Apple Sees Two Top Executives Depart

Apple announced that head of store operations John Browett is resigning from the company after just a half year on the job. The over 360 stores that Apple runs will report to CEO Tim Cook while the company looks for a replacement.

Meanwhile, senior vice president of iOS software Scott Forstall is also leaving, reportedly over the Maps fiasco. He joined Apple in 1997 with its purchase of Steve Jobs’ NeXT startup and is credited as one of the original architects of Mac OS X; Mac OS head Craig Federighi will add iOS development to his responsibilities.

Source: AP {link no longer active}

Windows Store Has 120,000 Apps

Microsoft revealed the Windows Store now has 120,000 apps, accessible in 191 countries. Windows Phone Program Manager Joe Belfiore says that out of the 50 top smartphone apps, 46 are now on the Windows Phone.

Windows Store is still behind both Android and iOS platforms which each have more than 700,000 apps available. Microsoft is doubling its language support to 50 languages, and will include country localizations for apps, he added.

The iOS and Android publisher Gameloft also announced plans to bring 12 of its most popular games to the platform, including Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour and Asphalt 7: Heat. “Gameloft is thrilled to be able to take advantage of the integrated Xbox gaming service on Windows Phone 8,” said Gameloft’s Baudouin Corman in a statement. “As smartphones continue to gain ground as one of the most widely adopted gaming devices, we see this as a great opportunity for us to optimise our titles for Windows Phone 8 users to enjoy with the platform’s new features.”

Source: CNET

Tablet Usage Approaching Mainstream Critical Mass: Flurry

According to a report by Flurry, tablets are close to reaching critical mass for both consumers and business. The company, reporting on over 6 billion application sessions across approximately 500 million smart devices, looked at over 30 million consumers who have opted-in to share demographic data.

“The chart above shows the distribution of age for smartphone versus tablet users across traditional age groupings (aka “age breaks”).  The blue bars represent smartphone consumers and greens bars represent tablet consumers,” wrote Flurry. “Each group of same-colored bars totals 100 percent.  On average, smartphone users are younger than tablet users, 30 versus 34 years of age.  Nearly three quarters of smartphone users are 34 years of age or younger, while more than two thirds of tablet user are 25 years or older.  Additionally, recent research from the OPA conducted by Frank N. Magid and Associates indicates that household incomes for tablet owners are becoming increasingly affluent, with 59 percent of household incomes for tablet owners surpassing $50,000 versus the U.S. average of 41 percent households with incomes over $50,000.”

“The pie charts above compare the gender split between smartphone and tablet users, with women shown in dark pink and men shown in blue,” added Flurry. “While smartphone usage trends slightly more male, tablet usage is nearly even.  Traditionally, males adopt technology devices more than women.  With an even gender split for tablets, this bucks the trend, indicated that tablets likely have more long-term mass-market appeal.”

Very interesting is this chart comparing the time spent across app categories between smartphones and tablets. “At a high level, consumers spend more time using tablets for media and entertainment, including Games (67 percent), Entertainment (9 percent) and News (2 percent) categories which account for nearly four-fifths of consumption on tablets,” said Flurry. “Smartphones claim a higher proportion of communication and task-oriented activities with Social Networking (24 percent), Utilities (17 percent), Health & Fitness (3 percent) and Lifestyle (3 percent) commanding nearly half of all usage on smartphones.  Games are the most popular category on both form factors with 67 percent of time spent using games on tablets and 39 percent of time spent using games on smartphones.  Further reinforcing that tablets are “media machines” is the fact that consumers spend 71 percent more of their time using games on tablets than they spend doing so on smartphones.”

Another interesting revelation is that consumers use apps on smartphones more frequently but for shorter periods of time. Tablets are used more for media consumption and during their free time, while smartphones are used during the day for things like checking into social networks and using utility apps.

“Studying smartphone versus tablet usage differences not only provides insight into how developers should consider form factor when designing app experiences, but also how digital distribution could disrupt the living room,” said Flurry. “As we imagine a world of connected TV, tablet usage gives us the best current-day hint of that world to come.  Tablet users are older, more female, and we can surmise, more affluent.  Additionally, they use more during the evenings and for longer sessions.  Finally they consume more media and entertainment experiences, with a significant proportion spent on games.  In particular, this would indicate that as Apple and Google enter the living room with connected TV initiatives, game consoles made by Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo would experience the greatest competition.  The distribution of content into the living room may also significantly change for network and cable television content providers.  In summary, the impact of smart devices on both work and play are profound.  With a bevy of significant companies vying for tablet hegemony, including Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Samsung, developers and consumers should expect nothing short of tremendous innovation.”


Pocket Like It’s Hot

Most people in America have probably heard Drop it Like it’s Hot about a dozen times now, and the titular lyric is part of popular culture. Hot Pockets has stepped up to capitalize on this with a surprisingly self-serious (for a rap music video) advertisement with Snoop, DeStorm Power, Andy Milonakis, WWE Superstar Brodus Clay and “Herbie Hot Pockets”.

{video link is listed as “private”}


Halo 4 Biggest Game For Microsoft Ever

Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer says that Halo 4 is the most important entertainment product in the company’s history. When asked if it was also the most expensive product, Spencer said, “Absolutely. Nothing’s even close.”

While Spencer didn’t give an exact amount, this total also includes the total media spend on the game. Halo: Reach in 2010 was Microsoft’s previous high to be spent on marketing, bigger than Halo 3 which saw $6.5 million in its total media spend according to Kantar Media (the actual amount is likely far higher).

Source: Polygon

G4 Canning X-Play, Attack Of The Show

G4 has confirmed that they will wrap up production for Attack of the Show and X-Play at the end of this year. Both shows will continue to roll out new episodes through December, with guest hosts and retrospectives expected to dot the lineup for the final season.

Attack of the Show and X-Play have been important for G4, and we want to acknowledge the creative people who have helped inspire and showcase the phenomenon of gamer culture,” says G4 Media general manager Adam Stotsky. “With more than 3,000 episodes aired between them, we have more than enough great material to honor these innovators and their amazing contributions as we bring both shows to a close.”

The canning of the network’s two longest running video game shows marks a likely change in programing away from such content. It is theorized that the network could team up with a magazine like Esquire or GQ to make more high-brow male content.


BioShock Infinite Gets Collector’s Editions

Irrational games announced that BioShock Infinite will have a Premium Edition for $79.99. It will include a 3-inch keyring based on the “Murder of Crows” special power, a lithograph, a figurine for the new BioShock Infinite board game, an art book and various downloadables, including wallpaper images and in-game bonuses.

There will also be the Ultimate Songbird Edition for $149.99. The extra money nets you a 9 ½ inch statue of Songbird, BioShock Infinite’s primary antagonist, designed by concept artist Robb Waters.