Apple reportedly planning increased storage in next-gen iPhones, negotiating with Samsung

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The Korea Times today reports that Apple is in negotiations with Samsung to have the company supply the flash memory for the next-gen iPhone models. Currently, the flash storage is provided by Toshiba, SK hynix and SanDisk. The report also notes that Apple is looking to increase the storage capacity of its iPhone models.

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Apple Music will be available on Sonos speakers by end of the year

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Update: Apple has confirmed in a statement to Buzzfeed that Apple is working with Sonos to get Apple Music available on the connected speaker system by the end of the year. Original story below.

Apple Music senior director Ian Rogers — ex Beats Music CEO — has announced on Twitter that integration with Sonos for Apple Music is coming as soon as possible. Although Beats Music did have native support on the popular internet-connected speaker system, there have been no announcements about a partnership with Apple Music so far. In the tweet, Rogers confirms that there will be no Sonos integration at launch.

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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

T-Mobile’s new ‘Jump! On Demand’ plan lets you upgrade phones up to 3 times a year

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T-Mobile is upgrading its Jump plan introduced two years ago to allow subscribers to move to new smartphones more frequently than before. The new Jump On Demand option lets you lease a smartphone for a small monthly fee, then trade it in for a new smartphone up to three times per year at no additional cost. For example, a base model iPhone 6 would cost $15 per month to lease with Jump On Demand after trading in an eligible smartphone. 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: Apple already working on putting a virtual Home button into the iPhone screen

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Concept image: Martin Hajek for Computer Bild

The idea of replacing the iPhone’s physical Home button with a pure touch one embedded in the display has been around for quite a while now, but a report from the variably reliable DigiTimes claims that Apple is already working on the technology.

Apple is internally developing touch and display driver integration (TDDI) single-chip solutions for its iPhones, according to sources in Taiwan’s IC design industry.

The TDDI single-chip solutions will also come with integrated fingerprint sensors, said the sources. The integrated design would fit into future iPhone designs – models with ultra-thin and ultra-narrow displays, and with a whole plane design eliminating the Home button.

While the report doesn’t specifically reference embedding the home button into the display itself, referring only to ‘a whole plane design,’ this would seem to be what the report hints at … Read more

iPhone-based eye-exam kit raises $6.1M to bring eye care to a billion people across the globe

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The equipment needed to carry out a proper eye examination typically costs $20-40k; the Smart Vision Labs SVOne aims to reduce that cost to just $4k by using an iPhone as part of the kit. The iPhone takes a series of photos of the eye, while an app performs the analysis and generates a prescription.

We were given a demo of the kit last year (video below), but the company needed funding to make it possible. Smart Vision announced today that it’s raised $6.1M in institutional funding led by Techstars Ventures. The funding allows it to scale its production and expand the team, helping it reach an estimated billion people around the world who don’t currently have access to eye examinations …  Read more

Taylor Swift says ‘1989’ is not on Apple Music because she is disappointed by 3 month free trial terms for artists

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Update: Apple has responded to Swift’s blog post.

Earlier this week, it was confirmed that Taylor Swift’s latest album ‘1989’ will not be available on Apple Music, Apple’s streaming music service launching on June 30th with iOS 8.4. She has written a blog post on Tumblr explaining her position.

We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.

Swift explains that she respects Apple for their innovation but says the terms associated with the Apple Music free trial are ‘unlike this historically progressive and generous company’. Swift says that under the 3 month free trial period, artists and rights holders are not paid at all for the duration and notes Apple has plenty of money to reimburse the artists for their work. Swift says that she is holding back 1989 not because she cannot support herself but as a retaliation for ‘the new artist or band that has just released their first single’.

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Apple quietly pulls original iPad mini from web site and Apple Store

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Last week, above. Today, below.

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The original iPad mini has quietly disappeared from Apple’s web site, and is no longer available to purchase new from the Apple Store. Introduced in October 2012, the first iPad mini established the industrial design that was subsequently used in the iPad mini 2 and iPad mini 3, as well as the larger but otherwise nearly identical iPad Air and iPad Air 2. Apple notably continued to sell the 16GB iPad mini as an entry-level model alongside two of its sequels, dropping its price to $299 in October 2013, then $249 in October 2014. In recent months, falling street prices for other models made the classic mini a tougher sell.

Apple’s discontinuation of the iPad mini leaves the remaining iPads as a completely 64-bit family, all using either A7 or A8X processors rather than the iPad mini’s aging A5. It also means that all remaining iPads have Retina displays and unified Wi-Fi + Cellular models. Refurbished iPad minis continue to be available from the Apple Store, and start at $209; new iPad minis will continue to be available at third-party resellers such as Amazon until they run out of stock.

Per 9to5Toys, Groupon currently has original iPads for $180 ‘New’ and Walmart offers them at a $50 discount over yesterday’s price. Meanwhile Best Buy’s CowBoom has used models for $115.

Thanks Michiel! Read more