Monday February 13, 2017 6:20 pm PST by Juli Clover
20th Century Fox today announced that its popular Movie of the Day app is expanding to the Apple TV ahead of Valentine's Day, giving Apple TV users an opportunity to get iTunes movie titles at a discounted price.
The app offers a different movie each day at prices that are generally more affordable than other online sources. Each deal is available for 24 hours.
Tomorrow's movie, Kingsman: The Secret Service, will be available for purchase for $7.99. The Movie of the Day app normally keeps upcoming titles a surprise, but Fox is offering a sneak peek to celebrate the release of the Apple TV app. This week will include the following titles:
2/14: Kingsman: The Secret Service
2/16: Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters
2/17: Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates
To help users decide what's worth purchasing, the Movie of the Day app provides user reviews, information on a movie's cast, and a film synopsis to help users
The Movie of the Day app can be downloaded for free on the Apple TV, and it's also available on iOS devices. [Direct Link]
Apple does not provide much information on what's included in the iTunes 12.5.5 update. According to the company's release notes, iTunes 12.5.5 introduces "minor app and performance improvements."
iTunes 12.5.5 can be downloaded immediately from the Software Update feature in the Mac App Store. The Windows version can be downloaded using the "Check for Update" feature built into the iTunes help menu.
iTunes 12.5.5 follows iTunes 12.5.4, which was released in December and introduced support for the TV app and the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro models.
Sunday January 22, 2017 6:59 am PST by Tim Hardwick
Earlier this month, a new Kickstarter-funded documentary debuted on iTunes covering the intriguing history of the popular Amiga computer. Directed by Zach Weddington, Viva Amiga tells the story of how the Amiga project was started in 1985, and successfully captures the excitement of developers and users for what was considered a game-changing platform at the time.
The documentary features interviews with key Amiga engineers as well as some interviews with Amiga users (some of whom continue to use Amigas today), and charts the tremendous highs and incredible lows of the platform over the ensuing decades.
In 1985, an upstart team of Silicon Valley mavericks created a miracle: the Amiga computer. A machine made for creativity. For games, for art, for expression. Breaking from the mold set by IBM and Apple, this was something new. Something to change what people believed computers could do.
From the creation of the world's first multimedia digital art powerhouse, to a bankrupt shell sold and resold into obscurity, to a post-punk spark revitalized by determined fans. Viva Amiga is a look at a digital dream and the freaks, geeks and geniuses who brought it to life.
Acquired by Commodore in 1984 for an estimated $30 million, the multimedia Amiga computer created a stir in Silicon Valley, thanks to accelerated graphics and advanced audio hardware that leapfrogged the competition.
Steve Jobs reportedly became worried about the buzz surrounding the Amiga, because the machine used the same Motorola 68000 processor as the Macintosh, but with its 4,096-color display output, 4-channel sampled stereo sound and multi-tasking GUI, it made the year-old Macintosh look seriously dated.
During an event held at the Computer History Museum, California, where Viva Amiga got its first showing, Amiga Corp. investor Bill Hart confirmed that Steve Jobs took an early interest in the Amiga, and visited the group to watch a demo of what would later become the Amiga 1000. An Apple buyout was even floated, but Jobs reportedly never took the proposition seriously.
Ultimately, little came of the visit, which was later described as a "fishing expedition" for Jobs. Despite being integrated into just three chips, the machine had too much hardware for the Apple CEO's liking, while its full-bus-access expansion port was anathema to Jobs' pursuit of a closed architecture system.
Despite some successes – notably, the best-selling Amiga 500 home computer, introduced in 1987 – poor marketing and an inability to reproduce the heights of early innovations led to the Amiga losing market share to game consoles, IBM PCs, and Apple computers, and Commodore ultimately went bankrupt in April 1994.
Thursday December 22, 2016 8:05 am PST by Mitchel Broussard
Apple today got in the holiday spirit by announcing the top five best-selling holiday movies of all time on iTunes, ever since the movie rental section of the digital marketplace opened in 2008.
The top five highest grossing iTunes holiday movies are:
Elf [Direct Link] - $9.99 HD Purchase / $3.99 HD Rental
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation [Direct Link] - $9.99 HD Purchase / $3.99 HD Rental
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas [Direct Link] - $9.99 HD Purchase / No Rental Available
Home Alone [Direct Link] - $9.99 HD Purchase / $3.99 HD Rental
The Polar Express [Direct Link] - $9.99 HD Purchase / $3.99 HD Rental
Apple didn't offer any specifics behind each film's download numbers, but gave snippets about plots, writers, directors, and actors for each holiday favorite.
The company prompted users to ask Siri on an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV to search for the movies listed today, as well as other seasonal mainstays like Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, The Night Before, A Christmas Story, The Santa Clause, It’s a Wonderful Life, Love Actually and Mickey’s Christmas Carol.
Tuesday December 13, 2016 10:42 am PST by Juli Clover
Apple today released a new iTunes 12.5.4 update, introducing support for the new TV app that was introduced in iOS 10.2 and tvOS 10.1 earlier this week.
iTunes 12.5.4 introduces support for the new TV app, plus it adds Touch Bar support for the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. In iTunes, the Touch Bar can be used as a scrubber to quickly fast forward and rewind through songs, movies, TV shows, and more.
The TV app is the new TV and movie hub on both iOS devices and the Apple TV, and is designed to serve as an Apple-designed television guide to help users find new content to watch. TV has a built-in store that surfaces iTunes movies and TV, along with highlighting a range of apps that offer television content.
Syncing is also an important element of the TV app, allowing users to better keep track of what they're watching across all of their devices.
iTunes 12.5.4 can be downloaded using the Software Update function in the Mac App Store.
Wednesday December 7, 2016 11:59 am PST by Juli Clover
Apple wants to bring new movies to iTunes more quickly, and is in talks with several film studios over rights that would allow it earlier access to content, reports Bloomberg.
Warner Bros, Universal Pictures, and 21st Century Fox are all seeking deals to offer higher-priced rentals of new movies as soon as two weeks after they debut in theaters, and the studios are said to be considering an offer from Apple.
Like Apple Music exclusives, access to earlier releases could draw more people to Apple's platform, but encryption is said to be a concern. Studios aren't sure whether iTunes will be a secure platform for showing movies that are still in theaters, because content can be recorded and leaked online.
The most recent talks are part of longer-running efforts by Cupertino, California-based Apple to get new movies sooner, two of the people said. Such an arrangement could help iTunes stand out in a crowded online market for movies, TV shows and music. While the iTunes store helped Apple build a dominant role in music retailing, the company hasn't carved out a similar role in music and video streaming.
Most major movies that debut in theaters are not available on iTunes and other streaming platforms for a period of 90 days, but film companies are said to be looking to expand beyond theaters to find new revenue streams.
At least one option studios are considering involves a $25 to $50 fee for a new rental, which is potentially more affordable than a movie theater ticket depending on how many people are watching a film.
No deal has been established as of yet, and it's possible the film studios could decide to offer the rights to a competing company.
Tuesday November 29, 2016 9:41 am PST by Joe Rossignol
Apple has enabled carrier billing in Belgium and Norway, expanding upon the feature's existing availability in Germany, Japan, Russia, Switzerland, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The feature is limited to select carriers in each country — share if yours is supported in the comments.
The payment method enables customers to pay for iTunes content, App Store apps, iBooks, and Apple Music subscriptions without needing a credit or debit card, or even a bank account. Instead, purchases are added to a customer's mobile phone bill and paid off at the end of the month.
Monday October 31, 2016 6:09 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released iTunes 12.5.3, which is available for macOS Sierra and OS X El Capitan users.
iTunes 12.5.3's changelog lists the same stability and performance improvements as iTunes 12.5.2, including a fix for an issue where albums may play in an unexpected order. A second fix resolves a problem that prevented lyrics from appearing while listening to Beats 1.
iTunes 12.5.3 can be downloaded immediately from the iTunes download page, and it should also be rolling out through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.
Update: iTunes 12.5.3 has the same update changelog as iTunes 12.5.2 released last week, so what's new in today's update remains unclear. We will update this article if and when we learn more information.
Monday October 24, 2016 7:19 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
On Sunday, Apple's original iPod celebrated the 15th anniversary of its launch on October 23, 2001. The reveal of the iPod by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs in 2001 was preceded by the usual breadcrumb trail of mystery, rumors, and leaks, with most reports pointing to a new "breakthrough digital device" coming from the company later in the month. Apple even hinted itself that "it's not a Mac."
Some speculation went against rumors that the device would be an MP3 player, even suggesting it could be "something more sophisticated such as a component for a home digital stereo system." Still, most reports pointed toward the impending launch of the "iPod," a device that would allow customers to ditch their cumbersome CD players and listen to thousands of songs from one device in their pocket.
In the official keynote address, Jobs referred to the Mac as the focal point of the Apple customer's digital lifestyle, with the new iPod device as the ultra-portable, music-enabled addition to that lifestyle. The iPod launched for $399 with a 5GB hard drive that could hold up to 1,000 songs, a 10-hour battery life, a black and white LCD screen, came equipped with FireWire to enable a connection between it and iTunes on a Mac, and was the size of a deck of cards (2.4" wide, 4" tall, 3/4" thick).
A few individuals who were part of the iPod's launch looked back at the device over the weekend, although Apple itself remained silent on the topic. In the first official promotional video for the iPod, a collection of Apple executives and musicians -- including Phil Schiller, Jony Ive, and Moby -- are seen discussing the creation and impact of the device. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Moby remembers "how magical it was," and remarks on how much has changed with the iPod, and its successor in the iPhone, in 15 years.
“It’s a little disconcerting when I look back at the past, but the past still sounds like the future,” Moby says. “I remember when 2002 seemed like an unimaginably far time — like, really far away. Now it’s like a distant past.”
Technology is, obviously, the perfect physical encapsulation of this: “Remember those multicolored clamshell laptops that Apple had?” he says. “Now they seem old and clunky, like a weird pair of sneakers. But at the time, they just represented the future. The same thing with the iPod, at the time it was so futuristic, and now it just seems like an adorable relic.”
The first alternative iPod lineup, dubbed the iPod mini, debuted in 2004, followed by the iPod nano and iPod shuffle in 2005. The iPod touch was eventually introduced as a non-cellular counterpart to the company's iPhone, and became one of the longest-lasting iPod lines to date (six generations), tied with the classic line, but behind the iPod nano (seven generations).
In 2016, Apple still manufactures and sells the iPod touch, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle, but the three devices have long been removed from the main toolbar navigation on its website, and are now located under "Music." The three current iPods on sale bear little resemblance to the original device's famous click wheel interface, which was mechanical in the first generation and touch-sensitive in subsequent lines. The last iPod with a click wheel, the iPod Classic, was discontinued by Apple in 2014 and marked the sixth generation of the device.
The iPod began Apple's quest to make music a mainstay in its customers' lives by finding a seamless and effortless way for songs to be carried around, in opposition to the size of CD players and the general confusion at the time over how other MP3 players worked. Today, music is a bigger part of Apple than ever, with Apple Music slowly growing in subscribers and the iPhone now essentially the modern version of the original 5GB iPod from fifteen years ago.
This week at a Mac-focused event, it's also expected that the company will debut the wireless "AirPods." The Bluetooth device will be the newest implementation of its ubiquitous headphone line, which began alongside the iPod in 2001.
Monday October 10, 2016 9:35 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
Apple today added a banner to its United States website, iTunes Store, and App Store asking customers to provide donations to individuals affected by the recent devastation from Hurricane Matthew. Like its usual relief efforts, all donations collected will go to the American Red Cross.
Donation tiers available include $5, $10, $25, $50, $100 and $200, and will be processed as normal iTunes or App Store purchases through a user's connected Apple ID.
Hurricane Matthew made landfall late last week, hitting the southeast coast of the United States and going on to ravage states like Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. As of yesterday, more than 2 million businesses and homes were without power, and over 3,000 people have been placed in safety shelters.
Thursday October 6, 2016 6:57 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple plans to unify its cloud services teams, including Siri, Apple Maps, iCloud, Apple Pay, Apple News, and parts of iTunes and Apple Music, at its existing Infinite Loop headquarters in Cupertino, California, according to Bloomberg.
Moving the teams into a single campus should streamline growth of Apple services, as the current structure of having teams spread out throughout various office buildings in Cupertino and Sunnyvale contributed to software bugs and slowed product development, the report claims.
The cloud services teams could be on the move again in the near future as Apple completes work on its new Campus 2 headquarters, where well over 13,000 employees are expected to work. Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company will begin moving employees to the new campus in 2017.
The report adds that Apple is also planning to shift its services to a single, Apple-made backend system, codenamed Pie. The infrastructure change will reportedly give Apple "more control" and "may speed up load times."
Apple has begun moving over parts of Siri, the iTunes Store, and Apple News to the new platform, one of the people said. Apple plans to move other services, including Maps, to its new system over the next few years. Apple has also developed an internal photo storage system dubbed McQueen to gradually end its reliance on Google and Amazon servers, the people said.
In March, it was reported that Apple is working on an in-house cloud storage system called "McQueen" to reduce its dependence on services like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, with today's report specifying it will be an internal photo storage system.
Apple experienced its first-ever iPhone sales decline earlier this year, but its services category continues to grow. In its most recent quarter, Apple reported nearly $6 billion in revenue tied to services like the App Store, Apple Music, AppleCare, Apple Pay, iCloud, and the iTunes Store, up 19% compared to the year-ago period.
Friday September 23, 2016 5:32 pm PDT by Juli Clover
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.
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.
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