Cauley, Leslie. "Skype's iPhone limits irk some consumer advocates." USA Today. 2 Apr. 2009.
Cauley describes the various negative responses from consumers regarding the release of the Skype application for iPhones. Customers were upset to find out that the service was only accessible in areas with WiFi and not on the cellular or 3G networks. It's apparent that representatives from AT&T and Apple feel that Skype, an application that allows users to make calls over the internet, is a threat to their success. The opposition argues that the FCC and Congress need to step up and declare the openness of wireless internet, similar to the regular internet. In the changing world of technology, even the FCC chairman seems to acknowledge that much of the wireless internet has slipped through the cracks unregulated. Skype demonstrates its frustration that the users of their app will lose their calls if they move outside of the wireless area and thus, do not receive the best network service.
This uprising regarding the Skype application reveals multiple things. In addition to expecting multi-modal content, users also expect their apps to provide them with constant connectivity. Thus, an app that does not offer this is viewed in a negative light. Relating back to the idea of the Wireless Carterfone, the iPhone crosses some boundaries but still falls short at times. By limiting users access to this Skype, these providers are failing to offer their customers the best possible service. This demonstrates that Apple and AT&T still have enormous power in deciding who comes out on top in iPhone apps. Nonetheless, the Skype app is quickly becoming one of the most downloaded apps of all time, which demonstrates a clear desire for it. In order to run Skype on an iPhone 3G, the phone must be jail broken. This relates back to the idea of the iPhone's walled garden and the questions regarding Apple and the DMCA. Users must unlock their phone to make the best use of this application but in doing so, they create a whole new set of problems. This conflict illustrates the clear necessity for clearer legislation, specifically related to network neutrality on iPhone applications. Apple argues that internet-based apps are not accessible without WiFi but internet browsing is always available on the cellular and 3G networks. This disparity displays that although Apple allows open internet access within Safari, there are still limits placed on internet using within applications. Additionally, these apps are most likely the ones like Skype that Apple and AT&T see as a threat to their business and brand.
Wortham, Jenna. "Music Games for iPhone Give Artists New Spotlight." The New York Times. 22 Dec. 2008.
This article offers an in-depth look at a successful iPhone application and the effect that it has on users. Wortham describes an iPhone app start-up, Tapulous, which created Tap Tap Revenge, a guitar hero of sorts for the iPhone. In the game, players tap certain colors on the screen to "play" popular songs. By the end of 2008, it had amassed the most downloads of any free app (300 million) and was possessed by 32% of iPhone users. As a result, the creators have reached out to the niche market and created paid Tap Tap games of specific artists such as Nine Inch Nails and Dave Matthews Band. The author also discusses the creation and success of Tap Tap Thursdays, an event in which new or unknown music is released within the game. Players can click through to Apple in order to purchase the songs directly to their phone. An example is cited of the Katy Perry song "Hot N Cold" being downloaded 50,000 times after being featured on this day.
Tapulous reveals much about iPhone applications, especially with respect to Tap Tap Thursday. The underlying theme of Tap Tap Tuesday can be seen as an extension of Chris Anderson's theory of the long tail. Users become exposed to this music because it is embedded within the game and often, will not have listened to it before. By allowing users to click directly through to the iTunes music store, they reiterate the immediacy that the iPhone offers. This game was the most downloaded game from the App store and one would wonder why this is. Perhaps, the fact that this game is accessible to all ages leads it to have a mass appeal. Also, it's similarity to popular games like Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero is striking, which reveals the use of already popular ideas in the creation iPhone apps. As an evolution of these games, Tap Tap Revenge provides artists with an internet age mobile stage. In the future, music apps for mobile phones might be the best way for artists to promote themselves. Similarly, an app created by The Presidents of the United States of America, a rock band, allowed their fans to stream their music and look up tour dates. Apps like these are yet another example of the way that the divisions between different media are gradually being erased.
Cahill, Alexandra. "Pocket Streams." Billboard. 28 March 2009: 7.
Cahill's article examines the role that iPhone apps are affecting the way that users listen to music. Her main point is that applications created for the iPhone as well as other mobile devices have expanded the reach of online radio. She refers to two music streaming websites, Pandora and Clear Channel, which both have applications available for download on an iPhone. The work often cites Pandora founder, Tim Westergren, who states that Pandora has added 20,000 listeners each day as a result of their app and that between 10% and 20% of its audience comes from an iPhone or iPod touch. While there's no way to measure the number of unique listeners yet, experts cite that it will only be a matter of time before third-party measurement services begin to track it. The overall conclusion is that the distribution of radio is constantly evolving due to new technology and the mobile phone industry is simply the next step in this progression.
The fact that people are experiencing these radio streaming services and other web-based content through devices like their iPhones reinforces the desire for a multi-modal technological experience. It reveals that if music-streaming sites want to be successful, they must find a way to incorporate all forms of developing technology into their brand. This theory can essentially be extended to all parts of the internet experience. If apps are the way of the future, all websites from social networking to blogs to stores should be working to create their own unique app. Additionally, Pandora is one of the clearest examples of Chris Anderson's long tail theory. The site streams music to you based on your previous preferences and as a result, a whole new library of music is opened up for you for the first time. Thus, the long tail theory can be extended not just to the experience browsing the internet from a PC but to the mobile world as well.
"Next Generation Electioneering." Finweek. 29 January 2009: 13.
This article from Finweek examines how politicians are using Web 2.0 to their benefit during elections. One section focuses on how the Obama campaign utilized services such as Facebook and Twitter as well as the creation of an iPhone app to connect to voters. The author cites that Obama became the most followed person on Twitter during his campaign and connects this to the development of his iPhone app. This app allowed supporters as well as undecided voters to have instant access to campaign events, media, news updates and more, wherever they were. The campaign came up with ingenious ideas such as allowing users to go through their address book within the application in order to solicit votes. The piece praises Obama's campaign for tying all these uses of technology to the campaign website, barackobama.com. In emphasizing Obama's success during the campaign with technology, the author hypothesizes that during his presidency, Obama will continue to use these tools to connect to the public.
In our society, web-based communication is becoming increasingly important. Viewers and consumers have come to expect a multi-modal approach and an iphone application is an extension of this phenomenon. While there's no evidence that this iphone app had any effect on people voting for Obama, one can hypothesize that the Obama campaign's multi-modal use of technology may have had some impact. As a result, it becomes clear that iphone applications need to be examined for their possible effect on our culture and even our voting behaviors. This iphone app is also correlated to Cass Sunstein's idea of the Daily Me. By subscribing to this source, Obama supporters and undecided voters will receive only pro-Obama news and its constantly accessibility means that they're more likely to read it. Sunstein argues that citizens must be exposed to material that they had not chosen in advance to preserve a diversity of opinion. By pre-selecting these Obama news feeds, users fail to expose themselves to ideas that contrast their pre-existing beliefs.