Apple is ready to show the first fruits of its Beats acquisition next week. As we first reported in early March, Apple is planning to introduce its long-awaited Beats-based streaming music service at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, June 8th. Blending Apple interface design and features from the Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine-created Beats Music app, Apple’s service, known internally as “Apple Music,” is built to take on Spotify and Pandora with several new features and a subscription model. Additionally, Apple is working on overhauling its widely panned iTunes Radio service by striking deals with popular artists and DJs. Below, we detail Apple’s plans for both Apple Music and the new iTunes Radio in an extensive roundup.
A new report from Music Business Worldwide claims that Apple has recently hired four producers from BBC Radio 1. This report comes two months after it was announced that Zane Lowe was leaving the British radio station to take a new position at Apple. According to today’s report, the recent Apple hires include James Bursey, Natasha Lynch and Kieran Yeates, as well as one other.
In a letter to UK staff, Tim Cook is said to have been “deeply offended” by allegations made in a BBC undercover documentary that Apple had broken promises over the working conditions in Pegatron’s iPhone factories in China, reports the Telegraph.
In an email to around 5,000 staff across the UK, Apple senior vice president of operations Jeff Williams said both himself and the chief executive were “deeply offended by the suggestion that Apple would break a promise to the workers in our supply chain or mislead our customers in any way”.
“Panorama’s report implied that Apple isn’t improving working conditions,” he continued. “Let me tell you, nothing could be further from the truth.”
Williams said that Apple had provided both “facts and perspective” on the allegations, but the BBC had chosen not to include these in the program … Read more
Ahead of a BBC special exploring work conditions in Apple’s supply chain airing tonight (update: video embedded below), BBC.com today published a story revealing the results of its investigation. The news outlet went undercover into Apple’s supply chain and claims “Apple’s promises to protect workers were routinely broken” while citing a number of workplace violations: Read more
Wonders of Life takes you on a 3D tour of the world, serving up a visually stunning showcase of the coming together of science and nature.
The app features thirty creatures and habitats, illustrated by more than one thousand images that let you zoom in and get up-close. But it’s the more than 2.5 hours of HD video that really set this apart … Read more
With the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics officially kicking off with opening ceremonies today at 11 AM EST/ 2 PM PST, you’re probably wondering how to watch live streams and keep up to date with events from your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. NBC will be delaying the TV broadcast of the opening ceremonies until 7:30pm tonight in the US, but you can still catch everything live on your Mac or mobile device using the apps below: Read more
9to5Mac showed you a clip just last week from a recent BBC special of Sir Jony Ive receiving the prestigious gold Blue Peter badge (known as the highest accolade given out by the BBC’s Blue Peter program). We got our hands on the full Jony Ive clip from the technology special today, where we learn, among other things, about Apple’s ‘out of the box’ thinking on product naming and a little-known connection to David Beckham.
If we’re thinking of a lunchbox, we’d be really careful about not having the word ‘box’… already give you bunch of ideas that could be quite narrow. Because you think of a box being a square and like a cube. And so we’re quite careful with the words we use because those can sort of determine the path that you go down.
Perhaps you could replace ‘Box’ with ‘watch’ and be on to something.
Earlier this year, Apple’s design guru assumed software design responsibilities from former longtime iOS chief Scott Forstall. CEO Tim Cook said in a recent interview that Ive “has the best taste of anyone in the world” and looks forward to his new role designing the “look and feel of the software.” Read more
9to5Mac compiled another list of the top app news, updates, and launches in our usual roundup below. The highlights from today includes statistics on how the newly Web-geared Instagram helped capture Hurricane Sandy in real-time, a new eBook app by Sony, and a shiny teaser trailer for Rovio’s Angry Birds Star Wars (above). Oh, and a few app sales—check it out:
1. Angry Birds Star Wars
After releasing a string of teasers for its title landing on iOS Nov. 8, Rovio posted the first official full-length gameplay trailer today for its new Star Wars edition of Angry Birds.
Angry Birds Star Wars will be out on November 8, but until then, watch this gameplay trailer and scream “OH MY GOODNESS!!!!” to yourself in the mirror
2. Instagram | Free
Hurricane Sandy barreled through the East Coast last week, and those in its stormy path made sure to document all of the havoc in real-time with the help of Instagram. Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom revealed to GigaOM today that folks uploaded over 800,000 photos tagged with the #Sandy hashtag. Systrom specifically noted Sandy was “probably the biggest event to be captured on Instagram.” The news from Systrom this morning came as the Facebook-acquired company also announced the rollout of new Web profiles with a very Facebook-esque look (via official Instagram blog):
You’ve asked for Instagram on the web and we’ve listened. Over the next few days, we’ll be rolling out Instagram profiles on the web!
Your web profile features a selection of your recently shared photographs just above your profile photo and bio, giving others a snapshot of the photos you share on Instagram. In addition, you can follow users, comment & like photos and edit your profile easily and directly from the web. It’s a beautiful new way to share your Instagram photos!
Just launched Read more
Update: While the meeting apparently didn’t result in any resolution, ZDnet reports the ITU’s Malcolm Johnson said the ‘heated debate’ “has gone a long way to help clarify the positions” of the companies involved:
“Today’s event has gone a long way to help clarify the positions of various stakeholders in determining the effectiveness of FRAND commitments and the impact of litigations surround standards-essential patents,”
ZDnet also reported Motorola argued “Apple was misunderstanding the way FRAND works in the telecoms industry”:
“For 20 years the [FRAND] licensing commitments made by innovators in the communications industry have been sufficient,” Warren said. “Past experience would indicate that [FRAND] has been effective… but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement to improve the present situation.”
The world’s biggest tech companies are meeting today for a Patent Roundtable with the United Nation’s International Telecommunications Union to “assess the effectiveness of RAND (reasonable and non-discriminatory) – based patent policies.” The meeting will take place at the ITU headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland; and according to several reports, it will include Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Google, Microsoft, and many of the industry’s other biggest players. The discussions follow high-profile, patent-related cases and failed settlement talks between Samsung and Apple, while the European Union continues to probe Motorola, Samsung, and others over potential abuse of the patent system. It also comes as Google’s legal chief David Drummond issued statements to the press calling for a reform on software patents.
A report from BBC noted others attending the roundtable include: Qualcomm, Cisco, Research in Motion, Intel, Philips, Huawei, Sony, and Hewlett-Packard. BBC also provided statements from the companies that submitted pre-event arguments (below).
According to the ITU, the meeting will have the following objective: Read more
Aside from our full list of interesting apps and updates hitting the App Store this morning, Hulu is making “Kill Bill: Volume 1″ available to stream free (you can get Hulu Plus free for two months here). We will continue to update the list of apps below throughout the day:
BBC iPlayer version 1.3.2: BBC’s streaming app for its TV and radio networks received a nice update today that brings updated graphics for Retina iPads, improved video playback performance, enhanced Voice Over controls, and the usual bug fixes and performance updates.
imo instant messenger version 3.2: The popular instant messaging app with more than 700,000 users and 50 million messages sent daily was updated this morning with one big new feature previously only available to Android users: voice calling over Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G. All users running iOS 3.1 and up can now make free calls to their imo contacts with no usage of cell minutes and no data usage over Wi-Fi.
TweetBot version 0.7.0: TweetBot for Mac beta has been given a nice update, adding the ability to edit your Twitter profile within the app, animated .gif support, and Storify support among even more features. Due to Sandboxing issues, you will need to manually install the update.
MOG version 2.1.33: Online music subscription service MOG, home to roughly 16 million songs and 500,000 paid subscribers, was recently acquired by Beats Electronics. Its iOS app received a decent update today, with the ability to create and edit playlists, as well as a new album reviews section, and a “better, stronger, faster interface.”
Adobe Proto version 1.5: Adobe’s prototyping app for creating wireframe prototypes of apps and websites was updated today with a few notable features. A full list of what’s new in the update including email and Dropbox sharing, navigation improvements, and more is below: