Jony Ive officially moves to Chief Design Officer as Dye & Howarth are promoted to VPs

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After announcing the change in a company-wide memo last month, Apple today has officially updated Jony Ive’s executive bio on Apple.com to reflect his new role as Chief Design Officer. Ive was promoted from Senior Vice President of Design earlier this year. Ive’s bio notes that he reports directly to Tim Cook and is responsible for all design at Apple, including retail, Apple Campus 2, software, and hardware.

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Apple removed Home Sharing support for music in iOS 8.4

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Apple yesterday rolled out iOS 8.4 to iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users and the big news, of course, was the addition of Apple Music and Beats 1. It appears now, however, that Apple removed a feature still used by many from the operating system. As pointed out by several users on Apple’s Support forum, the company appears to have removed Home Sharing support for music in iOS 8.4. The Home Sharing support page has also been updated to reflect that the feature is not present in iOS 8.4.

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Opinion: Apple Watch + Music show intuitive software should be top priority for Apple’s new VP of UI Design

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Like many other people, I signed up for Apple Music yesterday because it was intriguing and free. Having skipped earlier subscription music services, I didn’t have Spotify playlists to worry about losing or importing, and I hadn’t experienced truly unlimited access to a giant music selection before. Apple Music’s sign-up process turned out to be great: attractive, simple, and just personal enough to learn my tastes without feeling creepy. It’s also likely to win long-term customers: sign up your family, and after 3 months, someone’s going to insist on keeping Apple Music (or just forget to cancel it).

But once the sign-up process is over, Apple Music repeats a mistake that Apple made earlier this year with the Apple Watch: throwing users into the deep end of a big new pool without adequate guidance. Despite all the talk of importantly human-curated content, Apple Music is oddly and robotically silent when it should be actively guiding new customers through a brand new service. In prior years, Apple held back products until they were polished enough that anyone could use them immediately. These days, Apple releases major products with enough rough software edges that customers and reviewers are (rightfully) complaining about learning curves and unintuitive interfaces.

As of today, Apple has a new VP of User Interface Design, Alan Dye, who is taking over software-side responsibilities from Apple’s vaunted design chief Jony Ive. In light of the Apple Watch and Apple Music launches, both of which were criticized for unnecessarily complex user interfaces, I’d respectfully suggest to Mr. Dye that fixing this problem should be a top priority…

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Snapchat no longer requires holding Snaps & Stories to View

We told you earlier this year that Snapchat was considering changing a major part of how its app works, and today the social network has officially introduced that change: viewing Snaps and Stories now works with a single tap. Previously, part of Snapchat’s signature user experience included holding a finger over a Snap or Story to view it; lifting the finger meant going back to the contact list. Aside from the new Tap to View feature for Snaps and Stories, the update includes a few other changes as well… Read more

First in-depth video trailer for Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs film goes live

The first in-depth video preview trailer for the upcoming, official Steve Jobs movie has gone live. The movie features Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs, Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak, and it was written by Aaron Sorkin. The film is based off of Jobs’s official biography by Walter Isaacson. Earlier this year, the first teaser trailer for the movie appeared, but it did not provide an extensive look into the story or characters. The movie starts showing in theaters in October 9th.

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iTunes 12.2 update indicates new gold, dark blue, dark pink iPod nano, touch + shuffle colors

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Apple could be preparing to refresh its aging iPod lineup with new colors, according to a new image found inside of yesterday’s iTunes 12.2 update for Apple Music. With the new update, when a user plugs in an iPod for the first time, the above image showcasing a dark blue iPod touch, a gold iPod nano, and a dark pink iPod shuffle appear. None of those iPod color options currently exist, indicating that Apple could be preparing to refresh its line with those richer tones. Interestingly, the Touch lacks a hole for the camera loop.

It is possible that the image is simply a Photoshop error, which would not be unprecedented, but our look into the previous version of iTunes, version 12.1.2, indicates that the image is actually new, which means that it was intentionally designed. There is currently no indication as to if and when Apple is planning to release new iPod colors, but we are told that iPod nano and touch stock at Apple Stores is currently seeing some temporary shortages.

Update: We’ve now spotted new gold, dark blue, and dark pink tones for all iPods:

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Apple Music diary: Day 1, first impressions

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I’m not expecting here to replicate my rather extensive Apple Watch diary series – I doubt this one will run to four pieces. I’m also not starting out here as an Apple Music skeptic. I’ve been using Spotify for years, and – from a brief trial of Beats Music – started out pretty confident I would be jumping ship once Apple Music launched.

But I do think Apple Music has one thing in common with the Watch: I don’t think it’s possible to judge it without a reasonable amount of usage. So I thought I’d begin with my first impressions and then follow up once I’ve used it long enough to have more to say.

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I’m not going to dwell on the launch-day glitches, like the welcome screen (above) left over from the beta, the rather belated iTunes updateBeats 1 outage, frequent spinning beachballs in iTunes and the tracks that either refused to play at all or took an age to do so. Half the planet was simultaneously using the service yesterday, so these things will only become issues if they persist. So leaving those aside, what were my first impressions … ?  Read more

iPhone 6S to double LTE speeds, run more efficiently with new Qualcomm chip

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One of the main upgrades to the next iPhone’s internals will be a redesigned wireless system featuring a new Qualcomm-made LTE chip, as revealed by images of a prototype iPhone 6S logic board shared by a source. As shown in the image below, the new device will include Qualcomm’s MDM9635M chip, also known as the ‘9X35′ Gobi modem platform. This new chip promises significant performance improvements over the “9X25″ chip found inside of the current iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, capable of delivering up to twice the theoretical LTE download speeds…

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Review: Bowers & Wilkins’ P5 Wireless hits new highs in Bluetooth headphone luxury

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Back when white earbuds dominated the market, Beats by Dre proved that mainstream customers were willing to pay $300 for large wired headphones and nearly $400 for wireless versions — even plasticky, overly bassy ones. The subsequent shift towards big headphones nearly killed makers of premium in-ear models, leading many audio companies to mimic Beats’ formula. But there were holdouts: iconic audio companies including Bowers & Wilkins refused to compromise their materials or change their sonic signatures to match Beats. Instead, B&W offered premium-priced headphones made from premium-quality materials, and let customers pick between plastic Beats or metal and leather alternatives.

Today, Bowers & Wilkins is debuting P5 Wireless ($400), a Bluetooth version of last year’s luxurious P5 Series 2 (and the since-discontinued original P5). Mixing chrome, brushed aluminum, and ultra-soft sheep’s leather, P5 Wireless is virtually indistinguishable from P5 Series 2 apart from its ability to operate with or without a 3.5mm audio cable. Classy in ways that even the top-of-line Beats Pro can’t match, P5 Wireless is the first Bluetooth headphone I would recommend to fans of classic premium audio gear…

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