Friday August 19, 2016 11:28 am PDT by Juli Clover
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.
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.
Wednesday August 17, 2016 1:25 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Apple 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.
Tuesday August 2, 2016 8:51 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
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.
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.
Apple 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.
Thursday June 23, 2016 8:19 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
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.
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.
Wednesday June 8, 2016 7:41 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
New sources have come forth claiming that Apple is in fact aiming to phase out digital music downloads on iTunes, despite the fact that Apple rep Tom Neumayr specifically stated such rumors were "not true" in May.
Speaking with Digital Music News, the insiders said that Apple is simply "keeping their options open" while moving forward, intending to keep a watch on how Apple Music performs in comparison to the digital sales numbers in iTunes.
According to the sources, Apple might be gearing up for an iTunes revamp that would introduce software architecture with the ability for the company to "more easily drop iTunes music downloads" down the road. This would allow Apple to subtly shift the service towards the streaming and radio side of things in the event that paid music downloads drop off precipitously.
The same sources suggest such a refresh could be discussed at WWDC next week, bringing "harmony" between Apple Music and iTunes while preparing for the potential closure of paid downloads down the line.
Sources couldn’t share screenshots or any sensitive information about the upcoming iTunes launch, though a key aspect of the overhaul includes ‘making more sense’ of iTunes music downloads and Apple Music streams. That has been a huge source of confusion for fans, even those that clearly understand the difference between downloading and streaming.
But one source noted that Apple is “definitely not getting rid of [music] downloads” at the WWDC event next week, or any time in the short-term future, while another mentioned that possibility that top executives may “double down” their expressed commitment to the format during WWDC presentations to cool rumors.
The early rumors in May suggested that Apple was looking at a three-to-four year timeline on ending iTunes music downloads, with a staggered termination plan based on regional popularity of paid downloads. Projected gross from downloads in 2019 are around $600 million, down from the $3.9 billion users paid for downloads in 2012.
With many artistsrefraining from streaming services -- and fan support of owning their music remaining relatively strong -- DMN's sources admit that, for the time being, "downloads are here to stay."
Read DMN's full report on the iTunes download situation here.
Apple today released a minor 12.4.1 update to iTunes, introducing several bug fixes to address issues with VoiceOver and other features.
iTunes 12.4.1 can be downloaded immediately from the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.
This update addresses a number of problems where iTunes doesn't work as expected with VoiceOver. It also restores the option to Reset Plays and fixes the following issues:
- Up Next may have unexpectedly played songs added together in the incorrect order.
- iTunes was prevented from crossfading between songs.
iTunes 12.4.1 comes just over two weeks after the release of iTunes 12.4, an update that introduced a revamped interface designed to be simpler, with the reintroduction of a sidebar for easier navigation and a redesigned media picker. It also featured safeguards to protect users from an issue that could cause music stored in iTunes to be deleted.
Apple today confirmed reports of an issue that causes music from personal collections to be deleted, tellingThe Loop it only affects a small number of users and that a fix is incoming in an iTunes update next week.
“In an extremely small number of cases users have reported that music files saved on their computer were removed without their permission,” Apple said. “We’re taking these reports seriously as we know how important music is to our customers and our teams are focused on identifying the cause. We have not been able to reproduce this issue, however, we’re releasing an update to iTunes early next week which includes additional safeguards. If a user experiences this issue they should contact AppleCare.”
Last week, debate raged over the supposed glitch after Vellum's Jake Pinkstone wrote a blogpost complaining that Apple Music had deleted 122 GB of his personal music collection without his permission after he joined the service. The deletion occurred after Pinkstone had his music library scanned by Apple to make his collection available across his devices.
Confusion ensued after Pinkstone was told by an Apple Support Representative named Amber that Apple Music's matching system was "functioning as intended." When asked whether Apple Music was supposed to delete his personal music without his permission, Amber responded "yes." Amber's statement, however, was inaccurate according to Apple's own support document.
While the causation of the bug is still unknown, as Apple has failed to reproduce the issue, the company's statement suggests Apple has narrowed down the issue to iTunes rather than the Apple Music service. It's unclear whether the fix will arrive with a minor or major iTunes update. However, one possibility is iTunes 12.4, which will include a minor redesign and arrive in the next couple of weeks, according to a MacRumors source.
Apple allegedly has an aggressive plan to "terminate" music downloads from iTunes within two years, reports Digital Music News citing sources with "close and active business relationships" with Apple.
Apple is also rumored to be considering a three to four year timeline for the shutdown of iTunes downloads, but overall discussions with Apple executives are said to focus "not on if, but when" the company should retire music downloads. Termination of music downloads could be staggered by country based on the popularity of streaming content in different regions.
Back to the story, the sources indicated that a range of shutdown timetables are being considered by Apple, though one executive noted that "keeping [iTunes music downloads] running forever isn't really on the table anymore." Also under discussion is a plan to "ride the [iTunes music download offering] out for the next 3-4 years, maybe longer," when paid music downloads are likely to be an afterthought in a streaming-dominated industry. [...]
According to one source, an initial shutdown could take place in 'tier 1' countries like the United States, UK, and leading countries in Europe and Asia, with 'tier 2' and 'tier 3' countries experiencing a staggered shutdown in subsequent years.
The timeline is unclear because Apple's iTunes business continues to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars each year, but it is on the decline due to the rise of streaming music services. According to music industry Mark Mulligan, iTunes music downloads will be worth $600 million in 2019, down from $3.9 billion in 2012. Mulligan believes Apple's download business could be 10 times smaller than its streaming music business by 2020.
Apple is also said to be considering ending music downloads due to the confusion it causes with Apple Music, mixing downloaded music purchases with Apple Music content.
Late last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple Music now has 13 million paying subscribers, up from 11 million users in February. Apple Music originally launched on June 30, 2015 in more than 100 countries and at its current growth rate, Apple is on track to have 15 million subscribers at its one-year anniversary.
Update: Apple rep Tom Neumayr contactedRecode and said the report that Apple would stop iTunes music downloads in two years is "not true."
Back in February, iTunes chief Eddy Cue promised a new version of iTunes would be coming out with OS X 10.11.4, featuring a simpler design that makes Apple Music easier to use. That update wasn’t included in OS X 10.11.4 and has been delayed, but a source has shared some screenshots of the upcoming iTunes 12.4 update with MacRumors, giving us a look at the changes Apple plans to introduce in the near future.
A redesigned dropdown media picker will be used to switch between Music, TV Shows, Movies, and other content, replacing the existing navigation icons. Like the current menu, the new menu is customizable, so sections of iTunes that are not used can be hidden from view. Forward and back buttons can be used to navigate between different sections.
A persistent sidebar located on the left side of the app is being added, which will make it easier to access different portions of an iTunes Library like specific songs or albums. The sidebar, like the menu bar, can be edited to show desired content, and songs can be dragged and dropped to playlists.
Menus in iTunes 12.4 are being simplified to make them easier to use, and the available content in Library can be customized using the redesigned View menu. Menus will be "easier to use" updated with new navigation options.
The mini player will also get some slight design changes, with the Up Next song feature being relocated to the right side of the player where it is more clearly visible.
It is not clear when Apple will debut iTunes 12.4, but our source says it should be released within in the next few weeks, putting a launch date in late May or early June.
Rumors have suggested Apple is also planning to introduce significant changes to Apple Music in the iOS Music app in iOS 10, and additional tweaks could be made to iTunes in OS X 10.12 to mirror changes being introduced in iOS 10.
Drake's latest album made its global streaming debut on Apple Music last night and is now available to buy on iTunes. Priced at $13.99, Views (previously titled Views From The Six) features 20 new tracks, including the slow jam hit "Hotline Bling".
The Canadian rapper's album will be exclusive to Apple Music for one week, after which it will become available on other music streaming services like Spotify.
Views is just the latest tactically timed release in an ongoing battle among music streaming services for exclusivity, with Drake forming rank alongside Taylor Swift and Adele in Apple's corner, as the company faces off against competing streaming service Tidal's frontline co-owners Jay Z, Kanye West, Beyonce, and Rihanna.
Last week, Beyoncé's newest album Lemonade launched on Tidal approximately 24 hours before it became available for users to purchase on the likes of iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play, and remains the only service able to stream the album.
Drake and Apple have been in a partnership since the launch of Apple Music last summer, with the artist contributing his own Beats 1 radio show to the streaming service. Drake recently confirmed his partnership with Apple will continue into live music as Apple Music will sponsor his "Summer Sixteen" tour.
Drake's fourth studio album comes one year after If You're Reading This It's Too Late, which also had its debut on iTunes. In August, Quartz reported that Drake was the second most played artist on Apple Music.
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