Apple releases iOS 8.4 beta 3 with revamped Music app ahead of late June launch

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Apple today released the third beta of iOS 8.4 to developers, labeled build 12H4098c. The update is available via Software Update on iOS and it should be hitting the developer center soon. The second Public Beta is available as well for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Xcode 6.4 beta 3 is also available. As with the first pair of betas, iOS 8.4 brings a revamped Music application with a new design, Up Next functionality, a Mini Player, and a new version of iTunes Radio. As we’ve reported several times, iOS 8.4’s Music app will also be home to Apple’s upcoming Beats-based streaming music service. Sources say that the new service will be announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference on June 8th alongside iOS 9 and OS X 10.11, and it will launch publicly in several countries alongside the new iTunes Radio in late June.

Below, we list the changes in this new beta:

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iPhone slightly increases lead as most popular smartphone in US – comScore

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Apple has further increased its lead as the top smartphone manufacturer in the US, the iPhone increasing its market share by one point from 41.6% in Dec 2014 to 42.6% in March 2015, according to comScore. There was no change in the rankings, with Samsung in second place at 28.3% – a fall of 1.4% – followed by LG, Motorola and HTC.

Android remained the most popular platform, with 52.4% of the market against iOS at 42.6%. Windows, Blackberry and Symbian were all also-rans, totalling just 5% between them.

comScore also reported the top 15 smartphone apps …  Read more

Spotify turns up the heat against Apple’s streaming music service, making fresh anti-competitive behavior claim

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Spotify, which is widely believed to be behind the antitrust allegations that led to both EC and DOJ investigations into Apple, has now added a fresh complaint. The Verge reports Spotify is complaining that the 30% cut Apple takes from in-app Premium subscriptions in the iOS app amounts to an “Apple tax.”

Apple charges a 30 percent fee toward any sales through its App Store, and that includes subscription services. That means if Spotify wants to sell its premium subscription service — which usually costs $9.99 a month — through the App Store, it has to raise the price 30 percent higher to $12.99 to pull in the same revenue, while Apple can still offer Beats at a lower price. Spotify and many others in the music industry believe Apple’s App Store tax gives them an unfair advantage over the competition.

One unnamed music industry source said that Apple taking 30% was “**cking bullsh**” …  Read more

Google ending YouTube support on older Apple TVs, iPhones, iPads, & iPod touches

Google announced yesterday that it will be ending support for its YouTube Data API v2 used by older devices. For Apple users, this means the YouTube app will no longer work on iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches running iOS 6 or earlier; users instead will have to rely on the mobile web version of YouTube at m.youtube.com going forward.

The change also affects some Apple TV users, as only the current 3rd-generation 1080p Apple TV supports YouTube’s overhauled channel; prior-generation models will entirely lose access to YouTube… Read more

Tumblr for iOS adds blog creation, trending tags widget, quick video embedding, more

Tumblr is out today with a brand new version of its blogging and community app for iPhone and iPad. Version 4 adds several new features like the ability to create new blogs from your iPhone or iPad and create video posts quickly by pasting YouTube or Vimeo URLs into a new post. The update adds a new widget for the Today section of Notification Center on iOS 8 for quickly seeing which tags are trending on Tumblr when you’re not using the app and much more. Read more

Apple TV adds revamped YouTube app (with ads), new channels from DailyMotion, UFC and more

Apple TV is receiving a flurry of new channels today. Most prominently is a brand new YouTube app, to bring the client up-to-date with some of the other platforms. The new app reflects the design of other set-top box clients, with easier access to subscriptions and search functions. For the security conscious, the YouTube app now uses OAuth to login rather than naive password entry (by visiting youtube.com/activate)

Unfortunately, this YouTube update also means that Apple TV users will start seeing ads for the first time on the platform. Naturally, some users will be disappointed by this addition — it is not possible to opt out of the update.

Aside from YouTube, Apple TV is also getting four entirely new channels from various providers. Rolling out today are channels for Conde Nast’s ‘The Scene’, ‘Fusion’, Dailymotion (a video upload site from France) and UFC for premium subscription fighting and martial arts content.

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YouTube launches Music Key streaming service for $10/mo: no ads, offline playback, full albums & Play Music access

YouTube Music Key

Google today officially announced its highly rumored YouTube music subscription service and its calling it YouTube Music Key. YouTube’s Music Key service with be available for a monthly subscription of $9.99 and unlock ad-free music, offline playback and video viewing, and the ability to play music in the background when using other apps.

The service is rolling out as a beta next week with a promotional price of $7.99/month, and early adopters will be able to request access from YouTube.com/MusicKey. YouTube’s Music Key beta service will be available through the YouTube apps on Android and iOS and through YouTube.com.

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Inbox for Gmail: hands-on and first impressions

Mail for Inbox

Google this afternoon announced Inbox for Gmail, its all-new emailing solution that is intended to coexist with the regular Gmail platform (Think Paper for Facebook?). Inbox for Gmail is available on an invite only basis for Android, iOS and Chrome. I am fortunate enough to have received an invite to Inbox for Gmail, and I have been giving the iPhone app a rundown to see how it works. For the most part, Inbox is everything that you know and love about Gmail in a sleeker package.

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Designers mock up Apple Watch versions of popular iOS applications

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Facebook Messenger

Thinkapps’ Build Blog has published a few designer mockups showing what popular third-party applications might look like on Apple’s new smartwatch with some interesting results. The apps were created by several different designers, and you can see that each app maintains some of the branding and design you’d expect while conforming to the smaller wearable UI and its new input devices like the Digital Crown.

Above you’ll find the design for Facebook Messenger, which features a contact view made up of circular contact photos with online indicators that closely resembles the watch’s home screen. The message view sports a single reply button that presumably uses the device’s built-in dictation capability to compose a response.

Below you’ll find designs for apps like Beats Music, Skype, Uber, YouTube, and more. Keep in mind that these designs are hardly official, but represent the types of user interfaces you might see when the folks in Cupertino release the Apple Watch early next year.

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