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July 05 2011


The day Lucas Allen's iPhone photography found its way into print

mashable :: It’s not just iPhone-created art that’s making its way into magazines. iPhone photography is beginning to make somewhat frequent appearances as well. The latest of these is an eight-page spread in Everyday Food magazine. For its first full-sized issue, which hit newsstands July 4, photographer Lucas Allen shot a picnic recipe feature using the Hipstamatic app on an iPhone 4.

Continue to read Lauren Indvik, mashable.com

April 22 2011


Mediatwits #4: Impressive, Creepy Apple; The iPhone Radio Reporter

neal augenstein larger.JPG

Welcome to the fourth episode of "The Mediatwits," the new revamped longer form weekly audio podcast from MediaShift. The co-hosts are MediaShift's Mark Glaser along with PaidContent founder Rafat Ali. This week's show is obsessed with all things Apple -- and iPhone. Apple had a blow-out earnings quarter, nearly doubling its profits and selling more iPhones than ever with the new Verizon iPhone. But the creepy part is the finding by scientists that your iPhone (and iPad) knows your location and has been storing that in a secret file since last June. (Update: Today the Wall Street Journal found that Google is also tracking Android phones.)

Our guest this week is Neal Augenstein, the first major-market radio reporter to give up his bulky equipment and use just an iPhone to do audio and video reports for WTOP-FM and wtop.com in Washington, DC. Plus, there are two new news aggregators and apps, Trove and News.me, that needed a quick take.

Check it out!


Subscribe to the podcast here

Follow @TheMediatwits on Twitter here

Intro and outro music by 3 Feet Up; mid-podcast music by Autumn Eyes via Mevio's Music Alley.

Here are some highlighted topics from the show:

Apple's blowout quarter

3:30: Apple by the numbers

5:30: iPod going into the sunset?

7:00: Mark enjoys freedom from AT&T

iPhones tracking you

7:50: Background on consolidated.db file

9:15: Rafat says it will be shut down

10:40: WSJ series What They Know

12:10: Do people care?

Neal Augenstein interview

13:40: Neal details all the old gear he used to carry

16:10: The app Neal uses on his iPhone for audio editing

17:50: Audio is about 92% as good as before

20:10: Figuring out best practices as he goes along

23:40: RIP Flipcam

Trove and News.me

25:30: Mark's experience with News.me

27:40: News.me is a Twitter replacement or enhancement?

29:20: Flipboard gets $50 million in funding

More Reading

Apple clobbers estimates, iPad sales fall short at Fortune

AT&T Boosts Subscriber Rolls Even as Verizon Gains IPhone at Bloomberg

With iPhone, everybody wins: Verizon, AT&T and Apple at Computerworld

Got an iPhone or 3G iPad? Apple is recording your moves at O'Reilly Radar

Researcher: iPhone, iPad track users' whereabouts at CNET

iStalk: Apple's iPhones, iPads revealed to be tracking user data at NY Post

Apple, Google Collect User Data at WSJ

News.me, the iPad News Aggregator Blessed by Big Publishers, Gets Ready to Launch at AllThingsD



What They Know series by Wall Street Journal

Holy Crap, Flipboard Just Raised $50 Million At A $200 Million Valuation at Business Insider

Weekly Poll

Don't forget to vote in our weekly poll, this time about the iPhone tracking your movements:

What do you think about iPhones tracking your location?survey software

Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit.

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April 04 2011


How One Radio Reporter Ditched His Equipment for an iPhone 4

It's been more than a year since I packed away my laptop computer, digital recorders, microphones, cables and cameras, and began covering Washington, D.C. with only my iPhone.

When I first came to the top-rated all-news WTOP in 1997, the bag phone I carried weighed as much as a bowling ball. Reel-to-reel tape recorders (ask your parents) were the newsroom staple, but early versions of Cool Edit audio editing software signaled that the times, they were a-changin'.

key accessories.JPG

As cell phones became smaller, and laptops more prevalent, radio reporters could finally produce studio-quality reports in the field, and email them to the newsroom. But that involved schlepping, booting, connecting, dubbing, and a lot of waiting.

Now, with the Apple iPhone 4 and several apps, I can produce intricate audio and video reports, broadcast live, take and edit photos, write web content and distribute it through social media from a single device.

How It's Done

With the VC Audio Pro app from VeriCorder, I can quickly pull cuts, edit and assemble audio wraps, and adjust volumes on a three-track screen similar to the popular Adobe Audition used in many newsrooms. The amount of time saved by not having to boot up the laptop and transfer audio has been my single greatest workflow improvement. The finished report that used to take 30 minutes to produce and transmit can now be done in 10. Here's a rundown of all the key ways I use my iPhone:

Audio capture

When I started my iPhone-only reporting on a 3Gs, I was pleased with the Blue Microphone Mikey. The small microphone connects to the charging port of the iPhone and iPod. Mikey provided nice bass response, but when Apple iPhone 4 was introduced, Mikey was no longer compatible. I tested several compact microphones, but all sounded thin and hissy. Currently I'm using the built-in microphone of the iPhone and am satisfied with the sound quality. The iPhone is very susceptible to wind.

Video capture

For video, VC 1stVideo has many of the same features as its audio cousin. It provides two HD video tracks and two audio tracks. The iPhone's built-in microphone points away from the subject being interviewed. I've experimented with the JK Audio BlueDriver-F3. It's a Bluetooth unit that allows a broadcast microphone to pair with the iPhone. It's expensive (more than $200), and while it does allow the mic to transmit to the phone, it doesn't mute the iPhone's built-in microphone. So, currently the only way to get good audio with video is to use an XLR adapter cable.


With photos, the ability to quickly snap, edit and transmit photos to wtop.com from the same device is causing me to rethink my newsgathering workflow. In years past my first priority at a breaking news scene was to gather audio. Now, I find myself taking a few pictures first. While dozens of photo apps are available, I use the iPhone 4's built-in camera. For editing, I select the photo from Camera Roll, re-frame, then take a screenshot of the cropped image by simultaneously touching the sleep/wake button on the top of the phone and the Home button. It's then ready to be emailed.

Mobile VoIP

For live reports, I've experimented with two mobile voice-over-IP (VoIP) apps -- Report-IT Live and Media5-fone. Each requires a receiver in the newsroom that costs several thousand dollars. I haven't been satisfied with the stability of either, and have decided it's too risky to use for a live report, so will usually pre-feed a pre-recorded spot. Skype -- especially in a WiFi hotspot -- provides a free live alternative that often sounds as good as the pricy apps.


Twitter is complementing and redefining my on-air and website reporting. I'll often break stories on Twitter, and follow-up with audio and website reports. Tweeting pictures and video has a faster upload time than emailing, so often the website will capture tweeted elements for inclusion on wtop.com. I'm very happy with the free version from Twitter Inc. My backup is TwitVid.

iPad + accessories

These days I also carry an iPad to take notes, while my iPhone is on a podium during a news conference. Before that, I liked the Apple Wireless Keyboard, which paired easily with the phone.

mic clip iphone.JPG

In attempting to reduce my load, I carry a few accessories. Because nobody makes a microphone clip for the iPhone, I jury-rigged one by super-gluing thin foam to a standard clip, which holds the phone snugly while preventing scratching. I also just purchased the Joby Gorilla for iPhone 4, which can be wrapped around other microphones on a podium.


So is it worth it? A year in, iPhone-only reporting isn't perfect. While audio editing works great, with the phone's built-in microphone I'd estimate the sound quality of my field reports is 92% as good as when I use bulky broadcast equipment. Getting better audio for my video is a real challenge. And if I ever have to cover a story from a subway tunnel or location where there's no WiFi or cell coverage, I won't be able to file until I resurface.

As digital equipment continues to morph I'm sure my tools will be substantially different within a few years. Every day, new applications open new opportunities for a reporter who's willing to work around the limitations of iPhone-only reporting while maximizing the benefits.

For the past 14 years, Neal Augenstein has been an award-winning reporter with WTOP-FM and wtop.com in Washington, D.C. He's the first major-market radio reporter to do all his field reporting on an iPhone. Neal is a frequent contributor to CBS News Radio. Born in Connecticut, he graduated from American University in Washington, with a degree in broadcast journalism. On Twitter, follow @NealAugenstein and @wtop.

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August 04 2010


Customer Support Face-Off: Nexus One Hell vs. Apple Heaven

When I finally purchased my first smartphone, Google's Nexus One, last March, I quickly declared myself a satisfied customer. I was easy to impress. Anything was a step up from a five-year-old Samsung with a pull-up antenna.

Like many, I dreamt of an iPhone, but was turned off by what I heard about AT&T's service. I waited in vain for the iPhone to be offered on a different network, and finally realized that day would not come anytime soon.

After reading the buzz about Android phones, particularly the Nexus One, I rationalized that holding out -- not joining the "Apple cult," as some call it -- was a smart move. I liked that Google and Nexus One attempted to change the system by offering an unlocked phone that enabled me to switch out SIM cards when traveling overseas with no annoying fees or wait times.

The one factor I neglected to put into the equation was customer service. Not until a few months later during a hit-and-run car accident would I realize its value.

Nexus One Envy

When friends with the iPhone 3GS watched my Nexus One snap beautiful photos with a flash, multi-task and miraculously take dictated texts and emails from the sound of my voice, they whined that they had "Nexus One envy." When I told them about T-Mobile's lower prices and good coverage, they cursed that they were locked into a network they despised. I felt like the wise, slow turtle that beat the hare by waiting for the right phone, the right philosophy and the right network.

Fast-forward four months. As I tweeted away while watching the World Cup final, my Nexus One's on/off button stopped working. I had dropped it before its failure, so it was probably my fault. Since I didn't purchase the phone at a store, I couldn't simply march in and have it repaired. I patiently navigated to HTC's Nexus One site and called the company from a friend's phone to ask how to proceed.

The HTC worker told me to send in the phone. They would look at it and email me to tell me how much the repair would cost. The whole process would take five to seven business days. They emailed a shipping label, and I was off.

I thought it would be an adjustment, yet a worthwhile social experiment, to be phone-less for a week. Maybe it would help me get back to basics, increase productivity and finally finish the book I'd been reading.

A few days later while driving, a drunk driver crashed into me in a hit-and-run. The social experiment was no longer fun. I found myself in the awkward position of not being able to give out my phone number to police, insurance companies or witnesses.

As if a technological curse had been cast on me, my brand-new 16-day-old MacBook Pro began acting funny, turning off for no reason. I brought it to the Apple Genius Bar, where they ran a diagnostic on it. They didn't find anything wrong with the computer.

"What do you want me to do?" asked the Apple employee I told him I would feel better if they exchanged it for a new one. With no further questions, that's exactly what he did, happily and promptly. He said, "We want to make you happy."

I couldn't believe it.

Apple vs. HTC Service: No Contest

My laptop problem was solved in a day, but my phone issue was still simmering. Over 12 days, I hotly pursued HTC for an update on my phone. After multiple phone calls with an average 30 minute wait time, they gave me conflicting reports. One representative said they mailed it back to me already; another told me they were moving locations so things were backed up. A call center supervisor tried to make me feel better: "The good news is that your phone has been scanned as received by the repair center."

Four times, they let me know that my case had been "escalated," meaning that within 24 hours, they would call me back and tell me what was going on. They never did. I saw myself getting worked up and angry, utterly frustrated.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix police department located the drunk driver who crashed into me in a fraction of the time it took HTC to find my phone. After five consecutive days of calling HTC (nearly two weeks after it left my possession), HTC sent my phone back to me, minus the back cover and with the on/off button still physically broken. At least it works now, even if it's cracked.

I can't imagine Apple mailing back a phone in such condition, leaving their customer to hold their product together with tape, as I now do with my HTC phone. And now that the Nexus One has been discontinued, I am sure HTC's customer service will get worse -- if that's even possible. I'm already in the market for a new phone. Full circle, I'm back to waiting for the iPhone to be offered on a different network.

Nexus One was a great idea in theory, but if you have no one reliable place to go to when it breaks, you are stuck with an expensive paperweight.

After these experiences, I realize that customer care is nearly as important as the device itself. As my friends who have updated to the new iPhone belly-up to the Genius Bar to get their free "bumpers," I'm the one with phone envy now. Call it a cult if it makes you feel better, but sign me up.

Michelle May is a San Francisco-based travel writer. She blogs here.

This is a summary. Visit our site for the full post ».

July 16 2010




A very interesting analysis about Apple shares from Mark Riddix.

In summary:

“Shares of Apple Inc. dropped to $250 today. Apple’s stock has been in a steady freefall over the past 3 weeks. Shares have fallen from the $270’s and the stock has trimmed over $15 billion dollars off of its market cap…

I think that the drop in Apple’s shares is not totally due to the glitch. Apple’s shares have followed a similar pattern after the introduction of the iPad, and previous generation iPhones. Investors bid the stock up ahead of the introduction of a new product and then dump the shares after the product launch. This strategy is creating a buying opportunity for smart investors.

While Apple may have to modify existing phones or give free bumper cases to iPhone users, the fundamental growth story at Apple still remains unchanged. Consumer demand is still extremely high for the iPhone 4G and the iPad. Apple is still on pace to earn over $16 per share next year. Apple is currently trading at a significantly discounted multiple to the company’s historical P/E of 32.

If the rumors are true about Verizon getting the iPhone, that would open up a whole new market for Apple. Analysts estimate that Apple could easily sell an additional 12 to 15 million iPhones in the first year alone…

Apple may be a $230 billion dollar company but the growth is alive and well. The P/E ratio at 15 is actually lower than the company’s projected growth rate of 16.5%. Apple deserves to trade at a premium valuation not a discounted one. Even if you attached the industry average P/E and multiply it by the average earnings estimate, Apple is worth at least $350 per share.

At $250 or below, Apple is definitely a buy.

Disclosure: I do not own shares of Apple.”

He is right.

(Picture by Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg)

July 15 2010


iPhone 4 a ‘serviceable web video camera in breaking news situations’

Len De Groot, from the Knight Digital Media Center, has a useful first-hand account of using the iPhone 4 for reporting news.

Having taken his new iPhone out with him at lunch to put its tools to the test, he agreed it would prove a valuable tool for reporters.

Suddenly, the iPhone can be a serviceable web video camera in breaking news situations or unplanned interviews. It allows you to shoot and edit video, add lower thirds and titles and upload directly to the web.

It will not replace professionals and professional equipment, however. It fits into “the best camera is the one you have on you” category.

In his post he discusses his experiences of audio quality, uploading a full HD video to quicktime and then getting the clips onto youtube and vimeo as viewing platforms.

See the full post here…

Related reading on Journalism.co.uk: iPhone 4 developments herald a mobile future for newsSimilar Posts:

July 14 2010



IMAGE 420 MB10_r160_01-1

Reading this post about the “silent recall” of an iPhone 4, an old true story came to my mind.

A friend in Barcelona (Spain) bought a 1954 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn Sports Saloon like the one in the picture above.

One day, the huge and imposing car stopped and my friend left the Rolls-Royce in the street, called to London and a nice voice just asked him about how to locate the car and his private address.

“Don’t worry, in a few hours one of our engineers will be in Barcelona and will fix the problem”

Oh, boy! That was good service.

Two days later he got another nice call from London and the message was: the car is ready in front of your home.

Our friend went to the street and there it was.

Shaning, like a new car… and working.

Well done!

But as he was waiting for the bill for many months, he decided to call again to London, asking for the bill.

To his surprise, another nice voice said to him without any doubt or consultation:

“A broken Rolls Royce? In Barcelona? I’m sorry Sir, but we don’t have any record that any Rolls-Royce, anywhere in the world had ever any problem. Thank you for your call.”

So perhaps Steve Jobs has decided to follow the old Rolls-Royce tradition.

July 13 2010



Steve Jobs and his iPhone 4-420x0

BP was late to respond, and now its shares are 40% down.

APPLE was late to respond to complains about the new iPhone 4 and now its shares are going down…

Here I am: being a fan of these two brilliant brands (I have been a longtime subscriber of CR and I am now a Which? one, that is the CR version in the UK), I am confronted like many people with this dilemma: who is right, who is wrong?

Well,I don’t ant doubt.

CR is right.

APPLE is wrong.

So, Steve Jobs, you better react quickly with a massive recall or you and your investors will suffer bigger losses.

This time, believe me, arrogance will cost APPLE a lot of money.

Don’t underestimate the power of Consumer Reports.

Independent consumer journalism rules!

Expect a radial response from APPLE in less than 48 hours.

June 28 2010


The Media Blog: Mail falls for fake Steve Jobs tweet

Daily Mail managers might need to invest in some social media lessons for their journalists. If  you haven’t already noted the paper’s impressive Twitter fail, in its research for a misguided article about the iPhone 4, read this.

Mashable also has an account; read it here.

The Daily Mail reported this morning than an iPhone 4 recall is underway, but don’t believe it; the UK publication’s source was a tweet from a fake Steve Jobs Twitter account. Apple hasn’t announced any plans to recall its new phone.

The original story (headline captured by Journalisted here) seems to have disappeared from the Mail’s site.Similar Posts:

June 11 2010


4 Minute Roundup: iPhone 4 vs. Android Phones

In this week's 4MR podcast I consider the new iPhone 4 announced by Apple, with a sleeker design, longer battery life, "retina display" and a front-facing camera for video calls. How will the iPhone stack up against popular Android phones such as the new 4G HTC Evo and the Motorola Droid? I talked with CNET associate editor Nicole Lee to discuss the pros and cons of the new iPhone.

Check it out:


>>> Subscribe to 4MR <<<

>>> Subscribe to 4MR via iTunes <<<

Listen to my entire interview with CNET's Nicole Lee:

nicole lee final.mp3

Background music is "What the World Needs" by the The Ukelele Hipster Kings via PodSafe Music Network.

Here are some links to related sites and stories mentioned in the podcast:

iPhone 4 vs. HTC Evo vs. Droid Incredible at Mashable

Sprint CFO - HTC EVO can take on iPhone 4 at News.com

Dialed In - iPhone 4 versus HTC Evo 4G at News.com

4 carriers and 4 super smartphones - which is your favorite? at ZDNet

HTC EVO 4G for Sprint Review at MobileCrunch

iPhone 4's 'Retina' Display Claims Are False Marketing at Wired News

iPhone 4 multitasking will disappoint at Computerworld

Apple previews iPhone OS 4, adds multitasking at Computerworld

Also, be sure to vote in our poll about choosing iPhone or Android:

iPhone or Android?survey software

Mark Glaser is executive editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab. He also writes the bi-weekly OPA Intelligence Report email newsletter for the Online Publishers Association. He lives in San Francisco with his son Julian. You can follow him on Twitter @mediatwit.

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June 07 2010


Apple’s impact: What Steve Jobs’ WWDC announcements mean for the news industry’s mobile strategy

Apple CEO Steve Jobs just stepped off the stage in San Francisco at this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference. His announcements focused squarely on the new iPhone 4, about which you’ll find no shortage of information at Apple’s site and elsewhere online.

But what do Apple’s announcements mean for the news industry, which increasingly looks to mobile product — Apple’s in particular — as a new delivery mechanism and (fingers crossed) a revenue driver? Here are five takeaways from Jobs’ keynote that will have an impact on news organizations.

Apple’s spate of satire- and morals-related rejections of apps rejected from the App Store appear to be a pretty low priority for the company.

Apple’s come under a lot of criticism from developers for how it manages its App Store, the major platform for reaching iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad owners. An Apple rejection can mean the investment of building an app is rendered worthless, and it’s not always clear why, precisely, an app is being rejected.

Here’s what Jobs had to say about the App Store approval process, paraphrasing from gdgt’s liveblog of the event:

We get about 15k apps submitted every week. They come in up to 30 different languages. Guess what: 95% of the apps submitted are approved within 7 days. What about the 5% that aren’t? Why don’t we approve them? Let me give you the three top reasons.

The number one reason: it doesn’t function as advertised. It doesn’t do what the developer says it does, so we tell the developer to change the app or the description.

The second reason: the developer uses private APIs. … If we upgrade the OS and the app breaks, we won’t have a happy customer.

And the third most frequent reason: they crash. If you were in our shoes, you’d be rejecting apps for the exact same reasons.

I just wanted to give you the facts — sometimes when you read some of these articles, you may think other stuff is going on.

Maybe number four was “violates Apple’s sense of morality,” and number five was “makes fun of powerful people.” But we don’t know that, because Jobs didn’t mention either. News orgs are fine with the technical guidelines he outlined, but App Store rejections based on rude editorial cartoons or an artfully bare nipple are harder for them to take.

Apple still has not done the obvious: state clearly what is allowed and what is not in terms of morals and satire. Not doing so, of course, maximizes Apple’s power because it can decide on a case-by-case basis. But it also means that content producers can’t have any confidence in the system, and open platforms like Android will have increasing appeal.

Apple’s become a big player in the ebook space very quickly — and that’s a space news orgs want to be in.

In the two months since the iPad launched — and with it Apple’s new ebook platform, iBooks — Apple has taken over a remarkable 22 percent of the ebook market. (That’s based on data from five of the six major publishing companies; the sixth, Random House, isn’t on the iPad.)

In one sentence, Jobs revealed more hard data about ebook sales than Amazon has in 2.5 years of the Kindle. (I exaggerate, but only slightly. Amazon still hasn’t unveiled any hard numbers on Kindle device or ebook sales. Maybe this will prompt them.)

Those Apple ebook sales are based on the 2 million iPads sold, which are the only Apple devices that have iBooks. But iBooks is coming to the iPhone and iPod touch later this month — around the same time Jobs said the 100 millionth iPhone OS device will be sold. In other words, iBooks’ momentum is about to get punched up.

I continue to maintain that ebooks are a huge potential opportunity for news organizations. Ebooks favor timeliness and quick turnarounds in a way that traditional print books can’t, and the digital format means that expectations for length are tossed aside. There’s not much of a print business model for a 50-page printed prose book — but there absolutely can be one for a 50-page ebook. And people feel comfortable paying for ebooks, much more so than for anything labeled “news.” A growing ebooks market with dueling distribution systems (Amazon and Apple) fighting over content is a good thing for news organizations.

Better mobile screen quality could be a push away from print.

The new iPhone 4 features four times the pixels of its predecessor in the same space, which Jobs promises creates images and text far crisper than ever before. The images on display at the demo looked really impressive. And while the iPhone appears to be in the lead now, undoubtedly its competition will catch up soon enough.

Pro: A better screen means more people will find using mobile devices more pleasant. That could lead to more use of news orgs’ apps and websites on them.

Con: A better screen limits the salience of one of print’s best selling points: higher visual quality. Jobs said 300 dpi is the limit for what the human eye can typically detect. Past iPhones have been at 162 dpi. The new iPhone 4 is 326 dpi — a level Jobs says is indistinguishable from print. (“Text looks like you’ve seen it in a fine printed book, unlike you’ve ever seen in an electronic display,” Jobs said, paraphrasing.) We’ll see about that, but newspapers and magazines are still a lot more effective monetizing print publications than digital ones, so devaluing one of print’s best qualities probably won’t help.

The “mobile” part of mobile video will increasingly mean editing, not just shooting.

Jobs unveiled a version of iMovie for the iPhone; a version for the iPad can’t be too far off, even though the iPad (currently) lacks a camera. There have been editing apps for video on the iPhone and other platforms before, but iMovie looked both powerful and relatively simply. Reporters in the field getting iPhone video will find it easier than ever to do their own edit before shipping it back to headquarters. I wouldn’t want to be Flip right now; the reasons to have a Flip in addition to a smartphone seem fewer now.

Even before launching, iAd is proving to be a big gorilla in the mobile display advertising space.

I’ve written about iAd before. It’s Apple’s new immersive, interactive advertising platform being offered up to iPhone developers to put into their apps. Today Jobs showed off a sample iAd, and the crowd seemed to like it.

But the most stunning datapoint was Jobs’ claim that iAd would take in 48 percent of the U.S. mobile display advertising business in the second half of 2010. Remarkable if true, although it’s derived from some questionable math (dividing Apple’s hard-dollar sales numbers into a JP Morgan estimate from the start of the year — see page 46 of that document for the origin). And mobile display advertising is only a small slice of overall mobile advertising — in the same report, SMS advertising is a $3.2 billion business and mobile search advertising is another $321 million.

But in any event, it’s a sign that Apple is here as a big player in yet another market. For large news organizations that could afford to do their own mobile ad sales, Apple’s probably a competitor. For smaller ones that would have a tough time breaking into the mobile ad game, getting 60 percent of iAd revenues — the share Apple is promising — might not be such a bad deal.

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