In May, we redesigned the Google+ experience for iPhone, adding full bleed photos that fall into place and bold visual elements that bring your stream to life. Today, we’re introducing new features for iPhone and an iPad app that you won’t be able to put down.

A hands-on iPad experience
The Google+ app for iPad was designed with the device in mind. Your stream styles content based on popularity, type and orientation. We’ve also added unique ways to interact with the app—lean back and try these out:

  • Pinch and expand posts right in your stream to add your comments
  • Use two fingers to drag a post from your stream to easily re-share it
  • Start a Hangout from your iPad and stream it to your TV using AirPlay

Bring your Stream to life with the new iPad app

A new way to save the date on iPhone
We recently launched Events on Google+, and now you can create and manage them right from your iPhone. Post a comment, upload a photo or check out who’s going. Your past event invitations are saved with all the photos and posts shared by your friends, so you can relive the party anytime you want.

Plan your next event with Google+

Start a Hangout from anywhere
There’s nothing like catching up with friends face to face. Now you can start a video chat with up to nine friends anywhere, anytime with Hangouts on iPhone and iPad. Turn on ringing notifications so your friends know to join the Hangout.

Talk face to face to face from your iPhone or iPad

To get started, tap “Hangout” from the main menu, add some friends and tap “Start.” We’ll ring their phones (if you want), and if someone misses the hangout, they can ring you back with a single tap.

These updates are available now from the App Store (version 3.0), so download Google+ and let us know what you think.

The Official Google Blog


With the Apple Store going down over the past few hours , Apple has brought its website back online with a new and improved interfaces on its product pages, specifically adapting the iPad ordering process to make it easier to choose the model that is right for you.

Now, when a customer visits the iPad page on the Apple Store, they will be presented with options to choose the color, then the model, which will result in users being able to choose a mobile operator for their device should they wish to purchase a 3G-capable iPad.

Upon selecting the model and operator, the store will place the device into a “Summary” box on the right hand side of the page, prompting you to continue and finalise the order details and make payment.

It appears that just the iPad section has been given an update but the site does feel noticeably quicker when navigating between product pages and its store. The company has also been working to improve its website over the past few weeks, incorporating new social sharing options for each of its products it offers to customers – suggesting this is another small update to make it easier for Apple customers to browse the Apple Store.

Apple may have improved the navigation of its ordering pages ahead of its new iPhone, simplifying the buying process should it confirm rumours and launch two new iPhone smartphones in the coming weeks. With Apple said to have been actively pursuing partnerships with a number of operators ahead of the launch of the iPhone 5, the new ordering system will reduce customer confusion and ensure they pick a device that is suited to them and available on the network of their choice.

The redesigned iPad page is live on both Apple’s US and UK portals, rolling out to other regions as we speak.

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As chrome and LED slowly take over our homes, we become increasingly nostalgic for a reminder of the past’s technological beauty. The iVictrola ($ 985) is a gorgeous antique Magnavox phonograph horn on two pieces of American walnut that will make your iPad look timeless. It will be available this November in limited numbers.

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Last year we reported on how travel magazine startup TRVL was forging its own path in iPad publishing by offering beautifully designed content for free, allowing you to download only the articles you want. Now a new version of the app has been launched, with a new look and additional features.

TRVL’s redesign really is gorgeous. The Dutch startup has gone back to the drawing board, completely revising all their existing content to fit the new look, too. That was significant work for the small team, but the attention to consistency really pays off with a satisfying user experience.

New features include a reworked UI, the ability to see where individual photos were taken on a map and new social sharing options.

TRVL works with a team of freelancers to produce its content, and each issue focuses on a different part of the world. The company is committed to keeping its core product free, and it’s exploring the possibility of sponsorship deals and premium, paid-for options in order to generate revenue. Advertising isn’t out of the question either, but co-founder Michel Elings says that they would have to be carefully thought-out, relevant to the content and not ruin the user experience.

If you love exploring new parts of the world, or just appreciate high-quality examples of the new world of publishing, TRVL is well worth downloading.

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A new report from research firm Strategy Analytics indicates that from over 15 million tablet shipments in the second quarter of 2011, Apple still dominates the market with a 61% share but has seen Android tablets eat into its market share over the past year.

According to Strategy Analytics’ latest figures, Apple’s market share slipped from 94% a year previous, with Android tablets now accounting for 30.1% of tablet shipments in the second quarter. Products from Motorola, Samsung and Asus – running Google’s Android Honeycomb operating system – contributed to a total of 4.6 million Android tablet shipments between April and June.

Apple sold a record 9.3 million iPads as the company reported staggering revenues of $ 28.57 billion in its third quarter.

Neil Mawston, Director at Strategy Analytics, added:

“Android captured 30 percent share of global tablet shipments in Q2 2011. Multiple Android models distributed across multiple countries by multiple brands such as Samsung, Acer, Asus, Motorola and others are driving volumes. However, no Android vendor yet offers a blockbuster model to rival the iPad, and demand for many Android vendors’ products remains patchy. If Amazon decides to enter the Android tablet category later this year, that will bring fresh excitement and buzz to the Android community, but Amazon will need to deliver a truly standout offering if it really wants to make headway against the popular iPad.”

The report also provided an insight into RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook shipments, which came in lower than tablets powered by Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system. Despite the fact Microsoft still doesn’t have a tablet-specific OS for tablets, the platform still accounted for 4.6% of the market in the second quarter, topping the PlayBook’s 3.3% share.

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Why an Amazon tablet can rival the iPad

Without so much as a whisper from the retailer itself, Amazon’s Android tablet is heading our way. Rumoured to launch at the end of the third quarter in time for the holiday season, Amazon is hoping it can steal a little of Apple’s thunder and steal a little of its market share.

Apple’s rivals have tried to match the aesthetics and the simplicity of the iPad and mostly all of them have failed; Motorola rushed its XOOM to market to become the first vendor to launch an Android Honeycomb tablet, Samsung has had limited success with its 7-inch Galaxy Tab but has struggled in its attempts to bring a 10-inch model to market.

RIM launched its PlayBook without core features and the HP TouchPad did everything it could to tempt consumers with its WebOS platform but couldn’t match the the look and feel that Apple has delivered with the iPad.

Apple’s closest competitor in the mobile industry is Google, a company that develops and maintains the fastest growing mobile operating system on the planet. But even Google was forced to admit that its Honeycomb operating system was not up to standard, having previously condemned vendors for creating tablet devices that ran Android builds that were specifically tailored for smartphones.

Suddenly Amazon enters the frame.

The retail giant has waited it out, silently analysing the market to launch services that can be utilised on the desktop, a smartphone, a tablet or in the Cloud. It watched as companies with years of experience in mobile design tried to fight Apple at its own game and launch with less than expected launch day sales.

Granted, Amazon hasn’t even announced its tablet device, let alone tell us its feature-set but suppliers have already begun manufacturing what what will be Amazon’s first venture into the mobile space. The company has long supported its users with the creation of software for mobile devices, also launching the massively popular Kindle e-reader, but the time has come for Amazon to almagamate all of its properties and prepare for an all-out assault against Apple.

Music and Cloud Player

To become the world’s biggest online retailer, Amazon has had to scale. The company is rapidly buying warehouses to ensure it can house the millions of products it sells to enable fast delivery times – the same goes for its online presence.

Amazon is one of, if not the world’s number one Cloud storage and service provider and is seen by many to have led the march towards the Cloud, with affordable and reliable online services that even the most bootstrapped startups could afford. Asserting itself in the hosting market has helped the company make the best of its other web-based services, namely online music downloads and its new Android Appstore.

Amazon launched its MP3 download service in September 2007 to compete with a more established service by the name of iTunes. The service launched completely free of DRM, allowing customers to enjoy their music on any device, for prices that undercut its rival. At the time, 2 million tracks were available to download, today its catalog stands at nearly 15 million.

To tempt users away from Apple, the competitor must provide services that either replace or can match those of its rival. Amazon’s DRM-free downloads are not only be cheaper but they will work on a range of different devices – including an iPod – so if a tablet buyer has music on the mind, an Amazon tablet would be a good place to start, after-all it’s a brand trusted by millions all over the world.

Apple recently announced its new iCloud platform, its first real step into the Cloud. Its new service, when it launches in the Fall will provide iOS device owners with seamless wireless backups, keeping music purchases online so that users do not need to sync their iPhone, iPod or iPad to listen to their favourite tracks.

Amazon, despite not having a device to backup to its Cloud, pipped Apple to the punch with the launch of the Amazon Cloud Player. The service isn’t necessarily revolutionary (it requires a user to upload their entire music collection to an online digital locker or synchronise new Amazon MP3 purchases), but it provides a dedicated storage platform for a user’s music, regardless of where they bought it. In fact, users can upload any file they wish to the service.

All accounts come with 5GB of free storage. However, Amazon is currently offering unlimited music storage for any paid plan, tempting users to the service in the wake of Apple’s recent announcement and pending launch.

Amazon has already launched an Android application to allow users to access Cloud Player from their smartphones. The retailer also happens to be readying an tablet that will be powered by Android, meaning Cloud-based storage will almost certainly be baked into the core of its tablet PC when it launches.

The Amazon Appstore

Then we have Amazon’s other new (US only) launch – the Amazon Appstore. The online marketplace exists solely to market Android applications, providing a way for developers who want to use Amazon’s retail might and marketing strategies to make their creations the successes they believe they should.

Amazon’s decision to launch an Appstore was a surprising one, especially because there was no shortage of alternative Android marketplaces at the time. Incorporating its patented recommendation system and its “Free App A Day”, the third-party application store won many fans in the US primarly because it has been providing customers with downloads of some of the most popular Android apps and games.

This isn’t to say it doesn’t come with its own shortcomings. The app approval system is said to be inconsistent, doesn’t offer device filtering, provides limited user feedback, there is no way to challenge negative reviews and its pricing strategy has been come under intense criticism.

Because Google has restricted the use of alternative apps on its operating system, Amazon requires the user to download the app to their smartphone or their tablet before they can browse or download apps. This poses a risk for the company in the general market but if it intends on releasing its own tablet, it can bundle the necessary software (including its MP3 store and Cloud Player service) before the device is even powered-on by its owner.

With its userbase set to increase as customers buy their Amazon tablets, the company will be able to finely tune its processes and marketing to get the best from the store, ironing out the bugs to tempt even more developers to the platform to cater for the demand of Amazon Appstore apps.

Amazon’s Kindle Experience

Amazon’s Kindle is currently its ace card. In January, Amazon announced in its fourth-quarter earnings report that Kindle e-books had officially overtaken paperback books as the most popular format on its online store.

In July the previous year, Amazon announced that Kindle books had passed hardcovers and predicted that Kindle would surpass paperbacks in the second quarter of this year. According to Jeff Bezos, for every 100 hardcover books Amazon was selling, it was selling 143 Kindle eBooks. In just the U.S. Kindle Store alone, there were more than 810,000 books.

Amazon has released apps for every mobile and tablet device available, even making available specialised versions of its reader for desktop computers. The apps have been enormously successful and help Amazon retain its number one position as the world’s most popular e-book retailer.

Whilst sales via its software have boomed, the Kindle transformed the way consumers bought and interacted with literature. Integrating WiFi and in some cases 3G connections into its devices, users were able to download tens of thousands of books onto a device that was no bigger than a small paperback and would last a month, if not more, between charges.

Amazon is expected to release a tablet that would not replace its Kindle devices but accompany them, advertising the fact that readers can now read their books the same way they did before but are also able to enjoy music, apps and a full mobile computing experience.

As a result, it is possible that the retailer will begin to subsidise its products, amalgamating the Kindle – maybe even its tablet – into its Prime membership. Here, Amazon’s retail expertise would really come into play; by offering a tablet at a reduced cost, it can tie its customers into a £50+ subscription each year that would not only reduce the cost of its electronic products but it can provide free streaming movies and unlimited next-day postal deliveries for orders.

It would set the company apart from its competition, even Apple. No other company is able to offer such a wide array of benefits both mobile and retail based, that are separate from operators and don’t necessarily need a carrier partnership to ensure success.

With millions of Kindle sold equating to millions of happy customers (have you ever met someone who was truly unhappy with their Kindle purchase?), Amazon has a dedicated upgrade path that it can use to its advantage. Those who are happy with their Kindle purchases may want to invest in a colour version of the Kindle, one that can run applications, allow them to edit and produce documents on-the-go and surf the Internet the way it was meant to be experienced.


Kindle fans worried that Amazon would kill its e-ink reader, don’t worry. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has already said “we will always be very mindful that we will want a dedicated reading device.”

Throughout the article I have referred to the Amazon tablet as a singular. However, there it is highly likely that Amazon will release a family of tablets; one a 10-inch model and a smaller, more portable 7-inch tablet. Chinese sources have indicated that both devices will sport LCD touchscreens, but in the very near future will move to technologies that will be able to switch between e-ink and a colour LCD screen.

Processor-wise, Amazon’s tabs could run Nvidia’s new Tegra quad-core processor, run the latest Google Honeycomb release (Android 3.1) that has undergone extensive testing and will incorporate a number of new features. There are rumours that Apple could introduce a new iPad at the end of the year and even if it does, a quad-core powered iOS tablet would be matched by Amazon’s offering.


Amazon has a huge online presence, one that unmatched by many. The retailer has years of retail experience, it already sells devices from rival manufacturers, giving it a competitive advantage over pricing and marketing such devices.

Controlling apps, music and Cloud-based storage, Amazon can provide apps pre-loaded on its tablet that only require an Amazon account to use. There would be no complicated signups, additional downloads and a would likely incorporate a simplified user experience to ease new customers into a world of Cloud computing.

Whilst Apple’s rivals continue to focus on features that Apple doesn’t feature, most notably Flash support – Amazon will be able to use its considerable marketing muscle to not only highlight its massive suite of services, but has typically been able to simplify its products so that even the most technology-phobic are able to understand what its products – the Kindle – can do.

Analysts have already issued reports suggesting Amazon will sell 2.4 million tablets in 2012. Whilst that figure doesn’t even compete with the 10-12 million iPads that Apple is expected to sell in its third quarter alone, Amazon has time on its side. By subsidising its devices, it can heavily reduce its offerings to get customers investing into its technologies, hitting them with the upsell once they are onboard. Amazon can push its value-added services to boost revenues, whilst slowly building sales of physical devices.

Its only a matter of time until Amazon formally announces its plans and confirms what many have been speculating. Only then can the industry assess Amazon’s chances of competing with Apple.

The retailer’s portfolio of services suggests that it has had tablet plans for a number of years with every new launch building towards an all-out assault on the tablet market. The company hasn’t rushed a product to market, instead it has carefully thought through its options and planned accordingly. I expect the company won’t just try to compete, it will give everything to tempt consumers away from Apple and its “magical” iPad.

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The iPad is a game changer

Since January, a part of me has been deeply chewing on how the iPad might affect the internet marketing business — and my own.

Here's a graph (hat tip, the Japan Times) that you may want to give thoughts to, if it hasn't occurred to you yet that this new tablet might make you revisit your business model:


Will it blend? – iPad

Seems like it…


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