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Following Apple’s most recent earnings report, Tim Cook revealed in a conference call with analyst that there are now more than 800 million iTunes accounts in use and said that “the majority of those have credit cards behind them.”
How does this compare to Amazon, the king of online commerce? Turns out that Apple actually has twice as many credit cards on file than Amazon, at least. This poses a tremendous opportunity should Apple decide to introduce a mobile payment service of its own, as expected…
Independent industry analyst Horace Dediu shared the above chart in a tweet this morning, highlighting the stunning gap between the two technology giants.
A few noteworthy highlights:
Apple’s per-account iTunes revenue in the March quarter was $35 per year.
The number of total iOS devices sold to date is 836 million units, which isn’t much higher than the 800 million iTunes accounts.
There are approximately 329,000 iOS users added daily across all Apple products. A cool sixty million new registered users were added in the past six months alone.
Amazon added nine million accounts in Q1 2013, nine million in Q1 2012 and seven million in Q1 2014.
Throughout 2011, Amazon added 34 million new account. In 2012, the figure was 36 million. In 2013: 37 million.
The Amazon data is not tablet specific so these active accounts are shoppers.
A disconnect between the number of active iTunes accounts and iOS devices exists because not all iOS devices are new purchases (many are upgrades). Besides, some folks own multiple iOS devices, some accounts don’t have a valid payment method attached and others are being used for stuff beyond payments.
For those wondering what counts as Software/Services in the chart below, it’s the App Store, Mac App Store, iBooks Store, iTunes Store, iCloud, iTunes Match, Apple’s pro apps, AppleCare and revenue from Google traffic acquisition costs on Apple’s mobile and desktop platforms.
iTunes revenue per account.
iTunes revenue per account.
It’s just startling.
Apple is a hardware company that runs a few online-only digital stores and sells both its own and third-party products via its online stores. Amazon is both an online commerce company and a physical goods reseller that sells way, way more digital and tangible items compared to Apple.
Dediu’s chart focuses on just the number of active credit cards on file. We don’t know which accounts are being used to purchase digital items such as apps and media in the App Store and iTunes Store and which ones get used for purchases of physical goods.
However, this is beyond point – an active credit card on file is an active credit card on file no matter what it’s being used for.
Sources told Re/code that Apple is “very, very serious” about mobile payments and Tim Cook hinted that mobile payments were “one of the thoughts behind Touch ID.”
iDownloadBlog has discovered that Apple is getting ready to roll out its sophisticated fingerprint reader across the entire iOS device family (it’s currently an iPhone 5s exclusive).
That being said, if there really is an Apple-branded mobile payment solution in the works, the established iTunes user base with credit cards on file will surely give Apple a huge lead over Amazon.
Assuming such a solution launched soon, would you be willing to pay for physical goods using your iTunes account?
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Apple sent out an email blast this week marketing the Apple Watch as a Mother’s Day gift recommendation:
the perfect Mother’s Day gift to help her stay connected and active throughout the day.
The email was fine as far as marketing messages go. It featured the message above plus a nice photograph of a woman wearing an Apple Watch Sport with a band color-matched to her jacket. “Celebrate her with a gift she’ll love” and “Finally, something that can keep up with her” cleverly nudged you into making Apple Watch the fashionable fitness tracker gift for the May 8th holiday.
But it also reminded me of a recent experience I had in an Apple Store and a realization about Apple Watch right now. Agree or disagree, I believe the window on buying the first-gen Apple Watch has closed, and in almost every situation potential customers should wait for Apple Watch 2.
I’ll start with my recent shopping experience at an Apple Store. I had a Genius Bar appointment to replace a defective iPad display during an out-of-town visit with my mom. I moved to the iPhone SE and gave my mom my iPhone 6s Plus, and we’d been chatting about fitness and exercising over the weekend.
Her birthday is in May, just a few days after Mother’s Day, so I thought about maybe buying an Apple Watch Sport on the spot as an early gift. Then I considered the downsides to mine — speed and functionality — and I thought about how long Apple Watch has been out and how a refresh is due this fall. Even at $300, down from $350 before March, I couldn’t bring myself to hit go on the purchase even with the birthday/holiday excuse.
The fact is the Apple Watch was introduced 18 months ago, has been on sale for 12, and probably has another 5 months left before being upgraded. We’re at the tail end of its run before being refreshed by an overdue upgrade.
New color options, band varieties, and a price drop make it more compelling right now, but there’s a reward for those who wait. The hardware you buy today, even in rose gold Sport with a Nylon Woven band, is the same hardware introduced a year ago.
Just wait. The next Apple Watch will likely debut this fall alongside new iPhones, which typically launch in September. Whether or not Apple Watch 2 looks different, features a FaceTime camera or cellular connection, or has features we haven’t imagined yet, it will surely be faster and just better at doing what the current Apple Watch already does.
It’s not that there’s anything totally wrong with the Apple Watch. It’s easily criticized, but I generally really like mine. I wear it everyday and would honestly miss not having it, plus it’s way more motivational as a fitness tracker than dedicated bands I’ve tried in the past. It’s just that I expect Apple Watch 2 will be that much better at everything Apple Watch already does. Apple Watch has been on the market for 12 months now and the weak spots are hard to miss. Take it from me: wait 5 or 6 months and see what Apple Watch 2 has to offer.
Speed improvements, reduced glare and increased brightness, better microphones and louder speakers. Any of these changes would make waiting a few more months worth it if you plan on buying an Apple Watch and not replacing it soon after.
Consider past upgrades of first generation Apple hardware too. iPhone to iPhone 3G gained much faster cellular connectivity. iPad to iPad 2 added speed, cameras, reduced weight, thinness, and a new color option. If Apple Watch to Apple Watch 2 is anything like those changes, at this point it’s worth the wait.
There are a few exceptions to my recommendation. If you’re buying a used Apple Watch or find a deal (say, on 9to5Toys) that’s seriously below the $300, then buy now if you’re in the market and strongly consider upgrading in the fall. I’d say $150 is the most you should spend at this point (that’s about the price of a fitness tracker anyway). If you haven’t bought an Apple Watch yet and really want to collect the first generation product, then buy new now or wait until Apple Watch 2 and buy used for less in the fall. Or if you just really want an Apple Watch now and couldn’t care less about what Apple Watch 2 offers, go ahead … if you must.
Finally, a note on bands. We don’t know for sure that Apple Watch bands now will fit Apple Watch 2 when it debuts, but I’d bet money on it. Apple Watch can get a whole lot thinner before it needs to change the band connector unless it goes narrow instead. I believe that Apple continuing to introduce new bands throughout the year suggests we’ll see band compatibility for several generations.
Do consider color, however, as not all bands technically match. I have a stainless steel Apple Watch with Classic Buckle band (although I primarily use black Sport), but plan to buy a space gray Apple Watch Sport next time around which wouldn’t match.
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Think of Apple, and elegant, minimalist product design comes to mind. But the less-glamorous unseen force behind the products is Apple’s amazing ability to execute — to coordinate things like hardware supply and distribution, software rollouts and updates, network functionality and availability, and forcing suppliers and partners to march in lock-step with the Cupertino giant.
The launch of the original iPhone was a breathtaking feat of mastery. Here was Apple entering a crowded, complex and utterly new market. And it did so with what looked from the outside like grace and ease. In the year that followed, it has seemed like Apple could do no wrong.
Suddenly, it seems like Apple can’t do anything right.
The iPhone 3G launch didn’t go well. On Day One buyers waited for hours because of activation delays, and some sad customers left the store without activation. Apple initially blamed AT&T, but the problem turned out to be iTunes servers overwhelmed by high demand. The problems was global (unlike the initial iPhone launch, which was U.S. only, the 3G phone was rolled out in 21 countries on the same day).
The iTunes 7.7 upgrade, required for iPhone 3G activation, caused a few users problems as well, including lost data, crashing and other problems.
Many stores sold out of iPhone 3Gs on the morning of the first day. That means both Apple’s physical and digital supply chains failed to meet demand.
Some “Original Recipe” iPhone owners trying to upgrade to the 2.0 software suffered phone crashes as network problems caused incomplete installations. Many users had to re-upgrade their phones later.
iPhone activation in the UK required Internet Explorer running on Windows, which is awkward for Apple from a PR perspective, but even more problematic for UK Apples stores trying to activate iPhones.
Apple’s tightly controlled App Store offered applications that some say cause, or seem to cause, crashes, lock-ups and slow-downs.
Still other users are complaining about poor 3G reception and slower-than-expected 3G data speeds. It’s not clear whether this is an Apple issue, an AT&T issue or just unrealistic user expectations.
Apple’s newish MobileMe service broke, too. Some users hadn’t been able to access MobileMe’s HomePage creation feature or create or modify sites or .Mac groups. Others had log-in or synchronization issues and trouble getting a .Mac software update. Some users say they were overcharged for the MobileMe temporary “authorization” charge, which was supposed to be $1 but for some users ended up being more than $150.
Until recently, Apple was silent about these MobileMe issues, but has since added 30 days free to everyone’s subscriptions. They’ve also decided to stop using the word “push” to describe the synchronization process, as changes made on desktop systems can take as long as 15 minutes to sync back down to other devices.
None of these problems will impact Apple’s long-term growth or success. But they are surprising, given Apple’s stellar track record in recent years.
The real concern isn’t Apple’s problematic July. The real concern is Apple’s ability to execute in the future.
I hate to say it, but something similar happened to Microsoft. The company seemed to peak out in 1995, when it launched Windows 95 in a nearly flawless launch. Subsequent rollouts got sloppier and messier and more confused until the piece de resistance — Windows Vista, an unmitigated disaster.
Now that Apple is on a roll and gobbling up market share for all the right reasons, I would hate to see the company lose its touch, and become like so many other tech giants that can’t seem to pull it all together and do things well.
Has Apple lost its mojo? I hope not. Has it lost customers? Not many. But if recent problems are any indication, it has definitely lost something. I just hope they get it back.
A veteran of costume contests, attorney Greg Adler outdid himself with the eight-foot costume of Bumblebee from the movie Transformers that he built to win the $7,500 prize in a contest in Las Vegas last Halloween. Adler constructed a wooden skeleton over a hiking backpack frame to support the torso, and used mailing and carpet tubes on wooden frames for the arms. The head rests on a bike helmet that sits on Adler’s head. To replicate the cinematic Transformer’s blue eyes, he placed the gems from novelty rings and lights wired to a battery pack inside clear spherical Christmas ornaments. Bumblebee’s cannon spins and lights up, thanks to a modified drill rigged to an LED array and switches inside the arm.
The toughest component was the legs, which needed to be flexible and sturdy enough for Adler to walk safely. He bought drywall stilts on eBay, reinforced them with wood, and placed hinges on the ankles and feet to allow for a range of walking motions. To finish off the look, he hand-cut pieces of the armor plating from foam board, coated some of them in vinyl appliqué, and painted them. He even added scratches and blemishes to show a Bumblebee hardened by battle.
Cost: $1,600Two More Transformers-Inspired Projects
After seeing the movie scene where a cellphone changes into a Decepticon, Pete Fielding, the owner of a model-making company, built his own seven-inch version of the robot out of an old Motorola V600. He cut pieces of metal from the phone to serve as the armor plating and used one side of the flip-phone’s base as hips and the other as the shoulders. For the torso, he lashed the rubber keypad around a spine made from washers threaded over a bolt. Hollowed-out hands-free headphones make up the elbows, and the crank from a broken camera enables the head to spin.
Humvee BioloidHumvee Bioloid
Jeakweon Han built a toy Humvee that transforms into a dancing robot as a way of bolstering his candidacy for the Ph.D. program at Virginia Tech’s robotics lab. He first mounted the frame of a remote-control Humvee on top of the customizable Robotis “Bioloid” robot kit. Using a 3-D CAD simulation, he figured out how to cut the vehicle body into four parts that wouldn’t interfere with one another or the frame when transforming. All Han’s hard work paid off—he was accepted to Virginia Tech, and the dancing robot became a favorite on YouTube.
Let’s just cut to the chase: With its new Echo Pop, Amazon has delivered an Echo speaker that looks worse, sounds worse, and does less than the only slightly larger and more expensive Echo Dot.
I’m not really sure what the thinking was behind Amazon’s latest Echo speaker, or who it’s supposed to be for. If the half-spherical device was significantly smaller than the Echo Dot, which the Pop replaces as the smaller and least-expensive Echo speaker, I’d be more forgiving.
But the Echo Pop is almost precisely the same size as the Echo Dot, and at $39.99/£44.99, its list price is only $10 less in the US. In the UK, now that the Echo Dot has come down in price, the Pop is actually £10 more. You can read our review of the Echo Dot 5, which we rated pretty highly, to find out why you might want to buy that instead.
The Echo Pop also drops a couple of the Echo Dot’s key smart home sensors, while its flat audio performance makes the Echo Dot’s middling sonics sound much better in comparison.
The Pop is almost all plastic save for the flat, fabric-covered front, while the more handsome Dot has a more expansive fabric covering, giving it a more premium feel
On the plus side, the Pop does come with Alexa and her usual bag of tricks, and besides supporting the new Matter standard and Amazon’s Sidewalk neighbourhood networks, the Pop doubles as an extender for Amazon’s Eero mesh Wi-Fi routers.
But the Echo Dot does all those things too, and while it’s a tad deeper in size than the Echo Pop, it has a much more premium feel; the Pop, on the other hand, feels cheap.
So, at the risk of sounding glib: the Echo Pop flops more than it pops.How big is the Amazon Echo Pop?
Measuring 9.9 x 8.4 x 9.1cm (WxDxH), the Amazon Echo Pop is roughly the same size as the Echo Dot. With its half-spherical design, the Echo Pop certainly looks somewhat smaller than the Echo Dot, but practically speaking, the Pop’s slice-in-half design only shaves about a half and inch of depth and a hair off the height. So yes, the Echo Pop is a tad smaller than the Dot, but it’s not that much smaller.
On the other hand, the Echo Pop is considerably lighter than the Dot, with the speakers weighing in at 195g and 303g respectively. Unfortunately, that loss in heft makes the Pop feel cheap compared to the weightier Dot. Making matters worse, the Pop is almost all plastic save for the flat, fabric-covered front, while the more handsome Dot has a more expansive fabric covering, giving it a more premium feel.
Despite its half-sphere design, the Amazone Echo Pop is only slightly smaller than the Echo Dot.
Ben Patterson/FoundryWhere is Alexa’s light ring on the Echo Pop?
The Echo Pop actually doesn’t have an Alexa light ring, per se; rather, it has a thin Alexa indicator light that sits along the top edge of the speaker.
Behind the Alexa light are a trio of buttons for volume up, volume down, and microphone mute. Eagle-eyed Echo Dot users will notice that the Pop lacks an Action button, which allows you to (among other things) silence alarms and put the speaker in setup mode. For the Echo Pop, the typical function for the Action button – snoozing alarms – can be performed by simply tapping the top of the device.
On the back of the Echo Pop is a port for the roughly five-foot charging cable, which terminates in a (typically, for Echo speakers) chunky wall wart.
There’s no 3.5mm audio-out jack on the back of the Pop – not a huge surprise, given that the fifth-generation Echo Dot jettisoned the auxiliary audio jack, too. But while you can’t connect a secondary speaker to the Echo Pop using a wire, you can still do so via Bluetooth.How do you set up the Echo Pop?
Getting the Echo Pop up and running is a snap for those who already own other Echo speakers. You simply plug in the Echo Pop, wait a few minutes until Alexa says the speaker is ready for setup, and fire up the Alexa app; within a few seconds, a prompt to pair the Echo Pop should appear.
If you’re new to the Echo scene or Alexa as a whole, you’ll need to download the Alexa app and (if you haven’t already) register for an Amazon account. You’ll also be prompted to enter the credentials for your home Wi-Fi router, although once that step is done, you won’t need to repeat it for adding future Echo speakers.Can the Amazon Echo Pop control smart home devices?
With the help of Alexa, the Echo Pop can take charge of your compatible smart home devices via voice commands, and the pool of supported smart devices just got wider thanks to Matter, the new standard that promises to (eventually) unite the big smart home ecosystems, including Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home, and Samsung SmartThings.
Like the Echo Dot and most other current Echo speakers, the Echo Pop acts as a Matter controller, allowing it to connect other Matter devices in your home together. The Pop can’t connect Matter devices to the internet, however; for that, you’ll need a Thread border router, such as an Amazon Echo speaker; an Apple HomePod, HomePod mini, or third-gen Apple TV 4K; or a Google Nest Hub Max, second-gen Nest Hub, or a Nest Wifi Pro.
If you’re in the US, you’ll want to know that Echo Pop also works with Sidewalk, Amazon’s budding neighbourhood network that allows multiple Ring, Echo, and other compatible devices to work together, creating a low-power, long-range network large enough to cover an entire neighbourhood.
With help from a Sidewalk network (and many US neighbourhoods are already blanketed by Sidewalk coverage), users can install (for example) compatible motion sensors, smart lights, and other devices outside of their homes without worrying that they will be out of Wi-Fi range.
The benefits of Sidewalk are still more theoretical than practical, however, and you can turn off the Echo Pop’s Sidewalk functionality if you’d rather.
The Amazon Echo Pop has buttons for volume up, microphone mute, and volume down.
Ben Patterson/FoundryCan the Echo Pop act as an Amazon Eero extender?
Amazon recently added the ability for most of its current Echo line to double as range extenders for its Eero mesh Wi-Fi routers, and the Echo Pop is no exception.
Each Echo Pop will add up to 1,000 square feet of coverage to your Eero mesh setup, a nice bonus given the Pop’s bargain price.Does the Echo Pop let you chat with Alexa?
As with other Echo speakers, the Echo Pop lets you speak with Alexa. You can ask Alexa a broad range of questions, anything from “Alexa, what’s the weather?” to “Alexa, do I have any appointments today?”
You can also set Alexa to listen to suspicious sounds, such as breaking glass or smoke alarm sirens (via the free Alexa Guard feature, or you can upgrade to the paid Alexa Guard Plus), set alarms or timers, or even shop on Amazon (you can set a PIN to keep your kids from going on Amazon shopping sprees).Can you make phone calls with the Amazon Echo Pop?
Alexa offers most of the same communication features on the Echo Pop that are available on other Echo speakers. For example, you can ask Alexa to “drop in” on an Echo device in another room, allowing you to hear what’s going on in that room or speak to anyone nearby (Alexa will warn you if someone is dropping in from another Echo speaker). You can also ask Alexa to make an announcement (like “Dinner time!”) on all the other Echo devices in your home.
Besides communication with other Echo devices, Alexa on the Echo Pop can make free phone calls to landlines in the US, UK, Canada, and Mexico (free Alexa calls are limited to 10 contacts at a time, unfortunately).Can you play music on the Amazon Echo Pop?
Like other Echo speakers, the Echo Pop can double as a jukebox with help from Alexa. Using the Alexa app, you can sign into your favorite music streaming service, including Amazon Music, Apple Music and Podcasts, Spotify (including Spotify Connect functionality), Deezer, Tidal, Pandora, iHeartRadio, SiriusXM, and TuneIn; missing from the list is Qobuz and YouTube Music.
With your music streaming account linked, you can ask Alexa on the Echo Pop to play a track, an album, an artist, or a genre (“Alexa, play Taylor Swift” or “Alexa, play classic rock”). Another option is to add music playback as an action in an Alexa routine; for example, you could make Alexa play “Happy” during your morning wake-up routines.What’s missing from the Echo Pop?
“Just like other Echo speakers,” has been something of a refrain in my review of the Echo Pop, but there are a couple of key Echo features that the Pop decidedly doesn’t support.
For example, the Echo Pop lacks the built-in motion sensor found in the latest (and, again, only slightly pricier) Echo Dot, and it’s also missing the Dot’s temperature sensor. Both of those sensors can be used to trigger Alexa routines, such as turning on the lights when someone enters the room or spinning up a fan when the temperature hits a certain level.
Also missing from the Echo Pop is a Zigbee smart home hub that would allow the speaker to directly control Zigbee devices – although, to be fair, the Dot doesn’t have a Zigbee radio either.How does the Echo Pop sound?
On paper, you might think the Echo Pop and its 1.95-inch driver has the sonic edge over the Echo Dot and its smaller 1.75-inch driver. The reality, however, is that the Echo Pop’s audio pales compared to the Echo Dot’s–and that’s saying something, given the Dot’s only so-so audio performance.
Going back and forth between the two speakers, the Echo Pop sounded flat and tinny, with just a hint of bass response. The Echo Dot, in contrast, sounded deeper and fuller, with better high-end detail.
Granted, the Echo Dot still sounds pretty meh to my ears, but at least its audio reproduction flirts with actual high fidelity. The Echo Pop, on the other hand, sounds like a cheap Bluetooth speaker, good for hearing your tunes rather than truly enjoying them.Is the Amazon Echo Pop worth the cash?
If the Amazon Echo Pop arrived with a much lower price tag, then sure, it might be worth it.
But considering that its price doesn’t compare well to the sturdier, better sounding, more capable, and only slightly larger Echo Dot, we’d suggest you hang on for a price cut. Right now, the Echo Pop gets a hard “no” from us.
BTC’s price has rallied by 40% since 1 January.
Investors have recorded significant gains, and now, a price reversal might follow.
Exchanging hands at the $23,200 price mark at press time, the leading coin Bitcoin [BTC], currently trades at levels last seen in August 2023. On a year-to-date basis, BTC’s price has rallied by 40%, per data from CoinMarketCap.
Sharing a statistically significant positive correlation with several other assets in the market, the growth in BTC’s price has resulted in the growth in the value of several other crypto assets in the last month.
According to data from CoinGecko, global cryptocurrency market capitalization has increased by 21% in the last month.Holders are in profit, but for how long?
BTC’s rally to a five-month high in the last month has led many of its holders to log profits on their BTC holdings. An assessment of the cost basis for short-term and long-term holders revealed this.
The cost basis for any BTC holder is the average purchase price of the BTC they possess. This considers any variations in BTC’s price at the time of purchase. This cost basis determines capital gains or losses when the BTC is sold.
According to Twitter analyst Will Clemente, the cost basis for short-term and long-term BTC holders were $18,900 and $22,300, respectively.
However, since BTC’s price has rallied beyond these points, these cohorts of investors were “no longer underwater,” Clemente said.
Bitcoin has now reclaimed its long-term holder cost basis ($22.3k) in addition to its short-term holder cost basis ($18.9k) and the aggregated cost basis. Behavioral shift as holders in aggregate are no longer underwater.
— Will Clemente (@WClementeIII) January 29, 2023
Further, CryptoQuant analyst Phi Deltalytics assessed BTC’s short-term Spent Output Profit Ratio (SOPR) and found that “sentiment from Bitcoin short-term on-chain participants has reached the greediest level since January 2023.” According to the analyst, the SOPR was positioned well above the bullish threshold of one, indicating an overly stretched market.
Is your portfolio green? Check out the Bitcoin Profit Calculator
Deltalytics noted further that the bullish trend could be short-lived without an increase in stablecoin reserves on spot exchanges.
A look at Crypto Fear & Greed Index confirmed the analyst’s position. At press time, the index showed that greed permeated the cryptocurrency markets.
When the index is in the “greed” range, it means that investors have become increasingly confident and optimistic about the market and may be more willing to take on risk.
This also suggests that prices are becoming overvalued and that a market correction may be imminent.
An assessment of BTC’s movement on the daily chart confirmed the possibility of a price correction. Since 21 January, the king coin has traded in a tight range.
When BTC’s price oscillates within a tight range, it means that the price is not making significant moves in either direction and is staying within a relatively narrow band.
An analysis of BTC’s Money Flow Index (MFI) and Chaikin Money Flow (CMF) indicators raised more concerns as these technical indicators have been trending downwards since 21 January.
The tight range of BTC’s price combined with downtrends in the MFI and CMF suggested a lack of buying momentum and potential for increased selling pressure.
This also showed that the market was likely to break down from the tight range to the downside.
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