News/Rumors

Tim Cook:White House should “come out and say ‘no backdoors'” in encryption

Last week, Tim Cook met with White House officials to discuss the use of technology and social media in fighting terrorism.

According to the reports from The Intercept, the Apple CEO criticized the White House for its stance on encryption. Cook told the White House officials that the administration should “come out and say ‘no backdoors'” in encryption. He also said that backdoors in any sort of encryption create an opening for bad guys to access the private information of consumers.

The company presented an almost impenetrable data encryption protocol with iOS 8, one that Apple itself is unable to crack even with the proper warrants.

According to the document obtained by The Intercept, summit members also discussed whether tech firms would like to enact “high level principles” relating to terrorists’ use of encryption, or technologies that “could make it harder for terrorists to use the internet to mobilize, facilitate, and operationalize.”

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In addition to the Apple CEO, the meeting last Friday also included executives from Facebook, Twitter, Cloudflare, Google, Dropbox, Microsoft, and LinkedIn, as well as White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough,  Loretta Lynch, James Comey, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, NSA Director Michael Rogers, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

It is not the first time, the Apple CEO speaks about importance of privacy and security at the White House Cybersecurity Summit. Last month, Cook spoke to 60 Minutes about the importance for the company to protect its users’ personal information. 

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Apple Music tops over 10 million subscribers

According to the Financial Times, Apple Music has passed 10 million subscribers across iOS, Mac, PC, Android and Apple TV in just six months.

Apple Music launched in June 2015 with a three month free trial. Since the launch, the company announced it has 6.5 million paying subscribers in October. In November, Apple launched Apple Music on Android which no doubt attracted additional new users.

Apple Music now has half as many paying customers as Spotify, which launched in Europe in October 2008. Unlike Apple Music, Spotify also provides a free ad-supported tier with limited features on desktop and mobile. 

Music industry analyst Mark Mulligan said last month that Apple Music would reach 8 million subscribers by the end of 2015, and he expects the service to have 20 million total users by the end of this year.

By comparison, Spotify reached 20 million paying subscribers for its streaming music service as of June 2015.Apple-Music

Apple has reportedly internally set a goal of reaching 100 million Apple Music subscribers. The company has relied on a number of exclusives with artists to push its streaming music service to customers. In December, Apple offered Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour clip as a free perk for Apple Music members.

iPhone, News/Rumors

iPhone 7 Plus said to feature 256GB option and larger 3,100 mAh battery

According to multiple reports, Apple’s next-generation iPhone 7 Plus may come with 256GB storage option and larger 3,100 mAh battery as two differentiating features over the smaller iPhone 7.

There is no confirmation if the iPhone 7 Plus will still feature 16GB base storage, or if the company will opt for larger storage options such as 32GB, 128GB and 256GB, compared to the iPhone 6s Plus lineup of 16GB, 64GB and 128GB models.

The rumored 3,100 mAh battery would be approximately 12.7% larger than the iPhone 6s Plus’s 2,750 mAh battery. If Apple does add a 256 GB option to the lineup, it’s likely the company will shuffle the other storage sizes.

iPhone-7-Plus

In addition, the company may remove the 3.5mm headphone jack on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in favor of an all-in-one Lightning connector, which means the products receive between 6.0mm and 6.5mm thinness and a waterproof design. The smartphones may also be provided with a quicker TSMC-built A10 chip and Intel 7360 LTE modem and non-metallic casing with hidden antenna bands. iPhone 7 Plus models could have 3GB of RAM.

The new flagship iPhones are expected in the fall.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

The Beatles available on Apple Music on Christmas Eve

According to a new report from Re/code, The full music collection of The Beatles will be available on Apple Music starting on Christmas Eve.

The Beatles’ catalog will be made widely available on Dec. 24 on nearly every streaming service, including Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, Tidal, and Amazon Prime Music.

The Beatles will be available on all tiers of popular streaming services, including the free tier of Spotify.

The only music service that won’t get full access to The Beatles’ catalog is Pandora, which doesn’t do direct deals with music owners. Meanwhile, Pandora provides some access to select Beatles songs on its web radio service. Finally, The Beatles’ catalog will also be available on music services’ free tiers, unlike artists like Taylor Swift. 

thebeatles

The Beatles’ catalog first appeared on iTunes back in 2010, providing Apple with exclusive rights to the digital distribution of the famous band’s music until 2011. Additionally, “The Beatles: +1” collection recently debuted on iTunes, along with remastered versions of hit tracks and mini-movies made by the famous quartet.

News/Rumors

Inside Apple: Charlie Rose interviews Cook, other Apple execs

As expected, CBS has shared video of its Inside Apple interview conducted by 60 Minutes’ Charlie Rose. 

He discussed a wide range of topics with CEO Tim Cook and snagged behind-the-scenes looks at Jony Ive’s design studio, a next-gen Apple Store mockup and the Campus 2 construction site.

Cook again talked about how users shouldn’t have to selecte between privacy and national security. 

I think that’s an overly simplistic view,” Cook explained. “We’re America. We should have both.”

Apple CEO also explained that iOS products nowadays hold a lot of personal information, including health data, financial data, intimate conversations, and much more. It requires a special key to access that data, Cook said. And that’s a key to which even the company doesn’t have access.

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Finally, Cook and Rose discussed Apple’s use of Chinese labor and a number of problems that go along with it. Apple CEO said that the company’s use of foreign labor has nothing to do with wages, but rather with the skills that those workers possess and many American workers lack.

Rose also met with Jony Ive in his secret design studio. Ive walked Rose through the design process of some devices. Ive also demonstrated some sketches and electronic blueprints of the initial Apple Watch prototype and showed off how the aluminum case was made from a CNC machine. 

“All of these things, I think, in aggregate, if we manage to get them right, you sense that it’s an authenticate, really thoughtfully conceived object,” Ive said.

1Ive along with head of hardware Dan Riccio also talked about the process behind the battery of the new MacBook and the design challenges inherent in fitting a battery large enough to last all or most of the day into such a slim case. 

Retail chief Angela Ahrendts also offered Rose a quick tour of a mockup Apple Store located in an unmarked warehouse off of Apple’s main campus.

Tthe full interview, including online exclusives not shown during the TV presentation, is already available at the 60 Minutes website.

News/Rumors

Charlie Rose offers Inside Look at Jony Ive’s ‘Secret Design Studio’ on Sunday

Jony Ive will give a rare look into Apple’s design studio in Cupertino this coming Sunday, December 20th.

CBS has already shared several photos with the official “60 Minutes” Twitter feed on Thursday showing Rose chatting up Ahrendts and Ive on Apple’s campus. 

In addition to an excursion through the design lab, Rose will also get a “first look at Apple’s store of the future” from retail chief Angela Ahrendts. One image shows the pair walking into what looks like a concept for future store, which resembles current Apple store designs with modern touches.

According to some early reports, Ahrendts would partner with Ive on an Apple Store redesign to better feature Apple Watch, but the initiative later morphed into a complete brand overhaul.

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This isn’t the first time Charlie Rose has landed an interview with notable Apple executives. He has interviewed Ive and fellow designer Marc Newson in 2013, and did a great job in his discussion with Tim Cook last year.

60 Minutes with Jony Ive and Angela Ahrendts airs this Sunday, December 20th, at 7:30PM ET & 7PM PT on CBS in the United States.

News/Rumors

Apple shuts down Topsy

Social media analytics firm Topsy Labs was shut down, according to a tweet from Topsy.

“We’ve searched our last tweet,” Topsy said in a post on Twitter.

Topsy was purchased by Apple as part of a deal in 2013 for more than $200 million. The analytics company made a wide range of products that searched and drew data from conversations happening on services like Twitter, including high-level analysis of tweets and other Twitter data to break down market trends in real time. The company could measure an ad campaign’s effectiveness. 

The company’s website is also inactive and now redirects to an Apple Support Documen texplaining iOS 9 search capabilities, including new features like proactive Siri Suggestions.

Apple has yet to acknowledge what specifically it used Topsy’s technology and talent for. In addition to Twitter, Topsy’s technology might be powering certain backend features in iOS 9 like intelligent Siri Suggestions. The new search option integrates geolocation data with data providers like Yelp! to surface nearest places of interest.

Apple shuts down Topsy

News/Rumors

Taylor Swift reveals 1989 World Tour film coming exclusively to Apple Music on Dec. 20

Apple has teamed up with Taylor Swift to provide a concert video of her 1989 World Tour exclusive to Apple Music, along with an extended holiday season promotion in the company’s retail stores and on iTunes gift cards and an appearance on Beats 1 Radio.

The singer revealed, her 26th birthday, via Twitter that an exclusive 1989 World Tour documentary will hit Apple Music on Dec. 20.  She posted a message to her Tumbr stating, “Thank you so much for all the birthday wishes! I have a little surprise for you. The 1989 World Tour LIVE. Directed by Jonas Akerlund, released on @applemusic December 20, 2015.”

It will be exclusive to only Apple Music subscribers and won’t be available for purchase though other channels. The concert will feature some big artists, too. A trailer for the documentary is available below:

Directed by Jonas Akerlund, the film includes performances from guests Mick Jagger, Justin Timberlake, Lorde, The Weeknd, Alison Krauss, Mary J Blige, Selena Gomez, John Legend, Fetty Wap, Steven Tyler and Miranda Lambert and others.

Earlier this year, Swift agreed to make her latest “1989” album available for streaming on Apple Music after prodding Apple to pay royalties to artists for music songs streamed during users’ free trial periods.

Apple TV, News/Rumors

Apple debuts Apple TV ad showcasing on-demand content and apps

Apple shared a new advertisement featuring the fourth-generation Apple TV, tvOS and the dedicated tvOS App Store, paying to third-party on-demand offerings.

The commercial, which runs 1-minute long, offers a number of shorter advertisements all focused on specific apps and games available on the device.

There is a short look at such television shows like The Muppets, The Simpsons, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and Game of Thrones. Movies include The Martian, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Ant Man, Inside Out and The Wizard of Oz.

The ad also pays attention to the search tools available on the Apple TV, its Siri capabilities, Apple Music, and the tvOS App Store. Apple Music integration is demonstrated with Kendrick Lamar making an appearance. The company then scrolls through the device’s home screen showing all of the variety of apps available, ranging from Crossy Road to HBO Now to NBA TV.

A number of titles are also featured, including Disney Infinity 3.0 and Guitar Hero. The ad ends with the video title: “The future of television.”

You can watch the new Apple TV ad “The Future of Television” below:

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Apple raises iTunes Match Music upload limits above 25,000 songs

As promised by Eddy Cue, Apple has raised the song upload/matching limit for iTunes Match and Apple Music libraries over 25,000.

Just ahead of the launch of Apple Music in late June, Eddy Cue, who serves as Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, said that the limit would rise to 100,000 around the iOS 9 release, but the increase did not occur in September when iOS 9 debuted.

Libraries that were previously held at 25,000 are now having additional tracks matched and/or uploaded, according to multiple reports.

It’s not known what the new practical limit is, and official iTunes Match documentation still refers to a 25,000-song cap.

itunes_match_2015

The new changes mean users with bigger music libraries can now enjoy the benefits of matching songs in the iTunes Cloud to make them available on all their devices. Matching tracks offers another option for users who cannot afford the more expensive 64 GB and 128 GB iPhone models by offloading local music storage to the cloud.

Update:

Eddy Cue has confirmed that the company has indeed “started rolling out support for 100k libraries.”