News/Rumors

Apple removed Home Sharing support for music in iOS 8.4

Following the release of iOS 8.4, which brought Apple’s brand new music service Apple Music, Apple removed a feature still used by many from the operating system.

A number of users on Apple’s Support forum noticed, that the company appears to have removed Home Sharing support for music in iOS 8.4. The Home Sharing support page was also updated to demonstrate that the feature is not present in iOS 8.4.

Launched on iOS in 2011 as part of iOS 4.3, Home Sharing gave users the ability to access their iTunes library from anywhere within their house and stream the content to their phone, iPod, or iPad.  It also originally had support for both video and audio content, but now with iOS 8.4 only supports video content. Home Sharing for audio is still available, but only for Apple TV and Mac users.

home_sharing

Apple likely decided to remove Home Sharing for music in iOS 8.4 because of the licensing agreements concerning Apple Music. It’s possible that the company doesn’t have the rights to allow content obtained via Apple Music to be streamed over WiFi like Home Sharing requires.

The problem can be solved by switching to Apple Music’s family plan, which lets families of up to 6 access Apple’s catalog of content for $14.99 per month.

News/Rumors

Customize Apple Watch bands with any design

If you have finally received your long-awaited Apple Watch, it’s time to customize it with some nice looking bands.

Casetify has introduced its customized Apple Watch bands, which will help you design your own smart watch with a variety of printed designs. Additionally, your device can be customized with photographs or artwork or ordered from Casetify’s pre-designed artist collection.  You can use your Facebook or Instagram images as well as photos right from your PC to design your band.

Casetify’s Apple Watch bands are made from polycarbonate silicone material and come with both 38mm and 42mm sizes. The products attach to the Apple Watch using stainless steel adapters, in either a matte silver or a matte black finish, and each watch has a matching stainless steel buckle.  Bands attach using the same principle as any other Apple Watch band do, sliding into the groove on the side of the device until it snaps in place.

casetify

Customizability is the main feature in Casetify’s Apple Watch bands. The developer sells pre-designed Apple Watch bands in various colors and patterns, but you can also create your own using any image. Bands designs can use one, two, or five images and built-in tools on the site and in the app allow you to resize and move photos as necessary to create a desired design.  If you don’t like customizing or giving personal touch to your accessory, you can pick your favorite band.

Casetify-Customized-Apple-Watch-Bands

Casetify’s Apple Watch bands can be ordered from the Casetify website or the Casetify iOS app for $70.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Shazam adds support for Apple Music

Music identification app Shazam updated with support for Apple Music, ahead of the launch of the service next Tuesday, June 30. The update brings the app to version 8.7.

With Apple Music support, Shazam will be able to identify tracks and then will give you the option to listen to the song in Apple Music, which, for the first three months, will be free to you.

In addition to the support, Shazam 8.7 brings a new Shazam counts! feature, which lets you know how many users have Shazamed each track, and easy playlisting for Rdio and Spotify. It also features a handy new Follow Artist button.

What’s New In This Version:
Shazam is ready for the launch of Apple Music on June 30! As you discover music, tap the Apple Music button to experience it all for three months, free.

While you’re there, make sure you don’t miss… 
• Shazam counts! We’ll now tell you exactly how many people have Shazamed each and every track.
• Easier playlisting. Tap the icon in the top right to add the track to your Spotify or Rdio playlists, or to pop it into My Shazam.

shazam-apple-music

Apple Music is scheduled to debut on Tuesday, June 30th. After the free 3-month trial, the service will be available for $9.99 for individual plans and $14.99 for families. It will also feature the ‘Beats 1′ radio service, which will be free of charge.

Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Apple adds Maps Flyover support for 7 cities

Apple has updated its in-house mapping service with seven new cities. The company added seven international locales to its list of cities supporting Maps 3D Flyover.

With new locations, which include cities in Portugal, Spain, England, Germany and Puerto Rico, the total number of Flyover cities in Apple Maps reached 148, allowing users to have photorealistic 3D tours of those places and zoom in on landmarks and buildings. 

The latest additions can be seen below.

  • Almería, Spain
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Braga, Portugal
  • Jerez de la Frontera, Spain
  • Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Kiel, Germany
  • Kingston upon Hull, England

apple-maps

Flyover was first revealed as a standout Maps feature when the iPhone maker moved away from Google Maps in iOS 6. Flyover includes both high-resolution imagery and three-dimensional modeling technology to give users 3D visualizations of structures, major landmarks and points of interest.

Apple has added Flyover support to more than 30 new locations this year. The full list of Flyover cities is available on Apple’s iOS 8 feature availability page.

News/Rumors

Following Taylor Swift criticism, Apple will now pay rights holders during Apple Music trial period

Following Taylor Swift’s concerns regarding Apple’s decision not to pay artists and labels for plays during Apple Music’s three-month free trial period, Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, took to Twitter to announce a swift policy change.

In several tweets representing a change of stance for the company, Cue explained that Apple will always make sure that artists are paid. He also then confirmed that rights holders will get a per-stream fee during the trial, with payments reverting to a percentage of revenue once users become paying subscribers.

The change in policy was prompted by complaints from artists including Taylor Swift and labels like major indie consortium Beggars Group, which includes Adele and Vampire Weekend. They complained about the loss of income that could come from offering music for free.

1

Cue also revealed that spoke to Swift personally:

“I did reach out to Taylor today, and talked to her, and let her know that we heard her concerns, and wanted her to know that we were making changes,” he said. “She was thrilled to hear from us and that we were making the change, and we were grateful for that.”

Apple Music is scheduled to launch on June 30 as part of an upcoming iOS 8.4 update. After the service’s free three-month trial it will be available for $9.99 per month for individuals and $14.99 a month for families up to 6.

Accessories, Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Nest reveals security camera, 2nd generation Nest Protect, revamped mobile app and more

Google-owned Nest launched the Cam, its first self-branded security camera, along with a second-generation version of its Protect smoke detector, and an updated mobile app for iOS and Android. Unfortunately, the company’s flagship Nest Thermostat didn’t see any hardware upgrades this time.

Created for personal home security, the new Nest Cam is born out of Nest’s purchase of Wi-Fi video streaming camera maker Dropcam.

The camera costs $199 and features a magnetic stand. In addition, the device can capture and stream a 130-degree video in Full HD 1080p resolution so you can keep an eye on your home while out.

Finally, the camera offers advanced night vision, Nest Aware-powered activity alerts and boasts a number of other amazing features.

Thanks to the Nest mobile app, Cam users can check video feeds, send voice videos and get notifications whenever motion is detected.

The updated Nest app received improved design and a simpler interface, and monitors Cam, Dropcam, Protect, and Thermostat data. Thermostat users now has access to information about indoor humidity and outside temperature. The amount of supported Thermostats has been increased from 10 to 40 with a limit of 20 per building.

The updated version of the Protect brought a new sensor that monitors two various light wavelengths, which Nest reports is better for detecting different kinds of smoke and hence both fast- and slow-burning fires.

Among other product changes is a 10-year promised lifespan, thanks to a better carbon monoxide sensor, and the optional Nest Safety Rewards program, which can be used to have cheaper home insurance from Liberty Mutual and American Family at the expense of sharing Protect data.

A single Cam is available for $199, while a Protect can be purchased for $99. A Nest Aware subscription costs $100 a year for 10 days of video history, or $300 per year for 30 days.

Accessories, Apps Lists, News/Rumors

Native clone of Flappy Bird runs on Apple Watch

Once watchOS 2 was released last Monday, developers got a chance to create proper native apps for the Apple Watch, that run on the device itself instead of the iPhone.

Developer Hamza Sood, who is no stranger to hacks, managed to get games like Canabalt and a Flappy Bird clone to run natively on the Apple Watch using frameworks like UIKit and SpriteKit, which are not available to developers for Apple Watch apps.

Although the game looks even harder on the tiny screen, smartwatch Flappy Bird is still possible to be played. Using the touchscreen or digital crown developer can control flight.

Flappy Bird also supports speaker output so that you can hear sound effects directly from the Apple Watch.

Last week, developers Steven Troughton-Smith, Adam Bell, and Jay Freeman could get endless runner Canabalt using UIKit and SceneKit to run on the Apple Watch.

Apple hasn’t provided developers with permission to use these frameworks for Apple Watch apps, but the hacked titles give a look at what the device might be capable of in the future. WatchOS 2 is expected to be released in the fall and can help developers create native apps that are powered by the Apple Watch instead of the iPhone, but without the frameworks used in the above examples.

watchOS 2 also gives access to the Digital Crown, the microphone, and different sensors on the Apple Watch, as well as the accelerometer and heart rate monitor, which will lead to more full-featured apps later this year.

News/Rumors

Band Walk the Moon to perform at 2015 WWDC Bash

Apple announced that pop rock band Walk the Moon will perform at its annual WWDC Bash, this year scheduled for 6 p.m. Pacific on Thursday, June 11.

The 2015 WWDC Bash is set to take place at 6PM at the Yerba Buena Gardens and is open to all WWDC attendees 18 years or older.

The Walk the Moon song “Shut Up and Dance” was played during Monday’s Apple Music announcement— as a part of the Bash promotion, the iPhone maker is also providing attendees with two free tracks by the band.

The WWDC Bash is expected to allow developers to take a break from the long week of sessions and coding.

walkthemoon

In 2014, Bastille performed at the WWDC Bash. Vampire Weekend played at the event in 2013, while Neon Trees performed in 2013.

WWDC 2015 started with Monday’s keynote event. Some announcements during the keynote included OS X El Capitan, iOS 9, and watchOS 2.

iOS, News/Rumors

First look at iOS 9: 6-digit passcode, Low Power mode and more

During Apple’s WWDC keynote this morning, the company covered the major new features of iOS 9.

Along with expected features, which include a more intelligent and proactive Siri, split-screen multitasking for the iPad, major performance enhancements, Transit directions in Maps, a new News app, Apple revealed a number of other minor improvements that went unmentioned. 

iCloud Drive app

It wasn’t mentioned during the keynote, but the company included a new optional iCloud Drive app on iOS that can be turned on in the Settings menu.

The app allows you to access folders, files and other data to sort, delete, download for viewing and sent to Share Sheets.1

6-digit passcode

iOS 9 offers six-digit passcode support, which makes it more difficult to crack the code.

2

Keyboard changes

iOs9 comes with a shift function, which brings an easier way to determine when it’s activated and when caps lock is turned on. When you press shift, all letters on the keyboard are now shown in upper case. When the shift key is depressed in iOS 9, keyboard characters switch from upper to lower case.

4

Low Power Mode

The new low power mode allows iPhone owners to use their device when their battery is running low.

3The new Low Power Mode increases battery life another three hours. When your device is in low power mode, email pushes are deactivated, background app processes and downloads disabled and UI motion and brightness reduced.

Accessories, News/Rumors

Griffin’s WatchStand-cheap solution for Apple Watch

Accessory maker Griffin introduced its new take on an Apple Watch charging dock, named WatchStand.

Unlike plenty of competing Apple Watch stands, Griffin’s new device thinks past the initial challenge of mounting your watch, and also offers a place for your samrtphone to keep on your nightstand.

WatchStand not only brings with an easy way to dock and charge the watch, but also helps protect it from scratches, drops, and other hazards. The stand is made mainly from plastic with a rubber core, it’s certain not to scratch a stainless steel or gold Apple Watch. WatchStand includes a set of five mostly plastic parts: a heavily weighted black glossy plastic base, a matching glossy pipe, a rubber cable-managing core for the pipe, a glossy cap for the core, and an optional semi-circular rubber insert. The product can work with either 1-meter or 2-meter cable lengths, as well as the all-plastic Sport and partially metal regular Magnetic Charging pucks.

griffin_watchstand

The base of the WatchStand measures only 5.5 inches by 3.15 inches, and the stand portion is nearly eight inches tall. WatchStand is tall — about 7” high, which makes it easy to dock or remove a device from its charger. The new stand weighs a bit more than a pound, which makes it feel sturdy, but with its height, you won’t worry you might knock it over suddenly. 

WatchStand is one of the most inexpensive solutions on the market and can be purchased for $29.99.