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.»


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.”


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.


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. 


Apple reportedly acquired digital audio effects maker Camel Audio

Apple has reportedly acquired UK-based digital audio effects maker Camel Audio, which is responsible for the popular Alchemy synth plug-in.

Audio software developer Camel Audio said in January that it would be shutting down and removing its software from sale, but the reason of its closing is.

“We would like to thank you for the support we’ve received over the years in our efforts to create instruments and effects plug-ins and sound libraries. Camel Audio’s plug-ins, Alchemy Mobile IAPs and sound libraries are no longer available for purchase.

We will continue to provide downloads of your previous purchases and email support until July 7, 2015. We recommend you download all of your purchases and back them up so that you can continue to use them (Instructions: How to Download and Backup Your Products).”


This week Camel Audio updated a number of its corporate information, including its address, which is now 100 New Bridge Street, which is Apple’s London address. The company also removed all directors and replaced with just one person: Heather Joy Morrison, a member of Apple’s legal team, suggesting the company is in the possession of Apple.

It wasn’t revealed what Apple intends to do with Camel Audio, but it’s likely the company’s technology could be incorporated into a future version of Logic Pro X, Apple’s software designed for professional musicians, or GarageBand.


BBC Radio DJ Zane Lowe joining Apple

BBC Radio 1 has announced that its popular DJ, Zane Lowe, is set to leave the historic British broadcaster in March for a job at Apple.

Zane Lowe has worked as an award-winning Radio 1 DJ for nearly twelve years and has long been regarded as one of the UK’s top sources for music discovery.

He has won a number of awards for his radio show and was nominated for a Grammy Award this year for his role in writing and producing Sam Smith’s album “In The Lonely Hour.” 

There’s no news on what position Lowe is taking at the company, but it would make sense he would be involved into the company’s iTunes Radio streaming music service. 

Apple has placed a high degree of emphasis on musical curation, especially after purchasing Beats Music and bringing in cofounders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre.

“We get a subscription music service that we believe is the first subscription service that really got it right,” Apple chief Tim Cook said when discussing the deal. “They had the insight early on to know how important human curation is. That technology by itself wasn’t enough — that it was the marriage of the two that would really be great, and produce a feeling in people that we want to produce.”zane_lowe

iTunes Radio currently has curated stations created by well-known DJs, artists, and other stars. Beats Music features a similar function.

The Cupertino-based company is reportedly planning to rollout a new iTunes subscription service later this year that could be perfect for Lowe’s human curation.


Apple testing mysterious сamera-equipped minivan

Apple seems to be preparing a significant update to its Maps application for iOS and OS X.

A few cars with what looks like a camera equipment and a LiDAR sensor mounted to the roof, were spotted around California in recent weeks. The California DMV confirmed that the vehicle was leased to the iPhone maker.

It can be a part of Apple’s mapping project, as the cameras on top of the car are similar to other mapping vehicles. The company has been planning on big update for its Maps application, with improvements for transit directions, enhanced points-of-interest data, indoor mapping and more. Apple is probably working on a feature, that is similar to Google Street View or Bing StreetSide.

Along with the cameras, a number of spinning cylindrical devices fitted to the front and rear appear to be LiDAR sensors. This laser-based technology is used to create high-resolution maps, and is also a part of the sensing systems on self-driving cars, including those made by Google.


In addition to LiDAR and cameras, there were two small disc-shaped antennas fitted to the roof and a sensor hanging over the rear wheel, which is likely used to measure movement.

The CBS affiliate reached out to technology analyst Rob Enderle, who said it may be a test model for a self-driving vehicle.

If Apple is truly working on a Street View feature for Maps, it’s possible that users will be provided a new feature in the iOS 9 upgrade that is expected to come later this year. Apple might also include this feature in a later version of iOS.


Apple released iTunes 12.1 with OS X Notification Center widget

Apple has update its iTunes on OS X, adding support for a Notification Center widget. 

The music management app was refreshed for OS X Yosemite back in October of last year. The update comes titled as iTunes 12.1, and it includes a new media control widget for Notification Center, which is tasked to allow users to control their music and purchase songs from iTunes Radio directly from the system-wide panel.

The widget provides users with back, forward and pause buttons, similar to the buttons on the Lock screen and in Control Center of iOS, as well as track information. Additionally, when playing iTunes Radio, the widget lets you favorite songs.

While the most functions of the new widget are similar to those in iTunes’s MiniPlayer, such MiniPlayer features, like volume adjustment, library search, or track listings are not available in the widget. The widget also does not show cover art.

Notification Center widget1

The 12.1 update is available for both Windows and Mac, and the company notes that in addition to the new widget, it also improves performances when syncing with iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

The widget can be activated following the update by opening Notification Center and clicking the Edit button at the bottom.


Apple confirmed 1 billion iOS devices sold

During the traditional quarterly conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed, that the company had sold its one billionth iOS device in the December quarter.

Cook noted that the billionth product was a 64GB iPhone 6 Plus and that Apple is keeping it at its headquarters in honor of the milestone.

“On Nov. 22, we shipped our one billionth iOS device,” Cook said. “It was a space-gray 64GB iPhone 6 Plus, which we’ve saved here at Apple.”

According to Apple CEO, the great milestone, which accounts for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, was reached in November and was helped along by a record-breaking 74.5 million iPhones sold in Q1 2015.

Additionally, Cook revealed, that the massive 74.5 million devices sold equates to about 34,000 handsets “every hour, 24 hours a day, every day of the quarter.”iphone6-stock

Apple CEO also emphasized that iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus demand was stronger than any other iPhone it has ever released. Cook also noted the percentage of customers upgrading from older models was below 14 percent, and in fact only barely cracked the teens. 


Apple adds ‘Free on iTunes’ section with free TV and music downloads

After the removal of the free iTunes Single of the Week promotion, Apple launched a new “Free on iTunes” section in the iTunes Store, offering free downloads of songs and full length TV episodes.

The “Free on iTunes” section can be found on the homepage and helps users find content without having to spend money.

The new section is a kind of replacement for the company‘s “iTunes Single of the Week”, which previously featured free songs from popular and indie music artists and launched a decade ago, back in 2004. Additionally, the company stopped its 12 Days of Christmas promotion in 2014.

The “Free on iTunes” section includes music from artists like Purity Ring, Machine Head, and Guster, and offers to select episodes of shows from Fox’s Backstrom, Syfy’s 12 Monkey’s, Disney Channel’s KC Undercover, and MTV’s Eye Candy.

Free on iTunes

The company isn’t offering a large selection of widely known and popular content available for free – it’s more indie content.

Apple’s “Free on iTunes” section is available now, and it is probably that the company will add new content every week as it has done with the iTunes Single of the Week and its App of the Week section. If you’re looking for new iTunes content, the “Free on iTunes” section is worth checking out.

Mac, News/Rumors

Alleged photos of 12-inch MacBook Air show black glass cover

A fresh set of photos, which are claimed to be the lid and display for the upcoming 12-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, have been published by Chinese site, iFanr. 

Just a few days ago, Apple supplier Quanta Computer has reportedly begun ramping up production of the upcoming 12-inch MacBook Air. The company is expected to launch a mid-size version of its notebook computer lineup, and these images seem to provide even further evidence of that being that the case.

If these photos are legitimate, they are the first extensive look at Apple’s much-rumored 12-inch device. 

The pictures demonstrate the claimed display and metal shell from the 12-inch product alongside both a 13-inch MacBook Pro and a 9.7-inch iPad.  As expected, its display is smaller than the 13-inch model, but appears to be a bit taller than the company’s existing 11-inch MacBook Air.

Retina display

There is also a couple of differences in the display. The new product doesn’t have a backlit Apple logo on the back of the display assembly as is typically seen on Apple’s notebooks. Instead, you can see a polished metal logo. In addition, the display doesn’t feature the grey bezels current MacBook Air models include, instead demonstrating an apparently all-glass edge-to-edge cover for the display as found on Retina MacBook Pro models.

Retina display1

The 12-inch MacBook Air is expected to feature the same footprint as the 11-inch MacBook Air. The comparison pictures revealed by iFanr show the significantly smaller footprint for the 12-inch machine compared to a 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Retina display4

The next-generation MacBook Air is said to include a high-resolution display along with new Broadwell Core M processors. Other sources believe the 12-inch MacBook Air will come with all the ports typically found on Apple’s line of MacBooks.

According to the most recent rumors, Apple could introduce its 12-inch product by the end of the first quarter, though an exact launch date is still unclear.


5 Retina display3