A new report from 9to5Mac reveals that the exterior design of this year’s “iPhone 6S” models will look substantially the same on the outside despite a collection of internal changes. Citing “a proven source familiar with Apple’s supply chain,” the report claims, as others have, that Apple is planning on bringing Force Touch to the new models. However, the design of the iPhone 6S will be identical to the current iPhone 6 in terms of thickness and width, although it was less clear whether the same would apply to the iPhone 6S Plus. The new models will, however, reportedly include a different internal mounting structure for the new logic board and components, meaning casings will not be interchangeable between the devices. The design of the rear casing seems to quash the rumours of a dual-lens camera system, since it sports the same holes for camera, microphone, and LED flash as the current iPhone 6. Other design features such as the antenna lines, connectors, speakers, and microphones remain present.
A federal appeals court ruled against Apple Tuesday, affirming that the company conspired with five publishers to increase e-book prices, Reuters reports. The 2-1 decision upheld a lower court ruling that the agreement that raised e-book prices to higher levels than those previously charged by Amazon violated antitrust laws. In his dissenting opinion, U.S. District Court Judge Dennis Jacobs said he would have reversed the ruling, holding that Apple’s behavior was pro-competitive in taking on “monopolist” Amazon, which controls about 90 percent of the e-book market.
Losing the appeal means Apple is on the hook for the previously determined $450 million settlement to resolve U.S. state and consumer claims from the case. The loss also means that Apple’s contentious relationship with its court-appointed antitrust monitor will continue. Neither Apple nor the Justice Department commented on the ruling.
The updated iTunes terms of service rolling out with Apple Music today indicate that carriers may be handling at least some Apple Music subscriptions. “Where available, you may be offered an Apple Music Subscription through your carrier (a ‘Carrier Subscription’). If you purchase a Carrier Subscription, your carrier will bill you for the cost of your Apple Music Subscription,” the updated terms read. Apple makes it clear that issues with subscriptions purchased this way will have to be handled with the carrier, not Apple, and that buying a carrier subscription will mean the carrier and Apple exchanging a user’s personal information. Which carriers will be offering Apple Music subscriptions is still unclear. AT&T currently handles subscriptions for Beats Music, which will be canceled when Beats Music users migrate to Apple Music according to a Beats support page.
The Apple Music update also makes the iCloud Music Library feature available to subscribers logged in with their Apple ID. The iCloud Music Library is turned on automatically when users set up their Apple Music subscription, and like iTunes Match, the library can hold up to 25,000 songs, not including those a user has purchased in iTunes. A tweet from iTunes head Eddy Cue teased that the capacity for the iCloud Music Library will go from the 25,000 tracks to 100,000 tracks soon, but as it stands 25,000 is the limit at launch. While listening to Apple Music radio stations, users can store songs they like on the cloud for later playback, but those letting their Apple Music subscriptions lapse will lose access to any saved Apple Music content in the iCloud Music Library that hasn’t also been purchased through iTunes.
Apple has released iOS 8.4, and with it, Apple Music makes its much-anticipated debut within the redesigned Music app. Apple Music’s DJ-curated Beats 1 station will begin broadcasting at 12 p.m. Eastern time. The full scope of Apple Music features will eventually cost $10/month, but all the features are available to users free of charge for the first three months. iOS 8.4 also includes iBooks improvements and bug fixes.
Apple has announced that it will release its Q3 financial results on Tuesday, July 21. As usual, the company will conduct its conference call at 5 p.m. Eastern time that day. Apple previously provided guidance for Q3 of revenue between $46 billion and $48 billion, and gross margin between 38.5 percent and 39.5 percent. As always, iLounge will provide coverage of the results.
Beats founder Jimmy Iovine and Apple’s head of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue are banking on human curation to set Apple Music apart from other streaming services, The Loop reports. Iovine said Beats 1 is less predictable than an algorithm-based playlist that leaves users stuck in a certain era or certain sound. Adding DJs back into the mix — but leaving them free from worrying about playing songs just because they’re hits at the moment — provides the flexibility to have an indie artist follow a mainstream act, or a rap track follow a rock song. “It works,” said Iovine. “And it works because the DJ is in the middle explaining how it works. DJs give you context.”
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor said other music services left him “feeling a little lacking.” For Reznor, who helped create Beats 1, the listening experience should make music discovery more accessible, like walking into a record shop where people are taking the time to help customers navigate through unfamiliar genres. “It’s exciting,” Reznor said. “And you leave with stuff you wouldn’t have dreamed you wanted and you’re excited to listen and share it and experience it.”
Dr. Dre’s classic rap album “The Chronic” will make its streaming debut tomorrow on Apple Music, Rolling Stone reports. The 1992 album joins Taylor Swift’s “1989” as another big-name album currently only streaming on Apple Music. Years of legal battles even kept “The Chronic” off Dre’s own Beats Music. Dre was granted proceeds from digital sales of the album in a 2011 court victory, but the album is still unavailable for purchase on iTunes and was notably absent when Beats Music launched in 2014, despite falling under the umbrella of Beats Electronics’ deal with Apple.
Apple has pushed up its usual release time by a few hours for iOS 8.4 ahead of Apple Music’s release Tuesday, Apple Insider reports. In a now-deleted blog post, Apple Music’s senior director Ian Rogers said iOS 8.4 will become available at 8 a.m. Pacific Time (11 a.m. EST) to allow users to use Apple Music and hear the inaugural broadcast of Apple’s Beats 1 radio programming. Beats 1 will start its global broadcasting with former BBC DJ Zane Lowe an hour later.
An Apple Music Facebook event encourages users to update to iOS 8.4 and directs them to another site spelling out requirements for using the streaming service. The new Music app in iOS 8.4 is needed to run Apple Music on an iPhone, which can then sync with an Apple Watch to provide playback “even when your paired iPhone is not nearby.” New Apple Music users with existing iTunes libraries will have access to their entire collection through iCloud, and Beats Music users opening the Beats Music app on an iOS device tomorrow will be prompted to join Apple Music, where their saved playlists and albums will be made available.
Apple also promises to roll out Apple Music to Android this fall, and Apple spokesman Tony Neumayr confirmed to Buzzfeed that Apple Music is coming to Sonos devices “before the end of the year” after previous reports claimed that the service wouldn’t be available on Sonos. Beats Music, which is owned by Apple, works on Sonos, but iTunes Radio and many other features that have been folded into Apple Music still don’t. More music updates are on the horizon as well, with iTunes head Eddy Cue tweeting that work is underway on expanding the size of iTunes Match libraries from 25,000 tracks to 100,000 tracks.
Apple has started production on new iPhone models that include Force Touch, Bloomberg reports. Sources with knowledge of the matter said the new iPhones have the same 4.7” and 5.5” measurements as the current iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models. Higher-volume manufacturing is scheduled to ramp up as soon as next month, with assembly expected to go smoothly, because the phones also have the same exterior design as the 6 and 6 Plus. The only potential problem is the supply and yield of the new Force Touch-capable displays, which could cause production snags or influence the timing of the new iPhone’s release, one source said. Apple didn’t comment on the story, but it was reported months ago that Apple would be adding Force Touch to new iPhone models, and iOS 9 will support the new technology.
During a press event held in Toronto last night, Parrot provided demos and additional details on its new Minidrone lineup for 2015. Originally announced on the company’s French site earlier this month, Parrot has now confirmed that all of the new models will be arriving for sale in the U.S. and Canada this fall. While the complete lineup consists of thirteen visually distinct Minidrones, the models are grouped into three general product categories: the ground-based “Jumping” drones, the classic “Airborne” drones, and the new water-based “Hydrofoil” drones.
Apple has updated the terms of its AppleCare+ Protection Plan for the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Apple Watch, now providing coverage for units where the battery retains less than 80% of its original capacity, an update from the previous terms that provided coverage at only the same 50% battery depletion. In situations where the battery will not hold a charge of at least 80% of its “original specifications” Apple will either “repair the defect at no charge” or simply exchange the device with a new or equivalent-to-new replacement unit. The updated policy includes all iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Apple Watch models, however it only takes effect for new AppleCare+ coverage purchased after April 9th, 2015; AppleCare+ plans purchased prior to that date continue under the original terms in effect at the time the coverage was purchased. [via MacRumors]
A profile of Zane Lowe — the influential radio DJ hired to be one of the top “creative minds” behind Apple Music’s Beats 1 — has also revealed a number of high-profile musicians who will be hosting their own shows on the Internet radio station. The New York Times reports Elton John will host “Elton John’s Rocket Hour,” and Dr. Dre will host “The Pharmacy.” Other Beats 1 hosts will include Drake and Pharrell — who have already been linked to Apple Music — as well as St. Vincent, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, and British electronic duo Disclosure. Oddly, Jaden Smith — actor and son of Will Smith (and notable tweeter) — will also host a Beats 1 show.
Apple has apparently removed all apps that include the Confederate flag from its App Store, including games set around the American Civil War, TouchArcade reports. The move comes on the heels of a number of other major U.S. retailers such as Walmart, Amazon, and eBay removing all Confederate flag merchandise from their stores in the wake of the recent tragic shooting in Charleston. Apple CEO Tim Cook sent out a tweet on Sunday making reference to “removing symbols & words that feed” racism.
Developers affected by Apple’s decision have received messages stating that their apps are being removed as they include “images of the confederate flag used in offensive and mean-spirited ways.” Some developers have expressed concern that Apple may be casting too wide of a net, however, banning apps such as period-based games that incorporate the flag merely in an appropriate historical context, such as in games set around the American Civil war.
After the events of this week, I've decided to put 1989 on Apple Music…and happily so.— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) June 25, 2015
Taylor Swift has tweeted that she intends to make her best-selling album “1989” available on Apple Music. Swift noted in follow-up tweets that the availability of “1989” would not be exclusive to Apple Music, and the singer-songwriter personally thanked Apple for its “change of heart.” Swift’s criticism of Apple’s stance on not paying royalties during the music service’s free trial period was apparently the tide-shifting tweet needed to change the company’s stance on the subject. Since then, it’s been reported that Apple has struck a deal with some indie publishers, and that the company will pay 0.2 cents per song stream during the free trial.
Apple has updated its support document on HomeKit, adding a full list of voice commands that can be used with Siri to control HomeKit compatible accessories. Standard commands include obvious ones such as “Turn on the lights,” “Turn off the lights,” and “Set the brightness to 50%,” however, the document also illustrates some more advanced commands that can be used with defined rooms or scenes to say things like “Turn on the upstairs lights,” “Turn off Chloe’s light,” or “Set up for a party, Siri.” The document also notes some other interesting aspects of the HomeKit integration, such as restrictions on using some commands while the iOS device is locked, likely as a security feature; you’ll need to unlock your iPhone before you can unlock a door, for example. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple will be paying royalties of 0.2 cents for each song that is streamed from Apple Music during the service’s three-month trial period, The New York Times reports. While the company had originally not planned to compensate artists during the free trial period for its new streaming music service, it reversed course earlier this week following an open letter from Taylor Swift castigating the company for its unwillingness to support struggling independent artists, although the terms of any compensation were not immediately revealed. As a result, however, indie label Beggars Group and digital rights organization Merlin came to terms with Apple, with the latter recommending its member labels accept Apple’s new deal. The 0.2-cent-per-song rate is said by music executives to be “roughly comparable” to what other services such as Spotify pay for streamed songs from their free, ad-supported tiers, however, it does not include a smaller payment to music publishers for “songwriting rights” which Apple is reportedly still negotiating with publishers over.
In a teaser video posted on Twitter, Pharrell Williams reveals that his new single ‘Freedom’ will be exclusive to Apple Music and available on the subscription service’s June 30 launch date. Apple has locked down several celebrity guest DJs ahead of Apple Music’s debut and courted other artists for exclusive content deals, but Pharrell’s song is the first piece of confirmed exclusive Apple Music content to emerge so far.
Apple has spelled out the requirements for using Apple Pay in the United Kingdom in an FAQ. Apple’s requirement that users enter their Touch ID or passcode for every purchase means using Apple Pay won’t require entering a separate PIN at the terminal, but at launch in July transactions will likely be limited to £20 or less at many retailers. While Apple Pay allows transactions of any amount, payments to retailers with most existing contactless payment hardware will be capped at £20, just like all other contactless transactions conducted with a card. That limit is being increased to £30 in September, according to the UK Cards Association’s website. To accept payments of higher amounts from Apple Pay, retailers will need to ensure their new payment terminals support the Consumer Device Cardholder Verification Method (CDCVM) standard. CDCVM-capable hardware accepts Apple Pay customers’ Touch ID/passcode verification in lieu of a PIN to verify the user’s identity. [via 9to5Mac]
With less than a week to go before launch of its new music service, Apple has now struck deals with indie label Beggars Group and digital rights organization Merlin, Billboard reports. Merlin CEO Charles Caldas sent a letter to members recommending the new arrangement now that Apple has agreed to pay royalties during the service’s three-month free trial, although financial terms were not disclosed. Apple’s pay rate for artists during the free trial is still unknown, but Caldas told members that amendments to their current agreement with Apple would be available soon in iTunes Connect. Each of Merlin’s more than 20,000 members will then make its own decision about whether to take the deal or not.
Other indie groups are still standing opposed to signing with Apple Music until payment terms are discussed, but Beggars Group - which helped launch the careers of Adele, Radiohead and Arcade Fire - has signed on after being a vocal opponent of Apple’s previous stance. In a joint statement issued by Worldwide Independent Network, Beggars Group founder and chairman Martin Mills said after “fruitful discussions with Apple” his label is “happy to endorse the deal with Apple Music as it now stands, and look forward to being a big part of a very exciting future.”
Apple has already begun pushing out tips specific to iOS 9 in the second iOS 9 beta released yesterday. The built-in Tips app, which first appeared last year in the fourth iOS 8 beta, provides push-based tips to help illustrate useful features specific to Apple’s latest mobile operating system. So far, two iOS 9 specific tips have appeared in the latest beta, the first explaining how users can now search for a player or team to get the latest sports scores, and the second outlining the new scrubber in the iOS 9 Photos app that can be used to quickly compare pictures. Additional iOS 9 tips will likely appear as the iOS beta cycle continues, which will provide a ready-to-go collection of tips in the app by the time iOS 9 is released to the public in the fall.