All Things Apple Weekend Update – 5th July 2015

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Weekend Update is a weekly dose of All Things Apple. We curate the best Apple related articles that have been published throughout the week. These include news pieces, guides, editorials and even reviews. Here is this weeks curation of Apple related articles, by us and others that you cannot afford to miss –

All Things Apple Weekend Update – 5th July 2015

Apple Launches iOS 8.4 & Apple Music

Apple Releases OS X 10.10.4

Apple Releases iTunes 12.2 With Apple Music Support

Disconnect – Better Elevation

How to properly use “Likes” in Apple Music – The Loop

Zane Lowe, the D.J. Scratching Out Beats 1 for Apple – The NY Times

Wish List: Preview for iOS – Six Colors

 

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Apple Releases iTunes 12.2 With Apple Music Support

Yesterday Apple launched its Apple Music service with iOS 8.4, and although the company did also release OS X 10.10.4, this did not include an updated iTunes with support for Apple Music. That has changed now, with Apple releasing iTunes 12.2 for OS X Yosemite users, bringing desktop support for the new Apple Music service.

I think the delayed launch for OS X was most definitely intentional. Apple was probably trying to gauge the initial response for Apple Music and evaluate whether their servers would be able to handle the load.

As always, the update is available through the ‘Software Update’ tab within the Mac App Store.

Change-log

For You. Get playlist and album recommendations you’ll love, selected just for you based on your musical tastes. The more you listen, the better For You gets.

New. Discover the best new music, handpicked by our music editors. Explore mixes created just for activities like exercising, or find great handcrafted playlists in a wide variety of genres. With Apple Music, you’ll always have the perfect soundtrack for any occasion.

Connect. A single place to connect with your favorite artists. See thoughts, photos, music, and videos shared from your favorite artists. You can comment on or love anything an artist has posted, and the artist can respond to you directly.

Beats 1. Tune in to Beats 1, broadcast live from cities around the globe. Enjoy music, interviews, exclusive radio shows, and the best of what’s going on in the world of music. Beats 1 — worldwide and always on.

Apple Music Radio. Radio has been completely redesigned. Play from Featured Stations, where our music experts hand select every song you hear. Or, start a new station from any artist or song. In addition, it’s now easy to quickly return to your favorite stations with Recently Played.

My Music. Find all your music in one place, including iTunes purchases, music you’ve imported from CD, and now songs from Apple Music.

iTunes Store. The iTunes Store is still the best place to buy your favorite music — one song or album at a time.

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Apple Releases OS X 10.10.4

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Besides releasing the iOS 8.4 update, which is focused around Apple Music, Apple has also released OS X 10.10.4, which brings improvements to Photos migration, fixes for Mail, and fixes networking issues in OS X Yosemite.
As always, users can upgrade to the latest version by simply going into the ‘Updates’ tab within the Mac App Store app on OS X.
Changelog –
  • Improves networking reliability
  • Improves Migration Assistant reliability
  • Addresses an issue that prevented some external displays from functioning properly
  • Improves the reliability of upgrading iPhoto and Aperture libraries to Photos
  • Improves reliability when syncing photos and videos to iCloud Photo Library
  • Addresses an issue that could cause Photos to unexpectedly quit after importing some Lecia DNG files
  • Resolves an issue that could delay outgoing email messages in Mail
  • Fixes an issue where a website could prevent the user from navigating away by presenting repeated JavaScript alerts in Safari
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Apple Launches iOS 8.4 & Apple Music

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As per initial reports, Apple has just released an update to is mobile operating system. iOS 8.4 primarily brings support for Apple Music, which includes the Beats 1 radio station (which is expected to commence within an hours time).
Apple Music is a paid music streaming service built as a single thought encompassing music as a whole. The service will offer a personalised music streaming service, a platform for artists and fans to connect, as well the Beats 1 radio station.
I am extremely excited about Beats 1, which will be accessible for free for all users with an iTunes acount, will offer users around the world a 24/7 streaming music station led by former BBC DJ Zane Lowe. Beyond music, the station will also feature interviews and music sets from DJs, as well as appearences by influential musicians such as Elton John, Dr. Dre, Pharrell, and Drake. It all sounds a lot like stations such as KEXP or NPR.
A lot of people are critisizing the fact that Beats 1 will go live within just an hour of releasing iOS 8.4, which won’t offer adequate time for people to update and tune in for the launch. To me this comes across as a rather smart decision, considering the fact that Apple would not want to have glitches related to server loads during the launch of the service, and limiting the number of people listening to the service would help them tackle this issue.
As always, users can upgrade to iOS 8.4 OTA (Over the Air) or directly through iTunes. I will share more detailed thoughts later this week.
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All Things Apple Weekend Update – 28th June 2015

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Weekend Update is a weekly dose of All Things Apple. We curate the best Apple related articles that have been published throughout the week. These include news pieces, guides, editorials and even reviews. Here is this weeks curation of Apple related articles, by us and others that you cannot afford to miss –

All Things Apple Weekend Update – 28th June 2015

WWDC 2015: Thoughts on Apple Music

On Swift (Taylor) and Apple Music

App Updates & New Releases: Shazam Adds Support for Apple Music

Our favorite pro writing app for Mac – The Sweet Setup

A Business Vision That Steve Jobs Would Envy – Forbes

Flir releases updated thermal imaging camera for iOS; Android on the way – TNW

Tim Cook’s Apple is the Apple we need – MacWorld

Where are Maps going? – Asymco

Everyone in Buenos Aires Is Communicating by Voice Memo Now – Motherboard

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App Updates & New Releases: Shazam Adds Support for Apple Music

Apple Music will be launching this coming Tuesday, on the 30th of June. The service will be offered free-of-cost to users for the initial 3-months, post-which it will Apple will charge customers $9.99 for individual plans and $14.99 for families.With the launch of Apple Music just around the corner, popular song recognition app Shazam just gave themselves a first-movers-advantage by releasing an update that brings support for Apple Music. Users will now be able to listen to any track they discover on Shazam on the Apple Music service.

Here is the complete changelog –

Shazam is ready for the launch of Apple Music on June 30! As you discover music, tap the Apple Music button to experience it all for three months, free.

While you’re there, make sure you don’t miss… 
• Shazam counts! We’ll now tell you exactly how many people have Shazamed each and every track.
• Easier playlisting. Tap the icon in the top right to add the track to your Spotify or Rdio playlists, or to pop it into My Shazam.

Want to know more about the artist you’ve just Shazamed? Tap the artist link on the track page and get top tracks and videos.

Tap Follow next to any artist’s name to get the latest updates straight to your app: new singles, albums, videos and more.

Download Shazam by going here.
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On Swift (Taylor) and Apple Music

Taylor Swift wrote an open letter to Apple in which she critisized the company for not paying writers, producers, or artists for the three months during which it will be offering Apple Music free of charge to customers.

Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing. I say this with love, reverence, and admiration for everything else Apple has done. I hope that soon I can join them in the progression towards a streaming model that seems fair to those who create this music. I think this could be the platform that gets it right.

But I say to Apple with all due respect, it’s not too late to change this policy and change the minds of those in the music industry who will be deeply and gravely affected by this. We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.

Almost within hours of this open letter being published, Apple went ahead and did exactly that – it changed its stance on paying artists for the three months of trial. Apple will pay rights holders for the entire three months of the trial period. It won’t be the same rate that Apple is paying them after free users become subscribers, since Apple is paying out a percentage of revenue once subscribers start paying. Instead, Apple will pay rights holders on a per-stream basis.

As a musician, I was pretty dissapointeed to learn about this as well. That being said, I am extremely impressed by Apple’s response towards the entire issue. It shows the humility with which Apple operates – despite being the most valuable corporation in the world, the company is human enough to accept its mistake and take a corrective measure.

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WWDC 2015: Thoughts on Apple Music

Apple Music

We’ve been trying to cover Apple events with a slightly different approach lately. Starting last year we decided not to cover Apple’s live events in the same way we used to, because we were certain that most of our readers probably watched it along with us. For a few of those who didn’t, we feel the best place to find out what was introduced, is through Apple’s very own website. So instead of writing about what was announced, we want to share information that won’t be there on Apple’s website. Following up on our piece on key numbers from the keynote, we will be sharing our thoughts on stuff Apple touched upon during the keynote and the conference.

Apple Music

The part of the WWDC keynote I was most looking forward to as a songwriter and musician was the part where they introduced the new Apple Music service. I wouldn’t call everything that preceded the Apple Music announcement lacklustre, but at the same time it wasn’t something that made me jump out of my chair either. So its fair to say that I had high expectations from the Apple Music segment of the WWDC keynote. Here are some of my key observations on it –

Presentation Woes

When the slide behind Tim Cook read “One More Thing” I was very excited, for the first time during the keynote, I felt anxious, I couldn’t wait to see what Apple had under their sleeves. The highlight of the entire segment in my opinion was the moment when Iovine got on stage, and started talking about the way Steve Jobs changed the music industry forever with iTunes and then talked about the problems Apple Music solves. The video that followed was incredible, I thought to myself – this is exactly what musicians or even just people who love music need, one place to share and discover great music by small and big artists, in all of its artistic glory.

The last moment of excitement for me was when Iovine described Apple Music in the following three ways – a revolutionary music service, a first ever 24/7, live, worldwide radio station, and a platform that connects fans with artists (this was quite reminiscent of the iPhone launch). Beyond that point, in terms of the presentation, everything went down hill. Don’t get me wrong, I think that Apple Music is indeed a very well thought approach to not just music consumption, but rather music as a whole. But the way the entire segment was presented, beyond that point was embarrassing to say the least. Eddy Cue’s entire bit seemed redundant, and it was completely focused on the insignificant details of the Apple Music service, until the point he talked about the Beats 1 Radio and Connect. But whatever momentum that was regained by talking about Beats Radio and Connect, was completely fizzed out by Drake. I for the life of me couldn’t see the point Drake was trying to make, or what it had to do with Apple Music. What I would’ve expected is him talking about the kind of ways he plans to engage with his fans using Connect, and not just give a rundown for it. Overall I think the presentation was a mess, even though the message had a lot of depth and I think Apple has done something very interesting, the message in my opinion got very diluted in the confusing manner in which Apple chose to present it.

Connect: Count me in

As a songwriter and musician, the possibility of having my music featured on the worlds most popular online music store gets my heart pumping. On the flip side, from a music lovers perspective, to be able to stay in touch with the musicians I listen to in one single place also seems pretty fascinating. Things like behind the scenes shots into the studio, or lyrics to songs, or just fun videos from tours are all great ways for artists to connect with their fans.

Some of my favorite artists, such as FKA Twigs, Pharrell, and Alabama Shakes, were featured during the segment on Connect, and I can’t wait to check this feature out. One could argue that all that Connect offers are the capabilities of individual social media services such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube put together. Sure, there will be people who would prefer to visit all of these networks separately, but for me, to be able to access all of the above information in the same app as the one in which I am playing their music seems more seamless and intuitive.

Subscription and Radio

I had originally subscribed to Beats when it launched last year, and was instantly sold by the concept of a no-advertisement, curated by humans, radio service. I’m even more in love now, with the idea of the Beats 1 service – which is essentially a live (streamed simultaneously to 100 countries) 24-7 global radio station, broadcasting out of London, New York, and Los Angeles. I think what sets the service apart is the cultural impact it stands to make. As Apple puts it – this radio service boasts something that others don’t, a whole lot of soul. Instead of just being focused on playing an endless stream of music based on genres, or BPM, and algorithms, the service is powered by humans, it’s powered by popular radio personalities (such as Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden, and Julie Adenuga) who will go beyond just playing music, and will feature interviews, guest hosts, and more. To me it sounds a lot like radio stations like NPR and KEXP, but more integrated into the entire Apple ecosystem.

Beyond the radio service itself, the ability to have a catalogue of over 30 million songs ready to stream on demand sounds like a dream come true to me. When Steve Jobs introduced the iPod to the world, he touted its ability to store 1000 songs in your pocket. With Apple Music, Apple has stretched that number to 30 million. All of this at $9.99 is a bargain if you ask me.

Conclusion

I think that Apple Music is getting a lot of unwarranted bad-rep (exhibit A & B). I personally think that the only thing horrible about the service is how Apple chose to present it. I love the social aspect of Connect, I’m super excited about the cultural impact Beats 1 could make, and on paper the Apple Music service seems to be offering a lot for an industry standard price-point.

Haters gonna hate.

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WWDC 2015: Key Numbers

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Starting last year we decided not to cover Apple’s live events in the same way we used to, because we suspect that most of our readers watched it along with us. For a few of those who didn’t, we think that the best place to find out what was introduced, is through Apple’s very own website.

So instead of writing about what was announced, we want to share information that won’t be there on Apple’s website. Here’s a collated list of key numbers from Apple’s WWDC 2015 keynote –

General Facts

  • 26th WWDC conference with attendees from 70 countries, out of which 80% are first-time attendees. The conference boastss 100+ developer sessions, 150+ labs with 1000+ Apple engineers
  • The App Store has crossed 100 Billion app downloads
  • Apple has paid out $30 billion to developers
  • The App Store reached 50 million users in only 17 months, as compared to 100 years for electricity, and 13 years for the television
  • 98% of all Fortune 500 companies have an iOS app
  • There are 195,000 educational apps in the App Store
  • The average person has 119 apps
  • There are 850 apps downloaded every second

OS X

  • Adoption rate for OS X Yosemite touched 55% in 8 months (in comparison with 7% for Windows 8). This is the fastest adoption rate for any PC operating system ever
  • 1.4x improvement in app launching
  • 2x improvement in app switching
  • 2x improvement in loading first email
  • 4x faster when it comes to opening PDF in preview
  • 50% improvement in rendering efficiency
  • 10x improvement in “Draw call performance”

iOS

  • 83% adoption rate for iOS 8 (in comparison to 12% for the latest Android OS)
  • Siri now serves 1 billion requests per week
  • It is also 40% more accurate over the last year
  • 2,500 banks now support Apple Pay
  • This fall Apple Pay will come to 50 million Discover users
  • Apple Pay to soon be supported at more than 1 million U.S. locations
  • 2x increase in checkout conversion rate attributed to Apple Pay
  • Apple Pay U.K. launch to take place with 8 popular banks in the region with more to follow, which should enable Apple to support 70% of the credit and debit cards used in U.K.
  • Apple Pay will launch with 250,000 locations
  • 5 billion user requests per week for the Maps app
  • Usage is 3.5x higher than the next most used mapping app
  • 1.6X improvement in animation and scrolling and a 50% reduction in time for drawing
  • Addition of 1 hour of typical use on an iPhone
  • The new low power mode can extend the iPhone’s battery life by an additional 3 hours
  • iOS 9 will support all 15 devices that were supported by iOS 8
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Apple Ranked 5th in Fortune 500 List

Earlier today, Fortune published its annual ranking of the top U.S. corporations. The ranking dominantly takes into consideration the total revenue earned by companies, but also provides details on profit, assets, employees, and market value. Apple has retained its 5th spot in the rankings for the second consecutive year.
There are a couple of things worth noting –
  1. In just five years, Apple has climbed more than fifty spots to reach its 5th rank (Apple was ranked 5th back in 2010). I think this is a testament towards the impact of the iPhone and the iPad.
  2. If we consider profit instead of revenue, Apple tops the list. I personally think that profitability is definitely a more relevant factor when it comes to defining the success of a company rather than revenue. Would you rather turn $100,000 in revenue with $50,000 in gross profit or $1,000,000 in revenue with $35,000 in gross profit?
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