Tag - Services
Welcome to the inaugural article for a little series we're calling "Should You Subscribe," where the MacNN staff talks about our experiences with services that charge you some sort of regular fee for using them. Who is Amber taking aim at for the first article? Her newest, yet most-used subscription service: Pandora One.
Apple's second fiscal quarter results, now due to be reported on April 26, are likely to contain a lot of bad news -- though the company will still be reporting growth rates and profits any other company would be envious of. The problem is not that Apple is in any kind of trouble -- sales dropoffs are common following blockbuster holiday quarters -- it is that the rate of the dropoff will be bigger than last year, and may be more severe than even Apple has predicted, according to some analysts. However, other areas of possible growth -- such as Apple's "services" sector -- could help bolster the overall financials, even if they can't replace the drop in iPhone sales.
Okay, we asked for this one, really. Earlier this month we ran a Pointers about exploiting OS X Services and in it we mentioned how you could create your own such utility. Actually, what we said was that we'd once done this in Automator and it was so long ago that we couldn't remember how we did it. You could've let that pass but, no, apparently you couldn't. So, because you insisted, here's how to build a useful tool in Automator and then install it as a Service that you can run from any other app.
Last week we were checking out a particular app and found that it had a rather useful feature: you could use its functions from within many, many other apps via OS X Services. For this app, the integration's use is plain to see, and very useful, but in looking into it we realized that we do not use Services much at all –– but our software does.
Usually when you say something is a niche product, you mean that even if it's superb, it's only ever going to be of use to a small group of people. In this case, though, a huge audience would benefit from TextSoap, but we'd bet money that it's a niche because only a small group of people realize they have the problem this solves. TextSoap 8.0.3 for OS X fixes issues some people don't notice, others put up with, and a small group of people have previously had to work hard to solve for themselves.
An outage earlier today has since been corrected, but affected users around the world with a roughly two-hour disruption of the various App Stores, some iCloud services, and related features such as Apple Maps. As of 11AM ET, the problem has been fixed and all services are reporting operational again, but no explanation of the nature of the outage or the percentage of users affected has been reported by Apple. The downtime struck for about two hours from around 10AM Eastern Time until noon.
There are other streaming music services, and you can well argue that there are better ones, but Spotify is winning the war to become the Hoover, Xerox, and iPad of its class: the brand name that somehow becomes synonymous with the idea. At least, nobody tells you what their favourite iTunes Radio station is, no one in the world sends you links to Pandora, and it's like few people have heard of Beats Music. Yet. However, Spotify is known even by normal people, and it is a way in to the whole streaming music subscription concept.
Starting next year, Google will be tinkering with new versions of some of its most popular products. While the search giant often experiments with its services and various consumer offerings, the upcoming venture is a little different. Instead of improving or completely changing existing products, the company is going to create specific versions for children ages 12 and younger.
Yahoo announced today that it will be consolidating and shutting down a number of services to better fit with its mission statement. The company will shutter several services in the near future, and either integrate some of those features into other software or see the services' existence ended altogether. Shutting the little-used services down allows Yahoo to focus on the company's four core areas.