Apple device users can expect to experience issues downloading apps and books for the time being, as some of Apple’s major platforms are currently out of commission.
As of 1:30 p.m. ET, the App Store, iTunes Store, iBooks Store and Mac App Store are offline for all users. The outages began just before 5 a.m. ET, and previously impacted iCloud Mail and iCloud account and sign in capabilities as well. The latter two services were restored before 9AM Eastern.
Apple said in a statement to CNBC:
We apologize to our customers experiencing problems with iTunes and other services this morning. The cause was an internal DNS error at Apple. We’re working to make all of the services available to customers as soon as possible, and we thank everyone for their patience.
Understandably, some Apple users aren’t taking the outage so well.
Apple’s iOS App Store always seems to outshine its computer-based counterpart, but it seems the company’s Mac App Store has just hit a big milestone of its own. With the help of some timely database queries, French blog MacGeneration reported earlier today that Apple’s Mac App Store now plays host to over 10,000 applications.
A quick check with iOS and Mac app directory AppShopper homes in a bit more — at time of writing, they count 10,334 listed apps in the Mac App Store. The Mac App Store, for those of you who don’t make it a point to remember minutia like this, launched back in January 2011 with just over 1,000 apps available for download.
That breaks down to roughly 9,000 apps added during the last 15 months. For bit of comparison, a press release issued just a few weeks after the Mac App Store’s launch pointed to “over 350,000 available apps” to iOS users, a number that has since ballooned to over 550,000 in recent months.
Alright, so it’s not really a fair comparison — save for the legions of devoted jailbreakers out there, the iOS App Store is the only place for iPhone, iPod, and iPad users to get their fix of third-party software. That limitation doesn’t exist for Mac users, and while Apple makes their suite of first-party apps like iWork and iLife available through the Mac App Store, Mac jockeys have plenty of developer and product sites to score their software from. Speaking personally, I can’t remember the last time I fired up the Mac App Store, though I do recall downloading this excellent Google Voice app.
Maybe that’s why there hasn’t been so much as a peep from Cupertino on crossing the 10,000 Mac app threshold: it doesn’t have the same wow factor as other Apple announcements. After all, Apple is no stranger to crowing about app-related achievements — they announced late last year that the Mac App Store had hit 100 million downloads (which didn’t even include downloads of their OS X Lion update).
Article courtesy of TechCrunch
Back in October of last year, we wrote about Sparrow, a beautiful new mail client for the Mac. But whereas most mail clients are now web-based, Sparrow decided it was time to focus on making a great native email experience once again. And today that gamble appears to be paying off. Sparrow 1.0 has just launched in the Mac App Store and it has immediately shot to the number one paid app in many countries around the world, including the U.S.
And that feat says a lot for Sparrow, considering the app is $9.99. But it’s absolutely worth it. As we wrote in our initial review, Sparrow is a Gmail-centric client that brings a Tweetie for Mac (now Twitter for Mac) look and feel to email. At the time, it was still in beta, and we noted that there were some performance issues. But most of those have now been smoothed out and a whole range of new features have been added, including full support for Gmail labels.
And you might also notice that they’ve dropped the “for Gmail” line from their logo. That’s because while the product remains Gmail-only for now, version 1.1 (due soon) will offer IMAP support for the other major mail services as well. So it will be able to be a full-featured mail client.
And there’s more good news for Sparrow today — they’ve raised funding. The service has raised a seed round of funding from Kima Ventures, the French venture capital firm that has backed Paper.li, Rapportive, and others. Sparrow co-founder
Editor’s note: The following guest post is written by Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote, which is currently the No. 5 app in the Mac App Store. It also didn’t hurt that the app has been prominently featured by Apple.
We just finished our first week on the Mac App Store and it might have been the most important week in Evernote’s history. Here’s how it went and what we learned:
1. Meritocracy is sweet
I remember one of the first computer articles that I ever read (maybe it was in Byte Magazine in the early 80s while I was in junior high). It had a little survey aimed at my fellow nerds. “Do you buy software for your computer?”, was the first question. The choices were, “A) Yes, frequently. B) Yes, sometimes. and C) Rarely, I prefer to write my own.” The fact that C was a viable choice pretty much sums up the early euphoria of the consumer software industry. You just had to make something great and the rest would follow. That was a long time ago.
The following twenty or thirty years brought us monopolies and barriers to entry and this happy state of affairs became a dim memory. Then came the mobile app explosion.
Over the past year, about 70% of Evernote’s new users came from mobile app stores, mostly iOS and Android. This led us to the understandable conclusion that mobile was the crucial thing that made a platform attractive to independent developers. Last week made us realize that the reality is a little bit more nuanced. It isn’t mobile that’s overwhelmingly important, it’s the app store. Until a week ago, all the good app stores just happened to be on mobile devices, but someone with a shiny new Macbook is just as eager to get the best apps as someone with a shiny new iPhone.
A platform without a well-formed app store presents a huge challenge to developers. To succeed on such a platform, the developer has to spend as much time and money on channels, logistics, partnerships and advertising as on actually making a great product. Once an app store takes hold, the software market on a platform starts moving towards a meritocracy. This is imperfect, of course, but focusing on building a great product is the best strategy for succeeding on an app store. This is a huge boon for software nerds of all types, and has resulted in the explosion of mobile apps and services in the past two years. It’s about time that desktops joined the party.
2. Desktop software is viable again
It took a few weeks of non-trivial effort to get our existing Mac application ready for the app store. There’s never a convenient time to take a few weeks out of a busy development schedule, and December is as inconvenient as it gets, but Apple’s developer relations folks were helpful and the approval process itself worked reasonably well once we’d worked out the kinks.
The results speak for themselves. About 320,000 people downloaded Evernote in the first week of the Mac App Store. Of this number, about 120,000 had never used Evernote before, and created new accounts. This represents more than 50% of all the new Evernote accounts created last week. The Mac platform—which used to be in fourth place for new user registrations behind iOS, Android and Windows—has now jumped to first.
It’s obvious in hindsight, but the presence of a well-formed app store is the single most important factor for the viability of a platform for third party developers. If you want to take this a step further and say that a robust third-party software market is the most important factor for the success of the platform overall, well…
I hope Windows gets a good app store soon.
3. Multi-platform users are the best kind
Not only is the Mac App Store getting us new users, it’s making our existing users more valuable. Neat, but how?
So 320,000 people downloaded Evernote in the first week and 120,000 of them became new users. What happened to the rest? Well, about 80,000 people were either switching their Mac client from our direct-download version to the app store version or had simply downloaded the app and didn’t complete registration. Another 100,000 people were existing users who had previously used Evernote from other platforms (mostly the iPhone) and added the Mac version for the first time.
This is both interesting and important. Interesting because the vast majority of these people must have (1) already had Macs, and (2) known about our Mac version from previous interactions with Evernote but hadn’t bothered to install it until the Mac App Store appeared. Important because people who use Evernote from multiple devices are much more likely to stick around and to eventually pay for the premium version. This makes intuitive sense and the data is clear: in a Freemium model, people choose to pay for what they love and the more devices they use Evernote from, the more likely they are to fall in love with it.
The Mac App Store effect works the other way as well: many of the new users who first found us on the Mac App Store went on to also download Evernote on their mobile devices. Our iTunes downloads for iOS devices were up by 54% during the same week that the Mac App Store came out and that’s without any new versions or noticeable change in iOS app visibility.
4. A strike against lowest common denominator
If Evernote’s desktop clients were written in Adobe AIR, I’d be worried right now. The immediate popularity of the Mac App Store, and the iPhone App Store before it, reinforces my belief that in a world of infinite software choice, people gravitate towards the products with the best overall user experience. It’s very hard for something developed in a cross-platform, lowest-common-denominator technology to provide as nice an experience as a similar native app.
As the CEO of a software company, I wish this weren’t true. I’d love to build one version of our App that could work everywhere. Instead, we develop separate native versions for Windows, Mac, Desktop Web, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, HP WebOS and (coming soon) Windows Phone 7. We do it because the results are better and, frankly, that’s all-important. We could probably save 70% of our development budget by switching to a single, cross-platform client, but we would probably lose 80% of our users. And we’d be shut out of most app stores and go back to worrying about distribution.
Does this mean that web apps are doomed? Not at all, but the most successful web apps will be the ones that emphasize unique benefits—sharing, communications, integrations—that are better implemented on the web than in native code. This is the main design goal for the next version of the Evernote web client, by the way.
Lost among all the gloomy economic news of the past few years is the fact that there’s never been a better time to be in software. Sure, the emergence and inevitable dominance of app stores will permanently disrupt existing industry practices—I’m glad we’re not in the business of preventing people from making copies of bits, shipping shrink-wrapped boxes or charging people for periodic upgrades—but a company like Evernote simply could not have attained a fraction of our current momentum even three years ago. App stores, cloud services, cross-platform users and Freemium economics made it all possible. The download numbers are certain to decline a bit as the excitement of the first week finds a sustainable steady-state, but the launch of the Mac App Store will have a major, and permanent, positive impact on developers.
It was worth the wait.
Article courtesy of TechCrunch
It has now been a week since the launch of the Mac App Store. So far, the reviews have seemed fairly mixed. While nearly everyone praises the simplicity of the store, and Apple touted 1 million app downloads in the first 24 hours, most also seem to agree that there’s still a lack of killer content. And exactly that’s what it’s going to take for the store to be successful longterm: killer content. And one new app may be a good gauge for such content: Call of Duty.
Specifically, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has just hit the Mac App Store. Apple wasted little time in featuring it in a main store banner today. To be clear, the game is not new: it was first released in 2007 and then for the Mac in 2008, but the series is hugely popular amongst gamers. And this version of the game alone has sold over 13 million copies.
So how it does in the Mac App Store should be telling. And Apple undoubtedly hopes it will be a big hit. There’s no question that gaming is going to have to be one of the huge categories if the store is to succeed. And they’ll need to convince publishers to put other popular games like Call of Duty in the store.
And if it’s a big enough hit, it may even entice developers to add the Mac platform to their list of must-develop-for systems. Traditionally, Mac gaming has lagged behind both PC and console gaming. But just as we saw with the iPhone App Store, publisher focus can quickly shift if they smell… money.
Speaking of that, Call of Duty 4 sells for $49.99 in the store. That’s pretty typical for games of this nature, but again, this game is old. On Amazon, it’s selling for only $32. So will users pay for the convenient download and simple install on multiple machines? We’ll see.
The game is also massive in size, at over 6 gigabytes, so it’s going to take a while to download even on a fast connection.
And don’t forget that if these more expensive games do take off, Apple’s 30 percent cut could actually mean some significant money.
Article courtesy of TechCrunch
For (a lot) more coverage, check out this Techmeme thread.
Article courtesy of TechCrunch
Back in August, I first got to try out the Twitter Streaming API via the User Streams feature which was being beta tested on a new version on popular third-party client TweetDeck. “Twitter User Streams Is Crack For Realtime Web Junkies,” was the title I went with. For this post, I sort of wanted to use the title “If User Streams Is Crack, Twitter For Mac Is A Crack Pipe.” Then I thought better of it. Actually, I didn’t. I’m simply mentioning it now instead of in the title because I thought the title I used was a bit more in line with what I actually wanted to say.
But the truth is that the newly launched Twitter for Mac is one of the most addicting, and more importantly, engaging, products I can recall seeing. Just watching it update in realtime is fascinating enough. But when you actually start to have a conversation with people and can see them responding to you in realtime, it becomes more like an IM service instead of the way we’ve typically viewed Twitter: with static one-off messages and maybe a reply here or there. And I’m wondering if now that Twitter has added the realtime User Streams to an official product, if it won’t fundamentally alter Twitter itself?
Shortly after it launched this morning, Erick gave Twitter for Mac a resounding “meh“. But Erick’s a TweetDeck guy. As much as I liked the idea of TweetDeck with User Streams turned on, I couldn’t get into it. There’s simply too much going on with a UI that sort of looks like a nightmare to me (complete with the black background). And while you can customize it, it’s designed in a way that’s all about cramming as much information in front of your face as possible. It’s just not my cup of tea. But Twitter for Mac is beautiful. It’s simple, speedy, and highly usable.
And during my first day of usage today, I’ve noticed my tweeting
The Mac App Store is going to be huge. Sure, you look at it now and see that it’s largely populated with a lot of apps you don’t want and will never want. But there are already quite a few gems (namely some key games) on day one. And the smooth execution of how it works makes it very clear that this is the future of software distribution for the Mac platform. And some of those apps themselves also speak to the future of the platform.
It’s no accident that Apple baked the Mac App Store directly into OS X rather than making it a stand-alone app. Apple clearly means for every Mac user to eventually have it. In a way, you could almost think of it as really the first feature of OS X Lion, we’re just getting it a few months early. And why not? If Apple realized they could make it work with OS X Snow Leopard, why force all users to upgrade to get access to it?
Apple will continue to sell software from their Apple stores, but the selection will dwindle over time. It will start with the Apple-made apps — the key pieces are in the Mac App Store on day one. The other big Mac app publishers will eventually get on board because they won’t be able to turn down this new built-in distribution channel.
But there’s something deeper going on here. Look at the two most popular apps right now: Twitter for Mac (free) and Angry Birds (paid). Twitter looks more like an iPad app than a Mac app. Gone is the dated “Aqua” user interface that most Mac apps still carry. It has been replaced by a sleek, black and gray UI. It’s something that seems to look a bit like what people originally thought a new “Marble” interface could look like.
Gone are the light blue scroll bars. Instead, Twitter has a light gray scroll bar that seems to blend into the side of the app. It looks a bit like the latest version of iPhoto and QuickTime. And that’s probably not an accident. This should be closer to what more OS X apps start looking like starting with Lion. At least I hope that’s the case — it looks great.
Angry Birds points to something a bit different. You open the app and you have no choice but to go full screen. This is another feature touted in OS X Lion, full-screen apps. And it’s something Apple has learned from apps on the iPad, and is borrowing. Windows are being shut — or rather, fully opened.
This full screen experience allows you to navigate the app more easily with touch. Yes, you can use your mouse to play the game, but it’s a much better and more seamless experience if you have a Magic Trackpad (or a MacBook trackpad). It’s just like a bigger version of the iPhone/iPad game.
You swipe your finger to pull back the bird and let go to fire. To bring up the menu, you swipe three fingers down. To zoom in or out, you pinch. To move the view to the right or left, you use two fingers. We’re seeing the shift to touch on the desktop happening before our eyes with apps like this. It’s no longer going to be point-and-click but flick-and-swipe.
And Angry Birds isn’t alone there. Other apps that were iOS-first, like Flight Control, also utilize the Magic Trackpad if you have one for a touch experience. Or if you have a MacBook, you’re set to go with the trackpad on those.
These are the new breed of apps that I suspected we might see in the Mac App Store. They’re apps that were iOS first, but now are moving to the Mac. They’re sort of micro-apps that are built around a touch experience and ported to the Mac with the help of the trackpad and a virtual cursor. Games are the first to come, but there will be others. And there will be many new hybrids.
Using the Mac App Store for the past few hours, my overall thought is: how did Apple not do this sooner? You click to download an app and it’s done. No tricky installation needed. And you hop on to a different machine and can re-download any app you’ve already bought. Updates are all centralized. And I’ve probably spent more today on apps than I have in the past year total.
Now just imagine when the apps get really good. And when some of these hybrid ones I’m talking about start hitting the store. Yeah, the Mac App Store is going to be huge.
Article courtesy of TechCrunch
About an hour ago, we wrote up the hot rumor that Tweetie 2 for Mac would be launching alongside the Mac App Store tomorrow morning. The source of that information was a site called Razorianfly which posted an image they received of the product, which is being renamed “Twitter for Mac”. We can now confirm that the screenshot is very real, we’ve heard from a reliable source.
Further, we noted that Twitter was being unusually quiet about the image/news — they won’t respond to any inquiries about it! Well, there’s a good reason for that too. We’ve heard that the shot was actually leaked by someone within Apple and there’s currently a hunt underway to figure out who it was. That means Apple likely has both companies on lockdown. They are not happy.
So when the Mac App Store launches tomorrow morning at 9 AM PT, expect to see Twitter for Mac there for download complete with native retweet support, realtime updating, and drag and drop tweets.
And while we haven’t heard anything specifically about the pricing, I think it’s a safe bet that it will be a free download. Previously, Tweetie for Mac was free with ads or $19.95 to get it ad-free, but that changed when Twitter bought it. They also made Twitter for iPhone (formerly Tweetie) free.
Article courtesy of TechCrunch