Spotify updating iOS app with neat touch preview and new swipe gestures

Spotify has announced an update to its iOS app to add some very handy new features. You’ll be able to preview any song just by touching the track and holding your finger down. Tapping it then plays the full track.

The app is also getting two new swipe gestures designed to make it even easier to queue music and save tracks to My Music …  Read more

Be My Eyes iPhone app allows sighted people to lend a helping hand to blind people

The National Federation of the Blind said last year that Apple has “done more for accessibility than any other company,” and with the help of a new app, iPhone and iPad owners can take things even further. Be My Eyes is an app that allows blind people to request remote help from a sighted person when needed.

Requests for help might range from checking the expiry date on a container of milk to looking at an airport departure board for a gate number …  Read more

Apple acquires media analytics startup Semetric, seemingly as part of Beats Music relaunch

iPhone 6 Beats Music

The Guardian is reporting that Apple has acquired media analytics startup Semetric, apparently as part of the ongoing Beats Music relaunch. Of note, Semetric owns Musicmetrics, an analytics tool for artists to track the popularity of their music around the web.

Apple replied to the Guardian with its typical company acquisition statement: Read more

Apple grabs 33% smartphone marketshare in South Korea, a historic record for foreign manufacturers in Samsung’s home turf

iphone-6-plus

Apple’s marketshare in South Korea has skyrocketed in the last quarter, driven by strong demand for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, according to data by Counterpoint. Apple increased its share of sales from 15% to 33%, more than doubling its market power in one quarter.

Historically, Samsung has dominated South Korea, largely due to geographic advantages, but Apple’s gains now threaten the #1 spot. Apple is the first foreign smartphone company ever to surpass 20% marketshare in the region, taking the number 2 spot. Samsung’s marketshare fell from 60% in November to 46% and (now third-place) South Korean LG Electronics fell to 14%.

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Apple’s investment in Washington D.C. lobbying continues to rise

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While Apple may spend less than half that of Microsoft and a quarter that of Google on Washington D.C. lobbying, the company under Tim Cook is investing an increasing amount of its cash in its influence around the United States capital.

As Bloomberg reports, data from OpenSecrets.org puts Apple’s spending on Washington lobbyists from January through September last year at $2.9 million (a number which doesn’t include the last quarter of 2014) and almost $3.5 million during the full 2013 period. For perspective, Apple’s lobbyist spending only first reached $1 million annually in 2006, the year before the iPhone’s introduction and first crossed $2 million in 2011. Read more

Apple teases soon-to-open Apple Store in Hangzhou, China, with stunning mural

Update: Apple has posted a version of the video with English subtitles on YouTube (embedded above).

Apple is certainly not thinking small when it comes to China, with 25 new retail stores promised within a two-year period, and its latest soon-to-open store in Hangzhou features a massive mural covering the entire front of the store. The store is due to open on Saturday, January 24th, the second of five new stores Angela Ahrendts said would be opening by the Chinese New Year on February 19th.

Featuring a poem written around 2000 years ago celebrating the importance of the city—a provincial capital—the stunning calligraphy was hand-painted by Wang Dongling, a famous modern calligrapher. Apple has released a video of its creation …  Read more

Apple posts new aerial shot showing Campus 2 construction progress

Apple-Campus-2-Jan19-01

Following the last updated aerial shot of its under construction “Campus 2” earlier this month, Apple today shared a new shot that shows significant progress being made on the main structure and surrounding campus. As always, Apple shared the shot through the City of Cupertino’s webpage that provides traffic alerts and project updates for locals. Read more

Apple commemorates Martin Luther King on its homepage, encouraging employees to volunteer through gift matching

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 11.12.24Apple has updated its homepage today in commemoration of Martin Luther King, which Apple CEO Tim Cook has often noted as an inspiration for his work. Cook says he has pictures of Martin Luther King on his desk. However, this is the first time Apple has recognised Martin Luther King day (which happens on the third Monday of every January) so openly on its website. Read more

Apple TV content refresh serves up Tennis Channel Everywhere

Apple TV Tennis Channel

Following the addition of the official Cricket Australia channel for Apple TV users down under earlier this week, Apple refreshed its video streaming box for US users Friday night with new content through the Tennis Channel Everywhere service. The new Apple TV channel features both on-demand tennis and live matches with an optional annual subscription. Read more

Camera crews arrive at Steve Jobs’ childhood home as production on biopic finally begins

Image via CNET

Image via CNET

The Sony- Universal-produced Steve Jobs biopic starring Michael Fassbender has finally started filming after what seemed like an endless array of cast and crew changes. CNET spotted production crews setting up at the Los Altos childhood home of Steve Jobs earlier today.

As was revealed last year, the movie, written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Danny Boyle, will likely feature only a handful of locations, including the former Jobs home garage. While Fassbender is set to play Jobs, several other cast members have been tapped to portray other prominent individuals in the executive’s life.

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Apple moving Beats Electronics technical support wholly in-house, replacing outsourced support

Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre Unveil Beats By Dr. Dre 2011 Holiday Product Line-Up

Apple is in the process of winding down Beats Electronics’ outsourced phone support ties and moving technical support completely in-house via AppleCare, according to sources. Beats Electronics phone support is currently split between Apple and Sitel, a customer support outsourcing firm, and Apple is aiming to completely end that relationship as soon as March. Apple cut several Beats jobs in July following the acquisition. Sitel employees have confirmed that they will be moved to new technical support positions for other companies, and AppleCare employees similarly confirmed that Beats support will soon be handled completely internally. Apple acquired Beats Electronics and Beats Music in May 2014 for $3 billion, and sales transitioned to the Apple Online Store in August. Apple Store Genius Bars began servicing Beats products late last year.

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