Alleyside Daily #7: Sprint Upgrades, Poor European Sales, New iCloud, Shadowgun Expansion, Emergency Protection, iTripod, Tomorrow’s Xmas Giveaways

iPhone Alley introduces a brand new way to stay up-to-date on all things happening in the world of iOS. Alleyside Daily is a roundup of news headlines, applications, and products delivered in a unique IM-style, opinionated format.

The goal is for one article to provide everything you need to know about iPhone 5GS while also hyping up an amazing new time travel app and an indestructible case, along with everything in between – first. In addition, our seasoned editors’ knowledge adds insight. Interviews, giveaways, and special guests are coming very soon down the line. Keep in mind that the concept is very much still in “beta,” so we’ll need your help shaping Alleyside Daily into the ultimate collection of daily iOS information.

|News Headlines

Apple Beginning Construction on Two-Story Apple Store in Palo Alto, California
Nikhil: It was discovered today that Apple will soon be starting construction of a new Apple Store in Palo Alto, California
Michael: The cool part is it’s being labeled as a “prototype,” a new store concept for Apple.
Nikhil: Very close to their already existing one, one block to be exact
Yeah, the new concept will aim to have all light be directed from the sun
Michael: A glass roof and facade
Nikhil: and it’ll feature ways for passing strollers to see inside the store easily
Two-stories, yet another unique store coming from Apple
It’s surprising that it’s so close to Palo Alto’s existing downtown stores
Michael: With tons of glass wrapping around, similar to 5th Ave in that aspect.
Nikhil: And it’s not like they’re going in lightly. The project will run Apple $3.15 million
Michael: There are some surprises left for when they open the new store
Hype says it will be very unique once completed.
Nikhil: Currently, construction on a pedestrian bypass tunnel has been completed
We’ll let you know when the actual store is completed, should be an interesting endeavor for Apple
Michael: Also forgot to mention how stone and steel will be big parts of the development, interestingly enough.


Boxing Day Sale for Canadians
Nikhil: Boxing Day is a holiday celebrated in Canada, the UK, New Zealand and Australia which offers sales much like our very own Black Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving here in the United States
In light of that, Apple is offering iTunes sales currently only in one of the countries listed above: Canada
Michael: Black Friday happens to be the only holiday Apple holds a sale for in the U.S.
Nikhil: Though it’s uncertain whether or not it’ll soon expand to the other countries, if you reside in one, you could get some good song deals if so
Michael: There will be a number of $.69 songs and $5.99 albums.
My recommendation would be Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto at the $5.99 special price.
Nikhil: Take Care by Drake and Skrillex’s new album would be my tops picks
I’d buy them both in an instant
Michael: It appears only the Canadian iTunes Store will be offering the sales.
Nikhil: For now, unless you know of any news concreting that?
Michael: No, it seems each iTunes Store is independent of one another.


Sprint Offers Early Update Till End of Year
Nikhil: If you’ve been a loyal Spring customer, the day of you being happy about it finally comes…
Michael: That is, if you’ve been vying for an early upgrade.
Though now that Sprint offers the iPhone, you should very well be.
Nikhil: As an early Christmas gift, Sprint is offering their most loyal Premiere customers free upgrades in light of the holiday season
Michael: Now through December 31.
Nikhil: Whether or not your contract term has been fulfilled, you may very well be eligible
Michael: However, the early upgrade offer is only available in corporate stores.
Nikhil: Yup, you can’t get it online. You have to go to a local, official Sprint store where they’ll check your eligibility depending on their qualifications for this promotion.


iPhone Doing Well in US, UK and AU, Not So Much in Europe
Nikhil: Due in part to Europe’s failing economy at the moment, the iPhone has not been doing too well in all other European countries excluding the United Kingdom
Michael: Europeans seem unenthusiastic with the 4S upgrade.
Nikhil: While the iPhone is thriving in countries like the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom
Michael: Europe is facing a problem with the price difference between the iPhone and competing smartphone as people are not seeing the value in paying extra.
Nikhil: A thought that any Apple fanboy would kindly disagree with I’m sure.
Michael: Though this is a time that the euro is having difficulty.
In Germany, Android has a 61% share of the smartphone market.
Nikhil: Yep, the amount of Android devices out there is suiting Europeans more than Apple’s one, expensive (for them) device.
Michael: In the U.S., Apple’s market share from September to November has increased to 36%.
Nikhil: Research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech also states that the market share in France has dropped to a mere 20% and 22% in Germany
Michael: It was previously 25%. It is also increased from 21% to 31% in Britain.


Apple Planning New iCloud Apps
Michael: Apple has posted a job listing looking for a new “iCloud Application Developer”(s) to join its Cupertino headquarters
“The iCloud team is looking for a proactive, creative-minded (engineer) to build the next generation of cocoa-based client applications that integrate tightly with a set of cloud based services.”
Nikhil: It seems that they’re looking to further develop their iCloud service, which has undoubtedly been successful in its first few months of existence.
Michael: The developer will work on current apps as well as develop new iCloud utilities and experiences.
Nikhil: The actual need for the developer wasn’t stated clearly, but was rather summarized as developing products people “will use everyday”
I haven’t used iCloud yet, as I don’t have a need to backup my files to the cloud
Have you?
Michael: It is rumored that Apple is working on its own mapping application to possibly replace Google Maps.
iCloud is very useful for backups, but beyond that not much at the moment.
Michael: It will be interesting to see where Apple takes its server technology.


|Applications

Visually Impressive Game, Shadowgun Receives Expansion
Nikhil: One of the most aesthetically-attractive games of all time for iOS, built with Unity rather than the popular Unreal Engine for such projects, received an update recently adding extra content to the existing campaign
Nikhil: Shadowgun, from developer Madfinger Games, received a total of 4 new levels in an update released yesterday among other things
Michael: Along with niceties including bullet trails and camera shakes.
Nikhil: And a new gun
Michael: Plus a new type of enemy and collectibles.
Nikhil: The new levels were definitely welcome among early buyers and will be an alluring point for potential buyers to purchase the game in all of this holiday havoc
Michael: I didn’t really get into Shadowgun as much as I thought, but I think I might have to revisit the game!


MyGuardianAngel
Nikhil: An interesting application that was brought up to me today by Michael is MyGuardianAngel
Michael: MyGuardianAngel is the most comprehensive way to protect yourself in light of an emergency.
Michael: Though of course, 911 is still your number-one option. MGA includes an option to simultaneously call 911 and send your GPS position to all of your contacts.
You can also stream audio to contacts, call someone and send your GPS position, record video then upload to their server.
Nikhil: Your location as well as an option to type a message with the emergency you’re in will be sent to your most trusted contacts: close friends, family, etc.
Michael: For $.99, is it a good addition to be better-prepared for an emergency.
Nikhil: Though it probably won’t come in handy very frequently, it’s certainly an obvious need of an application
Michael: Hope it doesn’t come in handy too frequently!
Though we would advise a download now with holiday traveling in case of accidents on icy roads. If only to update all of your family quickly in case something happens.


|Products

Spyder Pouch by ion-factory
Nikhil: This next product that we’re showing you is among the highest quality iPhone products I’ve ever seen
Michael: ION-factory, I’ve gotta say I like watching where this brand goes.
Nikhil: As do I, everything they make is polished and clean looking + it provides protection
Michael: Their Spyder pouch is made out of actual spider webs.
Kidding, kidding!
Nikhil: Whoa, you fooled me for a second…thought I missed something
Michael: It’s actually crafted out of full-grain cow hide.
Looks to be a quality leather.
It is thick enough to be protective.
Nikhil: Rather than a case, the product is a pouch. You simply slide your phone in and let it do the rest of the work
Michael: While keeping up a sophisticated look.
Even the ION logo looks nice on the front in metal.
Nikhil: While it’s not innovative in any way, the pouch provides you with a way to keep the natural simplicity of the iPhone visual
Unfortunately, it comes hand in hand with a pricey tag: $49.99, although it does look to be worth the investment
Michael: Doesn’t need innovation if it looks good. It’s in between the extremely high-end and average leather pouch price at $49.99.


XShot Case with Tripod Adapter

Nikhil: For the photography buff, this following case will be a nice treat
Nikhil: The XShot case from, whaddya know, XShot turns your iPhone into an alternative to your native camera
Michael: The durable plastic case includes a detachable tripod adapter.
Nikhil: The thing about it that would just erk me would be the additional bump in the case’s design, although I’m sure not many photographers will be doing much gaming when their phone is outfitted with the case
Michael: So you can connect your iPhone to just about any tripod, taking iPhotography to slightly more professional levels.
Nikhil: Regardless, the case has a slight visual appeal to its design as well
Michael: Yeah, that it something to take note of. May make using the phone a little uncomfortable.
Nikhil: Hopefully the case is easy to remove
Michael: Its looks strike me as somewhere between average and below average.
Nikhil: Also, it’s not something you can just whip in and out of your pocket: the included equipment needed would be too bulky, though considerably tiny, to carry around
It’s not the best looking phone, but the logo is humble when space-taken is considered, and it’s a simple design
Michael: Yup, this is really only a case you would want for taking pictures. Not an everyday case, that’s for sure.
Nikhil: Still, if you don’t mind the additional weight, you may want to check out the XShot case
Michael: There is also an XShot camera extender available to use with the case.
(The extender is basically a big pole.)
Snap a few pictures with it for $29.95.


Michael: I’m wishing for some snow.
Nikhil: Same here, down in Georgia we barely get any
Hoping to get a few inches this year
Michael: To complement the holiday cases some of you may have taken our advice and purchased.
Nikhil: If not, a few centimeters would be fine
Michael: Would love a White Christmas.
Nikhil: We’d also like to point out a few notable app sales for today. Take it away fellow writer
Michael: Grand Theft Auto 3 is already stealing the charts with a $2.99 sale.
Nikhil: A move made for the game to cement its number one position
Michael: Square Enix is also in the holiday spirit, dropping the prices of the majority of its library.
Including the Final Fantasy and Chaos Rings games.
As well as Lara Croft.
Nikhil: Didn’t know how many applications they had till I saw their list…
It’s loooong
Michael: iPhone Alley is in the holiday spirit as well, so look out for a special Christmas Edition of Alleyside Daily tomorrow.
Nikhil: Along with the usual news section, we’ll have Christmas applications featured. It’s our last edition before the 25th
Michael: We will be giving out a number of applications both on the site and on Twitter tomorrow, so look forward to those!
It’s our way of saying Merry Christmas!