Apple has announced that 33 million iTunes account holders have accessed U2’s Songs of Innocence album for free. That figure includes customers who downloaded the album, streamed it, or listened to it using iTunes’ radio player. A report notes that Apple SVP Eddy Cue “called the number record-breaking, but did not elaborate.” For those uninterested in the latest effort from U2, Apple has released a guide on how to remove the album from your iTunes music library. [via Associated Press]
- September 16, 2014
Apple’s NFC chips in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will be restricted to use of the company’s Apple Pay mobile payment system. The information was reportedly confirmed in an email from an Apple spokeswoman to Cult of Mac. While most smartphones with NFC chips allow the use of NFC for a number of possibilities — including easy pairing of Bluetooth devices — that won’t be the case in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Apple will keep the NFC restricted from developers “at least for its first year,” according to the report.
With the unveiling of the Apple Watch last week, Apple has announced new executive appointments to the Apple Watch team, as well as putting out a job listing for Apple Watch software engineers. Stan Ng, former Senior Director of iPhone Product Marketing, has been promoted to VP of Product Marketing for Apple Watch, while Dr. Michael O’Reilly has been named VP of Medical Technology. Stan Ng has been with Apple in various senior marketing roles since 1999, while Dr. O’Reilly was hired last year to reportedly work on health and fitness related projects for the company. The new job listing for a “Software Engineer, Apple Watch” is looking for candidates with “6+ years of software development experience” to work on “building world-class applications and frameworks on a brand new platform.” [via 9to5Mac]
Following last week’s iTunes exclusive release of U2’s new Songs of Innocence album, the company has now posted a new support article for users looking to remove the album from their iTunes libraries. During Apple’s iPhone event, Apple CEO Tim Cook and U2 frontman Bono jointly announced that the album would be distributed free to all iTunes customers, and took the unprecedented move of not only making the album available for free on the iTunes Store, but actually in fact automatically adding it directly to the music libraries of 500 million iTunes users. Songs of Innocence was soon pushed out as a download to users, resulting in a mix of praise and complaints.
For those who may not have fully appreciated this unexpected gift, the Apple support article, Remove iTunes gift album “Songs of Innocence” from your iTunes music library and purchases explains how users can go about deleting the album; a special SOI Removal page has been created on iTunes.com allowing users to remove the album from their iTunes music library and purchase history. Users can permanently remove the album and will need to purchase it again after October 13, 2014 if they want to get it back—alternatively, users can choose to simply hide purchased items if they want to keep the album but not have it displayed in their music library.
Two major U.S. hospitals are preparing to launch trials with Apple’s new HealthKit framework, Reuters reports. The trials will involve diabetics and chronic disease patients, and are expected to provide some insight into how HealthKit will work on iPhones in actual practice. Doctors at Stanford University Hospital indicated that they are working with Apple to facilitate tracking of blood sugar levels for children with diabetes. Young patients with Type 1 diabetes will be sent home with iPod touches that will be used to monitor blood sugar levels between doctor visits, using a glucose monitor made by DexCom that will measure levels using a tiny sensor inserted under the skin of the abdomen. Information will be sent via a hand-held receiver to a mobile app on the iPod touch. Another trial is being conducted at Duke University, where a pilot program is under development to track blood pressure, weight and other data for patients with cancer or heart disease.
Both trials are expected to focus primarily on improving the accuracy and speed of reporting data—a process normally done mostly by phone and fax—allowing doctors to be in a better position to warn patients of potential problems. Apple is said to be in talks with other U.S. hospitals for additional trials, although Stanford and Duke are among the furthest along. Both pilot programs are expected to roll out over the coming weeks.
Apple’s iLife and iWork iOS apps will come pre-installed on the 64GB and 128GB iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, 9to5Mac has discovered. The apps include iMovie, GarageBand, Keynote, Pages, Numbers, and iTunes U. iPhoto isn’t included, as Apple is getting rid of it — the app won’t even load on iOS 8 devices. New 16GB iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus units won’t come with the apps, but they can be downloaded from the App Store for free, as usual. It’s unclear whether users will be able to delete the pre-installed apps if they do not want them.
Each transaction made with Apple Pay earns Apple 0.15 percent of the purchase, according to the Financial Times. This means that 15 cents of a $100 purchase would go to Apple, multiplying for higher-priced purchases. The article calls the deal “unprecedented,” noting that Google and other competitors do not earn such a share. Banking executives raved about Apple Pay — the banks are willing to give up revenue to Apple in “the hope that Apple Pay will become ubiquitous,” the report notes. Increased Apple Pay transactions will lead to higher revenue and should lead to fewer losses due to fraud, as well. Banks are also apparently excited about Apple Pay’s online shopping abilities, hoping that the quickness and ease of the transactions will lead to more spending.
Apple has announced that its newest iPhones — iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus — received more than four million pre-orders in the first 24 hours of availability. According to Apple, that’s a record number of pre-orders, though there have been numerous reports of customers ordering each of the new iPhone sizes intending to return the one they don’t want. In any case, the company notes that demand has exceeded the pre-order supply, “and while a significant amount will be delivered to customers beginning on Friday and throughout September, many iPhone pre-orders are scheduled to be delivered in October.” More units will be available at 8 a.m. this Friday, Sept. 19 as the devices go on sale in Apple’s retail stores. “iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are better in every way, and we are thrilled customers love them as much as we do,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. “Pre-orders for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus set a new record for Apple, and we can’t wait to get our best iPhones yet into the hands of customers starting this Friday.”
- September 12, 2014
- Site News,
The latest edition of iLounge Weekly, our weekly newsletter covering all things iLounge, will be arriving in subscribers’ inboxes early next week. iLounge Weekly is a summary of the week’s best news, reviews, and feature articles we’ve published, and it also features giveaways and accessory discount offers from various companies. There’s still plenty of time to sign up and receive this week’s edition — just use the simple form below to submit your email address, if you haven’t done so already.
IMPORTANT: Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Earthlink and others, make sure we don’t end up in your spam box. Please accept emails from iLounge.com. Thank you.
- September 12, 2014
On the heels of the historic free iTunes exclusive release of Songs of Innocence earlier this week, a recent Billboard interview with U2 manager Guy Oseary suggests that the partnership between Apple and U2 is expected to continue as “long relationship” between the two companies. Oseary revealed that U2 is “working on other things as well with Apple that have to do with how music is heard and innovation” and suggests that there are still a lot of interesting things to come from the partners hip to take music beyond just the “MP3 file.” The interview also revealed that Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine played a big part in the deal due to his existing relationship as “a big part of the U2 family” and somebody they look to for “support and guidance.” [via 9to5Mac]
Our newest video review takes a look at Logitech’s new Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480 (reviewed here). The keyboard can switch between multiple iOS devices using Bluetooth, and a built-in stand holds the devices, as well. Be sure to check out our past video reviews, including last week’s Grace Digital Ecostone and iHome iBN6 waterproof Bluetooth speakers.
New information found on Apple’s page on iOS 8 Continuity suggests that the company may be delaying the activation of the iOS 8 SMS Continuity feature until some time in October, possibly to coincide with the expected release of OS X Yosemite. Originally announced and demonstrated at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June, SMS Continuity will allow users with an iPhone and other iOS or OS X device to send and receive traditional SMS text messages from their iPad or Mac. While the feature seems to have worked reasonably well with earlier iOS 8 and Yosemite betas, iLounge readers and editors have noted that the feature no longer seems to function in the iOS 8 GM, and Apple’s iOS 8 Preview Page now shows it as “Coming in October”; a discussion thread at Macrumors reveals several other users having similar problems, with suggestions that the feature may in fact have been disabled on Apple’s servers sometime in the past couple of days.
Apple is planning to bring its new Apple Pay mobile payment service to China, MarketWatch reports. The company will be working in conjunction with China’s UnionPay to bring the service to the country. UnionPay, a state-backed bank card association, has agreed to let Apple use its cards in Apple Pay, the report claims. Apple Pay will be available this October in the U.S., but it’s unknown when the service will launch in China.
- September 12, 2014
- Apple Watch,
Apple is planning to release future Apple Watches with more health features and additional sensors, according to a Reuters report. Of course, the first Apple Watch won’t hit the market until early 2015, so it’s unclear what the timeline would be for a second edition of the smartwatch. Numerous reports have claimed the Apple Watch would include many health features and sensors — one report said the watch would have more than 10 sensors — so it’s not surprising that Apple still has more extensive plans for the watch. The upcoming Apple Watch has a built-in heart rate sensor and accelerometer. Healthcare professionals interviewed for the article seem intrigued by Apple Watch’s health possibilities, but also seemed to share the same sentiments as MyFitnessPal CEO Mike Lee, who said the watch’s current sensors weren’t “revolutionary.”
Attempting to pre-order Apple’s new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus this morning was an exercise in frustration for many customers, as Apple’s online store, which was scheduled to open at 12:01 a.m. PT today, didn’t actually open for more than two hours after the announced time. By then, many customers had started pre-ordering the new iPhones on the Apple Store app — also a hit-or-miss proposition for some. Inventory seemed to change suddenly, if accessible at all. Carrier websites seemed to have similar issues. Some customers received notifications that an iPhone was reserved, complete with a reservation number, but Apple said it would email back later with instructions on how to complete the order.
When Apple’s online store did come back up some time after 2:00 a.m. PT, the iPhone 6 was available, but all capacities, colors, and carriers for the iPhone 6 Plus were showing shipping times of 7-10 days. As of this writing, there appears to be no shortage of iPhone 6 units in Apple’s online store, while the iPhone 6 Plus now won’t be available to ship for 3-4 weeks. It was expected that there could be a supply shortage for the iPhone 6 Plus.
Following this week’s announcement of iOS 8, Apple has sent out notifications to existing paid iCloud storage customers notifying them of new, reduced prices for their existing storage plans, along with pro-rated refunds for the balance of the reduced plan price. Customers who have already purchased iCloud Storage under the old annual pricing model retain whatever storage capacity they purchased, at a price now reduced to the next-lowest tier available. For example, a customer who had previously purchased the 25GB storage plan for $40/year will have their price reduced to $11.99 annually, roughly equivalent to the new 20GB plan now available for $0.99/month. Customers will be able to retain these plans at the new annual subscription prices, offering a slight storage bonus over the new plans that are now available on a monthly basis.
Update: Several readers who were on the smaller 10GB/$20 plans have reported also having their storage increased as part of this transition. Presumably, since 20GB is now the smallest capacity available under the new iCloud Storage plans, these users get bumped up to the 20GB plan for $11.99/year, also receiving a pro-rated refund of the difference between plan prices.
Apple is reportedly changing the way it runs its in-store launch system for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Stores will be moving on from the old paper card system in favor of a new digital queue system called Reservation Pass, 9to5Mac reports. The system will sync with inventory information to ensure Apple hands out the proper amount of product reservations — reservation cards will be sent to customers via email or SMS. Notably, receiving a reservation will allow customers to return at any time during the day to make the purchase.
- September 11, 2014
Apple has informed Chinese mobile providers that it won’t release the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in the country on the expected date of Sept. 19, The New York Times reports. The company offered no explanation for the delay, but it’s reported that the phones may have not yet been approved for sale by Chinese regulators. A manager at China Telecom was apparently told by an Apple rep that some details were not ready. “Apple completely let us down without prior notice,” said the manager. As of now, it’s unclear when the new release date in China will be. Apple’s Chinese website only claims the date will be updated.
Following past precedent, Apple also announced today that iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus pre-orders will begin on the Apple.com web site at 12:01AM PT Friday. Past online pre-orders have often been marred by problems with Apple’s web site, sometimes attributed to issues with cellular carrier systems, so it will be interesting to see whether the iPhone 6 process has been improved from prior years.
Update: It appears Apple will give pre-order customers the option of picking up the new iPhones in store, instead of having the devices shipped. A representative told 9to5Mac the option will exist for most stores “while supplies last.”
- September 10, 2014
While Apple failed to address the Apple Watch’s battery life during Tuesday’s presentation, a source indicated to Re/code that the device’s battery currently lasts for “about a day.” Apple is working to improve the battery ahead of launch, but judging by the comments of Apple spokeswoman Nat Kerris, we wouldn’t expect much more. “There’s a lot of new technology packed into Apple Watch and we think people will love using it throughout the day,” she said. “We anticipate that people will charge nightly which is why we designed an innovative charging solution that combines our MagSafe technology and inductive charging.” Another recent report noted the battery could disappoint.
Apple has introduced three new features for iOS Developers allowing them to more easily distribute, test, and promote their apps on the App Store. App Store Bundles will allow developers to bundle up to 10 of their apps into a single-priced bundle that users can purchase together at a reduced price. App Bundles can be purchased with a single tap, and all of the apps will appear individually on the customer’s device. A “Complete My Bundle” feature will also be available that will credit customers for any apps they’ve already purchased, allowing them to purchase the bundle and pay only the price for the remaining apps.
With the introduction of App Previews, developers can now include a video preview to demonstrate the features and user interface of the app that users can watch right on the App Store page. Previews can be between 15 and 30 seconds long and will be displayed as the first image on the product page, followed by the standard app screenshots. Developers will also be able to capture real-time app footage directly from their iOS device using iOS 8 and Yosemite.
Following Apple’s acquisition of TestFlight earlier this year, the company has now incorporated TestFlight Beta Testing into its own tools for iOS developers, and will allow up to 25 internal testers to access beta builds on up to 10 devices each. External beta tester access is said to be coming soon which will allow up to 1,000 users to be invited to beta test an app using only their e-mail addresses.