As promised, Angry Birds Transformers hits USA and rest of the world today

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Rovio’s latest game in the Angry Birds series, Angry Birds Transformers, has rolled out worldwide today after its earlier soft-launch last month in New Zealand, Finland, Canada and Australia.

Angry Birds and Transformers collide in this action-packed, 3D shoot ‘em up adventure! The EggSpark has transformed the eggs into crazed robots who are destroying Piggy Island, but who can stop them?! Autobirds, roll out! 

Gamers have been waiting for quite some time as the Transformers mash-up game was first announced back in June …

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‘Oops, sorry about that:’ Bono responds to ‘Songs of Innocence’ iTunes deal

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iTunes customers who didn’t watch Apple’s iPhone keynote last month were a bit surprised to discover that they suddenly owned a copy of U2’s new albumSongs of Innocence,” even though they’d never bought it. The band had partnered with Apple to add the album to every single iTunes account for free in what they called the largest album debut ever.

iTunes users were less than thrilled at the arrangement, noting that the album was being automatically downloaded to their devices in many cases and there was no way to remove it from their purchase history. Apple responded soon thereafter by releasing an online tool to remove the album, but thus far U2 has remained quiet on the issue… until today.

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Apple begins rollout of redesigned iTunes Store ahead of OS X Yosemite launch

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Apple has started rolling out a redesigned version of the iTunes Store for users running iTunes 12 less than a week ahead of what’s expected to be the launch of OS X Yosemite. The new storefront takes design cues from the iTunes and App Store home pages on iOS devices, featuring a flattened, side-scrolling carousel at the top of the page in place of the old “card”-style header. This new header can be scrolled horizontally using two fingers or even dragged around with a mouse.

Individual pages for albums, TV shows, and iOS apps have also been redesigned and now feature more iOS-like controls throughout. Download buttons have been reduced to simple outlines. Shadows and textures have been removed throughout the store, putting the content directly on a stark white or dark gray background.

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Apple releases fourth beta of iTunes 12 to developers and AppleSeed users on Yosemite

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Apple has pushed out the fourth pre-release version of iTunes 12 to users running the developer preview or public beta of OS X Yosemite. The update weighs in at 214 MB, but the seed notes don’t list anything new in this build. There do appear to be some new icons in the preferences screen, but for the most part it’s the same as the other betas we’ve seen.

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Apple to collect City of Hope donations through iTunes for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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Apple has announced that for the month of October it will be accepting donations through the iTunes Store on behalf of City of Hope in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. City of Hope is a research facility that focuses on prevention and treatment of not only cancer, but many serious diseases such as lymphoma.

The Cupertino company has previously collected donations on behalf of organizations such as the Red Cross following catastrophic events such as typhoons and hurricanes. This is the first time Apple has collected donations for City of Hope or Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

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Apple: Almost 50% of the iOS devices that visited the App Store Sunday were iOS 8 (9to5Mac readers: 80%)

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Apple isn’t bragging on its iOS 8 adoption numbers like it has in years past because it appears uptake has been slightly slower. The reason? The much bigger iOS 8 download doesn’t fit on many people’s devices which are often stuffed to capacity with music, movies, photos and apps.

(Hint: Here’s how to slim some GBs off your iOS 8 device or install via iTunes on a Mac/PC which doesn’t require extra space)

9to5-image 2014-09-23 at 5.31.11 AMApple’s latest numbers are for Sunday September 21, 2014 and show that from people who visited the App Store on their iOS device, 46% were already on the new iOS 8.  On one hand this number is skewed higher because most of the early adopter nature of frequent App Store visitors but on the other hand many people visit the App Store from older devices that can’t be updated to iOS 8.

Apple’s own numbers show something else slightly troubling. App Store app submissions are being delayed slightly as of iOS 8 launch with only 74% of app updates and 53% of new apps being reviewed. Apple is usually in the high 90% range on iOS as it is with Mac.

As for 9to5Mac readers’ iOS adoption, the numbers are much much higher than the general audience as you’d probably expect. This morning, we’re close to 80% iOS 8 adoption. The pie chart from Google Analytics taken at 5:30 am ET is below:

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Bono says Apple has 885 million iTunes accounts, complained to Steve Jobs that iTunes looks like a spreadsheet

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In an Irish radio interview, Bono discusses his various collaborations with Apple, as transcribed by TUAW. Interesting, Bono claims Apple now has 885 million iTunes accounts (up from 800 million as officially announced in April). With his work on a mysterious new music format, he aims to help Apple cross the billion accounts mark. The new medium has apparently been underway for a while, spanning back to a conversation with Steve Jobs in 2009. Read more

Apple and U2 reportedly working on ‘secret project’ to bolster music sales

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According to TIME, U2’s partnership with Apple goes far beyond a free album in your iTunes library, much to the chagrin of some users. The group is reportedly working with Apple on a ‘secret project’ to rejuvenate digital music scales.

Details, however, are thin on the ground. Bono is quoted as saying he is developing a new music format that will somehow inspire consumers to buy complete albums once more. Without more information, it’s impossible to tell whether this is a silly pipe dream or an actual possibility. In the age of streaming music, the sales potential for individually bought songs is waning.

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Getting Ready for iOS 8: How to backup your device and set up the new iPhone & iPad OS

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With iOS 8 launching later today, it’s worth taking a look at how you should prepare your device for the new operating system. Before installing the update, it is recommended that you have a backup of your data. This how-to is going to walk you through backing up your iOS 7 device and transitioning it over to iOS 8:

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Apple creates tool for removing free U2 album from iTunes library after public reaction (U: Eddy Cue comments)

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Tim Cook and U2 announced that the band’s new album “Songs of Innocence” would be automatically gifted to Apple’s over 500 million iTunes users last week following the announcement of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but many iTunes users were not happy with seeing music from U2 added to their iTunes libraries (even for free).

While iTunes supports a way to “hide” previous purchases, the complaints and confusion apparently grew loud enough to warrant a dedicated support site for permanently removing the free U2 album from iTunes purchase history. Apple says once you remove the free album from your iTunes purchase history and library, you will need to “get it again” if you decide you want it. The U2 album is available for free until October 13th next month when the album will then be available for sale at various retailers. View below for information on how to remove the free U2 album… Read more

Apple Pay may mean the end of physical bank cards within 2-3 years, argues Moven CEO

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While we’d all expected plastic bank cards to be replaced by apps eventually, the CEO of mobile banking startup Moven is suggesting that Apple’s backing could mean the end of physical bank cards within 2-3 years.

The additional sweetners here are three fold. Firstly, tokenization will avoid much of the type of breaches we’ve seen at Target and Home Depot because the token is only a one-time use thing. Secondly, the move to tokens and the combination of biometrics, etc allow for the emergence of a ‘cardholder present’ approach to interchange rates that will potentially give mobile payments a competitive merchant rate. Lastly, the US might effectively jump straight from magstripe to mobile, especially if issuers can figure out how to reduce the cost of card replacement by moving straight to mobile SE and tokens …

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60 percent of apps fail basic privacy tests, finds international cross-governmental study

 

app store hero flat modernA review of 1,211 apps carried out by a coalition of privacy officials across 19 countries found that 60 percent of them failed at least one basic privacy test, reports the WSJ.

The officials found that 60% of apps raised privacy concerns, based on three criteria: They did not disclose how they used personal information; they required that the user give up an excessive amount of personal data as a condition of downloading the app; and their privacy policies were rendered in type too small to be read on a phone’s screen …

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