Decline of music downloads continues as on-demand streaming audio up 50 percent

beats

Apple’s presumed plans for an on-demand music service as part of its Beats acquisition is looking increasingly well-timed as Nielsen data shows that U.S. on-demand music consumption climbed 50.1 percent year-on-year, while music downloads fell by 12 percent in the same timeframe.

“With On-Demand streams surpassing 70 billion songs in the first six months of 2014, streaming continues to be an increasingly significant portion of the music industry,” says David Bakula, SVP Nielsen Entertainment …

Read more

Apple’s annual Back to School promotion to start tomorrow

As we reported two weeks ago, Apple’s annual Back to School promotion will begin tomorrow, according to sources. The program will be similar to last year’s offering, which provided $100 Mac App Store gift cards alongside Mac purchases and $50 cards with iPhone and iPad purchases. Apple will be re-decorating its stores overnight with a new education theme to go along with the new promotion. Earlier today, Apple unveiled upcoming iTunes U updates for the iPad, and the timing seems like anything but a coincidence.

Read more

Apple releases iOS 7.1.2 with iBeacon, Mail attachment, third-party accessory fixes & Apple TV OS 6.2

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 12.58.24 PM

Apple has released iOS 7.1.2 to end users today over-the-air with the following changes:

• Improves iBeacon connectivity and stability
• Fixes a bug with data transfer for some 3rd party accessories, including bar code scanners
• Corrects an issue with data protection class of Mail attachments

The update is available over-the-air or via iTunes for the latest iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. The fix for Mail addresses a well-publicized security problem regarding attachments. Apple has also released OS X 10.9.4 with various bug fixes and security enhancements.

The build number is 11D257 and it comes in at approximately 30 MB over-the-air on the iPad and 32 MB on the iPhone. The update is approximately 1.4GB for a complete download via iTunes.

In addition, Apple has released Apple TV software version 6.2 (build number 11D257c) without any major changes. The update addresses stability and performance issues:

  • Includes general performance and stability improvements.

Download links below:

Read more

Apple announces iTunes U update with iPad Course Creation, Student Discussions & more

iPad_itunesu_Postbiology2

Screenshot showing new iTunes U “Student Discussions” feature

Apple today announced an update to its iTunes U educational app that includes a number of new features for iPad including course creation tools, a Student Discussions feature and improved management tools for teachers.

“Education is at the core of Apple’s DNA and iTunes U is an incredibly valuable resource for teachers and students,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “iTunes U features an amazing selection of academic materials for everyone around the world. Now, with the ability to better manage and discuss educational content, learning becomes even more personalized on iPad.”

The new features will begin rolling out July 8 with the ability for teachers to create and manage previously uploaded lessons directly from the iPad. Apple says the course creation features will let teachers grab content from iWork, iBooks Author or “any of the over 75,000 educational apps available for iPad.” It will also let teachers use the iPad’s camera to include shots and video of real-world items in courses. The course creation feature will be available to educators in all 69 with the materials they create distributed in up 155 countries. 

As for students, a new Discussions feature will bring a social element to the app allowing students and teachers to easily interact with one another: With Discussions in the iTunes U app, students can automatically follow classroom discussions and join conversations on new topics, or set up push notifications for when new topics are started or replies are added to active exchanges. Teachers can participate in forums too, and have the ability to moderate discussions by removing any off-topic messages or replies.

In its press release, Apple said “nearly 30,000 Multi-Touch™ books have been created by independent teachers and publishers worldwide.”

Read more

Apple said to be working on ‘mainstream’ Smart Home hardware

HomeKit-WWDC-03

With iPhones in pockets, Macs on desks, iPads in bags, and iWatches soon coming to the wrist, Apple is said to be eyeing another category for continued growth: Smart Home hardware. The Cupertino-company is said to have assembled a team to work on various hardware products for the home that deeply integrate with the existing array of Apple devices on the market…

Read more

Why won’t Microsoft give iOS users access to their Skype voice messages? (Updated)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Skype may have recently launched a major update to its Skype for iPhone app, but one rather basic feature went missing – the ability to listen to voice messages. A subsequent update to Skype for iPhone 5.1 still hasn’t fixed the problem.

In a support thread on the Skype site, community manager Claudius provided what must qualify as one of the most unhelpful response ever to complaints by users:

Voice message playback is not supported in Skype 5.0 for iPhone. Please use Skype on another platform to listen to your voice messages …

Read more