Investigation centers around agreement for Apple to carry Audible titles
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.
Veteran Apple PR spokesman named as replacement for retired Katie Cotton
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.
Audiobook streaming service updated for iOS and Android
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.
Audible, lympse, Rhapsody and TuneIn now supported
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 adds iPad support, overhauls interface
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.
X-ray feature available for movies
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.
Google looks to add audiobooks, other content
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 takes Netflix, Spotify cues
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.