How House of Cards helped one phone app jump up the charts

Spoiler alert: In episode 5 of the Netflix original series House of Cards, the U.S. President plays the mobile game Monument Valley. I’m sorry to have ruined the series for you with that big news, but truth be told, it is big news — and big business — for the developers behind the game.


Why is that? Because viewers of episode 5 hit both the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store like a gale force wind late to a storm and downloaded Monument Valley. And we know that thanks to appFigures; a mobile app reporting company that took a smart look at how the product placement would impact game sales.

On its blog, appFigures explains that it watched both app store charts and saw Monument Valley enjoy a steep rise on both mobile platforms five hours after the new House of Cards season debuted. What’s the significance of five hours? The game appeared in episode 5, so the House of Cards faithful who tuned in as soon Season 3 debuted saw it five hours after they started their binge watching.


To be honest, Monument Valley was already successful, having quickly become a top game on phones and tablets not long after it debuted last year. I broke out my wallet and spent $3.99 for the unique 3-D maze-like puzzler with a compelling storyline, for example.

Monument Valley

But clearly, not everyone has heard about Monument Valley and you can’t dispute the impact House of Cards has had, moving the game back up the charts for top paid and top grossing games.

First generation Apple TVs unable to connect to iTunes store since Thursday

First generation Apple TVs(S appl) have lost their ability to connect to iTunes, according to a 25-page-long thread on Apple’s support forum. Users report they cannot connect to the iTunes store to download or stream movies, TV shows and podcasts, although most internet functions, such as Youtube, are working. The issue appears to be widespread and worldwide, implying an issue on Apple’s backend. Users first noticed the issue last Thursday. Apple has yet to state whether this is a temporary glitch or an intentional change to functionality. The first generation Apple TV was released in 2007 and sold until 2010. The glitch does not affect the second or third generation models.

I wish I had a hobby like this: Apple TV revenues top $1B in 2013

Although Apple considers it just a hobby, its Apple TV and related content is generating big revenues: Sales topped $1 billion in 2013. With a current $25 promotion for Apple TV, is the connected set-top box about to graduate from hobby status with new hardware?

Defending the Apple way

The crux of the government’s case against Apple is that it acted as the “ringmaster” of a conspiracy among the publishers to raise the price of ebooks above what Amazon was selling them for. But what the government calls a conspiracy in restraint of trade, Apple calls standard operating procedure for entering a concentrated media market.

Facebook: Social trumps searching for mobile apps

Finding what you want in a sea of mobile applications can be a frustrating and exhausting process. Facebook wants to remind mobile developers that it has a lot of users and that discovering new things is a huge part of the Facebook experience.

Apple to buy Hollywood? Not a chance.

Could Apple spend its $100 billion in cash to create a virtual cable operator to compete with Comcast and the like? Sure. But it would have a really hard time offering a competitively priced service and building a profitable business out of it.

Apple’s textbooks see 350,000 downloads in 3 days: Will it last?

Apple’s new iBooks digital textbooks initiative has seen 350,000 downloads in just three days, according to new info. That’s a strong start for Apple’s expanded educational offerings, but the real question will be whether that can translate into long-term success.

Do we want textbooks to live in Apple’s walled garden?

Apple’s new textbook offering and book-authoring software are attractive, and the idea of digital textbooks makes sense, but they are both locked to Apple’s walled-garden ecosystem. That may be fine for music and movies and games like Angry Birds, but is it appropriate for educational material?

Hands on with Apple’s iTunes U: An education

In university, I used a single clipboard/portfolio to store my notes from every class, then mostly piled the day’s work on the floor according to subject matter. Apple’s iTunes U app makes keeping track of course material ridiculously easy compared to my days of academic foraging.