Apple is giving its social media department a significant shot in the arm this week. The Cupertino-based company has hired Musa Tariq, the former social media chief for both Nike and Burberry. At Nike, Tariq ran general social media marketing as well as social media partnerships with athletes across all Nike product platforms, and at Burberry he led “strategy and innovation” for social media…
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Ian Rogers, the head of Beats Music, will now also lead iTunes Radio following the Apple acquisition. Apple wants to increase collaboration between both Beats Music and iTunes Radio by having both streaming services led by Rogers. Up to now, iTunes Radio has been headed by Jeff Robin’s team, best known for creating the software that became iTunes.
The Journal says that Rogers’ leadership will increase ‘cohesion’ between the services, which currently offer a lot of app in their end-user experiences. It is still unclear whether Apple has plans to consolidate the brands.
As Apple’s acquisition of Beats Electronics and Beats Music nears completion this financial quarter, the Cupertino and Culver City, California-based companies have begun work on transitioning select employees and technology resources from Beats to Apple, according to sources briefed on the transition. Apple executives have visited Beats’ Southern California headquarters this week and last week to offer groups of employees positions at Apple and to notify some members of the Beats staff that they will not be included in the transition.
Many Beats employees in development and creative roles have been offered positions at Apple. Many of these employees will be offered space in Apple’s Cupertino offices, but Apple is said to plan to retain the Los Angeles-area offices, and select engineers on the Beats Music streaming service will continue working out of Southern California. An email from Apple CEO Tim Cook detailed earlier this year that Beats hardware employees would transition to Phil Schiller’s team in Cupertino, so it seems likely that the headphone and speaker makers will make up the majority of the new Cupertino staff…
Apple appears to be looking to further improve the iTunes Radio service through the $30 million acquisition of a radio application called Swell, Re/code reported early Monday morning. Unlike the $3 billion Beats Electronics (and Beats Music) buyout, however, this purchase centers more on talk radio than music.
Swell currently carries news from sources such as NPR, ABC, ESPN, the BBC, and more, and uses a user’s listening history to create personalized content playlists. Apple, on the other hand, only recently jumped into the streaming news market through iTunes Radio with ESPN and NPR stations, including over 40 local stations.
The report says the service may launch this fall, enabling iPhone users to pay for goods with their devices in retail outlets. Apple has apparently discussed the plans with credit card institutions, according to the report, as a user’s banking information “would essentially be uploaded to the wallet”. Apparently, Visa is already onboard with the project.
With all 34 analysts having revealed their predictions, the consensus view is for year-on-year revenue to have grown by 8.5 percent, with earnings up 18.1 percent … Read more
Yesterday Apple rolled out its new iTunes Pass service to Japan, allowing users to use a Passbook card to add credit to an iTunes account from an Apple Retail Store. Starting today, the offer is also available in the United States and Australia. Users in Canada, Germany, and the UK are also reporting seeing the feature, though it’s not officially listed on Apple’s website for those countries just yet.
To take advantage of this new program, you need to use the iTunes Store app on an iOS device to obtain an iTunes Pass. You can get one of these by tapping the “Redeem” button at the bottom of the home page within the app. To use the card, you can visit an Apple Retail Store and ask a specialist to help you add credit to your account. The specialist can then scan the barcode on the Passbook card to immediately add credit to your account.
Apple today has launched an interesting new service for iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore users in Japan with iPhones and iPod touches. The new service, called iTunes Pass (no, not that iTunes Pass), allows users to go to an Apple Store in Japan, purchase credit in-store for the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore, and have that money immediately applied to the Apple ID account instead of needing to receive a gift card and enter a redemption code…
Last week, inaccurate reporting emerged in regards to Apple’s work on making its products accessible to all consumers. As many Apple customers are aware, and as CEO Tim Cook takes extremely seriously, Apple works hard to ensure that Macs, iPhones, iPods, and iPads can be used to their full extent by people who are deaf or blind, for example. In response to the reporting (Philip Elmer-DeWitt has a good summary of the original reporting and takedowns at Fortune), Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, has published a comprehensive blog post describing Apple’s work on accessibility, the technology industry as a whole, the resolution regarding iOS device accessibility, and what can be done to improve accessibility of third-party apps into the future.
The full blog post can be read here, but here is a key line that should further dispute last week’s inaccurate reports: “Apple has done more for accessibility than any other company to date, and we have duly recognized this by presenting the company with at least two awards (including our annual Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award) and publicly praising it whenever the opportunity arises.” The blog post goes on to explain that the Federation believes Apple could work further with App Store developers on making all of the more than one million App Store apps more accessible to all users. “We simply want Apple to continue to discuss with us what measures the company can put in place to ensure accessibility,” the blog post reads.
It is also worth watching Cook’s speech regarding human rights and accessibility, below:
This past week, Chinese State TV called the iPhone a “national security concern” because of its location tracking capabilities. The iPhone’s operating system utilizes location for several applications, including Maps and Weather. iOS 7 also introduced a new feature that utilizes a customer’s location in order to provide improved traffic and route information. Now, Apple has quickly responded via a concrete and comprehensive message on its website for China. The message is advertised on the homepage, and is a direct response to the allegations from China State TV.
Apple denies the claims by stating that “privacy is built into [its] products and services from the earliest stages of design. We work tirelessly to deliver the most secure hardware and software in the world.” Apple also explains that it uses industry leading encryption to protect location data, and says that all location data is stored solely on the iPhone, not on Apple’s servers.
Apple goes on to, once again, explain that it does not work with government agencies to spy on its customers: “Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will. It’s something we feel very strongly about.” Apple goes on to list specific work it does for individual services in order to protect customer privacy.
Apple today released iTunes version 11.3 and with it is making its iTunes Extras feature available for HD movies on Macs. Apple also announced today that the feature is now available for Apple TV with update 6.2 and will arrive on iOS 8 this fall.
While we’ll have to wait for iTunes Extras to arrive on iOS with the release of iOS 8 this fall, the Apple TV OS 6.2 update rolled out late last month to users alongside iOS 7.1.2.
iTunes Extras offers an interactive experience for some video content on iTunes that often includes behind-the-scenes videos, image galleries, commentary from the creators, cast interviews, exclusive clips, short films, and more. Content creators decide whether or not to offer the iTunes Extras feature and create the experience using templates provided by Apple. Apple also notes that “new iTunes Extras will be automatically added to your previously purchased HD movies as they become available- at no additional charge.”