iTunes Festival channel shows up on Apple TV ahead of SXSW concerts

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Ahead of this upcoming week’s iTunes Festival concert series at SXSW, Apple has added an iTunes Festival channel to the Apple TV so that users can live stream the concert’s content. Late last week, Apple released an updated version of the iTunes Festival application for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The Apple TV application is similar in style to the iOS app, and it includes a colorful logo…

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Apple bringing iTunes Festival to the US for the first time at SXSW, for five nights in March

Image via The Loop

Apple has announced that it is bringing the iTunes Festival to the United States for the first time, after being a UK-only event since it began in 2007. The festival will be held at SXSW from March 11th to March 15th, at the Moody Theater.

The show will feature chart-topping acts from Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, Pitbull and ZEDD with more announcements to follow. Just like the UK event, anyone can stream the event for free from their iOS devices, Macs as well as Apple TV.

In the press release, Cue said that the event is a way of sharing Apple’s love of music with customers.

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Apple’s iTunes Radio launches internationally, starting with Australia

iTunes Radio

Apple has finally taken its iTunes Radio streaming music service internationally: starting with Australia. The service, which launched in the United States late last year, works on iPads, iPhones, iPods running iOS 7, the Apple TV, and on iTunes 11 on the Mac or PC.

Apple® today announced iTunes Radio™ is now available to music fans in Australia. iTunes Radio is a free Internet radio service featuring over 100 stations and an incredible catalog of music from the iTunes Store®, combined with features only iTunes® can deliver. When you tune into iTunes Radio on your iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch®, Mac®, PC or Apple TV®, you’ll have access to stations inspired by the music you already listen to, Featured Stations curated by Apple and genre-focused stations that are personalized just for you. iTunes Radio evolves based on the music you play and download. The more you use iTunes Radio and iTunes, the more it knows what you like to listen to and the more personalized your experience becomes. iTunes Radio also gives you access to exclusive “First Play” premieres from top selling artists, plus the ability to tag or buy anything you hear with just one click.

Like in the United States, iTunes Radio in Australia is supported by advertisements. However, iTunes Match subscribers can listen to iTunes Radio without ads. Apple is yet to announce any other international iTunes Radio countries, but evidence and reports suggest that Canada, New Zealand, and some European countries will be gaining the feature soon.

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Tax-breaks for jobs: How Arizona attracted Apple to Mesa w/ tax breaks & perks for new Sapphire plant

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If you were wondering why Apple chose Mesa, Arizona, as the location of its latest manufacturing plant in the U.S., a story today from Bloomberg explains that Apple, not shy about going after tax breaks, has taken advantage of many perks put in place by the suburb’s mayor:

So last year, when Apple was searching for a place to house a factory that makes a stronger glass for its gadgets, Mesa pulled out the stops. The city, which was ravaged by the 2007 housing crash, offered tax breaks, built power lines, fast-tracked building permits and got the state to declare a vacant 1.3 million-square-foot facility that Apple was exploring a foreign trade zone. With unemployment high, such are the lengths that towns are willing to go to to lure the world’s most valuable company.“Any time you have a company like Apple come in and invest in your area, especially with this type of operation, it’s significant,” said Smith, who triumphed late last year when Apple spent $114 million to buy the factory. The mayor celebrated by placing bowls of green and red apples in City Hall.

Smith added that original preparations were done before the city even knew it was Apple, but later Apple requested additional perks before moving in and even got construction permits expedited. Among the other advantages of choosing Mesa for Apple was a $10 million building grant from the Arizona Commerce Authority and an agreement with the city’s power company to build solar and geothermal installations and a new power substation for the plant: Read more

Apple TV: Meet the Beatles. New channel celebrates 50 years since US debut

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Apple has created a dedicated channel for The Beatles in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first U.S. appearance of the 60s pop group on The Ed Sullivan Show. The show footage is available “for a limited time,” and you can listen to the U.S. albums which are also available on iTunes for the first time …  Read more

First Apple Store in Turkey to open in Istanbul in April, government requests R&D and Siri improvements

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A Turkish government website reporting on Tim Cook’s meeting with President Abdullah Gül says that the country’s first Apple Store will open in Istanbul in April. Istanbul, which uniquely straddles Europe and Asia, is one of the largest cities in the world by population with over 14 million residents.

In addition to a rumored $4 billion plan to put iPads into Turkish schools, it was said that the two discussed the amount of sales taxes levied on iPhones and iPads and when Apple might include Turkish in the languages supported by Siri with at least some suggesting that the two issues might be linked … Read more

Apple provides update on government requests as tech companies reach settlement with DOJ

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Just a few days later after Apple CEO Tim Cook expressed his thoughts about the NSA and data collection transparency, Apple has posted an update to its website with new information regarding account data requests. The company’s press release comes as US Department of Justice comes to a settlement with technology companies over how they are allowed to disclose information about government data requests.

A statement from the DOJ explains the agreement will allow “detailed disclosures about the number of national security orders and requests issued to communications providers, and the number of customer accounts targeted under those orders and requests including the underlying legal authorities.” Due to these new guidelines, Apple has now been able to report FISA and National Security Letters separate from law enforcement requests as show in its graphics above and below.  It also notes the new data released today replaces the U.S. data from its Feb. 5 2013 Report on Government Information Requests.

Apple-National-Security-orders-02Apple has been working closely with the White House, the U.S. Attorney General, congressional leaders, and the Department of Justice to advocate for greater transparency with regard to the national security orders we receive. We believe strongly that our customers have the right to understand how their personal information is being handled, and we are pleased the government has developed new rules that allow us to more accurately report law enforcement orders and national security orders in the U.S.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a recent interview that he would push congress for more transparency regarding controversial surveillance programs and how companies can disclose information related to information requests. At the time, Cook said that there was much the company couldn’t speak about due to gag orders:

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Apple begins teasing its first Brazil Store with colorful signage

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Last year, we reported that Apple plans to open up its first Apple Store in Brazil between February and March of 2014. This store would be located inside of the popular Village Mall in Rio de Janeiro:

Apple currently plans to expand its retail store presence to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil early next year, according to information provided by a source. This person says that Apple is targeting a store opening between February and March 2014, but delays due to construction and staffing are always possible.

Now, the Instagram account for Village Mall has published a photo of the space in which the Apple Store will be housed. The store is blocked by colorful Apple logo signage that is not too different from the teases shown before the recent opening of Apple’s new flagship store in Brisbane, Australia…

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Apple rumored to be planning €2B ($2.7B) European data center in Netherlands

Google data centre at Eemshaven (photo: computable.nl)

Google data centre at Eemshaven (photo: computable.nl)

iPhoneclub (translation) says that Apple’s rumored plan to build a new data center in Netherlands are now focusing on the town of Eemshaven.

Eemshaven is an ideal location due to the high-speed transatlantic fiber optic cable link to the USA. Google already has a 10,000 square meter data center in the town, and it is believed that Apple has already been granted outline planning permission for its own center …  Read more