Apple shutting down legacy TestFlight next month following iTunes Connect integration

TestFlight iTunes Connect

Apple today began informing legacy TestFlight users that the services on TestFlightApp.com will no longer be available after February 26th, 2015. Apple bought the popular software testing distribution service through its acquisition of Burstly almost a year ago, and announced plans at WWDC 2014 to roll out its own version of the service in the future. Since then, Apple has integrated TestFlight beta testing for app developers with iTunes Connect. Read more

Spotify updating iOS app with neat touch preview and new swipe gestures

Spotify has announced an update to its iOS app to add some very handy new features. You’ll be able to preview any song just by touching the track and holding your finger down. Tapping it then plays the full track.

The app is also getting two new swipe gestures designed to make it even easier to queue music and save tracks to My Music …  Read more

Opinion: Could there be method in Apple’s apparent madness in removing freebies?

itunes-single-of-the-week

I was extremely surprised when Apple made the decision to drop its Single of the Week, after doing the same thing with its 12 Days of Christmas promo. As I wrote then, the free single seemed a win-win-win: consumers got free music, lesser-known artists got exposure, Apple got the goodwill that stems from giving away free stuff.

But thinking more about it, perhaps there is method in Apple’s madness after all. Let’s start with the obvious point: the company is about to launch an Apple-branded Beats Music service, and it would then make sense to say that this, not iTunes freebies, is the way to discover new music.

But it’s not just music: 12 Days of Christmas was content of all types, apps included, so I think there could be a bigger picture here. Bear with me while I make that case in a slightly roundabout fashion …

Read more

Apple apparently cutting back on the freebies, Single of the Week the latest casualty

singleoftheweek

There was surprise expressed when Apple quietly dropped its annual 12 Days of Christmas promotion this past year, just one year after it first reached the US. The app provided a free digital gift–which could be a song, app, book, TV show or movie–for each of 12 days, starting on December 26th.

A number of our readers noticed that it has now apparently done the same with the Single of the Week, which has offered a free music track on iTunes every week since 2004. No track was offered last week, and a participant in a support communities thread spotted by Business Insider says he’s been told by an Apple employee that the promotion has been discontinued …  Read more

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

Apple adds Games for Kids sub-section to App Store in ‘5 and under’, ‘6-8′ and ‘9-11′ groupings

games-for-kids

Following the dedicated Kids section added to the App Store back in 2013, Apple has now addedGames for Kids sub-section. Like its parent category, Apple has split it out into three different age ranges: 5 and under, 6-8 and 9-11.

Apple is also featuring the free book Family Time with Apps in the new section, created by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center to “help parents better understand the variety of ways that apps can support children’s healthy development and family learning, communication and connection” …  Read more

Higher European app store pricing takes effect in line with earlier email to developers

itunes

Update: It appears subscriptions through iTunes (like magazines) that saw price increases have seen the auto-renew function disabled, a 9to5Mac reader reports, likely to avoid a higher subscription rate being charged, although users have not yet been notified of the change.

Apple has increased the prices of apps in all countries in the European Union in line with the email sent to developers a couple of days ago. Apple has made the move in response to shifts in currency exchange rates and varying tax rules.

Prices are also being increased in Norway and Russia, though Icelandic residents will see a price cut …  Read more

Disney CEO Bob Iger reflects on working with Steve Jobs: the ‘relationship that most shaped his thinking’

Disney CEO Bob Iger Steve Jobs

A Fortune interview with Disney CEO Bob Iger, featured on the magazine’s cover (seen below) today, makes much of the importance of Iger’s relationship with Steve Jobs.

Fortune’s Michal Lev-Ram writes: “If there is one particular relationship that has most shaped [Bob Iger’s] thinking, it’s the six-year friendship he had with another CEO: the late Steve Jobs […]

Ed Catumull, Disney’s animation president, says of the Iger/Jobs relationship: “Steve recognized that in Bob he actually had a partner. In the subsequent years they thought of each other as true partners. That’s what he wanted, and that’s not what he had previously.”

The mutual respect the pair felt for each other was reflected in the fact that Jobs, before his death, asked that Iger be invited to take his place on the Apple board …  Read more

Mac Starter Pack: unleash your iTunes gift card and upgrade your Mac with these great apps

App Starter Pack Mac 2014

Let’s assume you unwrapped a brand new Mac this year (awesome!) or scored a ton of iTunes/iBooks/App Store credit (still awesome!) and you need ideas for awesome apps to buy and check out for your new MacBook or iMac. Tons of new apps have launched on the Mac this year and even more have added new features and remain essential. Below are some of my favorite Mac apps that I’ve used needed from time to time or even use daily and should give you a solid place to start whether your a brand new Mac user or Mac veteran looking to do more with your machine. Read more