News/Rumors

Pandora CFO promises CarPlay support

Pandora announced its plans to launch its online music radio on Apple’s CarPlay, the in-car infotainment software set to appear in a number of vehicles on the market.

When Apple’s CarPlay feature debuted last year, Apple cooperated with a few music services to give a variety of listening choices on the platform, including Spotify, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Rdio, and more. Pandora will likely join them soon.

According to Pandora CFO Mike Herring, the service will “definitely be in CarPlay” and integrated into the Apple Watch as well.

CarPlay is currently featured in 40 new car models made by major manufacturers, Apple is tasked to significantly expand its footprint.

There is no a timeline for the possible launch of a Pandora CarPlay app. Last year, the Pandora representative said that Apple was an interesting partner and though it did not have a CarPlay offering at the current time, it was exploring opportunities to expand its presence in the vehicle in the future. carplay

“Pandora, which owes part of its success to the popularity of its iPhone app, has a “frenemy kind of relationship going on” with Apple, according to Herring. “We were part of what made it fun to have an iPhone,” Herring added. While the two companies are “close partners,” it is a “very interesting relationship.”

For Pandora, participating in the project could result in boost of subscribers

Accessories, News/Rumors

Apple plans virtual online try-ons and personal setup for gold & steel models

Apple will offer customers to virtually try on an Apple Watch or Apple Watch Edition and receive setup support. It is a great option for those, who are unsure as to which model to get or which band combination would look best, especially for those, who are unable to hop on over to the Apple retail store and check out the various combinations.

Virtual try-on means the ability for customers to video chat with an Apple Online Store representative who will personally try-on and model Apple Watch collections and band combinations. In addition, Edition buyers will be given an ability to have a “personalized pre-sales experience” either over phone or online chat.

Customers will be allowed virtual personal setup via the Apple Online Store. These online specialists will walk the consumer through the Apple Watch unboxing process, the setup of the iPhone Companion application, pairing with an iPhone via Bluetooth, and installing apps from the Apple Watch App Store.

2

However this online virtual personal setup feature will only be offered to customers purchase the Apple Watch or Apple Watch Edition versions, so if you’re planning to buy the Apple Watch Sport watch, you are recommended to either browse Apple’s website or head on over to the store for more information.

This is similar to services Apple has offered to its consumers in the past in select European regions, so it will be the first for Apple in the US.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Apple begins releasing third-party Apple Watch apps

Ahead of the Apple Watch’s April 24 launch, there is the first wave of updates to popular iPhone apps that include Apple Watch support.

These days, a number of popular iOS apps have been updated with built-in Apple Watch apps, including Evernote, Dark Sky, Things, and Target. 

Evernote, for example, has brought a few interesting Apple Watch features to its iPhone and iPad app in the App Store. The app now allows users to dictate notes into their Watch, which are then transcribed and sent to the service.

As for Dark Sky, according to the app release notes, it’s been designed from scratch to fit on the smaller screen of the Apple Watch. 

thingsevernote

While lots of developers creating Apple Watch apps ahead of the accessory’s release next month haven’t still submitted their Watch-specific updates, the company has flipped the switch on the list of apps being promoted alongside the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch support has been added to several existing App Store iPhone apps including:

More apps are continuing to launch now. Users can update to or download these versions of each iPhone app now, though likely the Apple Watch functionality won’t work until your iPhone is paired with the new accessory.

News/Rumors

Apple acquires fast database software firm FoundationDB to speed up cloud services

Apple reportedly acquired FoundationDB, a database software company that “develops scalable and fault tolerant databases that support multiple data models.”

Apple purchased FoundationDB for an unknown sum, possibly to bolster server technologies attached to iTunes or iCloud.

According to the post on the firm’s blog, FoundationDB software can perform ACID-compliant transactions at 14,400,000 random writes per second, or 54 billion writes per hour.

«FoundationDB’s attractiveness came in the speed at which it handled ACID-compliant transactions and coupled that with strong scalability. FoundationDB hosted a booth at TechCrunch Disrupt 2012, where we first wrote about its approach to a modern NoSQL database and its ‘NoSQL, YesACID’ motto. FoundationDB’s latest engine, which was covered by TC Columnist Jon Evans late last year, scaled up 14.4 million random writes per second.»

foundationdbacquisition

A post on the FoundationDB site notes it’s no longer offering downloads of its database software.

«Thank you for your support of FoundationDB over the last five years. We’re grateful to have shared our vision of building the best database software and we strongly value your participation in this community. We have made the decision to evolve our company mission and, as of today, we will no longer offer downloads.»

Meanwhile, Apple confirmed the acquisition saying: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.”

News/Rumors

iBooks is offering exclusive free sample of Becoming Steve Jobs

The new Steve Jobs biography by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli comes out on March 24th and is available to download both in digital and print.

Apple is currently giving an exclusive sneak peek into the prologue and first chapter, as well as Schlender’s first interview with Jobs when he moved to NeXT.

The company has been much promoting the book in several few days, on its iBooks Twitter account as well as through iTunes marketing emails. iBooks offers the following discription: the ‘only book about Steve recommended by the people who knew him best’. For example, in one of the chapters, Tim Cook describes the Isaacson biography as a tremendous disservice.

The first chapter starts with a description of how Jobs reacted at a meeting for the Seva foundation. The book includes seventeen chapters. Its introduction explains that the writing of the book is the work of two authors, the book features ‘I’ throughout the narrative as much of the book focuses on Schlender’s 25 year experience with Jobs.

2

Published by The Crown Publishing Group and written by veteran Wall Street Journal and Fortune reporter Brent Schlender, and Rick Tetzeli, Executive Editor with Fast Company, the book contains 464 pages.

It looks like, this offer is not available in every iBooks Store market. The sample seems to be available on the U.S. iBooks Store for the time being.

The book is already available for pre-order via Apple’s iBooks Store and on Amazon’s Kindle Store for $15 a pop.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Apple launches programatic iAd buys on iTunes Radio

Apple on Thursday officially began accepting programatic, or automated, iAd buys for iTunes Radio and introduced a new user targeting feature dubbed Customer Match.

The company now provides advertisers with the ability to buy iTunes Radio ads through an automated process in Apple’s improved iAd Workbench tool. Previously, they were required to go through iAd’s sales team.

Along with programatic purchasing, which debuted  in November, Apple launched Customer Match, an ad-targeting feature that matches IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers) data to better segment device users. Brands can use the system to cross-reference their own anonymized IDFA data with Apple’s directly from iAd Workbench. iAd Workbench also gives advertisers the ability to target specific segments of the iTunes Radio userbase, utilizing the Customer Match tool that has been available to in-app ads since it debuted last year.

iAd buys on iTunes Radio

The iPhone maker is making privacy a priority with Customer Match, the source said, saying neither advertiser nor the company has access to specific customer pairings. Apple device owners are allowed to opt out of ad tracking services altogether in an iPhone or iPad’s Settings menu.

In addition, Apple is expected to give third-party ad agencies access to customer information for promotion targeting. 

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Facebook Messenger gains person-to-person payment feature

Facebook revealed a new feature, that allows US-based Messenger users to send money to their Friends through its Facebook Messenger app. 

Like similar services, Facebook Messenger requires just a simple tap to send a cash amount to a recipient in a single step. The process includes linking a Visa or MasterCard debit card to their Facebook accounts, which they can use to send money just as easily as a photo or text.

The updated version of the Facebook Messenger app now features a small “$” icon above the keyboard, next to photo and sticker icons. To make payment, users need just tap this icon and enter in the amount they wish to send to the recipient via a payments screen. Then their money is transferred to Facebook, before it’s sent to the recipient’s bank. The entire system is in-house, so your debit card info will be housed on Facebook’s servers. The company notes, that it may take one to three days for cash to become available.

Facebook Messenger

Facebook says that the new payment systems are in a “secured environment that is separate from other parts of the Facebook network,” and monitored. An anti-fraud team is searching for suspicious transfers.

The Facebook Messenger payment feature was first introduced late last year. When it debutes, it will only be available to US residents. Whether the company plans to expand internationally is unclear.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Adobe unveils Document Cloud, Acrobat DC with e-signing

Adobe on Tuesday launched Document Cloud, an all-encompassing digital document management solution that features a new touch-enabled version of Acrobat and two iOS-specific apps.

The new service is tasked to make handling PDFs and other documents much more flexible, while two new apps for iOS: Acrobat Mobile and Fill &Sign aim to bring paper documents into the Adobe Document Cloud for work on the go.

While previous mobile Acrobat software was available with limited functionality, the new Acrobat Mobile will come with a ton of features, along with touch-enabled app with a number of powerful tools. For example, a new feature uses Photoshop technology to convert photos captured with an iPhone into a PDF file that can be edited, signed and even automatically filled with a user’s personal details. 

Document Cloud, Acrobat

The new version offers a new approach to digital signing, as Adobe is bringing a tool dubbed Sign Services, that allows users track a document as it is passed along for multiple signatures. Finally, users are given the ability to turn to a new mobile app called Fill & Sign to sign documents with a stylus or finger.

fill-sign-app-signature

The newly announced Adobe Document Cloud and Acrobat DC are scheduled to debut later this month or early next month, and are expected to be available to existing Acrobat subscribers at $14.99/month. The company says a perpetual license option will also be included into the new Acrobat version.

News/Rumors

Jay Z acquired Beats Music competitor Aspiro

Rapper Jay Z has acquired Swedish Internet firm Aspiro for $56 million, which currently operates a pair of streaming services: the ad-free WiMP and the high-definition Tidal, direct competitors of Apple’s Beats Music. 

WiMP became the first of the two services to hit the market in 2010 and is currently available in Denmark, Germany, Norway, Poland, and Sweden. Tidal, meantime, is built off the back of WiMP and debuted in the US and UK last year.

According to the source, Jay Z made a $56 million bid for the service through an investment entity called Project Panther Bidco in January. Aspiro were planning to reject the takeover bid, but changed their mind and accepted the singer’s bid.

“All conditions for completion of the offer have been fulfilled, and the offer is therefore declared unconditional,” Project Panther said in a prepared statement. “Accordingly, Panther will complete the acquisition of the shares tendered in the offer.” 

tidal

There are no details on the rapper’s intentions for the streaming technology. But according to a new report, Jay Z plans to relaunch it with the input of several biggest music stars in the business.

Last October, Aspiro’s WiMP brand revealed it had 512,000 paying users, though only 20,000 opted in to high-definition services. There were no exact numbers for Apple’s Beats Music to compare, but the Apple’s service is expected to get approximately 300,000 subscribers.

Apple is reportedly preparing to re-launch Dr Dre’s Beats Music streaming service later this year. 

News/Rumors

Upcoming book reveals Steve Jobs turned down liver donation from Tim Cook and more

A new Steve Jobs book is set to hit the market later this month.

The book is written by Brent Schlender, a reporter who interviewed Jobs several times throughout his life, and Rick Tetzeli, editor at Fast Company. 

The recent book’s preview available through Amazon’s “Look Inside the Book” feature, which has since been cut down significantly, revealed a few interesting details about the Apple co-founder’s life that were previously unknown.

One of the more sensational news is that Tim Cook offered to donate a portion of his own liver because the two shared a blood type. Apple CEO visited Jobs at his home to deliver the good news, but Jobs turned down Cook’s offer and later received a full liver transplant in 2009.

Steve Jobs

Another section tells the story of how Steve Jobs and Disney CEO Bob Iger discussed buying Yahoo! as a way for Apple to get into the search business. 

The book also gives some insight into Jobs’ views on television and the Apple TV. While Isaacson’s bio said that the CEO had “cracked” the TV industry, Schlender and Tetzeli reveal that he once told Apple design boss Jony Ive some time after his 1997 return to the company that “I just don’t like television. Apple will never make a TV again.”  Jobs was probably more interested in the Macintosh TV, an early 1990s attempt to combine a computer with a television set. 

“Becoming Steve Jobs” is available for preorder through Amazon Hardcover for $21.87, Paperback for $18, Kindle for $11.99  or iBooks for $12.99. 

The book ships on March 24th.