July 28, 2014

It’s not the first department store with plans for iBeacons, but it’s certainly one of the biggest we’ve seen yet deploying the Bluetooth LE beacons that send shoppers location-aware, targeted notifications. Today Hudson’s Bay Company announced that it’s rolling out an iBeacon shopping experience in some of its 130 The Bay and Lord & Taylor department store locations across the US and Canada. expand full story

The European Commission has today approved Apple’s acquisition of Beats Electronics and Beats Music. The commission said that the buyout passes merger regulations. The commission concluded that Apple and Beats’ combined marketshare in both the streaming music and headphones markets is low, so an acquisition did not materially affect competition.

In headphones, the EU says that Apple/Beats exists in a global market with numerous other brands, including Bose, Sennheiser and Sony. For streaming music, companies like Spotify and Deezer offered a similar safety buffer. As the EU commission cares only for European operations, the fact that iTunes Radio and Beats Music do not currently operate in European countries also helped the deal go through smoothly.

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The unverified photo from a Chinese Apple Store appearing to show a slight refresh to the Retina MacBook Pro launch is accurate, claims French site MacG, citing a reliable source. The site claims that the refreshed models will go on sale tomorrow.

The refresh is a minor one, with a modest speed boost of 200MHz and an increase in RAM across the range to 16GB. Apple is also, for the first time, offering a 1TB SSD in a standard model …  expand full story

Microsoft ads seem to make a habit of bashing Apple, even using Siri’s voice to do so – and without the company concerning itself too much about accuracy. Microsoft has now released the 30-second commercial it first showed at its developer’s conference back in April …  expand full story

July 27, 2014

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.

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