Monthly Archives: March 2011

Text Writer, minimalistic iOS text editor, goes free until April 2

From the Toys section:

Sometimes you just wanna focus on writing without any bells and whistles or dazzling features you hardly need. If you’re in a market for a minimalistic raw text editor, consider Tal Bereznitskey’s simple yet effective Text Editor for the iPhone and iPad. It’s got auto-save so you don’t have to worry about losing your document while multitasking, it supports in-app email and puts useful new virtual keyboard controls at your fingertips.

Think the arrow keys for precise cursor positioning and convenient cut, copy and paste buttons. Oh, the Home and End buttons as well. The souped up keyboard works as advertised and I’ve found it incredibly useful. It got me thinking it’s high time for Apple to tweak the system-wide iOS virtual keyboard. If you write a lot on the go, Text Writer is a well spent 99 cents and now it’s free until April 2.

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MLB App Hits One Out of the Park With One-Month Free Trial

Thursday is opening day for the Major League Baseball season, and a new update for the MLB.com At Bat app has arrived just in time. The update brings a number of new features, including the ability to watch all out-of-market games live on your device free during the month of April.

Live game video streaming is usually only available if, in addition to purchasing the app, you also have MLB.TV subscription access (which you can also now access on your Apple TV, by the way). For April, Volvo is sponsoring a free trial of live streaming for all MLB.com app owners (iPad and iPhone versions). It’s sure to be a hit with those who’ve yet to decide whether or not they want to sign up for a full MLB.TV subscription, but it might also alienate some who decided to take the plunge early and pay full price ahead of this feature introduction.

The app also introduces a completely redesigned Gameday feature, which displays pitch-by-pitch live info on a virtual version of the actual at-bat live for users without live video access. The updated Gameday now features ballpark renderings from MLB 11: The Show, a PlayStation baseball simulation video game.

Finally, users of the apps will also be able to view key plays and occasional live clips, black-out games included, and watch past 2011 season games on-demand in the archive after they air. iPhone users will also be able to access new At the Ballpark features, including check-ins, maps of stadiums, special deals and social media features.

Android users won’t get the month-long free preview or access to archived games, but instead will get one free live out-of-market game every day for the duration of the season, and all the other new features mentioned above that are coming to the iPhone version.

I plan to spend April hooking up my iPad 2 to the TV using HD mirroring to watch baseball, something I haven’t done regularly since I was very young. This is definitely a smart move from an organization looking to attract new viewers, though I find it surprising that the iOS apps are still distinct, and not a single, universal version. We’ll see if it translates into higher subscription numbers once the trial is over.

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eBay Sees 12K iPad 2 Sales in Two Weeks

If you were looking for an iPad 2 during the past few weeks and wanted instant gratification, eBay was a good place to look, so long as you didn’t mind inflated asking prices. It turns out at least 12,000 people were the impatient type (with big wallets, no less) as that’s how many iPad 2s were sold through the site during the tablet’s first two weeks of availability.

eBay detailed its iPad 2 sales info in the infographic below, complete with a breakdown of where sales were distributed geographically. The vast majority (65 percent) of iPad 2 purchases made through the site were U.S.-based, which is a little surprising since last year U.S. buyers accounted for only 35 percent of sales during the first two weeks following the original iPad’s launch. Heightened anticipation and demand, the lack of pre-orders and longer lines at U.S. retail locations may account for the increased number of domestic eBay buyers.

eBay buyers paid a significant premium over retail. On average, buyers paid nearly $200 more for the base 16 GB model, which was the most popular model with 30 percent of overall eBay sales. The second most popular seller, the 64 GB iPad 3G, carried an average additional cost of over $400 above Apple’s official asking price.

Some of the highest demand for the iPad 2 outside of the U.S. comes from Canada, Hong Kong, Russia, the UK and Hong Kong, many of which are countries where the iPad either just launched, or will be launching in April. Fears of delays and global stock shortages probably encouraged sales in those countries, despite imminent announced launch dates.

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Marketing expert Allison Johnson leaves Apple for own PR agency

Allison Johnson, Apple’s vice president of worldwide marketing communications, is leaving the company for greener pastures, sources told John Paczkowski who broke the news on The Wall Street Journal’s Digital Daily blog. She played an important role in Apple’s worldwide advertising and reported directly to Steve Jobs, the man known for tight control of Apple’s marketing department.

No bad blood is brewing between Apple and Johnson as a result of her departure, sources said. The marketing whiz worked for the company since 2005, coming from Hewlett-Packard. Sources claim she’s leaving to start a new PR agency with Brandee Barker, a former Facebook PR person:

Sources said Johnson will begin work at the venture after negotiating her departure from Apple, which is likely to come sometime before the summer. Beyond that, the details are slim. The new firm doesn’t yet have a name or a client list, although presumably answers site Quora and social buying service Groupon, two of Barker’s current clients, would sign on with the venture.

There’s nothing unusual to see a marketing expert depart a company like Apple. I’ve seen it happening a lot in this industry. Journalists leaving publishers to work as spokespeople for the companies they used to cover. Most of them at some point leave their PR jobs, some due to burn out and others to start PR firms of their own.

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