The man in charge of Apple’s Secret Design Studio leaves as Ive starts new role

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Jony Ive’s well-documented aide Harper Alexander, who managed Apple’s secretive design studio, appears to have left his role at Apple. In his own words, Alexander was previously in charge of Ive’s design studio, calendar, security, meetings, expenses, and personal projects, since 2009.

Referenced in multiple recent profiles as Ive’s top assistant, Harper updated his LinkedIn on July 1st, Ive’s first day in his new “Chief Design Officer,” to indicate that he no longer runs Ive’s design studio or serves as executive assistant to Apple’s CDO. On July 1st, this is what became of Harper’s biography:

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PSA: Don’t cancel your iTunes Match subscription if you deleted your matched music

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Your own matched music re-downloaded from Apple Music gets DRM added

Since Apple appeared to have rolled the functionality of iTunes Match into Apple Music, it was looking like there wouldn’t be any point in retaining an iTunes Match subscription if you were planning to continue your streaming music subscription after the free trial. But MacWorld senior contributor Kirk McElhearn found that there is one small but crucial difference between the two: DRM …  Read more

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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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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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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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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Unofficial Beats 1 web streams let your Android-owning friends join the party

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If you’ve been more impressed by Beats 1 radio than I have, and want to invite your Android-owning friends to check it out, there are a number of unofficial web streams for that.

Developer Benjamin Rumble found an unencrypted HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) URL for the service and embedded it in a webpage on his personal site. You can also access the URL directly. Since then, others have found additional URLs …  Read more

Eddy Cue: New iOS 9 beta with Apple Music coming ‘early next week’, bitrate better on WiFi

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While iOS 8.4 users have been able to try out the new Apple Music service since this morning, developers running the latest iOS 9 beta seed have been left out. This will change “early next week,” however, according to Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue. In a reply to a user on Twitter, Cue said that a new beta of iOS 9 will be available next week with Apple Music integration:

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Revealed: iPhone 6S will look nearly identical outside, but expect numerous changes inside [Gallery]

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For fall 2015, Apple is preparing an “S” iPhone upgrade that superficially preserves the exterior designs of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but includes a collection of major internal changes. In May, we reported that this new “iPhone 6S” line would debut this fall with a Force Touch, pressure-sensitive display as one of its marquee features. Now, a proven source familiar with Apple’s supply chain has provided us with the most extensive look yet at Apple’s next iPhone, sharing the first photos of the iPhone 6S’s external metal casing, plus an in-depth look at the new iPhone’s internals. Today, we’re focusing on the exterior of the next iPhone, which appears to refute a number of potential changes that some have speculated were destined for this model.

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GigSky leverages Apple SIM to offer iPad cellular data plans in 90+ countries/territories

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Despite lackluster support from major carrier partners, Apple’s carrier-agnostic Apple SIM demonstrated its potential today with the announcement that GigSky — “the first global mobile network designed for travelers” — will offer short-term iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 cellular data plans in over 90 countries and territories. “Now there’s no need to pick-up a local SIM, hunt for Wi-Fi, or travel in fear of excessive data roaming charges,” GigSky explained. “iPad users can choose a GigSky data plan upon arrival right from their iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3 with Apple SIM installed, and easily connect to family and friends, stay in touch and share their travel.” Read more

Apple releases OS X 10.10.4 with networking fix, Mail and Photos improvements, more

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In addition to iOS 8.4, Apple has now publicly released OS X 10.10.4 to all users. The point update focuses on security and stability improvements with a fix for notable networking issues with OS X Yosemite as well as fixes for Mail, improvements to Photos migration from iPhoto and Aperture, and more. Apple first began testing the update to the Mac with developers in late April. Read more