, sound systems … even have their kettle switch on when they walk up to their front door, which will automatically unlock as they approach. Best of all, you can get them in on the smart home action from just $30 …

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Amazon.com Stories August 13, 2014

Small businesses looking to take occasional card payments without paying monthly fees now have a third option as Amazon has launched Local Register to compete with Square and PayPal Here – as we predicted last month. The $10 card-reader is compatible with any iPhone from the iPhone 4 onward, as well as any iPad or iPad mini.

Amazon is undercutting both competitor services with a flat fee of 2.5 percent per transaction (vs 2.7 percent for PayPal Here and 2.75 percent for Square). Not enough? Amazon is sweetening the deal with a special introductory rate of 1.75 percent until the end of 2015, and will also credit the $10 cost of the cardreader in full against transaction fees …  expand full story

Amazon.com Stories June 17, 2014

Apple promoting Hachette pre-orders via iBooks as Amazon continues dispute with publisher

As you may already know, Amazon and Hachette Book Group have been disputing over profit-sharing which has resulted into changes in how Amazon handles book inventory, pre-order sales, and listings.

Re/code points out that Apple has a timely sale being promoted in the iBooks store, however, which is believed to be related to the Amazon dispute.

An Apple PR rep confirmed the promotion, but wouldn’t discuss the pricing or any other details. So we have to assume that either Hachette is lowering wholesale prices on its own titles to help Apple tweak Amazon, or Apple is lowering the retail price on its own, and losing margin in order to tweak Amazon.

The news comes just a day after Apple settled out of court for its prominent e-books trial that largely started due to competitive agreements the company established with book publishers to compete against Amazon.

Amazon.com Stories March 28, 2014

roku-3-with-headphones

CNET is reporting that Roku CEO Anthony Wood described Apple TV as an ‘iPad accessory’ at Re/code’s Code/Media conference. Until recently, even Apple characterised the product as a ‘hobby’. The Apple TV box has not changed much since its major revamp in 2010. More controversially, Wood followed up by claiming that the Apple TV actually loses money for Apple – which would immediately seem strange since Rokus have similar hardware and cost less.

“Apple TV is essentially an accessory for the iPad. They lose money, which is unusual for Apple,” he said Thursday, speaking at the Recode conference here. “If you’re losing money, why would you want to sell more?”

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Amazon.com Stories March 6, 2014

ebooks

Apple’s prospects of a successful appeal against the ruling in the ebooks trial may be improved by a brief filed by two economists from Caltech and NYU who suggest that the ruling was in error and call for it to be reversed.

Apple was found guilty of anti-competitive practices on two grounds. First, it asked publishers to switch from a wholesale pricing model – where publishers sold books in bulk and retailers set their own prices – to an agency model, where publishers set prices and retailers took a percentage cut. This, the court found, reduced price competition …  expand full story

Amazon.com Stories February 27, 2014

Photo: Business Insider

Photo: Business Insider

If you based your assessment of Apple’s future prospects on analyst reports and polls, you’d be upping your medication today while reading three separate sets of numbers.

Fortune reports that Apple tops the ‘most admired companies‘ list for the seventh time in a row, with Amazon and Google the runners-up. The charts are based on polling directors, executives and analysts in the USA’s largest companies.

The same source cites a Morgan Stanley investment note showing that the 30 largest institutional investors, who between them hold at least 30 percent of the shares on the market, have been selling AAPL, with their holdings at a record low …  expand full story

Amazon.com Stories February 21, 2014

Image: digitaltrends.com

Image: digitaltrends.com

Amazon’s TV box, which the company is believed to have been working on for around a year, is to be launched next month, according to unnamed content distribution sources cited by re/code – ahead of the new version of the Apple TV box expected to be unveiled in April.

People I’ve talked to who are partnering with Amazon believe the company is aiming for a March rollout […]

Sources tell me Amazon’s box will be powered by Google’s Android operating system, which is also not a surprise — Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets use a “forked” version of Android …  expand full story

Amazon.com Stories October 3, 2013

Amazon’s Apple TV-competitor on for the holidays, will allow for gaming & other apps

This morning  we reported that Amazon had trademarked FireTube, and the trademark could serve as a name for the company’s long-rumored TV product. Now, the WSJ follows up by claiming said device is on Amazon’s roadmap for the holiday season. Here are some of the details on the device:

  • Will compete with the Roku and Apple TV
  • Will stream Amazon Prime content
  • Will run third-party media apps and gaming content
  • Amazon is working on a dedicated remote for the device, but it could also be controlled via smartphone/tablet apps

Of course, the device could be shelved at the last minute, but given the uptake in reports about an Amazon TV device, today’s trademark discovery, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s want to expand his company’s hardware portfolio, it seems likely that the device truly is in the imminent Amazon product pipeline.

Amazon.com Stories August 18, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 9.39.08 AM

Cat’s out of the bag? It appears that Parallels is preparing an update to their award-winning virtualization software for Mac.  Amazon Germany has a pre-order page up with Parallels Desktop 9 artwork and an expected delivery date of September 5th. Having a quick look around, it appears you can also order it now in the US at MacMall/PCM for $74.99 shipped:

A variety of other retailers appear to be getting units in stock after a quick Google search of manufacturer part PDFM9L-BX1-EN-NT. The September 5th release date would seem to fit into Parallels’ schedule. Previous releases were:

  • Parallels 8 – Released on September 4, 2012
  • Parallels 7 – Released on September 6, 2011
  • Parallels 6 – Released on September 14, 2010
  • Parallels 5 – Released on November 4, 2009

Parallels allows Mac Users to run Virtual machines of Windows, other instances of Mac OS, Linux, Android and just about every other Intel-based OSes out there inside of Mac OS. Likely updates this time around would probably include OSX 10.9 Mavericks and Windows 8/.1 compatibility improvements.

Parallels has traditionally allowed users who’ve bought within 2 weeks of  release a free upgrade to the new version but no such policy has yet been announced for this version. (Update: Here’s Parallels Tech Guarantee saying if you buy after August 15th (now) you are covered for a free upgrade when V9 comes out.)  If you are interested in purchasing Parallels now (and it is a GREAT product), we recommend downloading a free 30-day trial of Parallels Desktop 8 which would conclude after the above early September update, guaranteeing you wouldn’t need to pay extra for an update to v9.

If Parallels 9 is indeed coming out soon, you can bet we’ll have a full review of the product and/or any iOS accessory products, should such products exist, as soon as they are available.

  • Parallels 8 – Released on September 4, 2012
  • Parallels 7 – Released on September 6, 2011
  • Parallels 6 – Released on September 14, 2010
  • Parallels 5 – Released on November 4, 2009

Thanks/Danke Tipsters! expand full story

Amazon.com Stories May 16, 2013

Amazon Instant Video strikes new deal for exclusives on popular NBC/Universal TV Shows

Today Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, announced that Amazon has struck a deal to add new shows from NBC/ Universal studios to Amazon Instant Video. The additions include Grimm Season 1, Suits Season 1, Covert Affairs Seasons 1-2 with Hannibal coming and Defiance coming at later dates. Amazon has a 4 year exclusivity over these shows, preventing them from airing on competing services such as Netflix and Hulu.

Amazon has been beefing up the content selection for this service recently with the addition of EPIX Studios, which brought “The Avengers,” “Iron Man 2,″ “The Hunger Games,” “Transformers Dark of the Moon,” “True Grit” and more to this streaming service.  In its entirety, Amazon offers free streaming for more than 40,000 movie and TV titles.

Amazon Instant Video is free for Prime members, a yearly membership that costs $79.  Prime members also receive free 2-day shipping and instant access to thousands of Kindle books.

Apple users can watch Amazon Prime on iOS devices or Macs (which can also Airplay to Apple TVs).

Amazon.com Stories February 21, 2013

Netflix, Traktor DJ, Flickr, Amazon Mobile, Showtime Anytime, deals, more

As always, we’ll be updating the list below with more apps and updates as they continue to hit the App Store today:

Traktor DJ: Native Instruments, the company behind the massively popular Traktor DJ software and other well-known audio production tools, today released an iPad app dubbed Traktor DJ. For those familiar with the Traktor 2 Mac app, the iPad app provides you with a scaled back UI that offers two decks, 8 built-in effects, and the ability to record and share mixes. While you won’t get onscreen platters with this app like many other DJ apps, NI allows users to pinch and swipe the waveform on the deck itself “for simple looping and ultra-tight scratching.” A full list of features below:

– Revolutionary DJ app by Native Instruments – makers of the leading pro DJ software – Touch the groove using familiar iPad gestures like swiping and pinching – Direct access to your iTunes music library from TRAKTOR DJ – Stylish waveform display allows for simple looping and ultra-tight scratching – Intelligent browser recommends songs based on compatible tempo and key – Automatic tempo and key detection plus BPM sync for super-smooth mixing – Innovative Notification Center gives you in-app access to essential tips and undiscovered techniques – 8 built-in pro DJ effects, including Reverb, Delay and dramatic glitch effects like BeatMasher – Familiar DJ mixer layout with crossfader plus line faders, 3-band EQ and filter on each channel – Prepare tracks on the road – all meta data (tempo, beatgrids, cue points etc.) in TRAKTOR DJ syncs with TRAKTOR PRO DJ software* – Record your mixes live in high-quality on the iPad and share with your friends

Flickr version 2.1.0.803: The Flickr iOS app was gets an update this morning that brings faster uploading, the ability to quickly save images from Photostream to camera roll, and much more:

– Faster uploading – Easily save photos from your Photostream to your camera roll – Automatically saves your original, pre-filter photos to your camera roll – Quickly tag your contacts in photo comments and description by simply typing @screename – Get notified when your contacts mention you – Higher resolution photo display in lightbox view so your photos look even more stunning – Take photos in a snap using your iPhone’s volume up button

Netflix version 3.0: Netflix received an update today to version 3.0 and with it came an enhanced playback experience including the ability to view the title from the iPad player UI, the return of the zoom icon for fullscreen playback, and “better placement of play/pause and Back-10 buttons so you can easily control your experience.”

We enhanced the player UI for a better playback experience. 1. See the Title in the iPad player UI – Touch the player UI screen to see the title of movie/TV show you are watching 2. Zoom icon is back – so you can now control when you watch full screen mode 3. Note better placement of play/pause and Back-10 buttons so you can easily control your experience

Amazon Mobile version 2.3.3: A nice update to the Amazon Mobile app today for Canadians brings the ability to shop from Amazon.ca in addition to performance enhancements:

Amazon announces massive game sale, up to 75% off many great Mac titles: Borderlands 2: $29, Black Ops: $18, Assassin’s Creed II: $5, many more

Amazon.com Stories February 19, 2013

Sunrise Calendar: Launched today by former Foursquare designers, the free Sunrise calendar app is getting a lot of attention for its simplistic approach to combining calendars, Facebook events and birthdays, and weather forecasts based on your current location. The app initially only supports Google Calendar, includes Timezone support (a feature missing from many popular calendar apps), and integration with LinkedIn to “see faces of people you are meeting.”

Features: ☆ 100% free calendar app with a gorgeous design. ☆ Compatible only with Google Calendar for now. ☆ A completely redesigned calendar experience for your iPhone. ☆ Synchronization that just works, in real-time. ☆ Quick Add Event just by typing “Lunch tomorrow at 9pm” (long-press on the +). ☆ Reminders. ☆ Timezone Support. No more headache when travelling! ☆ Facebook Events and Birthdays included. ☆ See faces of people you are meeting with using LinkedIn. ☆ Weather forecast based on your location. ☆ Smart icons. ☆ Tag location to events. ☆ Use Google Maps for Directions. ☆ Connect multiple Google Calendars.

IMDB-iOS-appIMDb version 3.1: IMDb announced a nice update to its IMDb Movies & TV iOS app that brings a number of new features including links to titles available on Amazon Prime for users that have the  Amazon Instant Video app installed on their iPhone or iPad. The update also includes a Special Oscars section with a “list of nominees and photos from the red carpet and ceremony and live winners,” a new Recommendations feature, and a few improvements:

– Award information for celebrities and titles (iPad/iPhone) – Titles available on Amazon Prime feature a link to watch if the Amazon Instant Video app is also installed (iPhone/iPad) – Special Oscars® section: list of nominees and photos from the red carpet and ceremony and live winners on iPhone and iPad during the ceremony – Recommendations: tap on the “i” in the corner of the poster to see why it’s recommended for you, rate the title if you’ve seen it, or indicate “not interested” (iPad) – Improved accessibility for TV episode navigation (iPad) – Updates to side navigation (iPad) – Bug fixes include episode picker in VoiceOver (iPad)

Finish version 1.0.2: Improvements and new features for productivity app Finish: 1. There’s now an option in settings to start the week on Monday. 2. Smoother gestures! 3. Some small interface improvements 4. Good ol’ VARIOUS BUG FIXES!

iA Writer version 1.8: Popular text editor iOS app iA Writer gets a big update today that includes a new iCloud engine and UI, overall new look and feel for the entire app, and a ton of features and improvements: expand full story

Amazon.com Stories January 16, 2013

Apple and Amazon ordered to enter settlement talks in ‘App Store’ trademark case

Following a court dismissal of Apple’s false advertising claims against Amazon earlier this month as part of the ongoing “App Store” trademark lawsuit, Bloomberg reported last night that a court has now ordered the two companies to hold settlement talks ahead of trial. A trial in the lawsuit is slated for August 2013, while U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte yesterday requested the two sides attempt to settle the case on March 21, 2013:

U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte in San Francisco directed the companies to confer on March 21 and to bring their lead attorneys and people who have full authority to negotiate and settle the case, according to a court filing today.  … Apple is seeking a court order to block Amazon from using the term Appstore in its service to sell software for devices running Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android operating system. Apple alleges the online retailer infringes its trademark and violates unfair competition laws.

Amazon.com Stories January 4, 2013

Amazon Instant Video apps add seasons of popular shows from A&E, HISTORY, and Lifetime

Following the launch of A+E Network’s dedicated iPad apps for A&E, History Channel, and Lifetime last month, Amazon announced in a press release today that it also licensed content for its Amazon Instant Video service. It sounds like Amazon is only getting access to old seasons of popular shows from the network, but any additional content will surely be welcomed by iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch users taking advantage of the service through the Amazon Instant Video iOS app.

Amazon.com, Inc. today announced a content licensing agreement with A+E Networks to add prior seasons of popular series from A&E, bio, HISTORY and Lifetime to the Prime Instant Video service…The deal with A+E Networks will bring Prime customers more TV episodes from some of their highest rated television programming including Pawn Stars, Storage Wars and Dance Moms, which are also available for purchase through Amazon Instant Video.

Amazon.com Stories December 13, 2012

You can now watch all of those free Amazon Prime videos on your iPhone or iPod touch. Amazon updated its Instant Video App today to support Apple’s smaller screens. The app also lets you watch any of your Amazon collection of paid videos, buy videos, and allows you to store for offline viewing as well. Great for the holidays! More info here.

Amazon Instant Video is now playing on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Videos you’ve purchased or rented with Amazon Instant Video will show up instantly on your Apple device once you download and sign into the app. Amazon Prime members can stream titles from the entire Prime Instant Video library.

Next stop for Amazon: Apple TV?

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Amazon.com Stories November 6, 2012

Toys: Audyssey desktop speakers $80

From 9to5Toys.com:

Woot! again has the amazing Audyssey Desktop speakers for $79.99 with $5 shipping on everything you order. I have these speakers (and happily paid $200 for them) and they are quite simply the best desktop speakers I’ve used.

We are in love with the standalone LES powered speakers (right).  Very simple I/Os and almost perfect desktop-level sound makes these incredibly good for the small room or workspace.  Sure, they won’t fill up a large-sized room, but you will find much larger/expensive setups for that.  $199 Amazon. Bonus: If you want Airplay functionality, throw in a $95 Apple TV and an Optical cable.

You don’t need a subwoofer and with an optical cable, I don’t think you’ll find better sound at double the price.

Bonus deals: Get a new Toshiba Wifi-ready BluRay player with Netflix for $30, or a Toshiba 24″ 1080P slim HDTV for $150

Many more at 9to5Toys.com

Update: An Amazon spokesperson says this is just a test (but you still can order this per month)“We are always looking at ways to improve the shopping experience for our customers. We are testing a monthly Prime subscription. Beyond that, we don’t have anything further to offer.”

It appears Amazon is joining Hulu and Netflix with a monthly subscription plan for its Prime video streaming service, according to a new pricing scheme found by Hacking Netflix. Some users are seeing the new pricing scheme come up, while others see only the $79/year options (compare right and above).

Amazon also offers a one-month free trial (Hulu free trial, Netflix free trial).

In addition to the free streaming video service, users of Amazon’s Prime get access to free two-day shipping on product orders (amazing to have for the holidays—especially on a month-to-month basis), as well as access to the Kindle lending library.

While Amazon’s streaming player isn’t yet available on Apple TV like Netflix/Hulu, its recent iPad app has impressed us. The $7.99/month price comes out to $95.88 per year. So, if you aren’t timid about joining Prime, it is probably better to jump on the $79/year plan.

9to5Toys.com deals: Get a new Toshiba Wifi-ready BluRay player with Netflix for $30, or a Toshiba 24″ 1080P slim HDTV for $150

With more and more first rate content, according to a recent Changwave/451 Group study, Amazon’s Prime streaming service is said to be gaining on industry heavyweight Netflix (graphed below): expand full story

Amazon.com Stories October 13, 2012

Apple iPods start appearing at US retailers, Touches in short supply

(Click to enlarge)

Apple is now supplying iPod touches to retailers including Amazon which now has some supply of the iPod touch. Strangely, Amazon only lists the yellow 64GB as ready immediately, while the 32GB yellow and pinks will ship in “2-4 weeks”.

Apple is being a little less stingy with its supply of Shuffles and Nanos as Amazon lists the whole line as available.

Best Buy is a hit-and-miss: it has most Shuffles and Nanos, but it is still missing black and white iPod touches.

Target is also a hit-and-miss with many only available in-store. B&H has some stock, but it will not see much until November. Walmart still says ‘coming soon‘.

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