Tech Industry ▪ July 27

After a pilot of its new “Sponsored Listening” advertisements last year, streaming music service Pandora Radio announced today that it’s rolling out the feature to all advertisers and listeners in its mobile apps. The feature rewards users with an hour of ad-free, uninterrupted listening as long as they first interact with an ad for at least 15 seconds. expand full story

Tech Industry ▪ July 24

AT&T and DirecTV’s $48.5 billion merger has been approved today following more than a year of regulatory review. The merger will see AT&T become the biggest pay-TV company, passing up cable company Comcast. AT&T says it will serve more than 26 million U.S. customers and 19 million users in Latin America.

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Intel’s upcoming processor refresh with Skylake appears to be promising for Mac users awaiting a significant performance upgrade. Internal Intel slides leaked by the website FanlessTech describe the year-over-year advancements and performance improvements from Broadwell to Skylake chips. As Apple is expected to include Skylake processors from Intel in refreshed hardware later this year or early next year, these specs give us a preview of what is likely coming to the Mac’s performance.

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Tech Industry ▪ July 23

IDC has just released its smartphone market share data for Q2 2015, and at least one thing is clear: Samsung is still struggling, and Apple is still doing really well. The Korean company’s smartphone market share dropped from 24.8% to 21.7% year-over-year, a 3.1 percentage point drop. Conveniently, while other manufacturers made gains as well, Apple’s numbers are up about the same number — 2.4 percentage points year-over-year to 14.1%… expand full story

Apple is today launching its Back to School promotion for 2015. This year, it will give away a free pair of Beats Solo2 headphones with the purchase of an eligible Mac.  Customers must either purchase an iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or Mac Pro with education pricing to qualify, including build-to-order configurations. The Mac mini does not participate in the deal.

Alternatively, customers can upgrade for an additional $100 to a pair of wireless Beats Solo2 headphones, rather than the usual $299 price. The announcement is not yet being advertised on Apple.com apart from a small mention on its rebates page. It is surprising that there appears to be no Back to School promotion for iPads this year, despite Apple pushing the tablet into education markets.

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