Friday, May 25, 2012
Gavin O'Malley, May 25, 2012, 12:15 PM
Apple Promotes Some Lucky AppsThe Verge

Coinciding with the rise of mobile, media brands are increasingly relying on apps to reach consumers. Giving some publishers a leg up, Apple has introduced “Editors’ choice” and a free “App of the week” on its Mac App Store and iTunes. “Apparently we weren't the only ones excited about the release of Cobook, as today Apple began promoting the intelligent contact manager on the Mac App Store with its new ‘editors' choice’ branding,” The Verge reports.

“This marks the first instance of the labeling, which has also been extended to Facebook Camera,Extreme SkaterAir Mail, and Sketchbook Ink for iOS. As The Verge notes, competing services like the Amazon Appstore regularly offer apps for free or at a heavy discount, promotional pricing for iOS and Mac apps have historically been left to developers or publishers to decide.

It’s not yet entirely clear who covers the discount for each promoted app, but Apple is clearly taking on some of the financial responsibility to promote its app platforms. Adds The Verge: “The company is also offering Cut the Rope: Experiments as a free download for a limited time as part of its ongoing ‘app of the week’ series, making it the first paid app to be discounted completely as part of a standalone Apple promotion.”

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  • Gavin O'Malley, May 25, 2012, 12:34 PM
  • Dubbed Camera, Facebook just released an iPhone app that lets users take photos, add filters to them, and share them on the social network. Naturally, Web watchers are asking why the company needs another photo app after expressing an interest in buying Instagram for about $1 billion. “To us geeks who follow everything that’s going on in the tech industry, it might initially seem a little odd that Facebook would have, want, or need two camera apps,” writes respected tech analyst Dan Frommer. “But it actually makes sense,” he writes on his SplatF blog. “Facebook Camera is for creating photos, sharing them on Facebook, and seeing yourFacebook friends’ photos.” By contrast, “Instagram is for creating photos, sharing them on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Foursquare, via email, etc., and seeing your Instagram friends’ photos.” There is so degree of overlap, Frommer admits, but not much. As he explains: “The majority of my Facebook friends don’t use Instagram, and I’m not Facebook friends with the majority of the people I follow on Instagram. Heck, I don’t know many of the people I follow on Instagram. And like most normal people, I don’t accept Facebook friend requests from people I’m not actually friends with.”   Read the whole story...
  • Potentially expanding its commerce offerings, Groupon is reportedly testing a payments service. Seeking an edge over existing services offered by eBay’s PayPal, Square and Google, Groupon is apparently offering an iPod Touch and card reader to merchants free of charge. “The other [services] provide only the readers for free,” reports VentureBeat. Meanwhile, “The [service’s] pricing is extremely aggressive, with a 1.8% transaction fee and a 15 cent per transaction charge for transactions processed through the terminal,” VB reporting, citing an email from a business that was solicited for the service. Square currently charges 2.75% with no per transaction fee, while PayPal Here and Verifone Sail charge 2.7%, also with no transaction fee. Groupon, meanwhile, plans to charge 2.7% for AmEx transactions. “Groupon’s offering has the potential to put a lot of pressure on Square and could leave it with the least profitable customers,” VB writes. “For customers whose typical transaction exceeds $15, it makes sense to use Groupon’s offering. On a $100 Visa transaction, Groupon would charge $1.95 vs. Square’s $2.75. That’s a 41% premium for Square.”   Read the whole story...