Applesauce: All Things Apple
May 19, 2013

Applesauce: All Things Apple – May 19, 2013

The week belonged to Google.

The search giant slash maker of creepy toys and bender of privacy policies put on their annual I/O developers conference at Moscone West in San Francisco this week where they announced a new streaming radio service, Google Maps for iPad, and several other upgrades to their existing products. Apple, on the other hand, reached a milestone 50 billion downloads in their app store and prepared to do battle in court.

That’s the way these things go, though. Google is a large enough competitor of Apple and others (though Larry Page doesn’t think they compete against anyone…) that they need their own week to unload everything they’ve been working on and get their fair share of attention from the press. Apple on the other hand is preparing for their own impending time in the sun during next month’s WWDC in the exact same location. For all the attention on Google I/O (unofficially known as the Google Glass homecoming), there was still some chatter about Apple. Let’s take a peak before we get all kinds of snarky on the male early adopters taking pictures of themselves using the bathroom with their Glass headsets.

Don’t worry about getting up for your Applesauce; Google already knows what you’re going to choose and has found a third party to sell it to you.

50 Billion

The countdown towards 50 billion app downloads began last week, but the feat wasn’t accomplished till Wednesday when an Ohio man casually downloaded a free app to his iPhone and won a $10,000 gift card to the App Store.

Talk about something for nothing.

Apple has chosen to celebrate these milestones in their App Store and iTunes store history before in much the same way; they’ll start a countdown on their homepage (which may or may not be accurate) and offer up enormous prizes to the person to download the big number. It’s a kind of fun way to celebrate their success. The first question the press has when one of these milestones is reached is “what app” or “what song” pushed Apple across the mark?

This time around, an Ohioan downloaded a game which rock band Ok Go had something to do with.

Not surprisingly, two app developers decided to jump in on the fun and offer their own cash prizes if the 50 billionth app downloader chose their app over the others.

Apparently, in app development land, free advertising is worth anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000, which is something for all journalists to consider when casually mentioning the name of their favorite iPhone accessories makers, Element Case.

(Yes, I’m just kidding)

Social networking app Addappt said they’d give away another $10,000 gift card if the winning person downloaded their app, while messaging app Hike offered a higher, more ambiguous award of “$100,000 worth of Apple products and accessories.”

Of course, these apps aren’t just looking for the free advertising from tech sites like redOrbit and others. The hope (one can assume) was that iOS lovers would see the originally offered $10,000 gift card as a lottery of sorts and wait until the perfect moment to begin a rush of frenetic downloading. If enough people did this, they could see a rush of new users and, while the app is free, growing the user base is never a bad thing.

Once again, many writers had Google on the brain this week, so there was at least one comparison to Apple’s App Store numbers and Google’s Play numbers. Had Apple not reached 50 billion this week, Google could have been hot on their heels. According to VentureBeat, Google is sitting at over 48 billion downloads right now, 2.5 billion of which were downloaded last month alone.

Turn On the Radio

Google clearly isn’t content with the money their receive from selling your information to advertisers, so now they’ll be taking your money directly as they gather even more intimate information about you.

Although, to be fair, they’re already getting some of the most intimate information from their users; Google searches.

Just as the rumors had foretold, Google announced a music service during this week’s I/O conference. Unfortunately for Apple, the headlines basically wrote themselves, the gist of most were “Google Beats Apple.”

And it’s true. Apple wanted to have their Pandora-like streaming radio service ready to go and in people’s iPads and iPhones at the Grammy awards. Their next suggested deadline was this year’s WWDC conference in early June, but new reports claim they’ll also miss this goal. Google, on the other hand, chose Spotify as the streaming service to model. You’ll need to take a long breath before saying the name of this new service: “Google Play Music All Access.” Kind of rolls off your tongue like a handful of rocks, doesn’t it?

For $9.99, Google Play Music All Access customers will essentially be able to do all they can with Spotify; download tracks, stream tracks, create stations and get recommendations, all on their Android device or PC. Like Spotify, it costs about $10 a month and, like Spotify, they offer a 30-day free trial. The biggest benefit to Google Play Music All Access, so far as I can tell, is the marriage of the local and streaming libraries. On a mobile device, Spotify cannot play what tracks you have stored locally. It’s a different story on PC, however. The Spotify app for Mac can scan your library and play any playlists or artists not available on the Spotify network through the app, turning it into a wide open iTunes alternative. Google Play Music All Access is built on top of Google’s Play store, so it already knows what you have. In other words, it’s Spotify’s wide open PC version on an Android device, which is pretty cool. This is the sort of thing Apple is rumored to be building with their iRadio app.

Hell of it is, Apple has apparently gotten tied up once again with Sony. It was reported in March that Sony was the last hold out in the “iRadio” negotiations.

Now, Sony and Apple are said to be battling over how much the iPhone maker should pay if a user skips a song. You probably already know how this works. Pandora users are only allowed so many skips per hour due to their agreements with the labels. These contracts also restrict users from rewinding songs or choosing which songs they want to listen to. CNET claims this is the current struggle between Apple and Sony. Apple had previously tried to strong-arm the labels into paying much less than Pandora for streaming rights, but later yielded a tad on these demands. Cook and Crew originally wanted this thing released a few months back, but now it looks like we won’t be able to use this service until after WWDC.

It’s always worth remembering, of course, that all of this information comes from unnamed sources. They may be reliable, but ultimately, we have no idea where Apple is in these negotiations, nor do we know if Apple even has the infrastructure finished for their streaming radio.

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