Archive of iTunes Rumors

Apple is planning on turning news stories and articles from popular news sites into audio podcasts called "Spoken Editions," reports TechCrunch. Spoken Editions will be short broadcasts that transform content from publishers into spoken word instead of written word, making it possible for customers to listen to their favorite news sites.

An early leak on iTunes suggests Apple has already teamed up with several publishers, including Wired, TIME, and Forbes, offering dedicated "Spoken Edition" sections on company iTunes pages.

spokeneditions
Wired, for example, will launch Spoken Editions for "Business," "Science," and its homepage. TIME has will offer a Spoken Edition called "The Brief." Forbes, .Mic, Bustle, Playboy, OZY, and - yep - TechCrunch (which I discovered while browsing our iTunes page, of all things), will have Spoken Editions, it seems, as all popped up for a time on iTunes.

The links to all the publishers' Spoken Editions have since been pulled, after our discovery and outreach.
Some digging by TechCrunch suggests many of the publishers' Spoken Edition podcasts were created by SpokenLayer, a company that creates streaming audio and podcasts for media brands using text. SpokenLayer already works with a host of publishers like Forbes, Huffington Post, TIME, Reuters, and more, with audio recordings distributed on iTunes, SoundCloud, and other sources.

Spoken Editions will include audio ads, with revenue shared between the publisher and SpokenLayer, and the company makes an effort to make sure each brand sounds unique. "We make sure Wired sounds like Wired and any other publication sounds like those publications," SpokenLayer CEO Will Mayo told TechCrunch.

Spoken Editions are set to launch soon, rolling out in early October.
With macOS Sierra, users can can float a video window from Safari or iTunes over the desktop or an app thanks to a new picture-in-picture mode. The feature enables Mac users to play a video in any one of the four corners of the desktop and resize it to see more or less of the window behind it.

youtube-picture-in-picture
The video remains pinned above the desktop and apps, including in full-screen mode and split view, so long as the Safari tab or iTunes window where the video originates remains open. The picture-in-picture window has buttons to close or unpin the video, and play and pause controls, but no rewind, fast forward, or scrubbing options.

cnn-picture-in-picture-safari-annotated
In Safari, picture-in-picture mode currently only works on certain websites, such as YouTube, CNN, and The Wall Street Journal, but the feature should become more widely available as other websites implement it. In the meantime, it does not work on websites like Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, AMC, or The New York Times.

youtube-picture-in-picture-safari
Even on YouTube, enabling picture-in-picture mode currently requires somewhat of a workaround. Since there is no picture-in-picture mode button in the video player itself, like in the CNN screenshot above, enabling the feature on YouTube requires right-clicking the video player twice until a contextual menu pops up with the option.

macOS Sierra was released today as a free download on the Mac App Store.
newitunes122logoApple today released a new version of iTunes, iTunes 12.5.1, which is available for OS X El Capitan and macOS Sierra users. iTunes 12.5.1 introduces a new Apple Music design, bringing Apple Music on the desktop in line with Apple Music on mobile devices just ahead of the release of iOS 10.

The update also brings macOS Sierra-specific features including support for Siri, allowing users to ask Siri to play songs on machines running macOS Sierra, and it includes support for Picture-in-Picture, another new Sierra feature.

iTunes 12.5.1 can be downloaded immediately from the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.
Now with an all-new Apple Music design which brings greater clarity and simplicity to every aspect of the experience.

This update includes support for iOS 10. It also adds enhancements designed for macOS Sierra including:

- Siri. Play music from your Library and Apple Music using your voice. Just ask Siri.
- Picture-in-Picture. Watch videos as you multitask and use different apps. Your video floats above your desktop in any corner of the screen.
While iOS 10 is being introduced today with an all new Apple Music experience that focuses on a cleaner look and easier to use interface, macOS Sierra will not be released until next Tuesday, September 20.
Apple has begun offering bundles of 10 films for $10 on iTunes, to celebrate 10 years of movies being available on the store (via The Verge).


For today only, titles from Warner Brothers, Universal, Paramount, Lionsgate, and Sony Pictures are available to U.S. customers for $9.99. The movies cover a range of genres, including titles like Pacific Rim, The Hangover, Twilight, No Country for Old Men, and The Hunger Games.

During Apple's "It's Showtime!" 2006 keynote – a whole year before the launch of the iPhone – Steve Jobs announced that films with "near-DVD image quality" would be available to download on the iTunes Movies store. On launch, only 75 films listed, all from Disney-owned studios. According to Apple's website, more than 85,000 feature-length movies are now available.
Captain America: Civil War is now available in Digital HD on iTunes. The movie comes with a host of special features exclusive to iTunes, and Forbes reports that Marvel and iTunes Movies worked together to create a new "immersive" set of bonus features for the release.

itunescaptainamerica
The iTunes edition of the movie comes with a feature titled "Choose Your Side," which lets viewers choose whether they're on Team Cap or Team Iron Man. Choosing a side unlocks a series of exclusive photos, videos, posters, comics and more for each team. According to Forbes, every actor in the film gets an in-depth filmography that includes the actor's photos over the years and quotes from other actors about what it's like to work with them.

iTunes movies typically include cast filmographies so users can easily purchase or rent other films a certain actor may have starred in, and they sometimes include exclusive bonus features like audio commentary.

In addition to the iTunes-exclusive bonus content, Civil War comes with deleted scenes, audio commentary, a gag reel, a preview of Marvel's upcoming film Doctor Strange and two behind-the-scenes extras. The first is a two-part making-of documentary called "United We Stand, Divided We Fall," and the other is "The Road to Civil War," which charts the journey of Captain America and Iron Man from the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to their stand-off in Civil War.

Apple has also added Team Captain America and Team Iron Man pages to the iTunes Movies carousel. Each page lists movies, comics, music, apps and TV shows tied to the members of that specific team.

Captain America: Civil War is available on iTunes now for $19.99 in Digital HD. [Direct Link]
Canadian songwriter and producer Alex Greggs, who has worked with several renowned artists such as Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, and the late Michael Jackson, is suing Apple in a larger lawsuit filed against singer Ariana Grande, electronic artist David Guetta, publisher Universal Music Group, and others, according to court documents filed electronically this week.

ariana_grande_itunes
Greggs claims that Grande's single "One Last Time" from 2014 infringes upon the 2011 single "Takes All Night" by Skye Stevens, said to be the subject of a valid pending U.S. copyright registration in Gregg's name. He added that the defendants had access to "Takes All Night" before composing "One Last Time," and that it's "highly likely" the songs were not created independently of one another.
Skye Stephens performed the song on tour and in live performances at festivals and in clubs throughout the United States and Canada in particular, and also appeared on numerous radio shows, in addition to promoting the song through social media. Moreover, the similarity between Takes All Night and One Last Time is so striking that it is highly likely the works were not created independently of one another.
Greggs accuses Apple, as the operator of iTunes, of failing to verify that Grande and the other defendants had reached copyright and synchronization license agreements, and other contractual agreements, with him prior to releasing "One Last Time" as a digital download on iTunes and for streaming on Apple Music. He filed a similar claim against Universal Music Group as distributor of the single.

alex_greggs_ariana_grande
Songwriter and producer Alex Greggs, left, and singer Ariana Grande

Greggs has demanded a jury trial with the U.S. District Court for Central California, and is seeking adequate monetary damages and a permanent injunction that would see "One Last Time" removed from iTunes, Apple Music, and other music distribution and streaming services. The complaint was filed in Santa Monica on Tuesday, and it will have to be accepted by a judge before proceeding.
Apple has added banners to its U.S. website, iTunes Store, and App Store encouraging customers to donate to the American Red Cross to help support people who have been affected by the widespread flooding in southern Louisiana.

Donation tiers available include $5, $10, $25, $50, $100 and $200, with all proceeds from donations sent to the American Red Cross. All transactions are processed as iTunes or App Store purchases.

redcrosslouisiana
Flooding in Louisiana, which started last week after torrential rainfall, have damaged more than 40,000 houses and left many thousands of people without homes. More than 20 parishes have been affected, and in many of the areas, flood insurance was not common because they weren't known flood zones. The Red Cross has called the Louisiana flooding the worst natural disaster in the United States since Hurricane Sandy.

Apple often puts out a call for donations for disaster relief. In the past, Apple has collected Red Cross iTunes donations for the 2016 fires in Alberta, the 2015 Nepal earthquake, the refugee and migration crisis in the Mediterranean sea, the 2013 Philippines typhoon, and more.
newitunes122logoApple today added Japan to its list of countries eligible for iTunes carrier billing, suggesting the company is set to fast-track its expansion of the payment feature to regions across the globe (via Mashable).

Japan becomes the fifth market to accept the transaction method, which allows users to charge iTunes content purchases directly to their cellphone bill instead of registering a bank card or using a gift coupon. The feature got its launch in Switzerland and Taiwan yesterday, following its debut in Germany and Russia last year.

According to an anonymous source who spoke to CNBC, customers with Japan's second largest mobile company KDDI will be able to use the payment mode, which has yet to be officially announced in the country. Apple has posted instructions on how to use the convenience feature, which can be found in the Payment Information section of the iTunes Store after users have signed in with their credentials.

Users in Japan make up the third largest market for App Store transactions, behind China and the U.S., indicating Apple's willingness to make carrier billing its next go-to online purchase method behind Apple Pay. There's no word as yet regarding which countries will be next to get Apple's approval for the feature, but the company has several more countries in the near-term pipeline, sources said.

Apple appears ready to go the way of Google, which already offers mobile billing to users of its Google Play store in 45 markets, including deals with Japan's top three cellular carriers.

Apple's more deliberate rollout has likely been dependent on how prepared mobile companies are to cut a deal with Cupertino and accept lower transaction handling rates. While carriers have charged as much as 10 to 30 percent to handle transactions in the past, Apple has previously secured deals for better rates in the single digits.
The Kudelski Group today announced that it has "entered into a comprehensive patent license agreement" with Apple, stating that both parties agree to finally dismiss all current and pending patent litigation. The case stems from an original lawsuit back in 2014 that saw software maker OpenTV -- a wholly owned subsidiary of The Kudelski Group -- sue Apple in a German court due to its alleged violation of three streaming video patent violations.

apple opentv lawsuit
OpenTV kept going after Apple throughout the years, with a lawsuit filed in the United States in 2015 that focused on five new patent violations enacted by the Cupertino company, including the claim that iTunes infringes upon one of its patents. Earlier this year, the same German court from the original 2014 case ruled that Apple violated OpenTV's digital streaming patents and was subsequently ordered to cease selling products that included software potentially infringing on OpenTV's patents, namely the iPhone and iPad.

OpenTV was founded in 1994 and sees its primary business focused on the creation of operating systems and software for set-top-boxes. The company is currently focused on its broadcast and digital television platform -- also called OpenTV -- that's available as an on-demand video service for users around the world. Although the turmoil between Apple and OpenTV appears to be dying down, the specific financial terms reached between the two companies weren't disclosed in today's announcement.
newitunes122logoApple today released iTunes 12.4.3, a minor update that fixes a bug that could cause playlist changes made on iPhones or iPads to not appear in iTunes. Following the update, syncing should function as intended, with playlist changes showing up across all devices.
This update resolves an issue where playlist changes made on other devices may not appear in iTunes.
The new 12.4.3 update can be downloaded through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.

Today's iTunes update comes two weeks after an iTunes 12.4.2 update that fixed an issue causing playback issues when listening to Apple Music tracks shorter than 60 seconds.
Apple today released iTunes 12.4.2 with a fix for a bug that caused playback issues when listening to Apple Music tracks shorter than 60 seconds. Whenever a track shorter than 60 seconds was played, the next song would fail to play and cause a state of perpetual buffering.

This update resolves a playback issue with short Apple Music songs in your Up Next queue.
Today's iTunes update can be downloaded through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.

MacRumors readers first discovered the playback bug towards the end of June and MacRumors was able to replicate it on Macs running OS X 10.11.5 and iTunes 12.4.1. It appeared to be caused by the way Apple Music queues songs, preparing to stream the next song in a playlist or album when the current song was 60 seconds from the end. When a song was less than a minute long, the next song failed to initiate.
A new iTunes bug has been discovered that causes Apple Music playback issues related to tracks shorter than 60 seconds. MacRumors was able to reproduce the issue on Macs running OS X 10.11.5 and iTunes 12.4.1.

Specifically, when an Apple Music track that is shorter than 60 seconds is streamed in its entirety, without skipping ahead, the subsequent song in an album or playlist fails to play and appears to be in a state of perpetual buffering.


MacRumors forum member B/D used backend file change monitoring tool fswatch and identified a plausible reason for the bug:
It looks like the way Apple Music handles streaming is when the current song is a minute from the end, iTunes signals the next track in the queue to start downloading so that it's ready to play when the current song is over. However, when the song is less than a minute long the next song's download is never initiated, apparently because some "one minute remaining" event is never triggered! This means the app just sits waiting for a download to finish that has in fact never started.
The bug only affects tracks streamed through Apple Music, with songs and albums that have been stored locally on iTunes unaffected. The issue was unable to be reproduced on a Mac running macOS Sierra beta, or on iTunes 12.3 or earlier, or on an iPhone running iOS 9.3.2.

The bug has been reported to Apple and should hopefully be resolved in a future iTunes software update.

Update: The bug was originally shared on the Apple Support Communities by user ivoisbelongtous.