July 28

When Apple and HBO announced the launch of the HBO Now streaming service, they said that their app would be exclusive to Apple devices for three months. Now, a quarter year later, that agreement has expired and other providers are looking to distribute access to the television network’s streaming app.

One of the biggest names looking to get into the HBO Now market is Verizon. The mobile carrier and FiOS provider announced today that it will be bringing the service to its 100 million customers…

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Earlier in my reviewing career, I always tried to estimate the likely audience for products I tested: was an accessory likely to be universally appealing, somewhat popular, niche, or poorly received by virtually everyone? Many reviews (and reader comments) later, I learned there was at least a small audience for virtually anything, and conversely, that some people found reasons to dislike even the best-designed and best-reviewed products. I eventually concluded that there is no such thing as “universally appealing” or “universally bad” — just products for different audiences of different sizes.

SwitchEasy’s Blocks ($20) and Colors ($15) are as close to a test of my conclusion as anything I’ve covered so far for Apple’s $350-$17,000 Watches. Blocks lets you build your own Apple Watch dock from 92 plastic pieces that just so happen to be “compatible with Leading Manufacturer building blocks,” code for “works with Legos.” Colors is an inexpensive Apple Watch case designed to match three Apple Watch Sport bands. Toy-like in appearance, the designs are clearly not “universally appealing,” particularly for owners of expensive Apple Watches and Editions. But it’s possible that one or both of them may appeal to you, anyway…
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I’ve complained before about the massive missed opportunity of Apple failing to properly integrate both owned and streamed music within iTunes. I got over that enough to use and enjoy Apple Music, and I’m confident I’ll be continuing my subscription once Apple starts charging my card, despite the raw deal we get on pricing in the UK.

But I also agreed with Variety that Apple needed to adopt the same approach for OS X as it does for iOS, splitting out the various iTunes functions into separate apps. Having now been using version 12.2 of iTunes for a month, I’m escalating this from a moderate whinge to a full-scale rant. The time has come for Apple to finally rid us of this creaking, bloated disaster of an app, and start afresh …  expand full story

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