Baidu and Apple to Share Revenue from iPhone Searches in China

With the revelation of iOS 6, Apple added support for China’s search engine Baidu. Now it is reported that Apple will receive a cut of advertising revenue from the search engine. Terms of the deal are similar to revenue sharing agreements with other smartphone makers who provide off the search engine as an option, Wang Jing, vice president of the Beijing-based company, said in an interview with Bloomberg. 

Baidu currently accounts for about 80 percent of web searches in China. It is China’s Google. The search engine integration is already available in about 80 percent of Android smartphones in China. Baidu has been able to increase its presence on mobile devices by sharing advertising revenue with hardware manufacturers.

Apple revealed that the support for the search engine will be added in both iOS 6 and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. In addition, Baidu will also be used for Siri on the iPhone. When iOS 6 launches this fall, Siri will also understand Mandarin, tuned for both Taiwan and the Chinese mainland, and Cantonese, for Hong Kong and the mainland.

Microsoft Updates Xbox Live App for iOS

Last year, Microsoft released an Xbox Live app for iOS device owners. Now, Microsoft has updated its iOS app that takes the app to version 1.5. The app now allows users to control content on your Xbox from your iPhone or iPod touch. Previously, the app allowed users to access Xbox Live achievements, connect with friends, and change your 3D avatar. Now it lets users “connect, control and discover content” from their iOS devices via a number of new features.

A full list of features can be found below:

What’s New in Version 1.5


  • Use your iPhone with your Xbox to connect, control and discover content on your console. Connect your iPhone for access to a quick list of your most recent console activity. Control your content with play, pause, fast forward and rewind media controls. Find fresh entertainment to play in the new Discover section.
  • Improved Authentication to make it more stable


  • Improved Authentication to make it more stable
  • iPad high-resolution images

Apple Retail Stores Add New Retina MacBook Pro Window Displays

During the WWDC 2012, Apple revealed a new MacBook Pro with Retina display. The new 15.4 inch MacBook Pro has an incredible resolution of 2880*1800, with a total pixel count of 5,184,000 pixels and a 220 ppi. It is incredible. Yesterday, just before the NBA playoffs, Apple aired a new ad for the new MacBook Pro with Retina display. That ad is really well done.

Today, it seems that Apple has started to begun installing new window displays showing off the new MacBook pro with Retina display. The display is mounted on a pedestal with a huge model of the machine as a background.

Apple retail stores have also started to receive display models of the new MacBook Pro with Retina display, but finding them in stock is still difficult. When I tried one at the store today, I was just blown away by its industrial design, speed, and Retina display. You have to see it to believe it.

Apple Store iOS App Update Adds Support for Express Checkout, Advance Check-in for In-store Pickup

Earlier this year, Apple updated its Apple Store app for iOS devices. Once again, Apple has updated that app with some nice features.

The first feature that is introduced in the update is support for Express Checkout, which has been available via the regular online store, but now is available through the app as well. Express Checkout allows users to bypass the shopping cart system and simply click the “Buy Now” button. Then the user can enter their password to complete the order. The order will automatically use the default billing and shipping information associated with the account. There’s also an option for users to specify whether Express Checkout should default to shipping purchases, picking up purchases, or asking each time.

Another new feature that was added is to allow users to alert Specialists at their local retail stores that they are arriving to pickup an order. However, this feature is only compatible with the iPhone 4S.

Once again, Apple continues to improve the Apple Store retail experience for its customers.

Apple’s “Passbook” a Replica of “Wrapp”?

While consumers are becoming pickier, demanding and expecting experiences, consumer focused companies are consistently being challenged to improve their way of serving their mainstream customers. Apple Inc., traditionally being a company to comply with consumer demands made several announcements at WWDC aimed to improve both user experience and customer experience in general. Its “Passbook” app is one of these announcements. Now, what does it do?

Apple Announcing the "Passbook"

Attempting to make one’s pockets much lighter, the “Passbook” app aims to store all “passes” such as boarding passes, movies tickets and store cards at a single destination. It is not only limited to that. From the digital perspective, “Passbook” also aims to combine everything digital on your phone and store in at a single place. At WWDC, it seemed as though the passes were to assume QR code form and redeemed accordingly. It remained unclear how many partners Passbook will start out with, but it has potential to grow into something big benefitting Apple and partners associated with it alike.


Now there is a Swedish startup called “Wrapp” which is kind of doing the same thing. Wrapp is already in business while Apple has only announced this. I wonder, if it is a plausible assumption to undertake that the “Passbook” is a mere replica of Wrapp only to be sheltered under the Apple brand to gain hype, fame and consumer credibility. However, the bright side for both “Passbook” and “Wrapp” is that as long as they keep partnering up with businesses, create value for them and intensify their sales, it is unlikely they will be out of business anytime soon. On the contrary, the challenging and motivating side is how either one of these will perform to live up to customer expectations. “Passbook” is something that will be available in the iStore whereas Wrapp is available in both the iStore and on Android. Wrapp has been expanding to different territories rapidly whereas Passbook still has to make sufficient inroads. How will this competition shape out?

For now, advantage Wrapp!

Apple Airs MacBook Pro with Retina display TV Ad

During the WWDC 2012 keynote, not only did Apple introduce new MacBook Pros, but also introduce a new 15.4 inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. The new 15.4 inch MacBook Pro has an incredible resolution of 2880*1800, with a total pixel count of 5,184,000 pixels and a 220 ppi. It is incredible. Yesterday, just before the NBA playoffs, Apple aired a new ad for the new MacBook Pro with Retina display.

The commercial shows the MacBook Pro doing some photo and video editing tasks and the ad ends with a simple tagline: “The radical new MacBook Pro with Retina display. Innovation in every dimension.” Apple’s new ad is very Apple-like and in my opinion, much better than the Siri celebrity ads. This ad reminds me of the Siri Santa Claus ad.

You know your brand strongly built when you don’t even have to mention the product’s name or company name.

Tim Cook Confirms Updated Mac Pro Coming in 2013

Yesterday, it was reported that Apple had quietly updated its Mac Pro line, but it turns out that is no longer the case. The Mac Pros have been updated, but Apple has removed the “new” label on its online store website. Today, an email from Tim Cook confirms that Apple is working on a new professional-level Mac, which is set to be released sometime in 2013.

An email Apple confirmed to be from Cook was posted to a Facebook group page dedicated to the Mac Pro and said that Apple is “working on something really great” for 2013, reports MacWorld.

The company has no comment about the iMace, which may suggest that an update may be announced later this year. In the past, Apple has revealed new iMacs after their Back to School promotion is over.

Apple to Abandon Ping with Next Major iTunes Release

Remember Ping? Yup, neither do I. All Things D reports that Apple will discontinue the service when iOS 6 is launched this fall. During the D10 conference, Tim Cook said that the company may decide to discontinue Ping, but promised to add more social integrations into its products. This became true when Apple revealed system-wide Facebook integration in iOS 6 yesterday. Facebook’s integration is very similar to Twitter’s integration in iOS 5.

While Ping remains active in the recently released iTunes 10.6.3, sources say that Apple will remove the social network in the next major release of iTunes this fall.

Ping was first unveiled in 2012 by Steve Jobs during the demo of iTunes 10. “It’s sort of like Facebook and Twitter meet iTunes,” Jobs said of Ping. At the time of launch, critics weren’t very optimistic about the service and the future of it.

You know a significant difference between Google and Apple? Apple knows when to give up on a bad idea, Google doubles down on bad ideas.


Apple Removes Links to Messages Beta for OS X Lion

Earlier this year, we reported that a public iMessage beta for OS X Lion was made available. Today, Cult of Mac notes that Apple has now removed references for Messages for Mac beta. However, Apple has removed the download entirely. It is still available for download via this link.

The company hasn’t specified how long it will be available for download, but text strings within the app earlier have suggested that the app won’t expire once OS X Mountain Lion is released and Messages will be a Mountain Lion exclusive. Users of Messages beta for Lion have reported of many bugs and issues, but it seems that Apple is working on to fix that in the final version as it plans to include the app with OS X Mountain Lion. I have personally experienced many issues with the beta too.

OS X Mountain Lion will be available later next month and is priced at $19.99 through the Mac App Store. Users of Snow Leopard and Lion will be able to upgrade to Mountain Lion for the same price.

Geofencing: The Smarts In Apple’s Smartphones

In the iOS6 segment of Apple’s WWDC keynote yesterday there were some interesting features talked about; some known and some new. Reminders is an iOS app from Apple that I’ve found interesting due to its geofencing capabilities. Introduced in Reminders, your iPhone reminds you of tasks when you are in a particular geographical area.  Simplest of all concepts, not mainstream enough, Apple realized the benefits of this Geofencing; so much so that they have added the feature to more iOS functions. Announced at WWDC, Geofencing is now part of:

Phone app

This one of those, why didn’t anyone else implement this? Surely the smartest engineers have thought of it. As Scott Forstall explained, sitting in a meeting and if your phone rang, you could in a tap tell your phone to remind you about the call once you’ve exited the premises. Genius many would say, and it is. Apple deserves props for making this feature mainstream.

Pass Book

One of the key announcements made yesterday, Pass Book brings all your tickets, coupons and boarding passes in one location. And that isn’t the cool part—many apps do this. What makes Pass Book a delight to use, is geofencing. If you buy a ticket through Fandango and when you are near a theater, Pass Book will give you a prompt taking you to your ticket. No more hassles of launching an app, scrolling to the “pass.”

Your smartphone is smart enough to know where you are and what you want to do. Geofencing is the smarts in smartphones, at least one of them.

Update: Macworld is reporting that Geofencing will be powering Find my Friends too. According to Serenity Caldwaell, in iOS6, your devices will send you a notification when a particular friend exits or enters a certain area. Very cool.