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Apple Watch launches in New Zealand, Turkey, and Russia

Today, 12:37 AM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

The Apple Watch has made its way to three new countries today, officially becoming available for purchase at Apple Stores in New Zealand, Turkey, and Russia. Apple CEO Tim Cook took to celebrate, noting that the company saw a great turnout in Istanbul for the launch:

Hello Istanbul! A great turnout for the launch of Apple Watch in Turkey today. pic.twitter.com/8J9fUxaFNi

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) July 31, 2015

The Apple Watch originally launched on April 24 to a small set of countries. However, as the strain on supply has eased a bit, we've seen the product launch in a number of other countries over the last month or so. Earlier this month, we also learned that the Apple Watch will become available for purchase at Best Buy stores in early August for the U.S., and a week later in Canada.

If you live in one of today's launch countries and just picked up an Apple Watch, be sure to check out our ultimate guide to setting up and using the Apple Watch.





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Apple, BMW, may revive talks for Apple Car partnership at...

Yesterday, 08:18 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News
Despite a recent report that indicated that the two had entered into a partnership, it seems that Apple and BMW have made no agreements regarding the development of a car. While last week's report suggested that talks were recent, it seems like talks between the companies have actually been on hold for some time now.
During a visit to BMW's Leipzig factory last year, Apple executives reportedly took interest in how the automaker manufactures its i3 electric vehicles. BMW was also apparently willing to talk about licensing parts. But for now, Apple apparently wants to go its own way, according to Reuters:

The dialogue ended without conclusion because Apple appears to want to explore developing a passenger car on its own, one of the sources said.

That said, both companies are said to be open to resuming talks for a potential partnership.
Apple is said to have been working on a major automotive project, dubbed the Apple Car by many, under the Project Titan moniker. The rumored vehicle is said to be electric and self-driving, with Apple targeting a 2020 release.
Source: Reuters





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Your August Smart Lock can now be controlled from your Ap...

Yesterday, 07:06 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

August has updated its app for controlling the company's Smart Lock, adding support for the Apple Watch. Using the Apple Watch app, you can operate your lock, receive notifications if your door is unlocked, and view recent activity.
Here's everything you'll get in the August Smart Lock Apple Watch app:

This release of the August iOS app includes support for the Apple Watch. Using the Watch app, you can operate your August Smart Lock and view its logs. In addition, this release includes improvements to connection speed and reliability, and general bug fixes.

You can download the latest update to the August Smart Lock app from the App Store now.





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Audio Hijack 3.2 boosts the power of Time Shift with bett...

Yesterday, 06:24 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News


Rogue Amoeba's Audio Hijack has received a new major update with version 3.2, adding several major enhancements to features like Time Shift, session import and export, and more. This release of Audio Hijack also offers general support for OS X El Capitan.

The biggest update in Audio Hijack 3.2 is the update to the Time Shift Block. The interface for Time Shift now has controls for skips of 3, 10, and 30 seconds. Time Shift can also now be triggered from any app thanks to its new global keyboard shortcut, and you can also create hotkeys for pausing, resuming, jumping forward or back 10 seconds, or jumping to the live audio.

Check the list below for some of the other major improvements and additions to Audio Hijack 3.2:

  • Major Enhancement: The Import and Export of Sessions has been greatly improved. Share Sessions with friends via the Session menu. Export your own Sessions to share, or import Sessions from others!
  • Major Enhancement: The new Peak/RMS Meters Block provides precisely calibrated monitoring, with both RMS and Peak meters, a peak hold line, and a clip indicator.
  • Major Enhancement: The new Sync Block lets you add a precise delay to the audio, of up to 1000 ms (1 second), per Block.
  • Major Enhancement: The Instant On component has been updated to version 8.1, with initial support for Mac OS X 10.11 (El Capitan).

There are also some more minor enhancements in this release. FLAC files now have full support for tags, popover positions are now remembered and restored on relaunch, and the Block library has added an Advanced section. There are also fixes for several bugs.

Audio Hijack 3.2 is a free update to existing users, while new customers can purchase and download the app from Rogue Amoeba's website right now.





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How to clean up your Mac's desktop

Yesterday, 06:00 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News


Don't leave your Mac desktop untidy and cluttered—clean it up today!

Most of us have a tendency to use our Mac desktops as a dumping ground, saving files there that we access frequently; unfortunately, those files can pile up, turning your desktop into a hot mess. As such, this is your Friday reminder to do yourself a favor and take a few minutes to clean up your Mac desktop. And use these tips to keep it tidy in the future!

1. Organize desktop items into folders

You can keep your desktop from becoming a mound of files by grouping your documents and images into folders. Folders make it easier to keep track of related items, and they look nicer than random assortments of files over your desktop picture.

  1. Open the Finder.
  2. Click on the File menu.
  3. Select New Folder. (Alternately, hold down the command and shift keys and type n.)

  4. That will create a new folder on your Desktop. Name the folder.
  5. Drag the files you'd like to include in the new folder.
  6. Alternatively, you can select files on the Desktop you'd like to group together, then go to the File menu and choose New folder with selection to create a new folder that includes those items.
2. Align and sort desktop items automatically

You can also have the Finder align and sort items to keep any documents and folders you do have looking nicer and neater. You can do this by going to Finder > View and using the Clean Up and Sort By options.

  1. Open the Finder.
  2. Select the View menu.
  3. Click on Clean Up By.

  4. Options include cleaning up by name, kind, date created, date modified, size and tags. Select the criterion you'd like to clean up the icons by; the Finder will do the rest.

  5. Open the Finder.

  6. Select the View menu.
  7. Select Sort By to automatically sort items on the desktop by the criteria you set. If the icons have gone a bit askew, select Snap to Grid to get them to fall into a geometric pattern.


You can also adjust the size of the icons, spacing of the grid and other settings.

3. Customize desktop view options in the Finder
  1. Open the Finder.
  2. Select the View menu.
  3. Select Show View Options. (Alternately, hold down the command key and type j.)
  4. You can adjust icon size from small to large, adjust grid spacing, increase or decrease the size of label text and its position on the bottom or the right of the icon, and other criteria.

Any questions?

Hopefully this helped you clean out those digital desktop cobwebs! If you're having trouble, just drop a note in the comments and we'll look into it.





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Yes, iCloud Music Library has metadata-matching issues, b...

Yesterday, 05:21 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News


Matching songs is hard, and Apple Music's not doing too well with it. But you can keep it from messing up your library pretty easily.

Earlier this week, Kirk McElhearn posted a rather-worrying article about iCloud Music Library's "matching" algorithms.

As you might know, Apple offers the iCloud Music Library service as part of Apple Music and iTunes Match. This scans your Mac's music library and attempts to do two things: "match" tracks in your library with songs in the Apple Music or iTunes Store catalog (which catalog depends on which service you're subscribed to), and upload songs it can't match directly to iCloud.

From McElhearn:

If you've used iTunes Match in the past, you may know that it matches music using acoustic fingerprinting, which means that iTunes scans the music, and matches it to the same music. It doesn't matter what tags files have: you could have, say, a Grateful Dead song labeled as a song by 50 Cent, and iTunes Match will match the Grateful Dead song correctly...

Apple Music, however, works differently. It does not use the more onerous (in time and processing power) acoustic fingerprinting technique, but simply uses the tags your files contain. And it can lead to errors.

This means that by changing metadata on a track, you may be able to "fool" Apple Music into matching it with a different track in your iCloud Music Library.

Does this suck? Yep. It's also likely a bug, and I have no doubt that the folks at Apple are well aware of it and working hard to make sure it happens as infrequently as possible—preferably not at all.

I can't reproduce it in my iTunes Match/AM hybrid library, or my boyfriend's Apple Music-only library

I have both an iTunes Match and Apple Music subscription, and decided to duplicate McElhearn's testing to see if I could get the same results. Answer: Not really.

I used my auxiliary MacBook Pro which has a handful of local songs; most are stored in iCloud Music Library, matched with my desktop iMac.

I did this test three times for both a matched and uploaded track: First, I saved a copy of an AC/DC track that iTunes Match had matched to my desktop and reuploaded it to iTunes as The Weeknd's "Can't Feel My Face"; upon local deletion and redownload, the track remained AC/DC's music, though it kept the erroneous metadata I'd assigned it.

For the uploaded track, I added a 7-minute voice test I did for The Incomparable Radio Theatre on the Air, and labeled it as Foreigner's Juke Box Hero. Interestingly, when I first uploaded the track to iCloud, it very briefly matched as Apple Music; when I deleted it from my hard drive, however, the track reverted to showing as "Uploaded" in my iTunes library, and upon redownload, played the same 7-minute test as before. On redownload I did get pretty Foreigner album art, however.

Update: I also ran these tests three times on my boyfriend's Apple Music-only library, with both an uploaded Incomparable track and an Apple Music-matched Billy Joel song (trying to transform it into a Weeknd song). No mis-matching.

What does this mean?

Likely what I've been saying about Apple Music, iCloud Music Library, and Match from the start: Matching tracks is hard, and if you're trying to trick a complicated system, or have unique tracks that Apple's never scanned before, you're likely not going to be too happy. Unfortunately, I suspect this is the nature of the matching game—doing this on such a large scale requires active user testing, and that means bugs and mistakes.

From my tests, it looks as though Apple is still using acoustic fingerprinting for iTunes Match accounts, but may be augmenting this with metadata matching for Apple Music. I wouldn't be surprised if, due to the whole "having to connect to the Internet" thing, Apple Music's metadata matching occasionally happens before iTunes Match's fingerprinting; if you happen to immediately delete your track as it's processing, you may wind up accidentally with an Apple Music track.

And yes: On this, Apple has failed. iCloud Photo Library was very smartly released as a beta, because of similar syncing issues and testing that needed to happen. iCloud Music Library wasn't, nor was it released with comprehensive documentation or even a warning to back up before upgrading. As a result, quite a few people have seen their home music libraries show up as bizarro copies on their auxiliary devices; those who don't have backups are even worse off.

That's devastating to both users and Apple. There are so many great things about iCloud Music Library and Apple Music, but right now, they're getting overwhelmed on social media and in the press by users having serious issues with their libraries and apps. Songs that mis-match, albums that won't download, buttons that don't work. Every time the service errors, people feel less-inclined to trust Apple with their cloud data, and consider alternatives that may be more stable, but not as secure. It's a shame.

I'm nervous now. Should I not use iCloud Music Library?

That largely depends on your library and what's in it. If you mostly have purchased tracks and ripped songs from studio albums, you should be fine with iCloud Music Library—but make a backup just in case. Remember: iCloud Music Library is, ultimately, making a secondary copy with its matching and uploading. You'll get these matched and uploaded copies when you download tracks on secondary devices, but it shouldn't mess with tracks local to your hard drive. And please: Do not use iCloud Music Library as your backup. It was never designed as a backup service.

Shouldn't and doesn't, however, are two different things, and as I said before—matching is hard. So if you have a history of problems with your Mac's iTunes library and you're concerned about iCloud Music Library messing up your tracks, it's simple: Just don't use it.

For those that are having problems—either matching or otherwise—turning off iCloud Music Library and restoring from a local backup of your music should bring everything back to normal. I made a really handy guide last week for people who want to use Apple Music without iCloud Music Library, which details a few different ways you can set up your devices to prevent your primary library from getting screwed up.

Still concerned?

Make a backup. Turn off iCloud Music Library. Check our our troubleshooting guide. Call Apple. Or ping us in the comments if you're confused about this whole thing and this didn't help straighten it out.

Updated 2:07PM EDT to add tests on an AM-only library.





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How to make Apple Music's Connect not suck

Yesterday, 05:00 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News


Can't figure out how to use Connect? Don't panic: We're here to help.

In theory, Apple Music's Connect is a wonderful part of the service: It lets you view and hear new images, videos, songs, playlists, interviews, and blogs from your favorite musicians, DJs, and Apple Music curators.

"But..." I've had some people say. "I'm not following anyone I want to. How do I follow Imogen Heap? How do I hear the St Vincent's show form Beats 1 everyone's talking about?"

Good news: Apple may not have made it obvious, but following people on Connect (and unfollowing them) is easy: All you have to do is search for the artist, DJ, or show you want to listen to.

How to find artists and Beats 1 DJs on Connect On your iPhone or iPad
  1. Open the Music app.
  2. Tap the Search icon in the upper right corner and type in the artist, DJ, or show you're looking for.
  3. Scroll to Curators/Artists and select the person or show in question.

  4. Tap the Follow button to start following them on Connect.
On your Mac
  1. Open iTunes and click the New tab.
  2. Click on the Search bar in the upper right corner and type in the artist, DJ, or show you're looking for.

  3. Scroll to Curators/Artists and select the person or show in question.
  4. Tap the Follow button to start following them on Connect.


How to view your Connect stream

In iTunes on your Mac or the Music app on your iPhone, click or tap the Connect tab. This tab displays recent posts from all the artists, curators, DJs, and shows you're following, from newest to oldest.


How to view a specific artist, curator, DJ, or show on Connect

If you want to see a specific artist's page, all you need to do is tap on their name from your Connect stream, or search for them by name.


Once you've found the page you want, you have a few options for interacting with the page. You can: - choose to follow or unfollow the artist, curator, DJ, or show - share a link via email, messages, Twitter, or Facebook - Check out the page's Featured music (which can contain Connect-only music and playlists), Playlists, or Connect-only content.

How to share a post from Connect

If you see a post on Connect you want to share with the world, all you need to do is tap or click the Share button. From there, you can copy the link or share it via email, Twitter, Facebook, or Messages.

How to download a Connect track to your iCloud Music Library

You may not have known this, but you can download any content on Connect labeled a "Song": This includes actual songs, interviews, or even full Beats 1 shows. The option is slightly hidden, but here's how to find it.

On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
  1. Open the Music app and tap the Connect tab.
  2. Tap the song in question you want to download to start playing it.

  3. Tap on the More ellipses icon, then tap Add to My Music.
On your Mac
  1. Open iTunes and select the Connect tab.
  2. Click on the song in question that you want to download to start playing it.
  3. Tap on the More ellipses icon, then tap Add to My Music.


Still have questions on Connect? Let us know in the comments and we'll try our best to answer them.





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How to permanently delete your Snapchat account

Yesterday, 04:42 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News


Snapchat is fun, fast, and super-popular, but it's not for everyone all the time. And that's okay.

Snapchat can be really fun for sending quick snaps to your friends or looking at specialty content like the Beats 1 DJs being silly. But it's not for everyone.

If you made a Snapchat account and you've decided that you're done, you can permanently delete your account in just a few easy steps using a web browser. (Sadly, you can't delete your account right from the Snapchat app for iPhone.) Deleting your account ensures that you'll no longer be able to see or receive any new snaps from fellow Snapchat users.

How to permanently delete your Snapchat account
  1. Go to https://support.snap.../delete-account in any web browser. You can even use Safari on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Enter your Snapchat username and password.
  3. Check the box confirming you aren't a robot.
  4. Click on Submit.

  5. Re-enter your password on the next page
  6. Click on Delete My Account.

Just remember that once you delete your account, there's no going back. If you want to make sure it's really deleted, just attempt to log in using your old credentials. If it's gone, there'll be no way to log back in.

Ally Kazmucha contributed to an earlier version of this article.





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The best word games for iPhone and iPad

Yesterday, 04:04 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News


Hone your grammar and spelling skills in this collection of iOS word games.

Whether you're an anagram master, a spelling sensation, or a grammar wizard, you'll find something to pique your curiosity in these iOS games that reward those gifted at language arts. Many of these games even include support for the Apple Watch, in case you want to play with words on the go.

1. Alphabear

You've probably seen the adorable fuzzy faces of Alphabear splashed across all of your social media platforms lately, but you may not know that the game itself is actually a tricky Boggle-like word game. It's free, but you can kick the developer $5 for "infinite honey" if you don't want to wait around to unlock more levels.

2. Sleep Furiously


Sleep Furiously game generates a cloud of words that the player must connect into a grammatical sentence, no matter how nonsensical; the resultant word strings are even better than my favorite dream memories. The screenshot above features my own favorite in-game creation.

3. Words With Friends

This old standard is pretty much Scrabble, but without the price tag that comes with the official branding. Every word game aficionado already knows about this game, but it's been a while since we all got Words With Friends fever, so you may not know that the game now has Apple Watch support.

4. Letterpad

Anagram games abound in the iOS space, but Letterpad is one of the best, featuring a clean design, user-created puzzles, and even Apple Watch support.

5. Moxie


You'll want to watch Moxie's short tutorial video before you play, given that it's a completely original word game — unlike the plethora of copy-cats and knock-offs in the word gaming world. This game encourages you to fine-tune your memory skills when it comes to spelling and word recognition; it requires you to place one letter per round to build up words or modify existing words, piece by piece.

Your favorites?

Which word games are your favorites, be they old standards like Crosswords or new indie sensations? Share your picks with us.





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New music on iTunes: Albums from Migos and Lianne La Hava...

Yesterday, 03:55 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

Every Friday, the iTunes Store adds new music to its lineup. This week, there's new music from Migos, Lianne La Havas, and Buddy Guy, and discounts on albums produced by Apple Records.


This week in new music, there's Yung Rich Nation, the latest album hip-hop group Migos. We also have a new album from Lianne La Havas, Blood. Legendary blues artist Buddy Guy has also released a new album, Born to Play Guitar. Pop group One Direction has also released a new single, Drag Me Down.

Store customers can currently grab a number of albums from Apple Records, the label originally founded by The Beatles. This includes Come and Get It: The Best of Apple Records. Albums on offer include music from James Taylor, Billy Preston, and more.

There are a couple of new items up for pre-order this week. First, we have The Story of Sonny Boy Slim from Gary Clark Jr., which is expected on September 11, 2015. There are also two deluxe edition albums coming from Paul McCartney. First, there's a new version of 1982's Tug of War, as well as 1983's Pipes of Peace. Both albums are expected on October 2.

Check back next week for more great music from the iTunes Store.





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