Opinion: Why content-blocking on iOS means advertisers, ad networks, publishers & readers all need to up their games

adblockers

Ads are things we all love to hate. While some can be amusing, and others can be useful, drawing our attention to products or services we weren’t aware of, mostly we view them as things to tolerate at best – and to be profoundly irritated by at worst.

Some think they have a simple solution to this: using an adblocker. Adblocking software has existed for desktop browsers for many years, but to date there haven’t been any effective blockers for iOS.

All that could change with iOS 9, however, with content-blocking capabilities built right into the platform. If Apple chooses to allow adblockers into the App Store (and we don’t yet know yet for sure that it will), that could require advertisers, ad networks, publishers and readers alike to up their games …  Read more

Opinion: Beats 1 is what sets Apple Music apart from the competition

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Apple announced its streaming music service at WWDC this week after months of much anticipation. The service includes many of the features that our own Mark Gurman reported on months in advance. Earlier this year, I broke down my own thoughts on what features the service needed to have in order to convince me to switch from Spotify. Those requested features included excellent support for my previously acquired music; well-designed, cross-platform apps; exclusive content; competitive pricing; and a killer radio functionality.

In response to the requests for a killer radio functionality, Apple announced something called Beats 1. Beats 1 is a 24/7 streaming radio station that will be integrated directly into Apple Music on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, and Apple TV. World renowned DJ Zane Lowe will host Beats 1 from Los Angeles, Ebro Darden, a hip hop DJ, will broadcast from New York, and Julie Adenuga, a grime DJ, will host from London. This team together poses a serious threat to not only competing streaming services like Spotify, Rdio, Tidal, and Google Play Music, but also to traditional radio stations and SiriusXM.

No competitor to Apple Music has anything that even remotely resembles Beats 1. Read more

WWDC News Hub/Live Blog: Apple announces iOS 9, OS X 10.11, Apple Watch SDK & Apple Music

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It’s Monday, June 8th and nearly time for Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference. We’ve already run down what we’re expecting from the conference, ranging from a significant iOS 9 update for iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches with a focus on quality, an upgraded version of OS X with the same core focus, the new Apple Music streaming service along with the new iTunes Radio, and the native software development kit (SDK) for the Apple Watch. We’ll be following the news closely from before the keynote, during the event, and after the event, and we’ll be live updating this post with the latest information out of the WWDC Keynote.

You can find our live updates and analysis below, as we get closer to show time.

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Google Chrome aims to improve laptop battery life by intelligently pausing Flash content

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Google has been working with Adobe to improve battery life drain caused by Flash and today flipped the switch on a new Chrome feature that does exactly that. The new feature aims to detect Flash on a webpage that is actually important to the main content and “intelligently pause content” that isn’t as important. The result is to hopefully make the web experience with Flash more power efficient to improve battery life on your laptop. Here’s how it works: Read more

Happy Hour Podcast 017 | WWDC expectations and Google’s plan to lure iOS users to its Photos app

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Google I/O is behind us and brought along interesting integration for iOS users, but now WWDC 2015 is right around the corner. This week we’ll discuss some upcoming announcements and expectations including a native Apple Watch SDK and how Apple plans to take on Google Now in iOS 9. There’s also a new bug feature that made some important changes to the heart rate sensor on Apple Watch. The Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and through our dedicated RSS feed…

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Tim Cook talks privacy & encryption, criticizes Google during award reception

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While speaking at the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s (EPIC) Champions of Freedom Awards Dinner yesterday night, Apple CEO Tim Cook gave a speech during which he addressed the ongoing issues that surround privacy in the technology space. Cook, who was not physically in Washington D.C. for the event but rather spoke remotely, commented on both the steps Apple takes at ensuring customer privacy and how other companies are failing at the same task (via TechCrunch).

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Apple’s ‘Proactive’ to take on Google Now with deep iOS 9 search, Augmented Reality Maps, Siri API

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After several years of quiet development, Apple is readying a major new iOS initiative codenamed “Proactive,” which will leverage Siri, Contacts, Calendar, Passbook, and third-party apps to create a viable competitor to Google Now for Android devices. Like Google Now, Proactive will automatically provide timely information based on the user’s data and device usage patterns, but will respect the user’s privacy preferences, according to sources familiar with Apple’s plans.

As an evolution of iOS’s Spotlight search feature, Proactive is the fruit of a long-term initiative that involved the acquisition of small app developers, and integration of core iOS apps. It will also work with Apple’s Maps application to display personally relevant points of interest using an augmented reality interface, and integrate with a third-party Siri API codenamed “Breadcrumbs”…

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Google begins rolling out App Indexing to its iOS apps

OpenTable Side-by-side

Google’s App Indexing technology isn’t exactly the most exciting thing to discuss, but so long as the majority of the company’s revenue still comes from search (it does), it is imperative that they figure out how to make their main business work on mobile where the eyeballs are going. So the company announced that today App Indexing is coming to iOS apps, starting with Chrome and Google Search.

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Review: Dotti & Notti, fun (if pointless) ways to receive notifications

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My conclusion in my Skeptic’s Apple Watch diary series was that the device didn’t really have a unique selling-point to me, but was a slightly more convenient way to receive notifications. Ultimately, though, I kept it because it was a cool gadget.

The same argument, I think, would have to be deployed to justify what are really a couple of fun toys that happen to alert you to notifications: Dotti and Notti …  Read more