Apple patent details AirDrop-like sharing for Apple Watch using handshake/hugging gestures

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In a new patent application, Apple details an idea it’s experimenting with that would have Apple Watch users shake hands to exchange data (via PatentlyApple). The idea is simple. The patent application imagines two Apple Watch wearers exchanging data, such as contact information, for example, by performing common gestures like a handshake or a hug: Read more

iOS 8.4 to be released 8 AM PT on Tuesday, iTunes Match song limit will increase to 100,000 with iOS 9

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Apple directors have been somewhat talkative over the weekend about the imminent release of Apple Music. Former Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers, who now works as a Senior Director of Apple Music, blogged about the product’s launch. He reminisces on the history of digital music and radio saying that seeing Apple Music on stage at WWDC ‘it was hard not to feel like the last 20+ years was leading to this day’.

Interestingly, Apple will be releasing iOS 8.4 at 8 AM on June 30th which includes the newly revamped Music app to support Apple Music. This is slightly earlier than the usual 10 AM release window. The change in scheduling seems to be in service of Beats 1, Apple’s worldwide radio station, which will start streaming from 9 AM on the same day.

Meanwhile, Eddy Cue has also been leaking some tidbits about Apple Music on Twitter …

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Apple’s iTunes U gets 1-to-1 discussions, importing from other apps, PDF annotations, grade book, more

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Apple’s iTunes U service, a resource for teachers to create and manage educational content for students on iPad, is today receiving a big update that brings a long list of highly requested features. Starting today, teachers and students using the platform will get access to new additions including 1-to-1 discussions, homework hand-in & grade book features, PDF annotations, and more. Read more

Apple joins Confederate flag boycott, removes apps that use flag in offensive or mean-spirited ways [U: Statement]

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[Update: Apple has confirmed the policy with us. Statement below.]

[Update #2: Reports are now surfacing that Apple is now reinstating some apps with the Confederate flag to the App Store. The company is working with developers who use the Confederate flag, but not in a mean-spirited manner.]

[Update #3: TouchArcade specifies that affected games are able to change their app icons and App Store screenshots to avoid removal.]

A couple of days after Zac Hall called for Apple to join large retailers like Walmart, Target, Sears, Amazon and eBay in withdrawing from selling items featuring the Confederate flag, Apple appears to be working on doing just that.

Touch Arcade noticed that many Civil War games like Ultimate General: Gettysburg and the Hunted Cow series have all disappeared. An App Store search for ‘Confederate’ on Tuesday found plenty of games featuring the flag, while the same search today appears to show only apps dealing with the history (such as the reference work shown) above. All of the games shown in Tuesday’s search (below) have been removed from the App Store …  Read more

Apple Music royalty rate during free trial on par with Spotify’s 35% deal, at 0.2 cents per play

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A report that Apple would pay music labels a reduced royalty rate during the three-month free trial of Apple Music has been confirmed by labels who spoke to the NY Times. Apple had originally planned to pay them nothing before an open letter from Taylor Swift and complaints from others led to a swift change of plan.

For each song that is streamed free, Apple will pay 0.2 cent for the use of recordings, a rate that music executives said was roughly comparable to the free tiers from services like Spotify. This rate does not include a smaller payment for songwriting rights that goes to music publishers.

Spotify bases its royalty payment for free users on a 35% share, half of the 70% it pays for tracks streamed by paid subscribers …  Read more

UK Apple Pay won’t require PIN but £20 contactless transaction limit does apply … for now

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Apple Pay is going international starting with the United Kingdom next month. The precise nature of how Apple Pay will work in the UK has been murky, with banks saying different things. Apple has now posted a FAQ to explain the situation.

Apple Pay will work with any current contactless reader. By default, it uses the same technology as other UK contactless cards. This means that performing an Apple Pay purchase will not require a PIN (as is standard with UK Chip and PIN payments). However, the usual £20 limit on contactless transactions does apply … for the time being. When Apple Pay launches in July, almost all merchants will only allow Apple Pay purchases up to £20 …

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Report: 20,000 indies likely on board Apple Music as Beggars Group & Merlin sign up (hello Adele?)

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Apple’s decision to reverse course and pay royalties to artists during the three-month free trial of Apple Music appears to have persuaded indie labels to sign up to the service. Billboard reports that Beggars Group – which owns 4AD, XL, Matador and Rough Trade – has signed, and Merlin, which represents 20,000 indie labels and distributors, has recommended the deal to its members.

Apple Music, the hardware giant’s soon-to-launch streaming service, has landed an eleventh-hour coup, striking deals with the independents’ digital rights organization Merlin and with Martin Mills’ indie powerhouse Beggars Group, sources tell Billboard.

The biggest name represented by Merlin is Adele. While most of Merlin’s members are likely to sign following the company’s endorsement, Adele of course has the clout to make her own decision, so it’s not yet certain that she will come on board …  Read more

VP Lisa Jackson promoted to oversee all of Apple’s environmental, political, and social affairs

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Apple today has updated the biography of Lisa Jackson on its executive leadership webpage, noting that she is now Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives. Previously, Jackson was the VP of Environmental Initiatives only. The promotion will allow Jackson to take over leadership of all governmental affairs and public policy teams, according to Apple.

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Apple takes top Outdoor Lions prize at Cannes Festival for its Shot on iPhone campaign

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Apple first launched its Shot on iPhone 6 ad campaign earlier this year to showcase photographs taken by users with their iPhone. The shots were shown in Apple’s World Gallery and were taken from various areas around the world. Now, Apple’s World Gallery campaign has taken the top prize in the Outdoor Lions category at the Cannes Grand Prix festival. The World Gallery images were shown off on billboards around the world. 

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iOS 9 allows users to temporarily delete apps to free up space for software updates

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A new iOS 9 feature added in beta 1 was only discovered when users attempted to update to beta 2 earlier today. This new feature will allow the operating system to intelligently delete applications if you don’t have enough free space to perform a software update. Once the update is complete, the apps will automatically be reinstalled and your data will remain intact.

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Apple releases OS X 10.11 El Capitan beta 2 to developers

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In addition to new seeds for its mobile platforms, Apple has released the second Developer Preview of the upcoming OS X El Capitan for Macs. The update is available via Software Update in the Mac App Store. Similarly to iOS 9, El Capitan brings many under-the-hood enhancements in addition to new features like a split-screen mode for core applications, a new Notes app, and an enhanced Mission Control view. New changes and fixes in the second preview have already been discovered and are included in updates below. El Capitan will ship to all users in the fall following a public beta release in July.

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Apple releases second beta of WatchOS 2 to developers

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Apple has released the second beta of WatchOS 2.0 to developers. First announced at WWDC earlier this month, the new version of WatchOS brings both new features to the Apple Watch and support for native applications. This new beta will allow developers to continue testing apps that run directly on the Apple Watch hardware with access to local sensors, the Digital Crown, and the device’s own processor.

For consumers, new WatchOS 2 software features include a new Nightstand Mode for seeing the time and alerts in a larger font, three new watch faces, access to third-party watch face complications, a new Time Travel mode for seeing past and future calendar events and weather data on clock faces, and a more feature-rich Music app. The update is available over-the-air via Software Update in the iOS 9 Apple Watch Companion app.

Some developers have complained about battery drain and sluggishness with beta 1, an we’ll be live updating this post with changes in beta 2 as they are discovered.

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