Spotify now reports 15 million paid subscribers

Spotify 15 million premium users

Streaming music subscription service Spotify shared its latest user numbers today, announcing that it now has 15 million paid subscribers to its premium service and 60 million active users. Spotify’s paid user count of 15 million accounts is up from the 10 million paid subscribers it previously reported just over six months ago.

Since then, Apple has officially closed on its $3 billion deal to acquire Beats Electronics and Beats Music, which gave it access to its own on-demand music streaming subscription service. Before Apple’s Beats acquisition last year, the Spotify competitor was believed to have just over 110,000 paid subscribers of its own. Read more

Top smart home and HomeKit tech of CES 2015 (Video)

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There’s a very clear message delivered on the CES 2015 show floor: Smart home tech is definitely a thing. There is a ton of tech/accessories being showcased at CES that are designed to make your home life easier through connectivity. We’ve roamed the show floor searching high and low to bring you a roundup of some of the best smart home tech that was announced…

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Apple makes key biomedical & fashion industry additions ahead of Watch launch

Apple Watch at Colette

Apple Watch at Colette

Apple has picked up a few new hires and advisors to assist its growing Watch team ahead of the Apple Watch launch currently on track for March. Among them, Apple has recently hired another executive from the fashion industry, this time from Louis Vuitton, in addition to two new hires from the medical industry. Read more

Apple’s next major Mac revealed: the radically new 12-inch MacBook Air

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Apple is preparing an all-new MacBook Air for 2015 with a radically new design that jettisons standards such as full-sized USB ports, MagSafe connectors, and SD card slots in favor of a markedly thinner and lighter body with a higher-resolution display. Sources within Apple, who have used internal prototype versions of the upcoming computer, have provided in-depth details about the machine, and our exclusive artist renditions of the revamped MacBook Air provide the first close look at Apple’s first major step in mobile Mac computing since the Retina MacBook Pro launch in 2012.

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Volkswagen confirms plans to launch CarPlay support later this year

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Volkswagen, at CES 2015, has finally announced what it plans to do with both CarPlay and Android Auto. The German auto manufacturer has confirmed that it will begin shipping cars with CarPlay capabilities later this year in its 2016 models. We reported back July of last year that Volkswagen and Apple were in talks to bring CarPlay to VW’s 2016 models.

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Apple’s unreleased iBeacon hardware exposed in user manual published by FCC

Way back in July, Apple registered FCC certification for a new piece of iBeacon Bluetooth hardware. Naturally, 9to5Mac covered the release of wireless certification documents for the hardware. It was unclear by those filings the nature of the product, whether it was targeted at use in Apple Stores, some form of developer testing equipment or something else entirely. The product was never made publicly available for purchase, for unknown reasons.

However, time has elapsed such that the rest of Apple’s submitted documents are now available to the public. Vitally, this includes a user manual which immediately signals that this iBeacon hardware was meant for developers, presumably to test iBeacon integration in their own apps. It’s unclear, though, if this is meant to be used ‘in the wild’. Read on for an exposition on the workings of this mysterious device.

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Apple expands its social presence with new iTunes Tumblr blog

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In an interesting move, Apple has today launched a Tumblr blog for iTunes. The ‘blog’ runs a highly customized theme that more closely reflects Apple’s own website than a typical Tumblr page. The page features music, movies, TV and books content, with individual posts consisting of images, videos and animated GIFs of artists. Tumblr users can reblog these images on their own feeds, for social sharing. On a related note, iTunes also opened an official Instagram account earlier this month.

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Tim Cook makes personal donation to LGBT equality campaign in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi

Tim Cook Auburn

Apple CEO Tim Cook has made a “generous personal financial investment” in Project One America, an LGBT equality campaign focused on three Southern states: Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi. Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin announced the donation on the civil rights organization’s blog today.

When Tim first learned about HRC’s Project One America – our bold, comprehensive campaign to dramatically advance equality for LGBT Americans in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi – he said, “I’m in.” Thanks to his generous personal financial investment in the program, together we will move the needle forward at the local and state level, tearing down misperceptions and providing concrete protections for those who need it most.

In announcing the Apple CEO’s personal donation to Project One America, the HRC also praised Tim Cook’s personal essay from October in which he became the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company: Read more