NPR optimizes Music app for iPads

Friday, February 17, 2012 - 10:00am

NPR Music for iPadNPR has launched a new version of its iOS NPR Music app for iPads. The app includes more than 100 live radio streams.

Users can also build their own playlists using the app and listen to on-demand live concerts. The NPR Music app also recommends stories and content based on what music is in users' iTunes libraries.

NPR has more information here.



99-cent iPhone app makes your pristine digital music files sound like AM radio

Monday, February 13, 2012 - 11:00am

The new Retro-Fi app adds static and tons of compression to whatever you're listening to on your Apple device, to recreate the effects of listening to music on AM radio.

Radio Survivor blogger Paul Riismandel writes, "Maybe Retro-Fi fits into the Instagram/Hipstamatic trend in iPhone photography, where these apps add effects to make your photos look like they came from forty year-old Kodak Instamatic camera... I do understand why an artist or record producer may want to add a AM radio effect to elements of a song, (but) I’m having a hard time seeing why anyone would want to use this app for more than a few minutes."

We'll wait and see if AM radio broadcasters ask the FCC to make this app mandatory on all mobile devices.

Read RadioSurvivor here, and download the app here. H/T on finding this story to Radio World here.

Time travel into the future this weekend!

If you're an executive who's trying to prepare your radio station (or other company) for the future, wouldn't it be great if you could jump into a time machine, travel forward to approximately 2015, see what's happening, and then come back to the present, so your could prepare your company to be a winner in 2015?

Well, when it comes to the subject of how radio will be used in automobiles in 2015, I believe I can show you a way to do that this weekend!

Here are step-by-step instructions:

(1) Buy or borrow an iPad with 3G data access (as opposed to just Wi-Fi). The Time Tunnel

(2) Set it up in your car (or a borrowed or rented one) in such a way that it's positioned somewhere near the "center stack" -- i.e., if you're the driver, just to your right, either (A) on the dashboard or (B) in front of the radio/GPS/ventilation controls or (C) in front of the stick shift if you have one. Ideally, if possible, plug the audio out from the iPad into your car's audio system.

(3) Imagine that the iPad is actually a 9" diagonal screen set into the center stack.

(4) Now start using the iPad for the weekend: Use Google Maps as your GPS, use your favorite radio app(s), use Yelp for finding restaurants, maybe use a great app called ClockTacular as your clock, etc. (Not to be a braggart, but AccuRadio has a very nice iPad app, with 600+ channels of personalizable music organized by genre, and with a neat "cover flow"-like history display that works really well in this context.)

Voila! This is what driving is going to be like in approximately 2015 for a reasonably typical consumer: Big screen, fast Internet connection, cool apps.

Now come on back and join us in 2012 -- and start preparing for that future!

Tablet ownership in U.S. nearly doubles over holidays

Monday, January 23, 2012 - 11:00am

TabletsThe share of U.S. adults who own a tablet device just about doubled over the holiday season. A new survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 19% of U.S. adults owned a tablet in early January, up from 10% in mid-December.

Amazon's Kindle Fire, Barnes and Noble's Nook Tablet and Apple's iPad all helped drive the growth, Pew states.

MacRumors points out (here) that the expected release of the iPad 3 in coming months -- coupled with Apple's recent moves in the education and textbook markets -- may help push iPad ownership even higher.

Android and iOS shipments surpassed PCs in 2011

Thursday, January 19, 2012 - 11:25am

Android and iOS devices are "impossible to ignore," says analystAndroid and iOS devices (iPads, iPhones) had a higher combined shipment volume than the entire PC industry in 2011, according to mobile analyst Horace Dediu in Asymco.

A total of 358 million Android and iOS units were shipped last year, Dediu found (using data from the smartphone industry, Apple and Gartner), compared to 336 million PC units (excluding Macs).

"The growth rate and the scale itself combine to make the entrants impossible to ignore," comments Dediu (here). "We cannot consider the iPad as a 'niche'...it has a higher trajectory than the iPhone which became a disruptive force in itself."

These numbers are perhaps validation of earlier predictions made by analysts. In December 2011, a study from USC foresaw that "for the vast majority of Americans, the tablet will be the computer tool of choice by the middle of the decade, while the desktop PC fades away" (RAIN coverage here).

And in 2010, Morgan Stanley analyst Mary Meeker predicted that smartphone sales would surpass those of PCs by 2012 (RAIN coverage here).

More recently, radio group heads told Inside Radio they would focus on the mobile experience in 2012. "Stations need to think of how their websites are built beyond the desktop browser," said Hubbard Radio VP of digital media Mark Preston (RAIN coverage here).

USC Annenberg study shows listening to radio as common an online activity as paying bills

Friday, December 16, 2011 - 12:05pm

You may have seen news coverage yesterday of the highlights from ten years of research on Americans' use and attitudes towards the Internet and new technology. The studies were done by the Annenberg School for Communication's Center for the Digital Future, at USC.

While most news sources focused on the report's dire predictions for print media ("Most print newspapers will be gone in five years"), kudos to Inside Radio for digging a little deeper for this tidbit: 22% of study respondents report "going on the Internet at least weekly" to "listen to online radio."Slacker on an iPad

[That data point is actually not from the recently-released highlights of the studies' findings over the last ten years; rather, it's from the 2010 Digital Future Report -- the tenth annual study in the series -- which was released in June.]

While that figure was outranked by online activities like general web-browsing, online banking, social networking, and gaming -- it's interesting that 22% is also the share of respondents who pay bills online. Also keep in mind that the "to listen to online radio" response was distinct from the "to download or listen to music" response (38%).

Here's another point the Annenberg summary made that should be of interest to broadcasters and webcasters: Over the next three years the tablet computer (e.g. Apple iPad) will become consumers' primary tool for most online/computing activities. Use of the trusty desktop will drop to 4-6% (laptops too!). "For the vast majority of Americans, the tablet will be the computer tool of choice by the middle of the decade, while the desktop PC fades away," the research summary reads. Food for thought.

Read Annenberg's highlights and predictions from their ten years of study here. Read highlights from the 2010 Digital Future Report (that has the online radio figure Inside Radio reported) here.

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