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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.”

First-party Apple apps updated en masse for iOS 8

  • September 17, 2014

Simultaneously with the release of iOS 8 earlier today, Apple has updated a large collection of first-party apps to include compatibility with the latest release of iOS. Updates include AirPort Utility 1.3.4, Beats Music 2.3, Find My Friends 4.0, Find My iPhone 4.0, iTunes Movie Trailers 1.4.1, iTunes U 2.1, and Remote 4.2.1, most of which have received minor compatibility tweaks for iOS 8. Find My Friends and Find My iPhone now both add support for Family Sharing, so you can easily add both family members and their devices to the location-based search applications.

Apple notably integrated formerly separate iOS apps iBooks 4.0 and Podcasts 2.2 directly into every copy of iOS 8, and is also pre-installing the latest versions of iLife and iWork applications on higher-capacity iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices. The updated iLife and iWork applications are expected to hit the App Store any time now for existing users.

Logitech debuts Harmony Living Home line

Logitech has announced a new series of home automation products, the Harmony Living Home line. The products include the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home remote ($350), which features a 2.4” color touchscreen and can control up to 15 compatible home entertainment devices. A button-only remote, the Logitech Harmony Home Control ($150) controls up to 8 home entertainment devices. The hardware looks to be very similar to last year’s Harmony Ultimate Universal Remote Control and Harmony Smart Control, but with new functionality.

Both of those remotes come with the Harmony Home Hub ($99), which can also be purchased separately. The hub uses RF, IR, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi to relay commands from the remotes or the Harmony Mobile iOS app to selected home devices. Also included in the line is the Harmony Hub Extender ($130), which can control other devices such as locks, lights, garage doors, and sensors through ZigBee or Z-Wave. The Extender should hit the market in December, but the rest of the lineup should arrive sometime this month.

Apple TV software updates to 7.0 with Beats Music channel and redesigned look

Apple TV Software 7.0 has been released for the third-generation Apple TV, bringing a new Beats Music channel to the set-top box. As in the case of the iOS app, the Beats Music channel prompts users to sign in or get started on a 14-day free trial. The software update also includes the flatter, redesigned look we previously detailed when the software was in its fourth beta. As seen in that beta, support for Family Sharing and iCloud Photos have also been added to Apple TV. Additionally, the 720p Apple TV received a new update, 6.2.1, which has none of the new UI changes.

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.

Foxconn struggling to meet demand for iPhone 6

  • September 17, 2014

The Wall Street Journal reports that Foxconn, Apple’s main manufacturing partner, may be struggling to keep up with the demand for the new iPhone 6 models. The company has reportedly been “churning out 140,000 iPhone 6 Plus and 400,000 iPhone 6” units every day, which is its highest daily output every, but the volume still hasn’t been enough for the number of preorders. Foxconn has apparently had to hire additional workers at its largest production size in Zhengzhou, and is continuing to do so. The site currently employs more than 200,000 workers and is dedicated solely to making new iPhones and related components, operating about 100 production lines around the clock. As in previous years, production is expected to gradually improve over time as manufacturers streamline their processes.

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.

Microsoft unveils iOS-compatible Universal Mobile Keyboard

Microsoft has announced the Universal Mobile Keyboard, a new Bluetooth keyboard designed to work specifically with iOS devices, as well as Windows and Android devices. The new keyboard incorporates a switch to choose the appropriate device mode and dedicated iOS keys such as CMD in their proper locations. The Universal Mobile Keyboard is also notably a Made-for-iPhone/iPad/iPod touch product, and is designed to be very portable and quick and easy to set up on the go. It is expected to sell for $80 and become available for purchase in October. [via 9to5Mac]

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’s iPhone 6 NFC chip restricted to Apple Pay use

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.

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.

iLife and iWork apps to be pre-installed on 64/128 GB iPhone 6/6 Plus

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.

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