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Apple and U2 working on ‘secret project’ to boost music sales

Last week, Apple and U2 teamed up to release the band’s newest album — Songs of Innocence — for free on iTunes. A new article from Time claims that the company and band are also teaming up on a “secret project” to boost digital music sales. According to the article, Bono “hopes that a new digital music format in the works will prove so irresistibly exciting to music fans that it will tempt them again into buying music — whole albums as well as individual tracks.” Details are very sparse, but it’s highly possible that this new project could involve a long-rumored higher-bitrate iTunes audio format, and/or the inclusion of iTunes Extras for albums, as Apple currently does with HD videos.

Apple launches new privacy webpage

  • September 18, 2014
  • Apple,

Apple has launched a new webpage detailing the company’s commitment to privacy and security. The page contains a letter from Apple CEO Tim Cook in which he writes, “We’re publishing this website to explain how we handle your personal information, what we do and don’t collect, and why.” Separate sections of the site focus on privacy in specific Apple services, tips on how to be more secure online, details on how Apple handles government information requests, and the company’s privacy policy. The company is working to alleviate any security concerns users may have in the wake of the recent iCloud celeb photo hack, especially with new iPhones launching tomorrow and Apple Pay coming in October.

Apple HealthKit not ready for prime time? (Update: Yes)

Some iOS developers have reported that Apple has been removing HealthKit compatible apps from the App Store following their rollout earlier today ahead of the public iOS 8 release due to issues with the HealthKit framework. Affected apps include titles such as Carrot Fit, MyFitnessPal, and WebMD, all of which disappeared shortly after releasing updates for the new Health features in iOS 8.

 

Another large health-releated app developer has also apparently delayed launching HealthKit integration in its apps due to delays from Apple. It is not known what the specific problem is or when these apps will reappear on the App Store. Apple also had a problem with iOS 8 extension support in apps released over the past few days, resulting in some updates needing to be re-issued earlier today, although it is unclear if the two issues are in any way related. [via 9to5Mac]

Update: Tim Bradshaw of Financial Times just tweeted a “full statement” received from Apple via e-mail, which states: “We discovered a bug that prevents us from making HealthKit apps available on iOS 8 today. We’re working quickly to have the bug fixed in a software update and have HealthKit apps available by the end of the month.”

New Cook interview provides insight on Apple Watch development

The newest profile of Apple CEO Tim Cook, from Bloomberg Businessweek, provides a number of interesting details about Cook’s leadership of the company, including further insight into the development of the Apple Watch. “Anybody coming out of there yesterday knows that innovation is alive and well in Cupertino,” Cook said following the event introducing the new iPhones, Apple Pay, and the Apple Watch. “If there were any doubts, I think that they should be put to bed.”

In the article, Apple SVP Jony Ive reveals the Apple Watch was “conceived in his lab three years ago,” shortly after the death of Steve Jobs. Ive said the watch was “one of the most difficult projects” he’d ever worked on. The watch team included hundreds of employees from different disciplines, and Apple SVP Jeff Williams — described as “Tim Cook’s Tim Cook” in today’s Apple — led the program. “We want to make the best product in the world,” Williams said. “One of our competitors is on their fourth or fifth attempt, but nobody is wearing them.” Cook echoed the sentiment of waiting to get it right. The report notes that Cook “wishes he could make the device more affordable,” but he wouldn’t compromise Apple’s profit margins. He sees the watch as “the beginning of a very long run.”

The article also delves more into the culture of Apple under Cook — somewhat well-worn ground by this point, though it’s noted that some in the company aren’t fond of Cook’s financial discipline and use of larger teams to accomplish what smaller groups did in the past. Apple’s purchase of Beats is also examined quickly, and it’s also revealed that Cook psyched himself up before last week’s event by listening to OneRepublic’s “I Lived” on his iPhone while backstage.

Apple releases iOS 8

As expected, Apple has released its latest operating system for iOS devices, iOS 8. The update is now available in Settings, General, Software Update. Apple describes it as “the biggest release since the launch of the App Store, with hundreds of new features.” We published our review of iOS 8 on Tuesday. Our iOS 8 Instant Expert feature is already up, as well, filling you in on everything you need to know about iOS 8.

Report: Apple to unveil new iPads on October 21

As generally anticipated, Apple has set an October date for the release of new iPad models alongside OS X Yosemite. A new report from The Daly Dot, citing “sources familiar with the matter” indicates that the Apple is planning to hold an event on Tuesday, October 21st, where the company will debut two new iPad models as well as releasing OS X Yosemite. Last year’s event was held on October 22nd, where Apple similarly unveiled new iPad models and the latest version of OS X.

Apple to require app-specific passwords for third-party apps in iCloud

Apple has released a new security document detailing the use of app-specific passwords for third-party apps in iCloud. A feature of two-step verification, the passwords will be required to sign in to iCloud when using third-party apps starting on Oct. 1. The passwords will allow for secure sign-ins, and ensure that third-party apps aren’t collecting or storing your primary Apple ID password. App-specific passwords can be generated and managed from the My Apple ID page. When the primary Apple ID password is changed or reset, all of the app-specific passwords will be revoked automatically, and new app-specific passwords will be required. For more details, see the security document.

Apple posts guide for moving content from Android to iPhone

Apple has posted a new guide online to help users move content from an Android phone to an iPhone. The guide details moving contacts, email, calendars, photos, videos, music, books, and documents. A number of third-party data transferring apps are also recommended, including Copy My Data, PhotoSync, and AT&T Mobile Transfer. There’s an app section in the guide, as well, but new iOS users will have to find and install the apps on their own — and pay for them again, in some cases. Apple has suggested that the larger-screened iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will trigger a massive wave of upgraders and switchers from the Android platform, hence the release of this guide. [via 9to5Mac]

Court throws out $368M FaceTime judgment against Apple

  • September 16, 2014
  • Apple,

A federal appeals court today tossed out a jury order requiring Apple to pay VirnetX $368.2 million in damages, Re/code reports. Apple was originally required to pay the amount for infringing VPN patents in FaceTime — the judgment was made in November 2012. The appeals court agreed that Apple did infringe patents, but ruled that the damages were incorrectly calculated. Now, the case returns to the U.S. District Court in Tyler, Texas, with a new damages total likely to come in the future.

Apple: 33M iTunes users have accessed U2 album

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]

Apple names Apple Watch execs, now hiring others

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]

Apple posts removal guide for U2’s Songs of Innocence album

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.

Apple medical trials will provide HealthKit insights

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 announces record 4M+ pre-orders for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus

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.”

Apple and U2 to work together on music innovation

  • September 12, 2014
  • Apple,

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]

Apple delaying SMS Continuity until October?

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.

Report: Apple to bring Apple Pay to China

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.

iPhone 6 pre-orders plagued by issues

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.

Apple upgrades current iCloud users to new storage prices

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.

Report: Apple to use digital queue system at stores for iPhone 6 launch

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.

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