Monday, August 22, 2011, 07:22 pm PT (10:22 pm ET)
Briefly: Mac OS X 10.7.2 build; iOS market share; Starbucks promotionApple recently issued a new build of Mac OS X 10.7.2 along with the eighth beta release of iCloud for Lion. Also, Research in Motion and Microsoft suffered heavy market share losses last quarter as Apple's iOS and Google's Android continue to grow. Finally, Starbucks is said to be adding TV shows and extended e-book previews, in addition to apps and music, as part of its "Pick of the Week" promotions.
Mac OS X 10.7.2, iCloud beta 8
According to people familiar with the release, Apple's beta build 11C40 of Mac OS X Lion 10.7.2 is a 730MB download. Focus areas for the update include AirPort, AppKit, Graphics Drivers, Mac App Store, Mail and Spotlight.
iCloud for OS X Lion beta 8 is an add-on installer for OS X Lion that add in-development iCloud functionality to Macs.
The first external beta of Mac OS X 10.7.2 arrived in late July. Mac OS X 10.7.1 was released to the public last week, with improvements to Wi-Fi and fixes to audio out.
Apple released Lion via the Mac App Store on July 20, quickly selling more than a million copies in 24 hours. According to one analyst, Mac sales got a 26 percent boost in July from Lion's launch and the release of updated MacBook Airs and Mac Minis.
iOS market share
Apples mobile operating system has increased its smartphone market share in Q2 2011 right alongside Googles Android OS while the other main competitors in the mobile space, RIM and Microsoft, have suffered significant losses.
A recent report from NPD reveals that the big winners in the smartphone business, for the second quarter of the year, are iOS and Android. The two competing platforms have continued their growth at the expense of all the other major smartphone operating systems.
Apples iOS climbed to a 29 percent share in the U.S. in Q2 2011, a 7 percent increase year over year. Meanwhile, Googles Android retained the number one position in the U.S. smartphone ecosystem, with a 52 percent market share, up 19 percent from Q2 2010.
Of all Android handsets during the period, only 22 percent were Motorola devices, compared to 44 percent the year before as Samsung and LG experienced substantial gains.
"Google's acquisition of Motorola shifts the balance of power in the handset-patent conflict between Google and its operating system competitors," said NPDs executive editor of industry, Ross Rubin. "Android's momentum has made for a large pie that is attractive to Motorola's Android rivals, even if they must compete with their operating system developer."
Research in Motion's share of the market dropped 17 percent, from 28 percent to 11 percent, while Microsofts mobile presence was reduced from a 10 percent share in Q2 2010 to 4 percent in Q2 2011 (Windows Mobile sales only numbers) and an insignificant percent when it comes to its Windows Phone 7 platform.
Apple has seen important growth, both in market share and profits, in recent quarters, spearheaded by devices such as the iPhone and the iPad. The company reported record sales of 20.34 million iPhones for the June quarter and it is expected to continue to perform well in the following months. Apple is expected to launch the fifth-generation iPhone as well as iOS 5, which will be compatible with most iOS devices currently sold by the company in September or October.
Google recently announced its intention to purchase Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, a move seen by some analysts as a potential threat to competitors such as Apple due to the important number of patents owned by Motorola that would change hands to the Mountain View, Calif.-based company.
RIM and Microsoft have both struggled to remain relevant in the face of diminishing market share. The Waterloo, Ont., BlackBerry maker is laying off 10.5 percent of its workforce, about 2,000 jobs, as part of a "cost optimization program."
Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft has said that sales of phones running a Windows mobile operating system have gone from "very small to very small." The company was actually surprised to find that developers for the now-defunct webOS expressed interest in free Windows Phone 7 devices and training.
Apple and Starbucks have decided to expand the Pick of the Week promotional program, which previously offered free codes redeemable in the iTunes Music Store, to include similar access to paid apps, TV shows and books.
According to reports from last week, Starbucks has decided to include paid iPhone apps in its popular Pick of the Week promotion, but CNet has learned that the coffee chain will work closely with Apple to also offer other digital content available in Apples online stores.
Besides free downloads of paid apps, which will include Shazam Encore this week, followed by Firemints Spy Mouse starting with next Tuesday, Starbucks will let its in-store customers access TV shows and eBooks from iTunes or the iBookstore.
The unexpected addition of TV shows and books could be welcomed by Starbuck customers that have been enjoying Pick of the Week freebies since 2008. But unlike music, apps and TV shows, the e-books downloaded through this program will not be available in full. Instead, Starbucks will offer an extended preview of the titles that will be part of the giveaway.
Adam Brotman, Starbucks senior vice president and general manager of Digital Ventures, said the company has been working with Apple to make sure its a substantial expanded preview. Customers will get about three times longer previews of the digital books that are chosen for the weekly promotion.
However, Starbucks failed to mention how the selection of these upcoming giveaways is done but Brotman did confirm that Starbucks and Apple are working closely on these selections.
"This is very similar to the Starbucks Digital Network in partnership with Yahoo type of arrangement, where Starbucks is looking to curate things we think are great for our customers to see or discover in exchange for exposure," Brotman said.
The Pick of the Week program is now available in over 8,500 locations in the USA, and, according to Brotman, it has become quite popular over the years: "It's a lot of the reason we're expanding the program," Brotman said. "Our customers were telling us how much they loved it, and were asking us and hoping we could expand it as apps have become so popular, and reading has become as much digital as it's become physical."
This is not the first time Starbucks and Apple have partnered up to offer access to digital content other than music to in-store customers. A similar initiative took place in October 2010, when the two companies, working closely with Yahoo, also offered exclusive free e-books and movies.
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