Rdio plans new $3.99/mo streaming tier ahead of Apple Music launch next month

Beats Studio Wireless

Update: Rdio officially announced the new plan today.

Apple is slated to launch its streaming music service next month, but Rdio is trying to cut off a portion of Apple’s market with a new service. BuzzFeed News reports that Rdio plans to introduce a $3.99 a month streaming music service. The service, called Rdio Select, will be significantly limited, which is to be expected given the low price point…

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‘Apple Music’ Beats-based streaming service to have Ping-like social network for artists

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Apple’s upcoming Beats-based streaming music service will likely be named “Apple Music” and will have deep social networking integration for artists, according to industry sources briefed on the plans for the new service.

Taking a page out of the discontinued iTunes Ping feature from earlier this decade, the service will allow artists to have their own pages within the streaming music service that they can use to post track samples, photos, videos, and concert updates.

Artists will also be able to share the content of other artists in an effort of cross-promotion. For example, all-gold Apple Watch wearer Kanye West could promote a new album from Taylor Swift on his “Apple Music” artist page, if he so chooses…

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BitTorrent releases Bleep, a secure peer-to-peer messaging service for iOS and Mac (Video)

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If you want the security of knowing your voice, text and picture messages can’t be intercepted, direct peer-to-peer communication with end-to-end encryption is the gold standard: and that’s what BitTorrent offers with its Bleep app.

Every conversation is between you and your friends. There is no cloud to hack because messages are never stored in the cloud.

For text messages and photos, Bleep offers the choice of Whispers – where both text and images disappear when they’ve been read – and Messages, which stores them locally on the device. You can also make voice calls with the same peer-to-peer encrypted technology …  Read more

Apple TV gains new content in UK, Ireland, Australia, Japan, & Scandinavia

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Apple has pushed out several new content channels across many countries to the Apple TV, as noted by several readers. Here’s the breakdown of the new channels across the world:

  • Viaplay has been added to the Apple TV in Scandinavia (which is comprised of Denmark, Sweden, Norway) and Finland. Viaplay is comprised of local sports content, films, and TV shows.
  • Stan has been added in Australia, and it contains localized TV shows, films, and content for kids.
  • The WWE Wrestling Network has been added to Apple TVs in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The network first launched in several countries, including the United States in Canada, for the Apple TV in February.
  • Bandai, a localized, subscription-based digital network, has been added to the Apple TV in Japan.

Last week, Apple rolled out CBS Sports and USA Now channels in the United States. Apple is expected to announce new Apple TV hardware in June at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, complete with an App Store and redesigned Remote.

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How-To: Clean your iOS device with free downloads, recovering lost space

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When Apple was designing the Mac app iDVD, then-CEO Steve Jobs directed his development team to build a dead-simple DVD-burning application: instead of a mess of options and windows, Jobs wanted one window with one button marked “Burn,” which would be pressed once the desired video file was dragged-and-dropped into the window. Years later, when Jobs wanted Apple’s iOS devices to be even simpler, he dumped the Mac’s windows and drag-and-drop file system in favor of a grid of icons. There wasn’t even a trash can to worry about — instead, iOS would automatically discard unused files as needed.

While that’s great in theory, the reality is that iOS actually leaves bits of trash sitting around on your device, and there’s no easy way to clean everything up at once. iTunes aggregates various types of lingering files as “Other,” but doesn’t have a trash can, nor does it provide direct access to your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch file system so you can purge trash on your own. Consequently, your device may be holding a large collection of junk that could be dumped to free up gigabytes of space.

Below, I’ll show you how to clean your iOS device for free using two apps, one of which you definitely already have installed…

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Apple releases iOS 8.4 beta 3 with revamped Music app ahead of late June launch

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Apple today released the third beta of iOS 8.4 to developers, labeled build 12H4098c. The update is available via Software Update on iOS and it should be hitting the developer center soon. The second Public Beta is available as well for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Xcode 6.4 beta 3 is also available. As with the first pair of betas, iOS 8.4 brings a revamped Music application with a new design, Up Next functionality, a Mini Player, and a new version of iTunes Radio. As we’ve reported several times, iOS 8.4’s Music app will also be home to Apple’s upcoming Beats-based streaming music service. Sources say that the new service will be announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference on June 8th alongside iOS 9 and OS X 10.11, and it will launch publicly in several countries alongside the new iTunes Radio in late June.

Below, we list the changes in this new beta:

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Ex-iOS SVP Scott Forstall ‘delighted’ by Apple continuing to launch ‘great and beloved products’

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Scott Forstall, former Senior Vice President of iOS and one of the main creators of the iPhone and iPad, has finally spoken about Apple for the first time since leaving the company in the fall of 2012. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal primarily centered around his work on Broadway, Forstall briefly commented on Apple:

Asked about the split, Mr. Forstall said he was “so proud of the thousands of people I worked with [at Apple] and with whom I remain friends. I am delighted that they continue to turn out great and beloved products.”

Forstall’s admiration for Apple remains following a very public breakup between the executive and the company following problems with iOS 6 Maps application and the iPhone 5 launch. Since Forstall’s departure, Apple has publicly poked fun at skeuomorphic design, which was a cornerstone of Forstall’s iOS and OS X releases.

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Nike CEO discusses future of Apple partnership, exiting wearables, & Apple Watch (Video)

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Nike+ Running App for Apple Watch

Earlier today, Nike CEO Mark Parker sat down with CNBC for a video interview to discuss his company exiting wearable hardware, Fitbit’s IPO, fitness software, a partnership with Apple, and the Apple Watch. Asked where the Nike and Apple partnership goes from here, Parker said “it continues,” and that “we are excited about the potential that the Apple/Nike relationship has.”

Parker noted that Nike already offers the Nike+ app on the Apple Watch and that Nike has over 60 million digital fitness software users. Parker said Nike is “working with Apple” on new software and experiences. He ended by saying there is “more” coming from Apple and Nike. Apple and Nike are already close partners for HealthKit as well. 

Apple and Nike’s relationship dates back nearly a decade with Apple releasing a special chip for Nike shoes that talked to early generations of the iPod for steps tracking. The pair of companies enhanced this partnership by installing step tracking sensors in the second-generation iPod touch and iPhone 3GS last decade.

Additionally, as is well known, Apple CEO Tim Cook is a Nike fan and sits on the fitness and sports company’s Board of Directors. Last year, Nike shuttered its FuelBand business to focus on fitness software. Apple has also poached multiple former FuelBand engineers to work on the Apple Watch, we reported in the months leading up to the product’s introduction last fall.

The full video interview can be watched below:

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iPhone slightly increases lead as most popular smartphone in US – comScore

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Apple has further increased its lead as the top smartphone manufacturer in the US, the iPhone increasing its market share by one point from 41.6% in Dec 2014 to 42.6% in March 2015, according to comScore. There was no change in the rankings, with Samsung in second place at 28.3% – a fall of 1.4% – followed by LG, Motorola and HTC.

Android remained the most popular platform, with 52.4% of the market against iOS at 42.6%. Windows, Blackberry and Symbian were all also-rans, totalling just 5% between them.

comScore also reported the top 15 smartphone apps …  Read more

Fitbit warns against highly competitive factors like Apple Watch in IPO filing

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Earlier today, fitness tracker hardware and software company Fitbit filed to go public on the New York Stock Exchange. Since the regulatory filing went public, observers have been scouring the paperwork for information on Fitbit’s financials, sales numbers, and notes about the competition. The Financial Times‘s Tim Bradshaw noticed that that Fitbit cites Apple and the recently-launched Apple Watch as the top billed competitor in the IPO Risk Factors section:

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American Foundation for the Blind honors Apple for VoiceOver technology

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The American Foundation for the Blind today announced four honorees for the upcoming Helen Keller Achievement Awards, highlighting Apple’s VoiceOver and Accessibility efforts alongside actor Charlie Cox, musician Ward Marston, and biopharmaceutical company Vanda Pharmaceuticals.

The foundation says that it gives this award to “accomplished individuals and companies for their success in improving quality of life for people with vision loss either through groundbreaking innovation or inspirational achievement that changes perceptions about what it means to be visually impaired.”

Apple is specifically being awarded for VoiceOver Accessibility technology across its products, per the announcement:

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