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Magazine publishers unhappy with Apple Newsstand
October 16, 2014 | 10:01 pm

newsstandDigital magazines for tablets have long had a number of problems, not the least of which being that it’s considerably easier for people to make their own “magazines” via RSS readers or other content aggregators such as Flipboard. But Digiday reports that magazine publishers are finding Apple’s Newsstand app problematic in new ways as well. In iOS 7, Apple changed the way Newsstand worked so users were no longer notified if there was a new issue of their magazine available. It doesn’t let users put shortcuts to their magazines on their home screens either. Its ability to download issues...

iOS 8 initial impressions
October 10, 2014 | 10:28 am

ios 8I've been using iOS 8 for several weeks now, long enough to get an impression. My overall reaction is that it's a perfectly good operating system, but it's not revolutionary. Also, many of the more interesting features (responding to messages from the lock screen) are more useful on the iPhone. So keep in mind that I'm only using it on an iPad. If you remember the upgrade to iOS 7, it was a huge change. Everything looked different. Not so with iOS 8. Upgrading looks virtually the same until you start to dig in and start to turn things on. I...

Remember all that anti-Amazon tax snark? Your turn, Apple
October 1, 2014 | 12:17 pm

PenguinAmazon-haters who used the media/retail giant's European tax policies as a stick to beat it with may soon be looking for a new theme: at least if they want to continue to cast Amazon as the sole villain in the piece. Because the European Commission has issued a letter asserting that the Irish state gave tax-related state aid to Apple to support its operations there, in contravention of European Union law. According to reports in the BBC and elsewhere, Apple is enjoying a 2 percent tax rate on many of its European activities by declaring them through its Irish subsidiary. According...

Looking back at Michael Bromwich’s report on Apple antitrust compliance
September 20, 2014 | 5:19 pm

It’s been a while since I’ve had much to say about the Apple antitrust suit. I’ve been a bit busy to write much for TeleRead in general, what with my new day job and things. Nate on The Digital Reader has some good coverage of the main points of interest: Apple Agrees to Pay $450 Million in eBook Antitrust Lawsuit Judge Okays Apple’s $450 Million eBook Antitrust Settlement Amazon Sends Out Email Concerning Apple’s Antitrust Settlement There’s also a new, related case in which three defunct e-book stores...

PACER to restore ten years of deleted records; is still obnoxiously expensive
September 20, 2014 | 9:37 am

pacerLogoI thought I’d mentioned this at the time it happened, but I apparently didn’t. Last month, the court records database PACER deleted ten years’ worth of electronic federal court documents in the course of a hardware update. This sparked an immediate backlash from lawmakers. Now Ars Technica reports that the US government Administrative Office of the Courts will return most of those files to the database by the end of October. It’s nice that they’re doing the right thing, but the shortcomings of the PACER system are aggravating. The system charges ten cents per downloaded page, including for lists...

Why NOT self-publish exclusively through Amazon?
September 19, 2014 | 7:50 pm

I first saw a post by Hugh Howey discussing the potential cost versus befits of going exclusive with Amazon a few days ago. I was thinking of saying something about it, but it kind of takes on added significance with the news about Barnes & Noble removing the “Download” button from its e-book library. Howey’s post is worth reading, but lends itself to easy summarizing. Essentially, Amazon provides a number of added benefits and incentives to writers who publish exclusively via Amazon either temporarily or continually: free giveaway days, or inclusion in e-book subscription services such as the...

Apple Watch shows Cupertino has lost the plot
September 18, 2014 | 12:25 pm

AppleFor anyone following the checkered history of digital wearables and smartwatches, the advent of the Apple Watch drips with bathos. It's like watching a flabby, ageing Mr. Incredible-style former superhero lumber up for the big confrontation, only to discover it's all over. Apple's days of identifying and defining entire new consumer product categories are long in the past. The window was wide open for years, well signposted, speculated on - and Apple missed it. Financial markets and analysts alike were less than overwhelmed by the Apple Watch and the companion iPhone 6. The Register tracked Apple's stock price initially hiking to $102.92...

Apple event impressions
September 9, 2014 | 3:08 pm

apple patent for itimeI've been watching the Verge live blog of the Apple event, and the new iPhones do look like nice devices. Big surprise. They are larger. As all the leaks indicated, the iPhone 6 comes in a 4.7" (starting at $199 on contract) and a 5.5" variety ($299 on contract). For those of you who still want a smaller phone, the 5S and 5C aren't going away. Last year's phones are now the budget versions at $99 and free, respectively. So are the new phones revolutionary? I'd say not. They are nice, yes. I think many people will appreciate the larger size....

Hachette responds to Amazon advocates’ email on pricing its e-books
August 11, 2014 | 1:24 am

Digital Book World is carrying the response Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch is sending to those people who write him at Amazon’s behest. Since I posted the Amazon letter in full, it seems only fair to do the same for this. Pietsch (or whoever wrote the response for him) maintains that “Hachette sets prices for our books entirely on our own, not in collusion with anyone” (technically true, I suppose, since he said books, not e-books). He also maintains that the vast majority of Hachette’s titles are priced at or below $9.99, that the ones that cost more are nonetheless...

Best Buy CEO says tablet sales are ‘crashing’
August 4, 2014 | 12:38 pm

Re/code has an interview with Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly in which he talks about a few things like fighting showrooming with pricematching, why people might want to buy gadgets in Best Buy rather than Amazon, and perhaps most interestingly, the sales rates for tablets. We’ve mentioned before how the tablet seems to be replacing the laptop in terms of most ordinary consumers’ needs, but according to Joly sales have been starting to fall off. He believes this might suggest the market has just about reached saturation—all the people who wanted a tablet have gotten one, and they don’t...

Apple bought, shuttered book recommender Booklamp in April
July 26, 2014 | 9:01 pm

MacRumors reports that Apple bought and shut down book-recommendation service Booklamp back in April. Booklamp was intended to be a sort of “Pandora for Books”—it used a similar system of categorizing books based on specific elements—but as I determined when I checked into it last November, it fell pretty far short of actually being useful, for two major reasons: it didn’t have a very big selection due to its opt-in nature, and it couldn’t account for humor. Apple hasn’t been saying much about why it bought the service, but that’s not unexpected. I imagine that, as is usually the...

Portuguese app store Aptoide files anti-trust accusation against Google for bundling Play Store
June 18, 2014 | 5:37 pm

aptoideGigaom (and our sister blog TechnologyTell) reports that a Portuguese Android app store, Aptoide, has filed an anti-trust complaint against Google to the European Commission. This isn’t the first such complaint Google’s gotten in Europe, either. Aptoide complains that Google’s Play store won’t permit fully-functional third-party app stores on board (which is to say, apps that let you download other apps from outside Google), that Google has been making it harder and harder for people to find the setting necessary to allow installation of third-party apps, that the Google Play store is bundled with Google’s services and required to...