Eddy Cue: Apple ‘working’ to bring back music Home Sharing with iOS 9

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Last week, we noted that Apple’s latest iOS 8.4 release with Apple Music removes support for the long-existing Music Home Sharing feature. This function allows an iOS device user to stream music from a computer running iTunes on their own WiFi network. Today, Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services noted on Twitter that Apple is “working” to restore Home Sharing functionality in iOS 9. It is likely that Home Sharing was removed in iOS 8.4 due to changes necessary with the record labels to launch the new streaming music service. Cook previously revealed details on this week’s iOS 9 beta, streaming bit rates, and more via Twitter.

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Opinion: Will the launch of Apple Music mark the beginning of the end for Spotify?

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Spotify is almost synonymous with streaming music. It may not quite have managed the Google trick of becoming a verb, but it’s pretty much the default way to stream music.

Spotify has 75M active users and, despite doubts in many quarters about its ability to convert free users to paid subscribers, it has succeeded there too. The company announced this week that it now has more than 20M paid subscribers, half of them added in the past 12 months, at a rate of one every three seconds.

It seems hard to imagine that any new entrant into the market, even one with Apple’s clout, could steal its crown. And yet early market leaders often look unassailable – until they are left behind. Look at Nokia or BlackBerry. I wondered back in February whether Apple could decimate the competition, and now the company has thrown the wraps off Apple Music, I think it’s time to revisit the question …

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Apple Watch sales started with a bang, tailed off into a whimper, shopping tracking firm says

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Slice Intelligence, which monitors purchase receipts in the email inboxes of a panel of two million online shoppers, has published a chart showing that the majority of Apple Watch orders were placed on the first day of pre-orders, and have since fallen to far smaller numbers than some analysts have predicted.

Quartz tech editor Dan Frommer notes that while the company’s data shows that almost 1.5 million U.S. orders were placed on day one (up from its initial estimate of one million), subsequent orders have typically been running at under 30,000 per day – compared to the 100,000 per day globally needed to meet some predictions …  Read more

Apple gets closer to opening up its first store in Belgium

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New Brussels shopping complex La Toison d’Or

Apple is getting closer to taking its retail stores to a new market: Belgium. According to sources within Apple retail, Apple today sent out a memo announcing the new market. The note also was sent to gauge interest from employees who may be inclined to relocate to Belgium to assist with opening up the new location…

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Apple plans to refresh iOS 9, OS X 10.11 using new Apple Watch font

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Apple is currently planning to use the new system font developed for the Apple Watch to refresh the looks of iPads, iPhones, and Macs running iOS 9 “Monarch” and OS X 10.11 “Gala,” according to sources with knowledge of the preparations. Current plans call for the Apple-designed San Francisco font to replace Helvetica Neue, which came to iOS 7 in 2013 and OS X Yosemite just last year, beginning with a June debut at WWDC…

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Apple readies first significant Apple Watch updates, ’TVKit’ SDK for Apple TV

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Nearly a month after the release of the first-generation Apple Watch with Watch OS 1.0, a proven source has disclosed a collection of upcoming Apple Watch software and hardware updates. Currently in development, the features seek to enhance Apple Watch security, connectivity with other Apple devices, health and fitness features, Wi-Fi capabilities, and integration with third-party applications. Additionally, Apple is also priming major updates for the Apple TV in both the hardware and software departments, including Apple Watch integration. Below, we detail what users can expect from Apple Watches and Apple TVs in the future…

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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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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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AAPL’s numbers today are going to be huge, analysts predict: double-digit growth in all but iPads

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With Apple set to reveal its fiscal Q2 earnings after market close today, analysts are expecting double-digit year-over-year growth in all categories except iPads. Fortune‘s roundup says that analysts predict revenue of $56.84B, up a massive 24.5% year-over-year, and above the top end of Apple’s $52-55M guidance. Earnings per share is predicted to be $2.21, up a third on the previous year, with gross margin just shy of Apple’s top-end guidance at 39.4%.

Double-digit growth is expected in both iPhones and Macs. For iPhones, the prediction includes sales just under 56M, 32.6% higher than the same quarter last year, while Mac sales are forecasted to hit 4.7M, 13.6% up on last year …  Read more

Opinion: Will Apple’s streaming music service mean I finally stop buying music?

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I was an early adopter of digital music (you hide your surprise well). I bought my first mp3 player in 1998, some three years before the first iPod. It cost a silly amount of money and stored exactly one album at a time in its 64MB (not GB) of flash memory.

Me being me, I went through a few different generations of mp3 player before Apple completely changed the game with the iPod. Ironically, by adopting a less sophisticated technology–a hard drive in place of flash memory–Apple created a far better product. One that allowed us to carry around 80 albums at a time. I bought one the day it went on sale, having by then finished ripping all my CDs to mp3.

When the 160GB iPod came out in 2007, I again bought one immediately. That was large enough to hold my entire music collection at the time. I not only carried it everywhere with me, I also plugged it into my hifi at home and to the AUX socket of my car stereo. At which point, I started wondering why I still had a wall full of CDs …  Read more

Review: Griffin’s iTrip Bluetooth adds wireless iPhone music streaming to your car’s stereo

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Twelve years have passed since Griffin released its first iTrip, a breakthrough FM transmitter that enabled iPods to send music wirelessly to car and home stereos. The original model, a glossy white housing that sat atop early iPods like a tube of Chapstick, effectively defined iPod accessories for an entire generation of early adopters. And it was fun, too: using an radio antenna and brilliant software, iTrip could flood an empty FM radio channel with iPod music, acting like a pocket-sized pirate radio station.

Everything changed when the FCC cracked down on FM transmitters, forcing reductions in broadcasting power that made iTrips (and numerous competitors) sound staticky, reducing their appeal. Around the same time, Apple and car companies transitioned to better-sounding solutions — Bluetooth and aux-in audio ports, respectively — leaving FM transmitters with fewer customers. But Griffin is rejuvenating the iTrip family with iTrip Bluetooth, aka iTrip Aux Bluetooth, which provides a different type of dead-simple wireless solution for cars. Priced at $50 but available online for $38, it has one purpose: to receive Bluetooth audio sent by your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, conveying it through an included 3.5mm audio cable to your car’s aux-in port…

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