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The AppAdvice Week In Review: The iTunes Festival At SXSW, Fitbit's Recall And More

The AppAdvice Week In Review: The iTunes Festival At SXSW, Fitbit's Recall And More

February 23, 2014
Our busy look back focuses on the first-ever iTunes Festival in the United States, the voluntary recall of the Fitbit Force, and much more.

Apple is hoarding sapphire glass for something

We learned this week that Apple may have enough sapphire glass to produce 4.5-inch displays for the next three years. This news came from Mark Shuttleworth, the chief executive officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu OS. Canonical, according to the CEO, was planning to release a 4.5-inch Ubuntu Edge handset, which would feature a sapphire glass display. “Apple just snapped up the entire 3-year supply of the same sapphire display we wanted for the Edge,” he said. As Joe White reported, "The comment from Canonical does stand in opposition with a report we shared yesterday, however. As we explained, the Taiwan-based Economic Daily News recently argued that Apple is indeed planning two larger handsets for late 2014, but claimed that only the bigger 5.7-inch model would benefit from a sapphire glass display." No one but Apple knows which story is true, of course. When added to previous reports suggesting the “iWatch” will also feature a sapphire glass display, one thing is certain. Apple will be releasing plenty of iOS devices in the coming years which feature the material.

The "Amazon TV" Is Coming

We learned that Roku and the Apple TV are about to get some serious competition, as Amazon is likely to launch its very own set-top box in March that will offer streaming Internet video. The so-called “Amazon TV” is will be powered by Google’s Android operating system, and no doubt allow users to access the company’s Video on Demand store. It should also come with its own app store so that content from other providers is also available to stream. The biggest question: What will this mean to the next-generation Apple TV? Perhaps nothing -- if Apple takes the advice of ReadWrite’s Dave Smith and makes the Apple TV something closer to Netflix. As Smith explained, and we noted:
Imagine this: For $10-12 a month, your Apple TV gives you total access to the entire iTunes Store. You get all the new movies and TV shows right after they air, and you can watch them as many times as you want. No more rental rules and restrictions. You still have the option to purchase these titles and keep them in your personal iTunes library, but your monthly fee just lets you stream those titles whenever you want.
Sounds good to me. What say you?

This one might hurt

Back in November, I gave a fairly positive review of the Fitbit Force, which I felt was a great step up from the Fitbit Flex. This week, Fitbit announced a voluntary recall on the Force when way too many users had developed rashes after wearing the device. At issue is the nickel present in the Force’s surgical grade stainless steel. Fitbit is offering a full refund to anyone with one of the wearable devices. They are also no longer offering the Force to new users. Both moves are appropriate. Like many of the 98.7 percent of Force users who haven’t had a problem with the device, however, I am torn on what to do going forward. I love my Force. It has become an essential tool for me to track my exercise routine and eating habits. I had also been waiting patiently for the new call features Fitbit had planned for the Force. Fitbit has been somewhat cagy about the future of the Force. Fitbit CEO James Park would only say “rest assured we’re working on our next-generation tracker and will announce news about it soon.” Reading between the lines, this suggests the Force’s days are numbered. That long-planned update? We can probably forget about it. Because of this, I’ll probably part with my beloved Force and take the cash. Time will tell whether I’ll wait for that “next-generation tracker” or go elsewhere.

The iTunes Festival at SXSW

For the first time in the history of the event, Apple will bring the iTunes Festival stateside. Featuring Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, and many others, the iTunes Festival at SXSW will run March 11-15 in Austin, Texas. First held in 2007, the iTunes Festival is sponsored by Apple and has usually been held at London’s historic The Roundhouse in North London. Past performers have included Adele, Paul Simon, and the late Amy Winehouse. In 2013, the free event featured Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and many others. Taking place at ACL at the Moody Theater, the iTunes Festival at SXSW will also feature Pitbull, Keith Urban, ZEDD, and other groups to be announced.

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Viral Video of the Week

First the first time, Apple's iTunes Festival is coming to the U.S. To celebrate this news, here's a look at Mumford & Son's amazing performance from the 2012 iTunes Festival in London:

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