Consumers Are Adopting Smartwatches and Fitness Bands

Consumers around the world are warming to wearables, including activity trackers, fitness bands and smartwatches. IDC reports that the global wearables market increased more than 31 percent during Q4 2018, representing a new record of 59.3 million units. Total shipments of 172.2 million units for 2018 mark a 27.5 percent jump over the previous year (although IDC now includes ‘hearables’ such as headphones and earbuds in its calculations). Apple led the charge with 16.2 million devices shipped in Q4 2018, 10.4 million of which were Apple Watches. Continue reading Consumers Are Adopting Smartwatches and Fitness Bands

Amazon, Apple Ink Deal to Directly Sell More Apple Products

Amazon inked a deal with Apple to sell more of the tech giant’s products, including the new iPad Pro, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, Apple Watch Series 4, and its Beats headphone line. Amazon will begin listing those products — from Apple-authorized resellers only — in the next few weeks in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan and India. Before this deal, Amazon already directly sold MacBook laptops, Beats headphones and a few other Apple devices. Other products were only available through its third-party resellers. Continue reading Amazon, Apple Ink Deal to Directly Sell More Apple Products

Apple to Roll Out Higher-End AirPods, Other Audio Products

Apple is planning to introduce higher-end AirPods, a next-gen HomePod and studio-quality over-ear headphones as early as 2019, say sources. With regard to the new AirPod, which will likely be priced more than the current earbuds’ $159, Apple is trying to increase the range that it can work away from an iPhone or iPad, and is adding noise-cancellation and water resistance against rain and sweat. A wireless charging case compatible with the upcoming AirPower charger is also in the works. Continue reading Apple to Roll Out Higher-End AirPods, Other Audio Products

Apple Reportedly Prepping a Subscription-Based News Product

According to sources, Apple, which acquired the magazine app Texture, now plans to integrate it into Apple News and launch it as a premium subscription product. Texture let users subscribe to more than 200 magazines for $9.99 per month. Apple cut 20 Texture employees, and brought the rest onto the Apple News team. The premium subscription version of Apple News, which will reportedly debut in the next year, will give publishers a cut of the subscription revenue. Apple did not comment on the story. Continue reading Apple Reportedly Prepping a Subscription-Based News Product

Riding AirPod Success, Apple to Debut High-End Headphones

Following the success of Apple’s AirPod earphones, the tech giant is planning another music-centric product with a push into the high-end headphones market. This would potentially compete with its own Beats by Dre brand, which Apple acquired in 2014 for $3 billion. According to people familiar with the product’s development (Apple reps declined to comment), Apple is working on wireless, noise-canceling, over-ear headphones for launch at the end of 2018 unless ongoing development challenges push back the release. Continue reading Riding AirPod Success, Apple to Debut High-End Headphones

Why Marketers Are Pursuing Gen Z YouTube Star Liza Koshy

The Gen Z audience, defined as those born after about 1996, gravitates to the kind of irreverent self-made YouTube stars embodied by Liza Koshy, a comedian with 1.6 billion views, who produces short content for social media platforms. Reaching this audience is a challenge since it values DIY stars as much or more than professionals and moves among platforms and apps with ease. Two years after she first appeared on YouTube, Koshy has been featured in Vogue’s 73 Questions (which she recently parodied) and advertisers are chasing her. Continue reading Why Marketers Are Pursuing Gen Z YouTube Star Liza Koshy

Apple iPhone Sales Dip While Apple Pay, Apple Watch Soar

In the latest quarter, Apple’s profit and revenue have ticked upward, but the company is experiencing problems with its iPhone, whose sales dropped 1 percent from the previous year to 50.8 million phones. The dip in sales is attributed to customers waiting for the 10-year anniversary phone, due in the fall, and weakness in China. Despite the slump, sales of the iPhone 7 were somewhat strong, pushing total revenue up 4.6 percent to $52.90 billion. In contrast to the iPhone, Apple Pay transactions and Apple Watch sales soared. Continue reading Apple iPhone Sales Dip While Apple Pay, Apple Watch Soar

Apple Rolls Out its Latest iPhones, Smartwatch, Headphones

During yesterday’s Apple event in San Francisco, the company unveiled its next-gen iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. New features include the A10 Fusion SoC, IP67 water resistance, a home button upgraded with force touch tech, 25 percent brighter display panels, 12MP camera with new options, and support for wide color gamut displays and photography. In addition, Apple introduced the Apple Watch Series 2 featuring second-gen S2 SiP (System in Package) — also now water resistant and GPS-equipped — and Bluetooth AirPods and other new wireless headphones to make up for the loss of the iPhone’s headphone jack. Continue reading Apple Rolls Out its Latest iPhones, Smartwatch, Headphones

Jump in Bluetooth Headphone Sales, Beat Wired for First Time

The NPD Group reports that Bluetooth headphones represented 54 percent of sales for the first half of 2016, marking the first time that Bluetooth headphones have surpassed sales of wired headphones in the U.S. “Bluetooth headphones saw a 42 percent year-over-year increase in dollar sales for the six-month period, while the overall headphones category saw a 7 percent increase,” notes Twice. The average sales price dropped 5 percent from the same period last year. The top brands for the period included Beats, LG, Bose, Jaybird and Skullcandy. Continue reading Jump in Bluetooth Headphone Sales, Beat Wired for First Time

Apple in Early Talks to Acquire Tidal Streaming Music Service

Apple is in “exploratory talks” to purchase Jay Z’s streaming music service Tidal, according to insiders. Apple is said to be interested in augmenting its Apple Music service with top artists associated with Tidal including Madonna and Kanye West. Tidal landed a number of high profile exclusive releases this year from West, Rihanna and Beyoncé. It is also the only streaming service to feature the catalog of the late pop star Prince. Tidal says it presently has 4.2 million subscribers who pay $20 per month for the high-fidelity version of the service or $10 per month for the standard-quality version. Continue reading Apple in Early Talks to Acquire Tidal Streaming Music Service

Dr. Dre Stars In, Exec Produces Apple’s First Scripted Series

Funded by Apple, Beats co-founder/rap star Dr. Dre is starring in and executive producing a six-episode series, “Vital Signs.” Although it isn’t known whether any Apple platform — including Apple TV and the iTunes store — or traditional TV distributor will be involved, it is likely that Apple Music will distribute the series. Sources who have seen show descriptions report that Sam Rockwell (“Poltergeist,” “Seven Psychopaths”) and Mo McCrae (“Murder in the First,” “Sons of Anarchy”) are among the additional cast. Continue reading Dr. Dre Stars In, Exec Produces Apple’s First Scripted Series

Apple Plans to Leverage Hi-Res Audio Format for Streaming

Apple Music subscribers are poised to enjoy the results of recent Apple development of the new Hi-Res Audio format with an expanded 96kHz, 24-bit sampling rate. The Hi-Res Audio format leverages the high fidelity audio output capability of Apple’s new Lightning ports, which were introduced last year and utilized by Philips, JBL and others for Lightning-equipped headphones. Japanese site Macotakara, with input from inside sources, says Apple Music will debut Hi-Res music streaming next year. Continue reading Apple Plans to Leverage Hi-Res Audio Format for Streaming

Pandora, Spotify Explore On-Demand Music and Ticket Sales

Pandora just acquired Rdio for its technology and talent, and Spotify is unrolling Fan Insights to offer its musicians a way to research its fan base and plan smarter tours. In both cases, these popular streaming music services are expanding beyond their core expertise — and their unstable revenue — by uniting radio, on demand and even live shows. As bigger players such as Apple, Google and Amazon create music services, Pandora and Spotify must offer more services to survive. Continue reading Pandora, Spotify Explore On-Demand Music and Ticket Sales

Online Marketplace Jet.com, Valued at $300M, Opens to Public

After months of anticipation, Jet.com, the online marketplace that hopes to challenge Amazon and eBay, has opened to the public. The members-only site offers tremendous discounts to its customers, under-cutting both retail and Amazon prices. Since a trial run began in March, however, the company has seen nothing but red ink. But the clamor hasn’t died down, and more investors are eager to add more capital to the Hoboken, New Jersey-based company, and its valuation climbs even as its revenues dip below the black line. Continue reading Online Marketplace Jet.com, Valued at $300M, Opens to Public

Apple Considering Change to iTunes Charge for App Partners

Apple charges app publishers 30 percent of subscription amounts initiated through apps, the same percentage it collects for in-app revenue. Some companies have been working around the charge by not enabling subscriptions through their mobile iOS app or charging consumers more. However, the company is reportedly considering a change to the agreement, but only for subscriptions that are delivered via Apple devices rather than the App Store. Such a revision suggests that only services offered through Apple TV would likely be exempt from the 30 percent fee. Continue reading Apple Considering Change to iTunes Charge for App Partners

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