Apple wanted to launch a subscription TV service in early fall to coincide with the start of the new broadcast television season. But the debut got bogged down by negotiations over financial terms and new technology that would be required for broadcasters to deliver local programming to Apple's Web TV service.According to industry executives, the television service may not launch until late 2015 or early 2016, as "technology and money issues" continue to be sticking points that have prevented negotiations from being completed. Apple's desire to provide consumers with local broadcast stations has also reportedly slowed down negotiations as securing all the necessary deals to show local programs and commercials takes a lot of time.
Rumors have suggested that Apple's streaming television service will feature approximately 25 channels priced at $30 to $40 per month. It would be available over the Internet and would not require a cable subscription package.
While Apple does not plan to debut its streaming television service at the Worldwide Developers Conference next week, it is rumored to be introducing a new Apple TV set-top box with a full App Store that includes apps and games. It's also expected to introduce a new streaming music service, a revamped version of iTunes Radio, and OS X 10.11 and iOS 9.
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Apple’s web TV-based subscription service for the new Apple TV is not expected to be introduced alongside the new set-top-top box next week, according to Re/code. This is not entirely surprising, as we reported in May:
As expected, the new box will also integrate with Apple’s upcoming “Live TV” cable-replacement service, but it appears that the service will launch after the hardware. Current next-generation prototype Apple TVs are still loaded up with cable subscription-dependent apps, according to a source. Sources who have used internal next-generation Apple TV development units say that prototypes are about “twice as large” as the current Apple TV box, but the shipping product is expected to be slimmer than the current puck-like version. Internally, the new Apple TV hardware is said to be codenamed “J34,” and the operating system is known as “MonarchTide.”
It is unclear if this pause on the Web TV service rollout will effect the launch of the long-expected refreshed Apple TV hardware.
Early reports have said that the service will cost between $30-$40 per month and replace the traditional cable box with over 25 individual channels played through the new Apple TV. The service is still expected to launch between this fall and next year, according to today’s report, and CBS said it was in talks with Apple as of May to support the launch.
Even without the new subscription service, Apple could still have plenty to talk about regarding the Apple TV at WWDC. We’re expecting a redesigned box with Siri integration, an App Store for third-party developers to sell their own TVKit apps, and a redesigned remote control. Also on tap for WWDC: iOS 9, OS X 10.11, Apple Watch updates, and Apple Music.
Filed under: AAPL Company
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Apple is ready to show the first fruits of its Beats acquisition next week. As we first reported in early March, Apple is planning to introduce its long-awaited Beats-based streaming music service at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, June 8th. Blending Apple interface design and features from the Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine-created Beats Music app, Apple’s service, known internally as “Apple Music,” is built to take on Spotify and Pandora with several new features and a subscription model. Additionally, Apple is working on overhauling its widely panned iTunes Radio service by striking deals with popular artists and DJs. Below, we detail Apple’s plans for both Apple Music and the new iTunes Radio in an extensive roundup.
Apple Music Features — Cloud Streaming, Search, Playlists, Genre Selection, New App
The Apple streaming music service will debut as a key component of Apple’s redesigned Music application for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. The new Music app takes several cues from competing services and Apple’s own music player on the Mac, iTunes. The Music app has two main sections: “My Music” and “Playlists.” Both of these sections will be populated by music stored on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and in the cloud with the new streaming service.
In lists of tracks, the Music app indicates which songs are stored solely in the cloud and which are also stored for offline playback. Like with the existing Beats Music app, users will be able to search the entire iTunes library and then pick tracks to stream, add to their library and add to playlists. The new search option is universal so it can search both cloud-based tracks and those stored on the device itself. With the new Music app, users will have a new drop down menu to organize their content by Artists, Albums, Songs, Music Videos, Genres, Composers, and Compilations.
Across the top of both sections will be Recently Added views for both individual tracks and playlists. Leveraging the Beats Music acquisition, the Playlists section will likely deeply integrate custom playlists from artists and mixes from different activities such as driving and jogging. When a user launches the new streaming app for the first time, they will be greeted with an array of bubbles connected to different genres and artists.
The new Music app also adds a Mini Player across the bottom of the screen, an enhanced Now Playing view, and Up Next so users can adjust the order of song playback. Based on which buttons the user selects, their own streaming service app will be populated with different types of tracks. While the core of the app will be based on features and content from Beats Music, the application will drop the black and red theme and use an entirely Apple-designed look.
iTunes Radio & DJs
Aside from introducing the major new subscription service, Apple will launch a thorough upgrade to iTunes Radio. Launched in 2013, iTunes Radio has acted like a simplified Pandora, mostly serving as a tool for customers to sample songs and then buy them in the iTunes Store. The new iTunes Radio, however, will combine custom DJ’d stations with the classic Pandora-like view. This classic view will gain the ability to skip music an unlimited amount of times, while the new stations will be powered by celebrities.
Reports have indicated that the following artists are in the cards to create their own iTunes Radio stations: Apple’s own Dr. Dre, Drake, Pharrell Williams, David Guetta, and Q-Tip. It is possible that Apple is also in talks with other gold Apple Watch wearers like Kanye West and Beyonce, but that has not been reported. Earlier this year, Apple hired multiple BBC programmers, including the famed Zane Lowe, to build new pre-programmed iTunes Radio stations. The iTunes Radio section will also receive a complete user-interface overhaul to match the new streaming service and Music app.
After shuttering the failed Ping music social network at the end of 2012, Apple is using its new streaming service as an opportunity to slowly integrate some social functionality back into its Music app. As we reported last month, the new Music service will integrate a feature called “Artist Activity.” This feature will allow artists to use a backend platform similar to iTunes Connect to manage their own pages. These pages will allow artists to share samples of their own music, share music of other artists, exclusive videos, and promote their own tours. Unlike Ping, users will not have their own music profiles, but they will be able to “Like” and comment on posts from artists using their iTunes login information.
Mac, iOS 8.4, iOS 9 & Android + Migration
As we first reported earlier this year, Apple will introduce its new music services as part of an iOS 8.4 over-the-air software update. iOS 8.4 will include the redesigned Music application discussed above as well. Apple will begin pre-installing the new service with the iOS 9 upgrade this fall, unsurprisingly. Apple had considered holding back the new Music app until iOS 9, but the company felt that launching as part of iOS 8.4 would be possible.
Apple had originally planned to release iOS 8.4 following the WWDC Keynote on June 8th, but the company now plans to actually release the service during the last week of June. As we also first reported, the new services will be available as a new app on Android OS for non-iPhones. The new services will likely also be available on the new Apple TV. Apple is not yet readying a version of the new services for other platforms, like Windows Phone, due to their low marketshare.
As we reported in February, Apple is planning to release a tool for existing Beats Music customers to convert over their libraries to the new Apple-made service. A report today said that Apple will wait until it works the kinks of the service before releasing the tool and completely shutting down Beats. Apple will also release iTunes 12.2 for both the Mac and Windows PCs to run the new Apple Music and iTunes Radio streaming services, replacing the aging Beats Music web app.
Pricing and Free Trial
While Apple had originally planned to launch the service at $8 per month to undercut competition, record labels have pushed back and the launch price will be $10 per month. This will match the premium Spotify plan as well as the existing Beats Music plan. There has also been talk of an additional $15 tier, but we don’t have confirmation on that claim.
Even with the monthly subscription price, Apple will be offering a free trial, which could be for between one and three months at launch. iTunes Radio will continue to be free with ads, but a more premium package, perhaps tied to the Apple Music subscription service, will remove ads and offer unlimited skipping. The current version of iTunes Radio limits users to 5 skips per hour, per station.
For the first time in several years, Apple is focusing on ensuring that its new music offerings are widely available across the world. While Beats Music is only available in the United States and iTunes Radio is only available in the U.S. and Australia, sources say that the new Apple Music and iTunes Radio will launch in a “long-list” of countries. This likely includes major regions like Canada and the U.K., and news of deals indicates that at least Russia will also be on the launch list.
Filed under: AAPL Company, iOS, iOS Devices Tagged: app, Apple, BBC, Beats Music, Beyoncé, Dr Dre, Drake, Guest DJs, iOS 8.4, itunes radio, Pandora, Spotify, streaming service, Zane Rowe
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TechCrunch noticed that Apple started including editorially curated subcategories on the App Store for games. The new lists replace the old “New” and “What’s hot” lists that were generated automatically based an algorithm. We’ve confirmed the change with Apple, which tells us that the switch to editorially curated lists for the games subcategories went live on May 14th.
Going forward, it seems that Apple is moving away from these algorithmically derived and more automated lists. Today, the App Store’s Games section instead features lists like “Best New Games” and “All Time Greats,” which are created by Apple editors and refreshed on a weekly basis. These are featured alongside previous launched lists like “More Games You Might Like,” which is a personalized list based on your purchase history.
The change will likely have somewhat of an impact on download numbers for some developers, but will hopefully result in better curation of new and notable apps for users.
Apple has been promoting curated lists of apps for various occasions and featuring them on the App Store, but the new change brings that approach to main, permanent App Store game categories.
Properly curated apps or improved organization for the App Store have been among top requests by users for a quite a while, and Apple has slowly added tweaks to inject its editorial team into more categories on the App Store. And it’s something that will surely be part of Apple’s overall content strategy as it launches a new music service rumoured to include curated playlists and guest DJs.
Filed under: Apps
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Emergency crews were called out to Apple’s data center in North Carolina this afternoon after multiple injuries were reported. The injuries reportedly followed a chlorine leak of some sort at the property although the cause of the incident is currently unknown. A total of 5 people were sent to a nearby medical center following the incident. Apple’s Lisa Jackson offered a tour of the facility where the injuries occurred today to NBC last year. The incident follows less than a week after a fire broke outat Apple’s plant in Arizona. Best wishes for those involved at the facility.Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: chlorine leak, Data center, North Carolina
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Little else is known about the leak, including its cause, but it follows a fire last week at Apple's former GT Advanced facility in Mesa, Arizona. The two-alarm fire was extinguished shortly after it began and it appeared to originate at the solar panels on the rooftop. No one was injured in that incident.
Apple's Maiden, North Carolina data center is the company's largest, at 183 acres. Its accompanying solar farm puts out more than 50 megawatts of power at peak efficiency, and Apple began expanding the data center in February of 2014.
MacRumors will update this post if any additional information on the chlorine leak becomes available.
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Add "subscription-based streaming music service" to the list of things we’re expecting to hear Apple announce at next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference. The Wall Street Journal, citing those "familiar with the plan," said that Apple will price the service at $10 per month and position itself in direct competition for customers’ ears with Spotify’s and Pandora’s paid options.
Apple already offers its own free ad-supported streaming service, iTunes Radio, which it announced at WWDC in 2013. However, the WSJ explains that the new paid streaming service will include human-curated and even human-hosted channels (reportedly including the likes of hip-hop musicians Q-Tip, Drake, and Dr. Dre). The paid streaming offering is not expected to include all of the songs and artists in the iTunes Store, since Apple’s existing deals with labels for selling music typically don’t include the rights to stream that music. The WSJ’s sources indicate Apple is "rushing" to have the service ready and to get streaming deals signed in time for launch.
The obvious goal for Apple would be to transform occasional purchasers from the iTunes store into sources of ongoing monthly revenue. To that end, the WSJ sources say Apple may prompt iTunes customers who spend $10 purchasing an album to give the new streaming service a try for the same cost.
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For the right task, Apple’s new 12-inch MacBook is both an ultra thin notebook and a powerful machine considering its size. Following my initial evaluation in April, I’ve been using it for work almost exclusively (aside from my podcasting setup for Happy Hour, which doesn’t benefit from being portable).
Similarly, the newly released Incase Reform Collection Sling Pack hides a surprising amount of use in a small and ergonomic profile. Typical of Incase’s bags and carrying cases, Sling Pack sports a trendy design fit for your Apple gear and accessories with cleverly placed stash pockets found throughout. Unlike previous products from Incase (and anyone else for that matter), Sling Pack is made of a new eco-friendly material…
- Small but spacious design for a tablet or up to 13″ laptop
- Made with eco-friendly Ecoya Frabic
- Hides two stash pockets, one on strap and one under back padding
- Can carry over shoulder or across chest
- Two main compartments are easily accessible
As its name reveals, Sling Pack varies from the typical two-strap backpack with its sling-style design meant to easily pack and throw over your shoulder. The look appears somewhere between a messenger bag and a camera carrying case with zipped compartments for storing your supplies.
Sling Pack’s back is heavily padded to add a light dose of protection to your goods and offer added comfort when toting a heavy load. The super light materials and plastic buckles add up to a bag with minimal weight aside from what you throw inside.
Sling Pack features two main compartments — one with a section with a tight slot for a small notebook or tablet — large enough to stow a notebook, headphones, and a small tablet or book. In my case, I’ve packed the 12-inch MacBook, a pair of on-ear headphones, and a large backup battery for the road.
As soon as the Sling Pack arrived for review last month, however, my girlfriend claimed it as her own, moving from a larger shoulder bag with more space than she needed to the more compact Sling Pack. In her case, the Sling Pack hauled her own 12-inch MacBook, its charger and several adapters, a class book, and a handful of pens and pencils with room to spare. Sling Pack is plenty big enough for up to 13-inch MacBooks without having the footprint of a full-sized backpack.
Sling Pack’s cleverly located stash pockets are typical of Incase bags and make great use of the straps and padded areas as storage opportunities. Aside from the utility gains of these small storage slots, they’re just delightful to find as they’re neither obvious nor obnoxious. In total, Sling Pack has two stash slots — one in the back padding and one in the shoulder strap.
Just looking at Sling Pack when it’s empty, you might not suspect just how much you can pack inside. It’s not ideal for throwing in 4 or 5 books and larger laptops, but it’s a terrific bag for toting a smaller notebook in a compact bag.
Especially important from an environmental perspective, Sling Pack uses Incase’s new Ecoya Fabric material we mentioned earlier this week during their sponsorship. What makes Ecoya Fabric eco-friendly is that it takes 63% less energy than most dying processes while using almost 90% less water and omitting 62% less CO2 and COD. Aside from those benefits, the fabric also just looks nice and feels durable. You’d never suspect it has any special quality about it; their’s nothing inferior-feeling about it.
Overall, Incase’s new Sling Pack bag is an excellent solution for hauling around a light load and the perfect fit for a notebook the size of Apple’s new 12-inch MacBook. Pack your laptop, throw in your accessories, travel light, and stow the bag away comfortably when you’re ready.
9to5Mac is also having an exclusive pre-sale on the Sling Pack and the rest of the lineup in Incase’s Reform Collection with Ecoya Fabric so you can use the promo code “9to5Mac” to get a free Portable Power 2500 battery pack and early shipping with your purchase. You can also checkout our giveawaythrough 6/8 for a chance to win an Incase bag from the collection stuffed with free gear.Manufacturer:
iPad, iPhone, iPod, Apple Watch
Filed under: Reviews Tagged: Backpack, Ecoya, Heather Gray, Incase, MacBook, Sling
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