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Tuesday, April 23, 2013 has arrived, and within hours we'll all know how Apple fared during the post-holiday season without having released any significant new products. Investors have probably been chugging Pepto-Bismol for the last week in anticipation of the conference call, and as a result we've been subjected to endless speculation about the company's fate. Assuming Apple has a tomorrow (yes, that's a joke), we sure look forward to getting on to some better news about what the company will be releasing this year...
Macworld reported Monday that Apple has quietly answered our prayers by adding the option to purchase larger iTunes Store content like movies or TV shows, but download them at a later date. The change affects both iTunes 11 on Mac or Windows as well as iOS devices, which now show a prompt asking the user to download now or download later through the Purchased tab in iTunes. This addition fixes one of our own long-standing complaints -- sometimes we just want to take advantage of a sale or a free TV episode without actually going through the motions of downloading it. With the Apple TV now capable of streaming such iTunes in the Cloud content, storing large media files -- especially on SSD-equipped MacBooks -- is no longer required. Kudos to Apple for this little gem.
Just ahead of its quarterly earnings call on Monday, Netflix introduced version 4.0 of its free, universal iOS app, adding a new TV episode selector for the iPad to make it easier to find the exact one you'd like to view. The audio and subtitle selector also gets a redesign, and the app is now free of additional bugs as well. And while we're on the subject of those quarterly earnings, AllThingsD is reporting that CEO Reed Hastings announced during the conference call that Netflix plans to introduce a family streaming plan in the near future, which will allow four simultaneous streams at once (instead of the two currently available) for $11.99 per month. Along the same lines, the company will also introduce user profiles, which will allow family members to see their own recommendations, which means no more kiddie fare showing up in the parent's "recently watched" area.
As investors circle the wagons around Cupertino and suppliers lament the pros and cons of doing business with Apple, The Register is reporting the iPhone maker is stepping up its quality control efforts, reportedly sending a huge batch of handsets back to Foxconn after deeming them unfit for sale. A report from China Business claims somewhere between five and eight million iPhones were returned "due to appearance of substandard or dysfunctional problems," according to an unnamed Foxconn employee. At a manufacturing cost of $200, that could rack up a $1.6 billion hit on Foxconn's books to replace the lemon devices. It's unclear which iPhone model had the issue, but the report suggests it's entirely possible the device in question could be this year's model, which is rumored to be delayed until later in the year.
The recent success of MacPhun's FX Photo Studio for iPhone promotion has prompted the company to do the same with the iPad edition, FX Photo Studio HD. After racking up more than one million downloads in four days, MacPhun is making the tablet version of the photo editing app free for a limited time (a $1.99 savings). So how long will the app remain free? The developer boldly claims to be reaching for a whopping 10 million downloads, and readers can help the company accomplish that task by heading to the App Store and grabbing it while it's free.
Apple will unveil its quarterly financials later today, and the rumor crazy train has really been running off the rails in the days leading up to the big event. AppleInsider is reporting that a so-called "whisper campaign" suggesting Apple CEO Tim Cook's days could be numbered after the company's stock price leaped above $700 last September and continues to languish just below $400 today. On the flip side, the report rightfully notes that AAPL stock has often been a bumpy ride -- back in 2008, CNBC asked Steve Jobs about a drop from $200 per share down to $117 and back up to $185, to which the CEO replied, "I think we've done pretty well for our stockholders over the past decade, and I would just encourage them to trust us. Maybe we know what we're doing." Sage advice that is worth repeating today, we'd say...
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(Image courtesy of Macworld)