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.
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Cirrus creates Lightning-headphone dev kit
Apple supplier Cirrus Logic has introduced a MFi-compliant new development kit for companies interested in using Cirrus' chips to create Lightning-based headphones, which -- regardless of whether rumors about Apple dropping the analog headphone jack in its iPhone this fall -- can offer advantages to music-loving iOS device users. The kit mentions some of the advantages of an all-digital headset or headphone connector, including higher-bitrate support, a more customizable experience, and support for power and data transfer into headphone hardware. Several companies already make Lightning headphones, and Apple has supported the concept since June 2014. http://bit.ly/29giiZj
Apple Store app offers Procreate Pocket
The Apple Store app for iPhone, which periodically rewards users with free app gifts, is now offering the iPhone "Pocket" version of drawing app Procreate for those who have the free Apple Store app until July 28. Users who have redeemed the offer by navigating to the "Stores" tab of the app and swiping past the "iPhone Upgrade Program" banner to the "Procreate" banner have noted that only the limited Pocket (iPhone) version of the app is available free, even if the Apple Store app is installed and the offer redeemed on an iPad. The Pocket version currently sells for $3 on the iOS App Store. [32.4MB]
Porsche adds CarPlay to 2017 Panamera
Porsche has added a fifth model of vehicle to its CarPlay-supported lineup, announcing that the 2017 Panamera -- which will arrive in the US in January -- will include Apple's infotainment technology, and be seen on a giant 12.3-inch touchscreen as part of an all-new Porsche Communication Management system. The luxury sedan starts at $99,900 for the 4S model, and scales up to the Panamera Turbo, which sells for $146,900. Other vehicles that currently support CarPlay include the 2016 911 and the 2017 models of Macan, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman. The company did not mention support for Google's corresponding Android Auto in its announcement. http://bit.ly/295ZQ94
Apple employees testing wheelchair features
New features included in the forthcoming watchOS 3 are being tested by Apple retail store employees, including a new activity-tracking feature that has been designed with wheelchair users in mind. The move is slightly unusual in that, while retail employees have previously been used to test pre-release versions of OS X and iOS, this marks the first time they've been included in the otherwise developer-only watchOS betas. The company is said to have gone to great lengths to modify the activity tracker for wheelchair users, including changing the "time to stand" notification to "time to roll" and including two wheelchair-centric workout apps. http://bit.ly/2955JDa
SanDisk reveals two 256GB microSDXC cards
SanDisk has introduced two 256GB microSDXC cards. Arriving in August for $150, the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card offers transfer speeds of up to 95MB/s for reading data. The Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card can read at a fast 100MB/s and write at up to 90MB/s, and will be shipping sometime in the fourth quarter for $200. http://bit.ly/294Q1If
Apple's third-quarter results due July 26
Apple has advised it will be issuing its third-quarter results on July 26, with a conference call to answer investor and analyst queries about the earnings set to take place later that day. The stream of the call will go live at 2pm PT (5pm ET) via Apple's investor site, with the results themselves expected to be released roughly 30 minutes before the call commences. Apple's guidance for the quarter put revenue at between $41 billion and $43 billion. http://apple.co/1oi1Pbm
Twitter stickers slowly roll out to users
Twitter has introduced "stickers," allowing users to add extra graphical elements to their photos before uploading them to the micro-blogging service. A library of hundreds of accessories, props, and emoji will be available to use as stickers, which can be resized, rotated, and placed anywhere on the photograph. Images with stickers will also become searchable with viewers able to select a sticker to see how others use the same graphic in their own posts. Twitter advises stickers will be rolling out to users over the next few weeks, and will work on both the mobile apps and through the browser. http://bit.ly/29bbwUE