The man in charge of Apple’s Secret Design Studio leaves as Ive starts new role

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Jony Ive’s well-documented aide Harper Alexander, who managed Apple’s secretive design studio, appears to have left his role at Apple. In his own words, Alexander was previously in charge of Ive’s design studio, calendar, security, meetings, expenses, and personal projects, since 2009.

Referenced in multiple recent profiles as Ive’s top assistant, Harper updated his LinkedIn on July 1st, Ive’s first day in his new “Chief Design Officer” role, to indicate that he no longer runs Ive’s design studio or serves as executive assistant to Apple’s CDO. On July 1st, this is what became of Harper’s biography:

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Listening to Beats 1 radio should feel like walking into a great independent record store, says Trent Reznor

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Speaking to Rolling Stone about creating Beats 1 radio, Trent Reznor said he wanted to recreate the feeling you got when walking into a really good independent record store.

I want that feeling of walking into an independent record shop, if there are still any that exist, like Amoeba [Records], and being delighted by the choices and the way music is presented to you with love and care. It’s exciting. And you leave with stuff you wouldn’t have dreamed you wanted and you’re excited to listen and share it and experience it.

Reznor, who was previously Chief Creative Officer at Beats Music, said that listening to Zane Lowe’s BBC radio show totally inspired him …  Read more

Depth, breadth and music knowledge will be key to the success of Apple Music, say Eddy Cue & Jimmy Iovine

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In an interview with The Loop, Apple SVP Eddy Cue and Beats founder Jimmy Iovine said that depth, breadth and musical knowledge would allow Apple Music to succeed in a market where all streaming services offer access to the same 30M songs.

“One of the things we wanted with Apple Music was depth, said Cue. “We wanted you to be immersed in it when you started using it.”

Iovine pointed out that playlists generated by algorithms tended to be predictable, while those curated by people with deep knowledge of the music industry could make surprising connections – using Bruce Springsteen as an example.

[With an algorithm, you can] pretty much guess what’s going to be played. Bob Seger, John Mellencamp, and Tom Petty are always popular choices.

What freaked me out is that Apple Music played ‘Paint It Black,’ which I happen to know is one of Springsteen’s favorite Stones songs.

Iovine said that most algorithms stuck to one genre and era, while human DJs could mix things up because “the DJ is in the middle, explaining how it works.” This, said Cue, generated greater breadth, and you could find a hip-hop track following a rock one …  Read more

As Apple Watch hits seven more countries, more coming on 17 July – inc Netherlands, Sweden & Thailand

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The Apple Watch, originally launched in nine countries, hits seven more today – with a further rollout on July 17th. Apple has so far added the July 17th date to its websites in the Netherlands, Sweden and Thailand.

The countries going live today include Italy, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and Taiwan …  Read more

Apple joins Confederate flag boycott, removes apps that use flag in offensive or mean-spirited ways [U: Statement]

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[Update: Apple has confirmed the policy with us. Statement below.]

[Update #2: Reports are now surfacing that Apple is now reinstating some apps with the Confederate flag to the App Store. The company is working with developers who use the Confederate flag, but not in a mean-spirited manner.]

[Update #3: TouchArcade specifies that affected games are able to change their app icons and App Store screenshots to avoid removal.]

A couple of days after Zac Hall called for Apple to join large retailers like Walmart, Target, Sears, Amazon and eBay in withdrawing from selling items featuring the Confederate flag, Apple appears to be working on doing just that.

Touch Arcade noticed that many Civil War games like Ultimate General: Gettysburg and the Hunted Cow series have all disappeared. An App Store search for ‘Confederate’ on Tuesday found plenty of games featuring the flag, while the same search today appears to show only apps dealing with the history (such as the reference work shown) above. All of the games shown in Tuesday’s search (below) have been removed from the App Store …  Read more

Report: 20,000 indies likely on board Apple Music as Beggars Group & Merlin sign up (hello Adele?)

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Apple’s decision to reverse course and pay royalties to artists during the three-month free trial of Apple Music appears to have persuaded indie labels to sign up to the service. Billboard reports that Beggars Group – which owns 4AD, XL, Matador and Rough Trade – has signed, and Merlin, which represents 20,000 indie labels and distributors, has recommended the deal to its members.

Apple Music, the hardware giant’s soon-to-launch streaming service, has landed an eleventh-hour coup, striking deals with the independents’ digital rights organization Merlin and with Martin Mills’ indie powerhouse Beggars Group, sources tell Billboard.

The biggest name represented by Merlin is Adele. While most of Merlin’s members are likely to sign following the company’s endorsement, Adele of course has the clout to make her own decision, so it’s not yet certain that she will come on board …  Read more

Long-time iTunes holdouts Metallica “feel very safe” with Apple Music from “the coolest company in the world”

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Metallica haven’t always been the greatest fans of Apple’s music, criticizing iTunes’ track-based sales model as “contributing to the demise of the album format” and only allowing the band’s music to be sold on the service in 2006 – some three years after its launch. iTunes sales outside the U.S. didn’t happen until 2008.

But while Taylor SwiftAnton Newcombe and others have been attacking Apple Music (something which may or may not now be resolved), Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich has been singing the praises of the new service, reports the NY Post.

Speaking at Cannes Lions, drummer Ulrich said he and his Metallica bandmates were excited about the launch of Apple Music’s streaming service. “I think that Apple is just about the coolest company in the world. I am a huge supporter of Apple and all their products, and I have been fortunate enough to meet most of the people there, a lot of the people who make key decisions, and I feel very safe with them,” Ulrich said.

Ulrich said that the band had good relationships with the Apple team, including Tim Cook and Jimmy Iovine …  Read more

Apple Music free trial saga may not be over as Apple likely won’t pay full royalties during trial

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Just as we thought Apple’s u-turn would put an end to the controversy over its original intention to pay artists nothing during the free trial of Apple Music, a statement to the WSJ suggests that there is still time for the saga to turn into a PR nightmare.

While everyone assumed Apple would now be paying artists and publishers the 71.5% royalty rate from day one, it appears the actual amount paid during the free trial will be lower.

Apple declined to say how much it plans to pay during the trial period, though it said the rate will increase once customers start paying for subscriptions.

Eddy Cue’s tweets in response to Taylor Swift’s open letter said only that Apple “will pay artist for streaming” and “will always make sure artists are paid,” stopping short of promising to pay the full royalty rate from day one …  Read more

Opinion: Seven reasons I think Apple may become a bank within the next five years

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I first speculated that Apple might one day become a bank almost a year before the launch of Apple Pay. What triggered that thought was the use of Touch ID for iTunes purchases and the depth of security involved in the secure enclave used by Apple’s fingerprint system. It was clear even then that Apple had big ambitions in the mobile payment field.

Now that Apple Pay has launched, and already proven a big success, I think the argument for Apple to make the move are even stronger. So here are seven reasons I think Apple may become a bank within the next five years …  Read more

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

Brian Jonestown Massacre frontman rants at Apple Music free trial, says pressured by Apple [Updated]

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Update: As we suspected, this appears to be a misunderstanding on Newcombe’s part. An Apple spokesperson told Rolling Stone that it is not threatening to remove music from its iTunes store if artists don’t agree to it’s streaming terms.

Anton Newcombe, frontman for Brian Jonestown Massacre, has posted a series of tweets attacking the fact that Apple is paying nothing to artists for streaming their music on Apple Music during the three-month free trial. His tweets claim that Apple told him that his music would be pulled from iTunes if he didn’t agree to the company’s terms for the streaming service.

The fact that Newcombe references a fake Twitter account in one of the tweets suggests that he may not have done due diligence on whatever was actually said to him. A misunderstanding may be more likely than a genuine threat to remove music from iTunes – especially as we already know that Apple won’t be streaming the entire iTunes library.

However, his comments that “the biggest company on earth wants to use my work to make money for 3 months and pay me nothing” andApple has more cash reserves than all of these nations yet they want to use my work for free” do reflect views expressed elsewhere in the music industry …  Read more