Over two billion app downloads in December alone with a total of over 500 iTunes Store—and therefore App Store—accounts. Keep in mind, Apple has clarified in the past that it only considers the initial download of an app in “downloads”; updates don’t count.
Plus, according to an estimate by analyst Benedict Evans, which he thankfully clarified for me, Apple has likely sold around 525 million iOS devices.
Archaic, consumer-hostile exclusivity agreements are at least adopting some semblance of rationality in the age of cloud-hosted media libraries. Previously, the agreements between studios and networks like HBO would prevent you from streaming an iTunes Store film you purchased to your iPhone or iPad.
Ever wonder why films appear in the store, then disappear for a while, only to return later? Agreements like these are (partly) why, and before you ask: yes, downloading that same film from the store and syncing it via iTunes over USB is different, so the agreements don’t apply.
Iljitsch van Beijnum did some digging into the iTunes ecosystem’s new support of 1080p video and uses a few screenshot comparisons to help you get an idea of the difference in detail:
The reason that the 1080p versions of the iTunes Store videos can be a good deal better without doubling the file size—or worse—can be found in the tech specs of the new AppleTV and the new iPad. The AppleTV now supports H.264 compression for 1920x1080 resolution video at 30 frames per second using High or Main Profile up to level 4.0, the iPad and the iPhone 4S the same up to level 4.1. The profile indicates what kind of decompression algorithms the H.264 decoder has on board—the “High” profile obviously has some tricks up its sleeve that the “Main” or “Baseline” profiles known to previous devices don’t support. The level value indicates how many blocks or bits per second a device can handle.
We reported earlier today on news that Apple is preparing to undertake maintenance work on iTunes Connect today from 9am to 4pm PDT. Although we cannot confirm anything, we think there is (strong) reason to believe that this maintenance is being undertaken to rebalance iTunes prices internationally which over the past year have (to be quite honest) spiralled out of control. The above diagram illustrates this fact quite clearly and it also exists for Apps and other iTunes content. Yes, that’s right, there is an 81% surcharge for an Australian buying the same song as an American and those in Switzerland have to pay more than double at a 105% surcharge.