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 becomes Promoter Member of Bluetooth Special Interest Group, gaining more influence over the technology

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Earlier in the year, the Bluetooth SIG appointed an Apple employee as secretary of the board. The two institutions are developing their relationship further today with the announcement that Apple is now a Promoter Member of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. This is the highest level with the organization and gives Apple voting rights.

Promoter members get voting rights on Bluetooth corporate matters and a guaranteed seat on the board of directors. Current promoter members Ericsson, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, Nokia and Toshiba ‘unanimously welcomed’ Apple to the position.

This means that Apple will now have significant influence over the technological roadmap for Bluetooth in cooperation with these other companies.

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Developers currently unable to submit Watch apps due to App Store approval bug (update: fixed!)

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Update: The problem should now be resolved. Watch apps should upload as normal once again.

Developers are flocking to Apple’s developer forums today as the iTunes Connect submissions process is currently experiencing a glitch which makes it impossible for developers to submit apps that include Apple Watch extensions.

Rather than continuing submission process as normal, the system is incorrectly flagging up misuse of an Apple private framework called SockPuppetGizmo. Naturally, this is causing frustration in the developer community at the moment because it prevents apps from being submitted to the App Store.

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MacPhun’s new Tonality 1.2 brings beautiful black & white photo tools to Apple Photos, Adobe Lightroom CC

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Even though it’s known as “black and white photography,” balanced grays are what make monochrome images striking or flat. Today, MacPhun released Tonality 1.2 ($18) and Tonality Pro 1.2 ($70), tools designed specifically for making the best possible black and white images from color photos. Both versions work with popular photo library management tools, newly including the Mac version of Apple Photos. The Pro version now plugs into Adobe’s new Lightroom CC, and adds RAW support for both new cameras and Lightroom.

Like MacPhun’s excellent noise-removing app Noiseless, Tonality uses a super-simple interface to let you preview potential changes to your images. The window’s bottom initially scrolls across 13 “Basic” presets, ranging from the intelligent “Adaptive Exposure” to the simpler “Underexposed;” 10 different categories collectively contain 150 different presets. Each preset effect starts at maximum, but can be muted using a single slider. Power users can access a right-side pane with controls for exposure, contrast, clarity, structure/micro-structure, color and tone filters, split-toning, glow, blur, vignette, and grain. Additionally, masking tools and a gradient filter let you alter specific areas of your images while leaving others untouched. The differences are so dramatic that you’ll never feel satisfied with a one-step “apply B&W filter” button again.

Tonality is currently being offered at an introductory price of $13 through the Mac App Store, with Tonality Pro at $60 through the company’s web site. Additional photo galleries of the app in action are below…

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Nest reveals new Nest Cam, 2nd generation Nest Protect, updated iOS app

Following the Nest Cam outed by Best Buy earlier this morning, Nest did in fact take the stage today to announce its new lineup of products. Besides the Nest Cam, Tony Fadell and company showed off the 2nd generation Nest Protect smoke detector, a new mobile app for iOS and Android that brings all of the company’s new products together, and more. Unfortunately, the company’s flagship Nest Thermostat didn’t get any hardware upgrades today, but here’s what’s new… Read more

Review: blueLounge’s Portiko + Pixi bring elegance to Mac / iOS / Apple Watch charging + cable management

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blueLounge isn’t a typical Apple accessory maker. If you look through its 15-year backcatalog of releases, you’ll notice that its products are markedly different from somewhat overlapping alternatives produced by rivals — intensely practical and cleanly-designed, yet sometimes so conceptually minor that they’re hard to review. Take CableDrop and CableDrop Mini, for instance, circular adhesive pads that each do nothing more than hold one cord in a fixed position wherever you want it. I use CableDrop Mini every day with my MacBook Pro’s power cable, but can’t justify a full review of something so utterly basic.

The simultaneous release of two new blueLounge accessories — Portiko ($25) and Pixi ($10) — gives me the rare opportunity to cover one of the company’s minor but practical items alongside one that’s more gadget-like. Portiko (shown above) is a wall- or table-mountable power source attractive enough to put on display between the four devices it can charge at once. It has enough USB and AC power outlets to handle a MacBook, iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch at the same time, or other combinations of devices. Pixi is blueLounge’s latest cable management solution, a set of elegantly-built elastic and plastic bands that wrap around bunches of cables, tidying up your desk. Read on for more details and pictures…

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How-To: Prepare your iPhone, iPad or Mac for iOS 9 + OS X El Capitan public betas

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Up until recently, unfinished “beta” versions of iOS and OS X were only officially available to registered Apple developers, enabling companies to make their apps compatible before the operating systems were publicly released. But to increase openness and expand its pool of beta testers, Apple decided to offer “public betas” of both iOS and OS X to interested users, starting with iOS 8.4 and OS X Yosemite. Very soon, both iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan will become available as public betas under the Apple Beta Software Program, which you can sign up for here.

Should you install these new and unstable betas on your iPad, iPhone, or Mac? What can you really expect after doing so? Below, I’ll provide you with some guidance so you can make an informed decision to participate in the public betas, or hold off…

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Apple reportedly set to kill Newsstand, introduce Flipboard-esque news app

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Apple set to introduce Flipboard-Like news product

A late-breaking report from Re/code is indicating that Apple is readying an announcement about news initiatives on iOS. According to the report, the company plans to kill off Newsstand although individual apps will still remain in the App Store.

Apple will also apparently introduce a new service which will present news stories from a variety of sources, such as ESPN, New York Times and Conde Naste. The report describes the product as similar to Flipboard.

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Review: Incase’s DSLR Sling and Pro Packs are durable, versatile MacBook/camera bags

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Eventually, pocket-sized cameras will compare in low-light performance to today’s large and expensive DSLRs. Although pro photographers will have moved on by then to even more powerful large cameras, the vast majority of people will see no need to carry big, heavy lenses and camera bodies around. The iPhone’s ascendance demonstrates that “eventually” is at least foreseeable, even though it’s not happening in the near term.

Serious photographers won’t be giving up their DSLRs any time soon, and in fact will be toting plenty of camera hardware — many times, along with a laptop — to any event or destination important enough to photograph properly. Over the years, I’ve learned that the “ideal bag” for my personal needs is one that can hold my camera, several lenses, and whichever MacBook I’m using. Having hunted for the ultimate carrying solution for both computer and photo gear, the best solutions I’ve found are made by Incase.

The bag I’ve used actively for the last three years is Incase’s DSLR Sling Pack ($90, above left), and incredibly, it looks virtually identical today to when I first started using it. The DSLR Sling Pack is perfect for 11″ MacBook Airs and 12″ MacBooks, plus a big camera body with three lenses. But since my 13″ MacBook Pro barely fits inside its zippered compartment, I’ve been struggling with whether to replace the bag. That’s why I’m checking out two larger models today: the DSLR Pro Sling Pack ($170, middle), and traditional DSLR Pro Pack ($150, right). They’re large enough for up to 15″ MacBook Pros and have more room for DSLR gear, as well. Which is right for you?…

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Opinion: Google’s new Photos may just have won my library away from Apple

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Google Photos

My relationship with Apple’s hardware is simple: I’m happily locked in, and not changing platforms any time soon. But my relationship with Apple’s software is complex: I want to love it, but every time Apple decides to “throw everything away” and “start over” with an app, it’s disruptive — and for many users, unnecessary. From my perspective, users weren’t complaining that Apple’s popular photo apps iPhoto or Aperture were hopelessly broken or even deficient in major ways, yet Apple discontinued both of them last month to release Photos, a bare-bones alternative no one seems to love. On the relationship scale, I didn’t abandon Aperture; Aperture abandoned me (and a lot of other people).

So yesterday’s announcement of the free cross-platform photo and video storage app Google Photos couldn’t have come at a better time. Apple has struggled to explain why it now offers two separate photo syncing services, neither with the virtually unlimited photo and video storage Google is now giving users — notably all users, including Mac and iOS users. Moreover, Apple has offered no sign that it’s going to drop the steep fees it’s charging for iCloud photo storage. With WWDC just around the corner, Apple has a big opportunity to match Google’s photo and video initiative, thrilling its customers in the process. If that doesn’t happen, I’m moving my collection into Google Photos, and not looking back…

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Get exclusive access to Incase’s killer new bags + a free power pack and giveaway entry!

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Update: Giveaway winners!! Shoot me an email (jordan@9to5mac.com) with your shipping info using the same email you used to enter. Congrats!

Reform Backpack bundle – Keith Jones

Reform Action Camera Pack bundle – Randy Fang

Reform Sling bundle – Robert a Stine III

Incase has always been one of our favorite brands selling bags for Apple and camera gear. You’ve likely seen their bags in Apple stores and on Apple’s online store. But for the new REFORM collection launching next month, 9to5Mac readers get access before anyone else.

Starting today, 9to5Mac readers only can purchase the bag before they’ve launched to the public and have their order ship before the launch date next month. All orders of the new Incase bags during our exclusive presale event using promo code “9to5Mac” will also get a free Portable Power 2500 battery pack worth $50.

In addition, you’ll also be automatically entered into a giveaway to win an Incase bag full of accessories for your Apple devices (details below).  Read more

The Best Mac Accessories and Upgrades

Over the past six months, I’ve published quite a few tutorials to help Mac users improve the performance of older computers, as well as some great guides to the best Mac accessories across a variety of categories. Today, I’m tying them all together in this handy, one-stop roundup of the best Mac accessories and upgrades.

This guide walks you through everything: in one place, you can learn about the best Mac hard drives, RAM upgrades, docks, keyboards, trackpads, stands, bags, and travel accessories out there. And you can also get free apps to improve your Mac’s storage and responsiveness, find plain English explanations of your Mac’s technical specs, and learn about the little security screws Apple uses to tamper-proof its machines. There’s a lot inside, so you may want to bookmark this piece for future reference!…

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