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Google Offers Free 4-Month Play Music Trial Subscription to Celebrate July 4th

In celebration of July 4th, Google is offering new U.S. subscribers to its Play Music streaming service a four-month trial completely free of charge.

Play Music subscribers can choose from a library of over 35 million tracks, which usually costs $9.99 per month, so the offer amounts to a $40 saving and users can cancel the subscription at any time.

Customers who sign up to the trial will also gain access to the company's ad-free YouTube Red service, which features original content, and enables offline and background playback of YouTube videos on mobile devices.

Prospective users of the service should note that it's a U.S.-only promotion, and is only available to those who have never signed up for Play Music or YouTube Red in the past.

Google Play Music is a viable alternative to Apple Music, Tidal, and Spotify, as the company offers an iOS app as well as desktop access via a web browser. Third-party standalone apps like Radiant Player are also available for accessing the service on a Mac.

In addition to music streaming, Play membership includes access to a cloud storage locker where users can store up to 50,000 of their own songs, with or without a paid Play Music subscription, using the Google Music Manager client.

Google's promotion comes the same week that Spotify accused Apple of using its App Store process to stymie rival streaming services after Apple rejected a Spotify app update.

Apple responded to the accusation through its lawyers, who said Spotify was seeking exemptions to rules that have applied to all app developers long before Apple

Hands-On With Apple's Redesigned Maps App in iOS 10

Apple's Maps app received a major overhaul in iOS 10, introducing a new look and some impressive new features. Design wise, Maps looks a lot different, with easier to access controls and destination suggestions that are front and center.

As seen in the video below, when you open the Maps app, you'll immediately see a search window and an overview of your current location. Swiping upwards from the search bar brings up options for places you might want to go, based on recent places you've visited, calendar events, appointments in your Mail app, and general user habits.

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Maps in iOS 10 features traffic information en route, with options for alternative routes and routes that avoid toll roads. There's a dynamic view that allows users to zoom in and out to see what traffic conditions look like ahead, and there's an option to search along a route to find gas, food, coffee, and more while on a trip. Maps will automatically adjust routes to incorporate stops, letting you know how much time a detour will add.

When parking, Apple Maps has an awesome new feature that'll automatically remember your car location so you never forget where it is, and a new Maps extensions option for developers will let you do things like book a reservation in OpenTable or call an uber all without leaving the Maps app.

For details on other new features coming in iOS 10, make sure to check out our iOS 10 roundup. Don't miss out on our previous videos, which have covered iOS 10, watchOS 3, tvOS 10, and macOS Sierra:

- WWDC 2016

Apple Campus 2 Drone Video Shows Progress on Ring-Shaped Main Building, Research Facilities

Apple plans to finish construction on its second campus at the end of 2016, giving the company five more months to wrap up work at the location. As the deadline approaches, construction is continuing at a rapid pace, as seen in a new July update video shared by drone pilot Duncan Sinfield.

Sinfield's July video features a complete overview of the different buildings that are going up on the campus, along with details on the progress that's been made over the course of the last month. Solar panels and HVAC units are continuing to be added to the roof of the main ring-shaped building, and the solar panels on the roof of the parking garage are almost all in place.


Heavy machinery that will allow Apple to start the landscaping process has been transported to the campus, so we may soon see progress on the giant dirt pile. The dirt will support more than 7,000 trees and other greenery, including many citrus trees.

A second Apple Campus 2 drone video from Matthew Roberts shows a nearly-completed R&D facility, located on Tantau avenue, and gives a close look at the 100,000 square foot fitness center that will be available to employees.


Earlier this year, Apple began taking down the green privacy fence surrounding the entire campus, replacing it with a shorter chain-link fence. Construction crews often leave the gates at the campus open, allowing passersby to get a close-up look at the ongoing construction.

Apple plans to complete work on Apple Campus 2 at the end of 2016, with employees set to start occupying the facility at the beginning of

Apple Accuses Spotify of 'Resorting to Rumors and Half-Truths', Sets Record Straight on App Rejection

Yesterday, Spotify accused Apple of using its App Store approval process as a "weapon to harm competitors" after Apple rejected a Spotify app update, and now Apple has responded to Spotify's accusations to "set the record straight."

In a letter to Spotify lawyer Horacio Gutierrez that was shared by BuzzFeed, Apple's legal head Bruce Sewell says Apple is disappointed with the public attacks and concerned that Spotify is asking for exemptions to rules that apply to all app developers.

There can be no doubt that Spotify has benefited enormously from its association with Apple's App Store. Since joining the App Store in 2009, Apple's platform has provided you with over 160 million downloads of your app, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in incremental revenue to Spotify. That's why we find it troubling that you are asking for exemptions to the rules we apply to all developers and are publicly resorting to rumors and half-truths about our service.

Our guidelines help competition, not hurt it. The fact that we compete has never influenced how Apple treats Spotify or other successful competitors like Google Play Music, Tidal, Amazon Music, Pandora or the numerous other apps on the App Store that distribute digital music.
Sewell goes on to say that Spotify's belief it should not have to pay to take advantage of the "benefits of Apple's hard work" is "simply unfair and unreasonable," pointing out that the App Store rules existed long before Apple Music was introduced. He also points out the new revenue split rules for subscriptions, which will see Apple taking a

Check Out iOS 10's Revamped Apple News App

One of the apps that's getting a redesign in iOS 10 is Apple News, Apple's dedicated news reading app that first came out in 2015 as part of iOS 9. Apple News aggregates stories from several sources into one mobile-friendly format for reading on iOS devices, allowing users to find content based around their interests.

In iOS 10, Apple News features a bolder, simpler interface that puts content front and center. The "For You" section filled with customized picks has been broken up into smaller topic-based sections with improved organization to make it easier to keep up with incoming stories.

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"For You" features all of the topics a user follows along with "Trending News," featuring current popular stories, and "Featured News," a section with news suggestions hand-picked by Apple's editors. There are easier tools for sharing, liking, and disliking news stories, accessible by swiping to the left or the right on the screen.

In addition to these design changes, Apple News will now send notifications to users whenever there's a must-read breaking news story, and Apple has added support for subscription-based publications so you can read content from paid subscription-based sites like The Wall Street Journal right alongside free content. The revamped Apple News app will be available in the fall when iOS 10 launches.

For details on other new features coming in iOS 10, make sure to check out our iOS 10 roundup. Don't miss out on our previous videos, which have covered iOS 10, watchOS 3, tvOS 10, and macOS

Disney Nearing Deal to Own One-Third of MLB's $3.5 Billion Digital Business

The Walt Disney Company is nearing a deal that will net it a one-third stake in Major League Baseball Advanced Media, the streaming division of MLB whose business is valued at around $3.5 billion (via Bloomberg). According to those close to the deal, an agreement between the two companies has not yet been officially finalized, but once it is the contract will allow Disney to purchase another 33 percent of MLB's digital sector over the next four years.

Disney currently owns ESPN, which has been reported recently to be facing troubles with its traditional, broadcast viewing numbers with the rise of streaming and web-only packages. WatchESPN offers viewers the option to watch live sports broadcasts on platforms like the Apple TV, as long as they have a cable package that includes ESPN's content channels.

Disney has also been a key Apple content partner over the years, due in large part to Disney's partnership with and ultimate 2006 acquisition of Pixar that made Steve Jobs the largest individual Disney shareholder and gave him a seat on the company's board. Long-standing rumors of Apple seeking to launch an over-the-top streaming television service have generally included Disney as one of the key early content partners on board with the project, although Apple has so far been unable to secure all of the deals it would need to launch the service at the price point it wants to hit.

Given that the deal between Disney and MLBAM is not yet official, there's no word yet on what the ultimate outcome of the acquisition would entail for the company's streaming services.

Apple in Talks to Acquire Jay Z's Streaming Music Service Tidal

Apple is in talks to acquire rapper Jay Z's streaming music service Tidal, reports The Wall Street Journal, citing "people familiar with the matter." The talks are said to be exploratory and "may not result in a deal," but Apple is considering the purchase to bolster its Apple Music service.

A Tidal spokesman told The Wall Street Journal that Tidal executives had not held talks with Apple, and the terms of the deal are unknown.

Tidal, which launched in 2014 and was acquired by Jay Z in January of 2015 before a March 2015 re-launch, is a subscription-based music service that advertises high-quality lossless audio and high-definition music videos. Tidal offers two tiers of service, a standard premium option for $9.99 per month and HiFi for $19.99 per month. Tidal has 4.2 million paying subscribers, and as of March, 45 percent of those subscribers paid extra for the hi-fidelity tier.

Positioned as one of Apple Music's major competitors, Tidal has clashed with Apple in the past. In February, Apple was in talks to exclusively debut Kanye West's album "The Life of Pablo," but West pulled out of talks and opted to debut his album on Tidal.

Tidal's strong connection to artists like Kanye West, Beyonce, and Madonna is one of the reasons Apple is mulling an acquisition. Apple has made a major push into both exclusive and original content with Apple Music, luring artists like Taylor Swift, the Weeknd, Eminem, and more into offering up Apple Music exclusives.

Today is the one-year anniversary of Apple Music, which first debuted in 110 countries on June 30, 2015. As of

Dark Space Gray iPhone 7 Conceptualized in New Renderings

Following rumors suggesting Apple's iPhone 7 will be available in a much darker Space Gray color that's close to, but not quite black, designer Martin Hajek has created renderings exploring what such a device might look like.

Using the iPhone 7 design rumors pointing towards a larger camera, no headphone jack, and relocated antenna bands, Hajek has created an iPhone 7 rendering in a deep shade of gray that's close to the color of the Space Black Apple Watch.

In Hajek's concept, the iPhone 7 is a much darker shade of gray than the Space Gray iPhone 6s, appearing even darker than the black and slate iPhone 5.

Over the years, Apple has used several different shades of Space Gray, Black, and Slate across the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch product lines, with some shades that are much darker than others. Apple's most recent products, the iPhone 6s and the iPad Pro, feature a light shade of Space Gray, and a darker Space Gray could differentiate the iPhone 7 from earlier devices.

Rumors of a darker Space Gray or Space Black iPhone 7 first surfaced earlier this week, when Japanese site Mac Otakara clarified that a rumor suggesting a deep blue iPhone 7 was in the works was mistaken. The site, which reported the deep blue color in early June, said its source had misidentified a darker space gray for a shade of blue.

Apple is expected to introduce the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in September with an iPhone 6s-style design, no headphone jack, an A10 processor, a better camera (larger sensor for the iPhone 7 and dual-lens for the iPhone 7 Plus), and faster LTE

Apple Music and NASA Team Up on Short Film and Exclusive Songs Celebrating Juno Mission

Apple and NASA have collaborated on a short musical film [Direct iTunes Link] called "Visions of Harmony," which is designed to celebrate NASA's Juno spacecraft reaching Jupiter's orbit. First launched in 2011, Juno is expected to enter Jupiter's orbit on the evening of July 4, giving us our closest ever look at the gas giant and the secrets hidden beneath its dense cloud cover.

Artist's rendering of Juno in Jupiter's orbit, image via NASA
According to the new "Destination: Jupiter" section of Apple Music, Apple has collaborated with NASA and the Juno team to offer "education and inspiration throughout the historic journey."

"Visions of Harmony" celebrates the link between exploring space and making music, featuring songs from artists like Weezer and Nine Inch Nails frontman and Apple exec Trent Reznor. Reznor and collaborator Atticus Ross created a song inspired by sounds emitted by Jupiter, which features actual recordings from the planet, while Weezer wrote a single called "I Love the USA."

Other music featured on Apple's Destination: Jupiter page comes from artists like Corinne Bailey Rae, Quin, Brad Paisley, Zoé, Jim James, and GZA the

Spotify Accuses Apple of Using App Store Approval Process as a 'Weapon to Harm Competitors'

Spotify and Apple are embroiled in a major dispute, which Spotify is today taking to the court of public opinion. Spotify submitted a new version of its app to the App Store, following a decision to eliminate the option to purchase a subscription through Apple, and Apple has rejected the update.

In response, Spotify wrote a letter to Apple's legal team on June 26, portions of which have been shared by Recode. Spotify's letter, which it shared yesterday with Congressional staff in Washington, D.C., accuses Apple of causing "grave harm" to Spotify by rejecting the app update.

The details on the rejection are somewhat murky, but Spotify claims Apple denied the app update and demanded Spotify use Apple's billing system if it "wants to use the app to acquire new customers and sell subscriptions." Spotify was using its iOS app to highlight a promotion offering new Spotify customers three months of service for $0.99, something Apple didn't like.

Apple reportedly forced Spotify to stop advertising the promotion in the iOS app or face the removal of the app from the App Store. Spotify stopped the advertisements, but also decided to stop offering App Store subscription options, a move that's led to the current disagreement between the two companies.
"This latest episode raises serious concerns under both US and EU competition law," Gutierrez wrote. "It continues a troubling pattern of behavior by Apple to exclude and diminish the competitiveness of Spotify on iOS and as a rival to Apple Music, particularly when seen against the backdrop of Apple's previous anticompetitive

Apple Music Turns One Year Old With 15 Million Subscribers on Board and a Redesign on the Way

Today marks the one year anniversary of Apple Music, which launched in 110 countries on June 30, 2015. The streaming music service was initially limited to the Mac and iOS devices, and it has since expanded to Apple TV and Android.

Apple's streaming music service, an evolution of the Beats Music service it acquired in 2014, has steadily gained listeners over the past twelve months, reaching over 15 million paying subscribers as of WWDC 2016 earlier this month.

Spotify still remains the world's most popular streaming music service, with roughly twice as many paying subscribers as Apple Music, but the Swedish rival has been available in Europe for nearly eight years and in the U.S. since 2011.

Assuming that Apple Music maintains its current pace of growth, it is reasonable to assume that it will eventually eclipse Spotify as the top streaming service worldwide, with Apple Music benefiting greatly from its prominent placement within a default app on iOS and a lengthy three-month free trial to get users hooked on the service.


Apple Music has received its share of criticism since launch, partly due to somewhat confusing layouts that can make it difficult to find content and easily manage downloaded or owned content versus streamed content. Apple's "Connect" social feature intended to allow artists to share content with fans also failed to take hold, with many quickly drawing comparisons to the ill-fated "Ping" social network that debuted as part of iTunes in 2010 but was officially canceled just two years later.

With iOS 10, Apple is undertaking a reinvention

Senator Elizabeth Warren Accuses Apple of Trying to 'Snuff Out Competition,' Spotify Agrees

Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren today gave a speech where she accused Amazon, Apple, and Google of attempting to "snuff out competition" by locking out smaller companies, reports Recode.
"Google, Apple and Amazon have created disruptive technologies that changed the world, and ... they deserve to be highly profitable and successful," Warren said. "But the opportunity to compete must remain open for new entrants and smaller competitors that want their chance to change the world again."
In regard to Apple specifically, Warren said the company has made it difficult for its rivals to offer competitive streaming services able to compete with Apple Music, presumably through the cut that it takes from streaming services like Spotify when people sign up through the iOS app.

To account for Apple's cut, Spotify charges $12.99 to customers who purchase a subscription through an Apple device, which is $3 higher than the $9.99 price tag of Apple Music.

While Apple declined to comment on Warren's statements, Spotify's head of communications and public policy Jonathan Prince took the opportunity to lambaste Apple in a statement given to Recode.
"Apple has long used its control of iOS to squash competition in music, driving up the prices of its competitors, inappropriately forbidding us from telling our customers about lower prices, and giving itself unfair advantages across its platform through everything from the lock screen to Siri. You know there's something wrong when Apple makes more off a Spotify subscription than it does off an Apple Music subscription and doesn't