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Archive for the ‘Apple’ Category

Which apps rose to the top of Apple’s charts for 2014?

Which apps rose to the top of Apple's charts for 2014?

Did you edit images on your iPad with Pixelmator this year, or maybe you lost a few hours playing Monument Valley on Apple’s tablet?

How about your iPhone? Did you give your brain a workout with Elevate or did you get sucked into endlessly playing Threes?

If you answered yes to any of those, then you were part of the “in crowd” that embraced Apple‘s picks for top mobile apps and games of the year. Apple released its annual “best-of” ranking today, with those four apps taking best-of show awards.

Here’s a rundown of Apple’s nice list.

iPad

App of the year went to Pixelmator, at $9.99 one of the pricier apps in the App Store and one which Apple described as “an astounding image editor — an incredible showpiece that’s guaranteed to help your photos pop.”

The runner-up was Storehouse, a free app that’s all about storytelling, allowing users to meld photos, videos and text and then share them.

Game of the year went to Monument Valley. This “genre-defining effort wows at every turn,” Apple said of the $3.99 puzzler.

Runner-up here was Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, the first iOS game to come from Blizzard. The game is free, but has in-app purchases.

Best iPad apps

  • New York Times Cooking
  • Microsoft Word
  • VSCO Cam
  • Yahoo News Digest
  • Replay Video Editor
  • Hanx Writer
  • Star Walk Kids
  • 120 Sports
  • Adobe Voice
  • GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine
  • Makr
  • 1Password
  • Joy of Cooking
  • Nighty Night Circus
  • Molecules
  • OmniFocus2
  • Toca Nature
  • Auxy
  • Slice Fractions
  • Flickr
  • Launch Center Pro
  • Yahoo Weather
  • Incredible Numbers
  • Post-it Plus
  • Stephen Hawkings Snapsots of the Universe.
J. “Josh” Jennings Moss has spent time on the police beat in Florida, on the political trail in Washington, D.C., and on the business front in New York. Among the places he’s journalized: Condé Nast Portfolio, FoxNews.com, ABCNews.com, the Advocate, the Washington Times, and the Tampa Tribune. Moss graduated from the University of Arizona and lives in New York City.
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Apple Delivered A Game-Changing Innovation With The iPhone 5S And The Reviewers Are Freaking Out Over It

Jay Yarow

screen shot 2013-09-10 at 2.42.38 pm

POGUE: The Camera And The Flash On The iPhone 5S Are Great

Apple Is Going To Have A ‘Grotesquely’ Low Supply Of The New iPhone 5S On Friday

GENE MUNSTER: I Still Have A ‘High Conviction’ That Apple Announces A Television This Year

The fingerprint scanner Apple built into the iPhone 5S is a smash hit with reviewers.
It’s getting nearly universal acclaim. Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal calls it a game changer.

It sounds like a major innovation that is going to completely change how we interact with our phones. Swiping to unlock is going to be a thing of the past.

Here’s a sample of the reactions:

David Pogue at NYT: “It’s nothing like the balky, infuriating fingerprint-reader efforts of earlier cellphones. It’s genuinely awesome; the haters can go jump off a pier.”

Walt Mossberg at WSJ: “After using Touch ID, I found it annoying to go back to typing in passcodes on my older iPhone.”

John Gruber of Daring Fireball: “Touch ID is way faster than ‘fast enough’. I’d call it ‘I can’t believe it works this quickly’ fast. It’s also very accurate — only a handful of times over the past week have I had to try a second time, and each of those times, I hadn’t really squared up my finger with the sensor.”

Jim Dalrymple of Loop Insight: “The fingerprint sensor solved a problem and makes my handling of the iPhone more efficient. That’s what a feature should do.”

Myriam Joire Engadget: “And it is indeed fast: the scanner was able to pick up all of our fingers in fractions of a second and from any angle. It’s so natural, in fact, that we almost forgot that passwords and unlock screens even existed on the 5s; on countless occasions we tried to unlock the iPhone 5 and 5c with the scanner before realizing that we had to use the “old-fashioned” slide-to-unlock method.”

Scott Stein, CNET: “A few previous smartphones have added fingerprint sensors before, like the Motorola Atrix, but those were more awkward bars that needed finger-swiping. The Touch ID-enabled home button feels invisible; it works with a tap, can recognize your finger from many angles, and feels like it has less of a fail rate than fingerprint sensors I’ve used on laptops. It’s impressive tech. It worked on all my fingers, and even my toe (I was curious).”

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-fingerprint-scanner-reviewed-2013-9#ixzz2fFqOSZxD

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If You Already Have An iPhone 5, Do Not Buy One Of Apple’s New iPhones This Year by Kevin Smith

gold-iphone-5s-4

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Apple Announces New iPhone 5S That’s Twice As Fast And Has A Fingerprint Sensor

By now you’ve heard that Apple unveiled its newest iPhones yesterday, the 5S and 5C.
The 5S is a faster version of the iPhone 5, which is being discontinued in favor of the colorful iPhone 5C.

If you already have an iPhone 5, you’re probably not considering an upgrade to the 5C. The 5C is essentially the same phone as the iPhone 5, but wrapped in a plastic shell.

I’ve had every iPhone that’s been released since the iPhone 3G, so my first instinct is to automatically want the 5S.

But is it worth it for most people to upgrade every year like I did?

In short, the answer is no.

Physically, the 5S looks exactly like the iPhone 5. The 5S has the same display, nearly identical design, and same screen size as the iPhone 5.

The 5S only separates itself from the 5 with a new gold color, a fingerprint sensor, a faster processor, and a better camera.

The best thing going for the 5S is its new fingerprint sensor, or “Touch ID” as Apple calls it. This new technology lets you use your fingerprint instead of a passcode to unlock your device.

Megapixel-wise the iPhone 5S’s camera is the same as the iPhone 5: 8MP. The difference is that the 5S’s has a better sensor that lets in more light. The flash also has two tones so it will give you more accurate image colors.

Sure, the new camera’s slow-motion feature sounds cool, but there are a ton of apps —Slowpro, for example— that will give you this same ability.

If you have an iPhone 5, you can still update your software to iOS 7, which will give your phone the same look as the 5S along with a ton of the new software features.

For most people, all those new features in the iPhone 5S won’t be enough to justify shelling out the cash for the upgrade. Plus, most carriers only let you upgrade your smartphone at the subsidized price every two years. That means if you have an iPhone 5 but still really want the iPhone 5S, you won’t be able to get it for $199. You’ll likely have to buy it unlocked for at least $650.

Basically, if you are an iPhone 5 owner, it really doesn’t make sense to upgrade unless you are the type of person who always has to have the latest and greatest. You should only upgrade if you have an iPhone 4S or earlier iPhone model.

Plus, there’s a lot to look forward to next year. If Apple follows its pattern, it will introduce a new iPhone with a new design in 2014. And there’s already chatter that next year’s iPhone could have a larger screen.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/iphone-5-vs-iphone-5s-2013-9#ixzz2ecgLuUIf

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Tech More: Apple iWatch Steve Wozniak
Here’s The New-Product Wishlist Apple’s Wozniak Is Begging CEO Tim Cook To Make
Julie Bort

steve-wozniak-1.png

Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak has a wish list of stuff he’d like Apple to make.
When Reuters’ Sareena Dayaram asked during a video interview what advice Woz would give to CEO Tim Cook, Woz smiled and said, “I wouldn’t dare because I have a feeling the comeback would be more like a fight. And I’m really a non-conflict type of person.”

But, he said, “I can talk about what I want.”

He grabbed his wrist and said, “I want my wearable devices that are basically as complete as my iPhone in their functionality.”

He also wants larger screens on iPhones and other features that iPhone competitors have that are “better” than what the iPhone offers (though he didn’t name those features).

Most importantly, he wants Apple “dreamers” thinking up products that change the world “with some new product you wouldn’t even call a phone.” (The Apple iGlass perhaps?)

Here’s the full interview. Skip ahead to 3:50 to hear his Apple wish list.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-cofounder-steve-wozniak-begs-apple-for-the-iwatch-2013-8#ixzz2dJBJnkbQ

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Apple patents point to slimmer battery tech

Graphene, the wonder material whose glittering array of electrical and thermal properties won its discoverers a Nobel prize in 2010, could soon be helping Apple’s iPhones and iPads pack more power.

The company has filed a US patent application (2013/0136966) on a graphene-based heat sink for the lithium batteries and circuit boards in its tablets and smartphones.

Graphene is a form of carbon that comes in sheets one-atom thick, with its atoms arranged in a honeycomb lattice. It is 10 times better at conducting heat than graphite, which is often used as a heat sink in mobile gadgets.

But in order to adequately cool a battery, a graphite coating is typically 30 micrometres thick. That eats up space within the gadget enclosure that could be used for a bigger battery, explains inventor Ramesh Bhardwaj of Fremont, California, in Apple’s patent application.

Hot stuff

By coating a polypropylene battery casing with graphene, he says, the heat sink can occupy a fraction of the space of the graphite version for the same heat dissipation – allowing for a bigger, longer-lasting battery to be installed.

Graphene is also being explored as a substance for storing electricity in next-generation batteries and supercapacitors. At the University of Manchester, in the UK – where Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov isolated graphene in 2004 – researchers have just embarked on a £2.2 million research programme to create high-capacity energy-storage devices with the wonder material at their heart.

In another battery patent application filed this week, Apple gave still more clues that it is indeed working on a wristwatch-shaped device, as CEO Tim Cook hinted last week.

In US patent 2013/0136967 the firm describes the precision-manufacturing techniques behind making a curved battery – including how to apply pressure for sustained periods to a flexible lithium cell to create the curve, a little like an acoustic guitar maker might with a wooden panel.

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The $25B App Market–and the Odds You’ll Get a Piece of It

The so-called app economy is said to be worth billions. Sounds promising, right? Here’s a reality check.

Phone apps

The promise of the app economy can seem especially alluring to the tech entrepreneur set. Mobile is a hot market. The major smartphone and tablet platform owners have established marketplaces to let you get to customers and in exchange you give up only 30 percent in per-unit sales. That’s still better than retail stores. Plus, people are making bazillions. Well, an estimated $25 billion this year, according to Gartner, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Now everyone will want to become a programmer and take a chunk of that big number. The problem is, it’s a little too early to get excited. That big number is misleading, and most apps will be lucky to make enough to pay for their cost of development, never mind profits.

For years, the media, set off by Apple’s trying to tout the advantages of developing iPhone and iPad apps, have concentrated on the total money in the market. Only, there are some caveats.

One is that the $25 billion isn’t just money being spent on apps at the Apple or Google marketplaces. It also includes advertising and in-app purchases. That’s because Gartner also says that 90 percent of apps are free downloads. Why? Because if you don’t charge, you remove a barrier for people to at least try your app.

So, the $25 billion is being spread out over more than 1.4 million apps between both Apple and Google, according to Gartner. Time for some arithmetic: That translates into $17,847 dollars per app. That works out to $214,285 a year, or probably less than two salaries for full-time experienced developers, not counting benefits. In other words, two developers have to build that flashy and attractive app in one month. That’s a tight schedule.

Then you have to realize that the average amount listed is just that: an average. App downloads are not a level terrain. According to a report from analytics firm Distimo, in November 2012, the number of apps responsible for 10 percent of iPhone free app downloads was 31. The number of apps responsible for 10 percent of paid revenue was seven. The Journal refers to another Distimo stat that states only 2 percent to 3 percent of the top 250 publishers are newcomers.

According to iPhone app metrics firm 148Apps.biz, in November 2012 there were more than 721,000 active apps in the iPhone app store. Currently, there are 803,137 active apps.

Chances are slim that you’re going to make big money on paid apps. So say that you go the free route. That means you need people to keep using your application to see ads and place in-app purchases. Unfortunately, 63 percent of apps that people use daily are different from a year ago, and people focus on about eight apps at a time. Getting and keeping attention is far worse than a crap shoot.

It may be that you could have a hit with a new app. But keep those rose-colored glasses off the bridge of your nose. Not matter how attractive the total number is, making a significant amount of money on apps is a lot tougher than the media makes it sound.

Erik Sherman‘s work has appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Magazine, and Fortune. He also blogs for CBS MoneyWatch. @ErikSherman

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Article from Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Institutional Venture Partners’ Steve Harrick sees a lot of opportunity in the enterprise and B2B startup space and has a $1 billion fund that was raised last year to work with.

His Menlo Park firm focuses on later-stage venture and growth equity investments, so it’s not the small fry they have their eyes on.

IVP is looking for startups that already have $20 million to $30 million in revenue and the potential to grow that by tenfold or more.

The firm had several big exits last year, including the $223 million IPO of CafePress and the $745 million sale of Buddy Media to Salesforce.

Harrick took some time to speak to me this week about the startups that are exciting him today and why IVP often remains an investor long after a startup has gone public.

Here are excerpts from that conversation:

There has been a lot said about a shift away from social and consumer-focused startups since Facebook’s IPO last year. What does that mean at Instiutional Venture Partners?

IVP has always invested in enterprise companies and we’ve been investing since 1980. We’re on our 14th fund, IVP-14. It’s a billion-dollar fund and we’re just beginning to invest that.

But enterprise has always been a mainstay of our investment effort. It ebbs and flows with budgets and where we see growth. But right now we’re seeing a lot of good activity in the enterprise space, a lot of innovation being brought to bear and the opportunity for new high-growth companies. So we’re actively investing there.

Can you tell me a little bit about the companies that are exciting to you right now from your portfolio?

There are a number of them. The most recent investment was AppDynamics. AppDynamics does application performance management. It’s really a very exciting area. The company allows anybody that’s creating an application to bug test it, to test it for security, to see if it can support high volume loads, all while they are designing the application.

The reason that this is such an interesting space is that every enterprise has applications that reach out to customers that they use internally and that they connect to partners with. It’s a real competitive edge for companies that do it correctly.

All the old stuff doesn’t support mobile. It doesn’t support the latest programming techniques. It’s long in the tooth. The market has been desperate for a more modern solution and AppDynamics really delivers that. We were really impressed with the growth the company has shown and just the massive demand for the product offering.

A lot of our portfolio companies were already using AppDynamics. That’s how we found out about the company and it’s a space that right now is at about $ 2 billion market size. It’s growing and it’s a very good management team. So we’re excited to be part of it.

Another one I understand you invested in last year is Aerohive.

Oh, yeah. David Flynn is the CEO over there. It’s a great company to watch in Sunnyvale. It’s a next generation Wi-Fi company. What Aerohive did very early on is it realized that a controller can be costly and also is a choke point for an enterprise deployment. If your controller goes down, you can’t change configurations. A lot of the old vendors had built a lot of cost around the controllers, which increased the cost of deployment for a customer.

Aerohive took that controller and put it in the cloud. You can manage your Wi-Fi deployments remotely from any computer. It doesn’t go down and their Wi-Fi deployments are enormously successful at scale. They’ve got a lot of enterprise and education and government customers. It’s a business that more than doubled last year and really one to watch going forward.

Are you finding a lot more company these days looking at the enterprise and B2B space than there were a couple of years ago?

Enterprise budgets have come back. People are recognizing that they have to refresh their technologies. They’ve got a lot of new demands in terms of supporting new trends in the enterprise.

Take another one of our companies for example, MobileIron. It is a software company that solves the bring-your-own-device problem for businesses. People are bringing iPhones and Android phones into the enterprise and they’re viewing enterprise information. They’re putting things in a Dropbox account and they’re leaving with it.

IT can’t control that and that is a big problem, particularly when you want to maintain rights and provisioning and state-of-the-art security and be able to track confidential information.

So MobileIron’s products allow you to do all that. It allows you to push out patches, security, rules and provisioning. It allows you to take control of a mobile environment in the enterprise.

Five, six, seven years ago, this wasn’t a problem. It just wasn’t happening. Now, it is and it is being driven by consumer behavior that has flown over to the enterprise.

So people are saying, I have a budget for this. I have to spend. We have to be on top of these issues or it’s going to be a big problem for us.

You know those kinds of trends are really unstoppable.

Are there other trends you are watching?

Another is Wi-Fi, which is being kind of taken for granted, how to be able to connect if I’m visiting your company or I’m in your auditorium or I’m having lunch in your corporate cafeteria. These are all things you need to have infrastructure for. You need to do it cost effectively. So these fund-smart entrepreneurs are seeing an opportunity and people are spending for it.

As a venture capitalist, we look for those tailwinds in terms of budget because that allows you to grow. It accelerates the sale cycle. It becomes less of a missionary sale and that’s how you have rapid growth in businesses. It is different from five or six years ago. There are a lot of people paying attention to it.

There is a lot said about the consumerization of IT, the trend where shifts in consumer technology is requiring IT departments and enterprises to change how they do things.

It’s a massive change in behavior. Enterprises are organizations that are comprised of employees that have jobs to do. Their behaviors change and the enterprises have to change with them.

There is also a lot of talks about what is being described as Network 2.0, involving things like software-controlled networking and flash storage. Are you guys involved in that at all?

On the network side, a lot of that is cloud computing and services around the data center. We are involved in that.

We invest in a company called Eucalyptus Systems, which is the leader in hybrid cloud deployment. They allow you to manage and test software on your own premises and switch seamlessly back and forth between Eucalyptus and the Amazon Cloud.

Cloud computing is still an area where people are trying to figure out exactly what their needs and specs are. It’s still early in the market. But there have been some large successes that have kind of changed behavior.

Salesforce is one of those. Salesforce is widely deployed. It really took customer relationship management and managing your sales force to the cloud. They’ve offered additional cloud applications and people have gotten used to paying by subscription.

That’s also a change from seven or eight years ago, when everything was license dominated. The old world was you paid for licensing and maintenance, 80-20. That was what you paid.

Those are perpetual licenses and they were often expensive. Sometimes, they were underutilized or never deployed and the world gradually shifted to paying on subscription.

Customers like it because they say, hey, if I’m not using it, I can turn it off. I don’t have to renew.

The vendors like it because it’s a more predictable revenue stream. You’re no longer biting your nails at the end of each quarter to figure out if you’re going to get those two or three deals that are going to make or break your quarter.

You get a lot of smaller deals that recognize revenue monthly and that provide a more predictable business and that have been a reward in the public markets. Networking and application functionality is being delivered that way now. The economics have changed and I think that is a very exciting trend. I think it leads to more sane management for software businesses.

How about the security? Are you into that at all?

We are. We were investors in ArcSight, which Hewlett-Packard bought. That was an example of a dashboard for enterprise security.

We’ve been involved with a number of other security companies. I think two to watch are Palo Alto Networks and FireEye. We aren’t investors in either of those, but they’re both very good companies. We’re looking at a lot of security companies currently.

The challenge with security is that it can often be a point solution and a small market. To be a standalone security company, you really have to have a differentiated broad horizontal functionality that could stand on its own.

You can’t have customers saying, I want that, but it’s a feature and should be delivered with a bunch of other things. A lot of small companies fall into that trap in security.

So we’re on the lookout for the broader security places that you know really can get the $50 million, $75 million or $100 million revenue.

Have there been any companies that you passed on that you wished maybe in retrospect you hadn’t? The ones that got away?

Yeah, you know, there always are. That would be the anti-portfolio. You run into those things and you try to see what you learn from it. Sometimes, they’re very hard to anticipate.

We passed on Fusion-io, the Salt Lake, Utah, flash drive memory company. They have done well, but I think they have fallen off recently in the public markets. That one would be in the anti-portfolio.

We also looked at Meraki. Cisco bought them for $1.2 billion, more than 10 times revenue. It’s hard to predict when somebody’s going to buy a company at that kind of multiple. We believe Aerohive is the superior company. That’s why we invested in Aerohive instead of Meraki. You can’t really invest in both. They’re competitors.

Then there was Yammer, which was acquired for $1.2 billion. That was also a company we were familiar with, good technology acquired for huge multiple of sales and it was hard to predict that happening, too. So I wish all those guys well. Sometimes you miss on big returns like thoses, but we like the investments that we have made.

What is it that you’re looking for at the top of your list when you’re considering a company that you might invest in?

Well, you know, the old adages in venture capital have some merit in them. But things change and you can’t rely too much on just pattern recognition. There’s always seismic shifts in technology where old assumptions have been disproven. You have to adapt to those.

But the adages that do hold are quality of management. We really look for companies and management teams that can take a company to $50 million to $500 million in revenue.

That’s a very mature skill set. They have to show the ability to hire, the ability to supplement the businesses, to attract great board members and to build a company that can be public.

There are a lot of demands on being public today. The industry is still dominated by mergers and acquisitions, as it always has been, for exits. Probably about 80 percent of the exits happen from M&A.

But we really look to exceptional management teams that we can be in business with for many, many years.

How does being a later stage investor change what you are looking for?

We have a long-time horizon for investment. We often hold after a company goes public and even invest in the company after it’s gone public. That’s in our charter.

So we really look for these management teams that are really exceptional and deep.

As a late stage investor, you can’t really invest in small market opportunities. The early stage can do that, and they can exit nicely. You know they can invest $10 million valuation, the company sells for $60 million and they do great.

When you’re investing at a later stage, you know looking for companies that have $20 million or $30 million of revenue so the valuation is higher and you have to get these companies to a higher exit value to get a great return.

So you have to able to identify large market opportunities and AppDynamics, Aerohive, MobileIron, Spiceworks, all have really large market opportunities. That’s why we’re excited about them.

Interviewer: Tell me a little bit more about the philosophy of holding on to companies after they’ve gone public.

Our perspective is that going public is a financing event. It’s also a branding event for a company. It raises awareness. It creates liquidity in the stock.

But valuations fluctuate with market conditions. We say this is just the beginning of growth. That valuation that it’s at now may not be the right place to exit .

If you look back historically, venture capitalism left a lot of money on the table by exiting companies prematurely. You know if you exited when Microsoft or Apple or Cisco went public, you probably left a 10X, 20X, or 50X return on the table by doing so.

Obviously, that requires a lot of judgment. Not every company is going to be an Apple or a Cisco.

So that’s a judgment call and when we make the judgment that there’s a lot of growth ahead and the current valuation doesn’t reflect that, we’re happy holders. We establish price targets for exit and when it reaches that price target, we make a new assessment.

We do have to exit eventually, but we raise 10-year funds and our holding period is typically 3 to 5 years and then oftentimes its 5, 7, 8 years.

Is there a specific example to illustrate this from your portfolio?

Sure. One would be HomeAway. HomeAway is a remarkable business. People list homes on the website. If you’re traveling with your two kids, you get a home for 800 bucks for the week and you would’ve paid 500 bucks a night for a hotel. It’s a great service. It’s public. We invested, my gosh, about five years ago and we’re still holding that stock.

Read more here.

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