itune gift card discount 2014Generally, we’re pretty tuned in to events happening in the retail world. But once in a while, we find out we’ve been completely blind to something until it hits us directly. So it has been with what appears to be a massive and ongoing security breach in the iTunes store. Coupling this incident with the recent announcement by Walmart and Target that they are joining with roughly a two dozen other retailers to develop a mobile payment system has led me to write a piece that picks up where partner Nikki Baird’s piece leaves off. My short message is “Kids, don’t try this at home. Make sure something happens, but leave payment processing to the pros.”
I know the scent of a $660 billion market is intoxicating to retailers, and the notion of recouping just a single point ($6.6 billion) is nothing short of ambrosia, but there’s a whole lotta grief waiting to happen. And stellar reputations are at risk.
First, my iTunes hack story, which should help illustrate the point. I was at a party the first weekend in March and went to my iPhone to look something up. I discovered a new app had arrived on my phone that looked like the photo below.iTunes gift cards worth $200 are now sold on a Chinese Website for merely $3. But that's not a crazy sales promotion from Apple - - it's actually a group of Chinese hackers who broke Apple's gift certificate algorithm and are now using a key generator to sell bargain gift cards on the Internet.
The somehow legitimate gift cards are sold on Taobao, the biggest Ebay - like site in China. A $200 gift card can be bought for as little as $2.60 and the buyer gets a gift voucher code from the seller via Taobao's integrated instant messaging platform. The code can then be used to redeem the card from a user's iTunes account, according to Chinese blog Outdustry.
On Ebay U.S., $200 Apple iTunes Gift cards codes can be bought for as little $43, including a "free tutorial creating U.S. $ account." But Outdustry says the codes from China are so cheap because more people went into this business in the last six months and prices had go down. The Chinese code seller also said that he buys the gift card codes from hackers and then makes a profit once more codes are sold.
Because Apple has not yet commented on the matter, it is not known whether the codes generated by the Chinese hackers could give headaches to gift cards customers in the U.S. There is the possibility that the hacked codes could be present on legitimate $200 gift cards on the shelves right now and buyers could pay for an invalid card.
At the same time, if Apple decides to change the gift voucher code generation algorithm, all the cards and codes on the market right now would be rendered obsolete, putting the company in a tricky position. In the current situation, the only ones making money out of the hacked iTunes gift cards are the code sellers themselves and the artists who are still getting paid when their songs are bought on iTunes.Podcasts
The icon used by Apple to represent a podcast
Version 4.9 of iTunes, released on June 28, 2005, added built - in support for podcasts.
Users can subscribe to any podcast by entering its RSS feed URL, but also by browsing the podcast directory within the iTunes Store. The front page of this displays high - profile podcasts from commercial broadcasters and independent podcasters and allows searching by category or popularity. Once subscribed, the podcast can be set to download manually, or automatically — and as with other audio, content can be listened to directly or synced to a portable hardware device like an MP3 player.
The addition of podcasting functionality to such a widespread audio application like iTunes greatly helped podcasting enter the mainstream. Within days after iTunes 4.9 was released, podcasters were reporting that the number of downloads of their audio files had tripled, sometimes even quadrupled, and iTunes is considered the dominant podcast client.
Version 6 of iTunes introduced official support for video podcasting, although video and RSS support was already unofficially there in version 4.9.
Users can subscribe to RSS feeds through the iTunes Store or by directly entering the feed URL. Video podcasts can contain downloadable video files (in MOV, MP4, M4V, or MPG format), but also streaming sources and even IPTV.
Downloadable files can be synchronized to a video - capable iPod, or downloadable files and streams can be shown in Front Row.
iTunes offers the ability to create "Smart Playlists" that can be used to control which podcasts are in the playlist, using multiple criteria such as date, number of times listened to, type, etc. It is also possible to set up iTunes so that only certain playlists will be synced with the iPod. By using a combination of the two techniques, it is possible to control exactly which music and/or podcasts will be transferred to