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New on iTunes: Early access to Unfriended, pre-order Mad...

Today, 06:38 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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Every week, the iTunes Store adds new movies and TV to its catalog. This week, get found footage horror film Unfriended early, find deals on women-lead comedies, and more.

This week in movies, you can get early access to Unfriended, a supernatural horror film. Before fans head out this weekend to to Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, they can get a bundle with all four previously released films in the series for $19.99. A number of comedies lead by women are available for $9.99 each this week, including Easy A, Legally Blonde, Election, and The Devil Wears Prada. You can also pre-order Mad Max: Fury Road, which is expected to hit iTunes in just two weeks on August 11. The Movie of the Week is Selma, which is available to rent for $0.99 and $9.99 for the next week.

In TV, Comedy Central is currently offering major discounts for seasons of several shows, including Key & Peel, Broad City, and Inside Amy Schumer, which are all available for under $15. Ahead of the series revival with Heroes Reborn, you can get Season 1 of NBC's Heroes for just $9.99. Fans of spy shows can get their hands on seasons of The Americans, 24, and more at a discount this week.

Check in next week for more in movies and TV from the iTunes Store.



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Apple Music licensing, explained: Why most Beats 1 shows...

Today, 06:25 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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Wondering why you have to make do with playlists over listening to the full St Vincent's Mixtape archive? Here's the deal.

I've been getting this question a lot lately, so I figured I'd take some time and go into more depth on Beats 1 and how that relates to Apple Music.

Apple Music is divided up into a couple different musical experiences: streaming live radio from Beats 1, the music you can stream and save from the Apple Music catalog, and music you've purchased from iTunses.

Though each feature is (theoretically) seamlessly integrated into the Music app and iTunes app for users, the licensing on the back-end is far more complicated: Each service has a different catalog of music it can play, which makes transitioning between them a bit tricky. When you listen to a show live on Beats 1, you're listening to a catalog of music covered by Apple's radio agreements; when you play back any post-show content on Connect, it's all covered under the Apple Music licensing agreement, which has access to a different subset of albums and songs.

In short: Music rights are a sticky widget. Internet radio rights are different from on-demand streaming rights and purchased rights, and all of this contributes to why you can't just download a podcast of a past Beats 1 show. On top of that, even with the complicated web of deals Apple has concocted, a podcast of a past show just may not be a good user experience.

Want to know more? Here's the deal.

Apple Music Royalties 101 Let's talk terminology

To save you all from falling down a rabbit hole when it comes to music rights, here are a few key things to know.

  1. Music rights are made up of two things: composition rights (the right to record and distribute recordings of copyrighted song lyrics), and performance rights (the right to distribute recordings of copyrighted songs). Apple has to license both of these to be able to play or sell a track on Beats 1, Apple Music, or iTunes.

  2. Atop that, Apple is licensing several different types of music rights for Apple Music: Downloadable/purchasable music rights (iTunes Store), online live radio rights (Beats 1), and streaming rental rights (Apple Music catalog).

  3. Each set of rights results in access to a different music catalog, in part due to the way these licenses work.

Radio

To play a song on internet radio, Apple likely has contracted with performance rights organizations (PROs) like SoundExchange, ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC; this gives them blanket licenses for the songs they play on Beats 1.

In return for Apple paying yearly fees to the PROs for composition rights and set royalties per track for the recordings (something like $0.0025 per stream per listener, according to Sound Exchange), Beats 1 can serve up any recording from the PRO catalogs—whether the specific rights-holder likes it or not. (This is called a statutory license, and is available for any "noninteractive" digital music service—AKA, something where you don't get to choose your songs or see what's coming next.)

For example, Neil Young may rail against internet streaming, but Apple can still play his music on Beats 1 because Young's catalog is covered under PRO licenses.

But these blanket PRO licenses only cover live performance rights (or, in English, a song playing on internet radio). When it comes to listening to that song on-demand or downloading it for offline use, we get into a whole different ballgame.

Streaming

Unlike radio rights, Apple has to negotiate with the record companies directly when it comes to buying, downloading, or listening to a song on-demand. And if a record company or rights-holder doesn't like the deal Apple is presenting, they can say no, and those songs won't be on Apple Music. (I'll note that rights-holders can only prohibit recordings of a song under the streaming model; compositions are covered under statutory licensing, which means Apple is free to offer cover versions of a song for streaming or download—after paying the record company a fee.)

Remember Taylor Swift's impassioned post from last month? That was all about streaming rights.

Not being a record company executive, I have no idea what Apple and the labels have in place for proper compensation, but it's likely these deals involve paying for music per-play, with possibly additional money going to the rights-holders if the track is locally downloaded. We do have a little information about Apple Music's revenue split, courtesy Apple executive Robert Kondrk; he told Re/code that Apple is paying out 71.5-73 percent of Apple Music's subscription revenue to labels.

Purchasing

Apple has had its third set of rights—purchased downloads—for quite awhile now; these are the rights that allow Apple to sell tracks and albums on the iTunes Store.

The financials for these rights are fairly public: Songs are priced at a certain amount, and Apple pays rights-holders 70 percent of that, keeping the remaining 30 percent for itself.

Why you can't play most Beats 1 shows on-demand

Now that we've broken down exactly what Apple's paying for, where, here's my guess as to why you can't play full Beats 1 shows on-demand from Connect, and instead have to settle for playlists.

First: As we explained above, Beats 1's licenses mean that it has access to some songs that Apple Music doesn't. (You can actually see this in action while listening to Beats 1: If you're unable to favorite or download certain songs, chances are Apple doesn't have that track available in its streaming catalog.) As a result, if a DJ played any of those songs while on the air, it would have to be snipped from any later downloadable copy of the broadcast.

Additionally, Beats 1 doesn't offer an "explicit" option for its radio station, opting solely to play "clean" versions of songs. This has nothing to do with the FCC—the U.S. government body doesn't, to my knowledge, have legal authority to impose fines for indecent or profane content online—but it's still a hurdle for users who'd prefer to listen to the explicit versions from a particular show.

Finally, were Apple to make a full show available as one single track, there's currently no way to see which song is playing when, or to skip to the appropriate track you want to listen to. Not only is this bad for usability—you wouldn't be able to heart songs you liked from a past broadcast the way you can from a DJ's playlists—but it's probably more overhead for Apple to figure out royalties.

There's actually a great example of this in Connect right now: Beats 1's weekend One Mixes, where a prominent DJ comes in and mixes a few dozen songs together. Unlike every other show, One Mix is presented in full for download, and shows up on your device (when either played or downloaded) as "One Mix: [artist]" with no individual tracks broken out. It's a good listen, and I'm glad it exists as a whole track—like Girl Talk, mixes are more about the mix than the individual songs—but I'm not sure I'd want this sort of option for every single show on Beats 1.

Do we need a solution?

The thing is, I'm actually not opposed to playlist versions of shows: This way, it's easy to skip songs from past broadcasts I'm not into, or add tunes I love to my library. It also offers those who hate the "DJ talk-over" a chance to listen to the music in its unadulterated form.

But I'm bummed to miss the in-betweens in shows like Elton John's Rocket Hour, St Vincent's Mixtape Delivery Service, and Joshua Homme's Alligator Hour. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that we can listen to St Vincent's entire interview with Piper in one clip, but I'd much rather hear the 45-second segments placed in-between songs in the playlist, as was originally aired.

If Apple could figure out a way to integrate those custom Connect content-recordings of interviews and non-music segments from shows into the song lists, I suspect most of the complaints we hear now about playlists vs whole-show podcasts would go away.

Of course, that just leaves a hundred other Apple Music problems to complain about. But hey, one down...

[Many, many, many thanks to professor Bill D Herman for helping me make sense of the over-complicated world of music rights, licensing, and One Mix legality.]



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Quick comparrison: iPhone 6 vs OnePlus 2

Today, 06:03 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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A small Android startup with an intensely vocal following is making some bold claims about their newest creation, so we took a closer look at reality.

We don't usually get too far through a day without seeing at least one person claim an Android phone assumes dominance over the iPhone for one reason or another, but rarely do you see the company making the hardware focus their energy on the same claim. OnePlus is such a company, and they don't just focus on claiming their hardware is better than Apple's. OnePlus is in the Flagship Killing business, it seems. Not just this year's devices, either. The branding attached to the launch of the OnePlus 2 makes it clear this phone is going to be better than all of the phones that come out next year as well. Brazen doesn't even begin to cover it.

By OnePlus logic this new phone should leave the current iPhone in a heap of molten slag in the corner and leave Apple seriously considering scrapping their entire 2016 launch plans and starting over. It seems only fair that we put the two phones side by side and see just how true that is.

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Lets start with the basics. With it's 5.5-inch 1080p display and 3300mAh battery, the OnePlus 2 starts out sounding like something we should be pulling out the iPhone 6 Plus to do a proper size and spec compare with. When you realize that larger display and higher capacity battery comes with 175g and 9.85mm of bulk, it really doesn't matter either way.

This phone is not only slightly heavier than the biggest iPhone, it's well over two millimeters thicker than both. OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei explained in a conversation with Android Central this decision was made to keep the large camera sensor from protruding, but the end result is the same. Side by side with any iPhone, the OnePlus 2 is just plain chunky.

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Despite the obvious downsides to having a thicker, taller phone, OnePlus gets points for style. The bottom port is the first USB-C to appear on a smartphone, though it currently lacks the increase in data transfer or power output we've seen with the new MacBook. On either side of this reversible port you get a pair of symmetrical holes, one side for mono audio, the other for the microphone. While we'd be lying if we said the design didn't seem familiar, OnePlus succeeded where Samsung failed in making this design choice actually look nice.

Additional style points are awarded for an overall sturdy construction thanks to the aluminum chassis and user-replaceable backplate. OnePlus is making five options available at launch, including three wood panels, a kevlar panel, and a sandstone panel. It's a shame one of those panels doesn't offer the same polished metal feel the sides of the phone offer, but the ability to choose is something we've seen more and more Android manufacturers do recently.

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OnePlus also included a touch fingerprint sensor in this new phone, and it is by far the fastest way to unlock any smartphone. This feature currently lacks the flexibility and interoperability of TouchID, but when it comes to just unlocking the phone it works well. Part of what makes the OnePlus version of fingerprint unlock just a hair faster than TouchID is the lack of a physical press in the unlock process. The fingerprint sensor on the OnePlus 2 isn't on a push button, and the touch sensor wakes up even when the screen is off. By removing the added step where you physically push in the home key or power button to wake the phone, you get a slightly faster unlock.

Also found on the side of the OnePlus 2 is a physical switch for muting and unmuting the phone. This isn't something you ever see on Android phones, and unlike the switch on the iPhone it slides vertically into three stages. These stages currently are set to the three modes for Android notifications, All, Priority, and Mute, and seems to work well. Functionally it serves the same purpose as the switch on the iPhone, save for the ability to set the switch to do something other than handle notifications.

The 13MP camera on the back of the OnePlus 2 includes optical image stabilization and ƒ/2.0, using a dedicated laser sensor for autofocus instead of the phase detection found on the iPhone. We've not been able to take these two phones around the city and do a quality compare just yet, but the sample photos we've seen so far reveal a sensor that could compete with the current iPhone, not blow it out of the water.

Finally, the software. While a direct comparison between iOS and Android would take an entirely separate series of articles, there's one clear point where a compare is appropriate. Android phones made by big companies often struggle to update in line with Google's release cycles, but OnePlus has built a version of Android close enough to Google' version that rapid updates aren't likely to be a problem. The phone will never update the day something from Google is released, like you'd see from an iPhone, but in theory it's a significant improvement over the months long wait time usually seen with popular hardware in Android land.

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As you can see, the OnePlus 2 is a phone that might give the iPhone 6 a run for its money if someone was seriously considering a switch away from iOS, but against the iPhone 6 Plus — and, perhaps more important, whatever Apple releases next — there's nothing here that is "killing" anything. It's a nice looking phone, despite being a little thick, but overall the bark is way worse than the bite.



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Boxer email app becomes a one-stop shop with built-in cal...

Today, 04:17 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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Third-party email app Boxer, one of the best mail apps for iPhone, has hit version 6.0, adding several major new features. Most notably, Boxer now offers integrated contacts and calendars, offering an integrated solution in a single app, much like Microsoft's Outlook or Readdle's Spark.

Boxer's Calendar and Contact features integrate well with email. For instance, not only can you simply add an appointment or invitation from an email, but you can also send your availability without needing to move back and forth between apps. Boxer will also keep track of your favorite contacts, with favorites and most recent contacts just one tap away.

As for email, Boxer's signature feature, it has received some substantial updates as well, which you can find in the list below:

  • Full screen iPad view
  • Set account colors
  • Tap an email address to add contacts
  • Set 'unread inbox' as default view
  • Perform actions from the lock screen
  • Unread messages are now highlighted
  • Apple Watch support for notifications
  • Create calendar invites from email
  • New calendar invite card. More than accepting/declining events, your invite now tells you whether or not you're busy.

You can grab Boxer 6.0 from the App Store right now.



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Apple Music said to boast 10 million subscribers after fi...

Today, 03:32 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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It appears that Apple Music might be off to a spectacular start. A new report claims that Apple's streaming music service, just four weeks old, has already amassed 10 million subscribers. These numbers are reportedly from sources inside the music industry, and they must be taken with a grain of salt.

From Hits Daily Double:

Apple doesn't make its streaming numbers public but is showing reports to those rights holders, who have been surprised by how big those figures already are. Some streaming numbers (notably on a couple of cutting-edge hip-hop titles) are actually competitive with Spotify's. Some rights holders feel Apple should publicize these figures; the decision to do so or not falls to Eddy Cue.

While 10 million subscribers in just four weeks would be impressive, it's important to remember that none of these are paying customers at the moment. The real test for Apple Music won't start until the end of September, when the three-month free trial ends for the initial wave of subscribers and they need to start paying.

Given that Apple Music isn't more expensive than competing services, offers a competitive family plan, and is built-in to Apple's devices, it stands a good chance of keeping many customers around. But it's a bit early to talk about success when the real competition has yet to begin.

Source: Hits Daily Double; Via: 9to5Mac



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Snag this tempered glass protector for iPhone 6 Plus toda...

Today, 03:06 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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Measuring only 0.3mm in thickness, this tempered glass protector keeps your iPhone 6 Plus safe from those harsh scratches and scuffs. The self adhesive application is a breeze, and its anti-shatter construction means no loose shards to worry about.



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Verizon XLTE hits six new cities, including Jackson and S...

Today, 02:36 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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Verizon has announced that it has expanded its XLTE service to six more cities across the U.S. Verizon has over 400 total XLTE markets, with the service providing up to double the speed of standard 4G LTE. Devices compatible with XLTE include the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 5s, and 5c, along with both generations of the iPad Air.

XLTE is now live in the following locations:

  • Carlsbad-Artesia, NM
  • Coos Bay-North Bend, OR
  • Corbin, KY
  • Jackson, MS
  • Selma, AL
  • Stevens Point-Marshfield, WI

Four out of five Verizon LTE markets across the country now have access to XLTE. You can find the full range of XLTE-compatible phones on Verizon's website.

Source: Verizon



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T-Mobile adds Apple Music to Music Freedom, offers deal t...

Today, 02:34 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

T-Mobile has added Apple Music to its Music Freedom, allowing customers to stream from the service without eating up their data plan. Additionally, T-Mobile is offering a new deal which can lock you into a $15 monthly payment for the upcoming iPhone 6s. Customers who switch to an iPhone 6 on T-Mobile using the Jump on Demand program before Labor Day can lock into a 16GB phone for $15 a month. Those customers can then upgrade their phone to the iPhone 6s when it is announced, and keep the same monthly payment.

With the addition of Apple Music to Music Freedom, subscribers of Apple's new streaming service will be able to stream to their heart's content on the go, without using up all of their data. Apple Music joins iHeartRadio, Milk Music, Pandora, Rdio, Slacker, Spotify, and a number of other services that are already free to stream for T-Mobile subscribers.

Purchase the 16GB iPhone 6 from T-Mobile

Source: T-Mobile



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'Steve Jobs' biopic to screen for New York Film F...

Today, 02:26 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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People who get to attend the 53rd New York Film Festival will be able to see the upcoming 'Steve Jobs' biopic on October 3, several days before the highly anticipated movie is released to theaters nationwide on October 9.

'Steve Jobs' was selected as the Centerpiece film of this year's New York Film Festival. The movie was directed by Danny Boyle, who is quoted in the announcement:

"I am honored that our film has been selected as the Centrepiece of this year's festival," said Boyle. "And thrilled and terrified too, unlike the subject of our film, who would have taken the whole thing very much in his stride. Steve Jobs was a thoroughly contradictory and complex character who forged our digital age. He's the kind of brilliant, flawed character that Shakespeare would have relished writing about, and storytellers of all kinds will be fashioning and re-fashioning the mythology of the digital revolution for generations to come. I hope that festivalgoers enjoy our take."

The movie, which was written by Aaron Sorkin, is based on the biography of Apple's co-founder by Walter Isaacson. It features Michael Fassbender playing Jobs, along with Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak, Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman and Jeff Daniels as John Sculley.

Source: Film Society of Lincoln Center



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Christmas in July Sale — 20% off iPhone and iPad accessories

Today, 01:13 PM

Posted By x-bot in iDevice News

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'Tis the season for hot days and even hotter savings on everything for iPhone and iPad.

Share the summer cheer this week here at the iMore Store where you'll find your favorite iPhone and iPad accessories at an amazing 20% discount through midnight, July 31! Take a peek and you'll see sleighfuls of popular items like Lightning chargers, cases and covers, portable power banks, car mounts, and plenty more for all the latest and greatest Apple devices.

Once you've stuffed your cart, use the coupon code: CJ715 for an instant 20% discount on all your items. Also, don't forget that we offer FREE SHIPPING on all orders over $50 within the continental US, as well as expedited options at reasonable rates.

Take me shopping!



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