Tag - Audiobooks
The German Federal Cartel Office, which handles antitrust investigations, is looking into the agreement between Amazon and Apple by which the latter purchases audiobooks from Amazon-owned Audible for sale in iTunes. While there is no suggestion yet that either company is doing anything wrong, the office appears to be concerned that the arrangement has resulted in such a strong market position as to potentially be anti-competitive, and thus in need of a closer look.
Nearly a year after former Apple PR chief Katie Cotton retired from the post, Apple has finally named her successor: her lieutenant and interim chief, Steve Dowling. For the past 12 years, Dowling has been one of the lead spokespeople for the company, and was in charge of the iPhone maker's corporate PR team. Having filled in for Cotton since October, he will formally take the reins of the company's worldwide communications strategy. Prior to joining Apple, Dowling was a CNBC broadcaster covering tech news. The company also recently hired well-known MacWorld columnist Chris Breen for an unnamed promotional role.
Audiobooks.com announced the release of its updated iOS and Android streaming apps today. Like Netflix and Pandora, Audiobooks.com's app can be used to stream content on demand, choosing from thousands of audio book titles. The latest version features a new user interface, home screen widget and audio player tray. The app can be downloaded from Google Play and iTunes, and requires a $15 per month subscription.
Just a day after Chevrolet debuted a commercial promoting its Siri "Eyes-Free" integration, BMW on Tuesday added support for integration of four iOS apps in new BMW models. Audio books app Audible, Internet radio tuner TuneIn, subscription music service Rhapsody and location-sharing crowdsource app Glympse now work with selected BMW entertainment systems, bringing audiobooks, subscription and Internet radio stations and other functions to the automobiles. BMW first began iOS integration in model year 2011.
Audible, the audiobook service and website now owned by Amazon, has re-launched its iOS app with new support for iPad and a refreshed user interface that redesigns the use of space on the iPhone and iPad. The new 2.0 version (free) adds the ability to download up to three hours' worth of audiobooks over a 3G/LTE connection, and it is now easier to hide or show completed books. The app offers Audible's 100,000-plus catalog of books, and now features the ability to switch between reading a book on the Kindle app and changing to the audio version using WhisperSync for Voice.
Alongside Amazon's Kindle Fire HD and Paperwhite hardware announcements, the company announced plans to expand its Whispersync and X-ray features. The company's synchronization service, which has been available for text e-books, has been revamped with additional support for audiobooks and Android games.
The revamped Android Market, now known as Google Play may soon be inline to add audiobooks to its lineup of entertainment content. The advent of Google Play has seen Google consolidate its various movie, music, apps and e-books into one more easily navigable portal. The iTunes-like approach to unified content delivery looks set to expand to include audiobooks, if a discovery by the unofficial blog Google Operating System proves true.
Audiobooks.com is hoping to shake up the e-book field by trying a business model similar to Netflix or Spotify just for its namesake audiobooks. A $25 flat rate gives access to the full catalog of 11,000 audiobooks, many of which are from major publishers. Like with other such services, continued access depends on a sustained plan, but it's potentially more economic for those who read two or more books every month.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.49 ( -1.34 )
Marseilles Apple Store to open May 14
Apple has officially announced its newest retail store in France, which is to open in the southern port city of Marseilles in the Les Terrasses du Port shopping center on May 14 at 10AM local time. It will be the 19th full retail store Apple has opened in the country, or 20th if one includes the Apple Watch-only boutique at Galeries Lafayette in Paris. Apple is said to be planning a new showcase Paris store to be located on the Champs-Élysées. http://apple.co/1pP77vO
Maps adds Flyover, Suggestions locations
Apple has updated Maps to include Spotlight Suggestions for Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, allowing users to search both internally and across the web on both Mac and iOS devices for data in Spotlight. In addition, the company has added Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and Akron, Ohio to the 3D Flyover feature, offering computer-enhanced aerial views of the two areas -- and has activated real-time traffic information for Thailand, which will augment services like reminders to incorporate estimated travel times for appointments, as an example. The company recently added Nearby searches to five countries, and rolled out transit directions for Montreal in Canada and Portland, Oregon. http://apple.co/1Lh1Zel
Verizon gives last offer, issues workers ultimatum
Verizon has offered striking workers its "last, best and final offer" following 10 months of protracted negotiations with union leaders. The latest offer comes on the back of 36,000 Verizon employees taking strike action two weeks ago. The proposal includes a 7.5 percent wage rise, better benefits and voluntary retirement incentive offers. The striking workers, mainly on from its fixed line operations, have claimed that Verizon has outsourced 5,000 jobs to workers overseas and that it has been deliberately hiring low-wage, non-union contractors. Verizon recently posted revenue of $32.2 billion for the March quarter. http://cnnmon.ie/26AmwSv
CarPlay comes to Porsche 718 Cayman
Porsche has revealed that its new 718 Cayman series will be the latest vehicles in its range equipped with support for Apple CarPlay. The new Porsche models joins the recently announced 718 Boxster, the 2017 Macans and the 2016 model of the 911 in offering support for Apple's iOS in the car interface. Both are fitted standard with an eight speaker sound system and the Porsche Communications Management (PCM) system. The entry-level Cayman starts at $53,9000, while the faster S variant starts from $66,300. Although already on sale, the won't reach US dealers until late November. http://prn.to/1Tj1EW7
Macphun offers free Photos filters
Image editing software maker Macphun are offering a free set of up to 30 photo filter effects to extend the range of filter options available to users of Apple's Photos app for OS X, which replaced the previous iPhoto program. The first 15 filters are available after installing the software, and includes filters such as "Ancient Canvas" and "Twilight," while users who sign up for the Macphun newsletter will unlock the other 15 effects. The extension integrates directly into Photos, and include sliders for finer control of the effects and a masking brush. http://bit.ly/1VEgQD6
Snapchat sued over speed filter photo overlay
Accident victims in Spalding County, GA are suing Snapchat, as well as the driver responsible for the accident. The suit alleges that the app's "speed filter," which can post the speed that which a picture was taken, encouraged driver Christal McGee to attempt to reach 100 miles per hour in her car, leading to the accident that caused both Wentworth and Karen Maynard serious injuries. The suit alleges Wentworth Maynard suffered brain damage in the incident. McGee posted a photo of herself in a cervical collar on the way to the hospital, saying that she was "lucky to be alive." Snapchat has not commented on the lawsuit. http://abcn.ws/24nhR49
Pandora bleeding slows, posts $28.9M Q1 loss
Streaming music service Pandora today announced financial results for the first quarter of 2016, posting a loss of $28.9 million, an improvement from the $48.3 million loss it showed in the year-ago-quarter. Total consolidated revenue was $297.3 million, growing 29 percent year-over-year. Total listener hours grew 4 percent to 5.52 billion for the first quarter of 2016, compared to 5.30 billion for the same period of the prior year. Active listeners were 79.4 million at the end of the first quarter of 2016, up compared to 79.2 million for the same period of the prior year. http://pdora.co/1WtxdkW