Wednesday October 11, 2017 11:15 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Disney's free Movies Anywhere service is expanding thanks to partnerships with Fox, Sony Pictures, Universal, and Warner Bros, allowing customers who purchase movies from services like iTunes and Amazon Video to watch all of their content in one place using the Movies Anywhere apps.
Disney has been using Movies Anywhere for Disney, Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm titles since 2014, but now the available content library has greatly expanded. The new Movies Anywhere service replaces the existing Disney version.
With a Movies Anywhere account, Movies Anywhere content purchased from Google Play, Amazon Video, iTunes, and Vudu can be accessed the service. It can also be used for digital content that comes alongside physical copies of DVDs or Blu-Rays so long as they're from Disney or one of its partner studios.
There are Movies Anywhere apps for the Apple TV and iOS devices, and the service is limited to the United States at the current time.
While most movie studios are on board, allowing users to watch more than 7,300 titles, Paramount and Lionsgate have yet to sign up.
Users who sign up for Movies Anywhere and connect their accounts with one digital retailer can get access to Ice Age and Ghostbusters (2016) for free. With two accounts added to the service, users can also get access to Big Hero 6, Jason Bourne, and The Lego Movie at no cost.
Monday October 9, 2017 4:33 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Apple has quietly released iTunes 12.6.3, which reintroduces the ability to download App Store apps and ringtones from within the iTunes desktop software.
Apple is making this version of iTunes available because "certain business partners might still need to use iTunes to install apps", but the download is basically available to anyone looking to reinstate the functionality that was removed in iTunes 12.7.
If you've already installed a newer version of iTunes, you can download this version of iTunes on your Mac, PC 32-bit or PC 64-bit and run the installer. After installation is complete, you can continue to deploy apps with iTunes. You won't be prompted to download new versions of iTunes after you install this version.
Installation packages for Mac and PC (32-bit and 64-bit) are available for download on the support page. After the installation, most users will need to rebuild their iTunes Library. To do this, hold down the Option key when the app launches and in the dialog window that appears choose "Create Library...". Give the new library a name that's different to your existing library, and then migrate over your albums using the Add to Library... option under the Files menu.
Apple released iTunes 12.7 in September and said the new version was designed to focus solely on music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and audiobooks, which was the reason behind the removal of the built-in App Store. Following the change, apps and ringtones could only be downloaded on an iOS device.
This special "business edition" of iTunes includes compatibility with iOS 11, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. It's not clear how long Apple will offer iTunes 12.6.3, and the company does not provide technical support for this version, but for those who want the functionality it could be a useful makeweight until Apple comes up with an alternative solution.
Friday September 22, 2017 12:32 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Alongside the launch of the new Apple TV 4K, which is in the hands of customers today, Apple has quietly updated its iTunes rental policy to extend the amount of time rentals can be watched.
In a support document that was updated today, Apple says customers have 30 days to start watching a movie after it's been rented. Once a movie is started, there's an additional 48 hours to finish the movie and/or rewatch it.
Apple's new 48 hour rental policy will be a welcome change for customers who often rent content from iTunes. Prior to today, customers only had 24 hours after starting a movie to finish it in the U.S., but the 48 hour limit has long been available in other countries.
Rented movies can be watched across multiple devices and downloaded on a single device, so customers can rent a movie, download it, and then watch it over the course of the next 48 hours. Apple says that even with downloaded movies watched offline, the 48 hour timer remains.
With the introduction of the 4K Apple TV, Apple has made many 4K movies available to rent or purchase at the same price as High Definition content. 4K content can't be downloaded, however, and is only available for streaming.
Thursday September 14, 2017 9:04 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Ahead of next week's launch of the new Apple TV 4K with HDR support, Apple has begun releasing 4K HDR content on iTunes in the United States and other countries.
4K movies are denoted by a new "4K" and "Dolby Vision" tags visible in the iTunes Store and in the TV app on iOS devices, Macs, and the Apple TV. 4K content is not universally displaying across all devices just yet, but it should be rolling out fully soon.
A limited number of 4K movies are available at the current time, but availability should expand before the new Apple TV launches next week.
Apple's 4K movies are available at the same price as HD movies, and for iTunes customers who have already purchased HD quality content, Apple is upgrading the HD content to 4K at no additional cost.
The Apple TV 4K will be available for pre-order starting tonight at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time or 3:01 a.m. Eastern Time. Orders placed tonight will be delivered next week, on Friday, September 22, the official launch date of the device. Pricing on the 4K Apple TV starts at $179 for 32GB of storage.
Tuesday September 12, 2017 5:41 pm PDT by Juli Clover
In a day filled with surprises, Apple has shocked us once again with the release of iTunes 12.7, which entirely revamps the iTunes App. The new iTunes is designed to focus solely on music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and audiobooks, which means there is no built-in App Store.
The App Store has been entirely eliminated in iTunes 12.7, as has the ringtones section of iTunes. Internet Radio is now part of Music, and iTunes U has been folded into Podcasts, as Apple announced in late August.
Apps can now only be downloaded on an iOS device using an iOS device, and the same goes for ringtones. In addition to the removal of the App Store, today's update adds support for syncing iOS 11 devices and includes support for new Apple Music features that allow you to follow friends and see what they're listening to.
The new iTunes focuses on music, movies, TV shows, and audiobooks. It adds support for syncing iOS 11 devices and includes new features for--
Apple Music. Now discover music with friends. Members can create profiles and follow each other to see music they are listening to and any playlists they've shared.
Podcasts. iTunes U collections are now part of the Apple Podcasts family. Search and explore free educational content produced by leading schools, universities, museums, and cultural institutions all in one place.
If you previously used iTunes to sync apps or ringtones on your iOS device, use the new App Store or Sounds Settings on iOS to redownload them without your Mac.
The new iTunes 12.7 update can be downloaded from the Mac App Store through the Software Update mechanism. The update is available for all iTunes users at no cost.
Sunday August 27, 2017 8:28 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
Apple has added banners to its United States website and iTunes Store in an effort to encourage its customers to donate to those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Similar to past relief efforts, users can choose to donate $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, or $200, and Apple will transfer 100 percent of the proceeds to the American Red Cross, which is providing relief efforts for people in the path of Hurricane Harvey. All donations will be processed as normal iTunes purchases through a connected Apple ID.
Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted about the donations early this morning, as rescue workers in Houston and other parts of southeast Texas attempt to help residents trapped in their homes by "catastrophic flooding." Harvey made landfall late Friday night as a Category 4 hurricane and has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, which is expected to stay in the region over the next few days.
The report, citing people familiar with the matter, claims Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. remain in talks with potential distributors such as Apple and Comcast on ways to push ahead with the project even without theater chains.
A deal with Apple, which reportedly could happen as soon as early next year, means iTunes could supposedly offer major films as early as 17 days after their theatrical debut for about $50, or four to six weeks from release for $30.
That timeframe would be significantly shorter than the current average of three months between a major film's theatrical release and availability in DVD and digital formats, but it would also cost viewers more than an $8 to $15 movie ticket.
The revenue from the premium video on demand, or PVOD, product would help offset a continuing decline in DVD sales, which were down 10 percent in the first half of 2017, according to research firm The Digital Entertainment Group.
Bloomberg first reported on the discussions in December, when it claimed 21st Century Fox, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. were all seeking deals with Apple to create a $25 to $50 premium movie download product.
Friday August 11, 2017 8:53 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
For some vehicles, when an iPhone is plugged into the car's USB port music playback begins automatically, and it always starts in alphabetical order at the top of the user's iTunes library. Because of this, many users will hear the same song, usually beginning with an "A," over and over again each time they plug their iPhone into their car. This week, a potential solution to that problem has been soaring up the iTunes charts in the form of a ten-minute silent song called "A a a a a Very Good Song" [Direct Link].
Created by Samir Mezrahi, the song allows users a full nine minutes and fifty-eight seconds to find the song they actually want to hear after connecting their iPhone to their car through USB. Mezrahi is charging $0.99 for each download of the music-less track, although Apple Music subscribers can simply add the song into their library for free.
A a a a a Very Good Song launched on iTunes on Wednesday, August 9, and as of the writing of this article it sits at #46 on iTunes' Top Songs chart. The song has climbed 21 spots in under a day, when Engadget reported that it was at #67 early on August 10. If it continues to climb, the song will surpass artists like Ed Sheeran, Kendrick Lamar, and Miley Cyrus.
For any CarPlay users, or for those who connect to their vehicle through Bluetooth, the automatic iTunes playback phenomenon is not as much of an issue. For those who do face the problem, it's been discovered within a wide array of different brands and car systems. As one Redditor pointed out, for users who don't have an Apple Music subscription and who would prefer not to pay $0.99 for a ten-minute silent track, they can also make a silent recording of their own and add it to iTunes.
The relevant bit of that string is the mention of a SIM, as the Apple Watch Series 3 would presumably have an embedded SIM card if it had cellular connectivity. Another string mentions GizmoRadioBundleIdentifier, which could refer to the Apple Watch Series 3's cellular radio, reportedly to be supplied by Intel.
Inside Apple, members of the team that worked on the watch product, code-named Gizmo, say it was a difficult engineering challenge.
The Gift That Keeps on Giving
Last week, Apple seeded an over-the-air firmware file for the HomePod, revealing that it will run a slightly modified version of iOS. The pre-release software is said to correspond with iOS 11.0.2, and it contains references to several unreleased features that would normally be redacted before a public release.
The firmware contains a payload that can be unpacked into a filesystem using a few developer tools, giving anyone skilled enough the ability to search through thousands of strings in the software using Terminal commands and disassembly apps like Hopper. For the past eight days, that's exactly what's happened.
Since the HomePod firmware is based on a full iOS stack, many discoveries have been made not only about the smart speaker, but also potentially about the so-called iPhone 8, Apple TV, and Apple Watch.
As for the HomePod itself, it's been discovered that the smart speaker's multi-color LED waveform visible when interacting with Siri measures in at 272×340 pixels. HomePod also appears to have 1GB of RAM, and some of the speaker's sound effects were found buried in the firmware.
HomePod doesn't launch until December, so the firmware was likely released by accident, under the identifier AudioAccessory1,1.
Update: MacRumors discovered the string J105a in the HomePod firmware, consistent with the fifth-generation Apple TV's internal codename first revealed by Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman in February.
Revenue from Apple's Services category, which includes Apple Music, Apple Pay, AppleCare, iTunes, iCloud, and the App Store, grew an impressive 22 percent year over year according to Apple's third quarter earnings results, reaching a new all-time high.
In 3Q 2017, Services brought in $7.3 billion, up from $6 billion in the year-ago quarter.
According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the company's Services category is the size of a Fortune 100 company, a milestone Apple hit "sooner than expected."
Apple often attributes much of the growth of its Services category to the App Store, and that continues to be the case this quarter. According to Apple CFO Luca Maestri, App Store revenue was up, as was Apple Music revenue and revenue from iCloud services. Apple has now reached 185 million paid subscriptions across all services, an increase of nearly 20 million over the course of the last 90 days.
iOS 11 will bring a whole new App Store experience, splitting out Games and Apps into separate tabs and introducing a new section that allows Apple to better highlight the wide variety of apps that are available in the App Store, offering up a range of editorial picks to improve app discovery.
Friday July 28, 2017 12:09 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
MacRumors reader Tomas Jackson, who resides in the UK, has discovered Apple is listing select movies as 4K and HDR in iTunes purchase history.
In a discussion topic on the MacRumors forums, Jackson shared a screenshot of his iTunes purchase history with the 2016 film Passengers listed as "Movie (4K, HDR)" under the Type column. However, he said iTunes only let him download the movie in HD quality, which is either 720p or 1080p depending on the content.
Another reader mentioned that the 2016 film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is also listed as 4K and HDR. MacRumors rented the film to check, and we can confirm the film indeed has "4K, HDR" next to it in our iTunes purchase history. Nevertheless, iTunes lists the movie's video quality as 720p.
Not all movies are listed as "4K, HDR" at this time, and it may be region specific for now. One reader from the United States shared a screenshot of Passengers still being listed as "Film (HD)" in his iTunes purchase history. MacRumors can confirm "4K, HDR" has appeared in both the UK and Canada at least.
iTunes content remains viewable in SD and HD for the time being, but the discovery suggests Apple may be gearing up for what's around the corner — 4K and HDR support for both iTunes content and a new Apple TV.
In February, Bloomberg reported Apple was testing a new, fifth-generation Apple TV capable of streaming 4K video, adding that it may be released as soon as this year. The report also said the new Apple TV, allegedly codenamed "J105" internally, would display more vivid colors, suggesting HDR support.
A month later, developer Firi Games provided MacRumors with evidence of a device identified as "AppleTV6,2" and running "tvOS 11.0" connecting to its arcade game Phoenix HD for Apple TV in its logs. The IP address fell within a range linked to Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California.
The current Apple TV has a model identifier of AppleTV5,3, and Apple TV6,2 does not correspond with any released model.
It's conceivable that Apple could launch 4K content in iTunes alongside a new Apple TV with support for up to 4K video output and HDR, or high dynamic range, which allows for sharper colors and lighting. The current, fourth-generation Apple TV has a maximum 1080p video output, and no support for HDR.
Netflix has embraced 4K, offering its original series in ultra-high-resolution on compatible devices. The high-end iMac models with 4K and 5K Retina displays are currently Apple's only devices that can properly display 4K content. The latest Apple TV lacks the hardware required for 4K and HDR video output.
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