Next-generation iPhones likely to focus on internal improvements.
Since Apple Music's debut, there's been an option on Beats 1 radio to listen to playlists of songs by each DJ after a show ends, but there was often no way to listen to a full show with guests and commentary unless you caught it on the second playthrough, 12 hours after it first aired.
With the change implemented in the last few days, Beats 1 users can access both a full replay that's the same as listening to a show live and a playlist of songs from each program.
Though a feature that's likely going to be welcome by many Beats 1 listeners, Replay is somewhat hidden. Re-recordings of shows can be accessed by tapping on the Beats 1 logo in Apple Music to open the list of featured shows, tapping on a DJ, and going to the "Connect" page. Alternatively, it's also possible to search for an individual DJ to access their Connect section, or to search directly with a term like "Julie Adenuga Replay."
Tapping on the "Beats 1: Replay" option will play the entire show in one long block, with no option to see the songs that are playing as is possible when Beats 1 radio is playing live. As MacStories points out, it's akin to listening to one long podcast. Replaying a show eliminates the ability to heart songs and add them to playlists to enhance the Apple Music listening experience, but it does give users a way to listen to one-of-a-kind content and commentary that would have previously been missed.
Since Apple Music launched, Beats 1 radio has featured a near-endless stream of exclusive content, worldwide song debuts, and artist interviews, all designed to draw in listeners. The service's most recent exclusive was MTV's announcement of the 2015 Video Music Award nominees.
As part of the deal it struck with the major labels for Apple Music Radio, Apple has licenses for up to five additional stations like Beats 1, without having to renegotiate with the labels. That means Apple could launch a Beats 2 station headquartered in Australia or Asia, allowing it to provide live radio around the clock (Beats 1 is only live 12 hours a day).It seems Apple is indeed considering and preparing for a potential expansion Beats 1 with new Beats radio stations, as the company has registered domains like beats2.com.cn, beats2.hk, and beats4.com.ru in various countries around the world. Beats 1 is broadcast worldwide, but in the future, Apple may wish to offer stations that cater to different languages and music tastes around the world.
Labels may have given Apple permission to create additional radio stations due to the fact that Apple is allegedly paying more per-play than Pandora for music that is streamed on Beats 1.
The Verge's sources also commented on the status of Apple Music, stating that labels are "pretty pleased" with Apple Music's performance thus far and that the service has gained a "substantial" number of users since it launched on June 30. Of course, all Apple Music subscribers right now have free access to the service until October, so it's still impossible to gauge how Apple Music measures up to competing services like Spotify.
As of this month, Apple has initiated a major advertising campaign for Apple Music, with billboards and signage popping up in cities around the world like San Francisco, Tokyo, Toronto, Los Angeles, and Mexico City, which should bump up subscriber numbers.
Apple has also maintained momentum with its Beats 1 radio station through a series of exclusive song releases and interviews with artists. Most recently, Beats 1 scored an exclusive with MTV, with the network using the platform to announce the 2015 Video Music Award nominees.
Billboards in San Francisco have been updated with new Apple Music ads, and the Omotesando and Harajuku Metro Stations in Tokyo have been updated with Apple Music banners. Some bus stops in Mexico City are also displaying Apple Music ads, and ads have also been seen on billboards in Los Angeles and Toronto.
The banners mimic images that have been used to advertise Apple Music on Apple's website, featuring desaturated pictures of artists overlaid with the Apple Music logo in a variety of different fonts.
It is not clear when Apple began its Apple Music advertising push, but the banners and signage appear to have gone up over the last few days. This is the first major advertising campaign for Apple Music since its June 30 launch and the first public ads, aside from videos that debuted at WWDC when the service was introduced.
As Apple begins heavily advertising Apple Music around the world, Billboard has announced that songs streamed from Apple Music will now count towards the Billboard 200 and the Billboard Hot 100. Apple was recently added as a streaming provider and Apple Music songs will influence the August charts.
The Billboard 200 lists the 200 most popular albums each week, based on direct sales, digital downloads, and on-demand streaming. The Billboard Hot 100 tracks individual songs or "singles" using the same methodology, ranking popularity on a weekly basis. New charts for both the Billboard 200 and the Billboard Hot 100 come out each Tuesday.
Other streaming providers that contribute to the charts include Amazon Prime, Google Play, Medianet, Rdio, Rhapsody, Slacker, Tidal, Spotify, and Groove Music Pass.
The fourth public beta follows the launch of the sixth OS X El Capitan developer beta, which was seeded to developers yesterday. Aside from new wallpaper, no outward-facing changes were introduced with beta six, suggesting it's largely an under-the-hood update with bug fixes and performance improvements.
Beta testers who have signed up for Apple’s beta testing program and already have the public beta installed can update through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.
OS X 10.11 El Capitan is expected to be released to the public in the fall after the beta testing process is complete.
The MVNO service would allow Apple to become its own carrier, leasing space from existing network carriers and building SIM cards that switch from network-to-network as need be. Rumors about such a service have been around for a while now, and today marks the first time that Apple has directly denied the existence of any such feature being built by the company.
BREAKING: Apple says it has not discussed & is not planning MVNO cellular service following reports saying it was planning on doing that.— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) August 4, 2015
Update 8:31 AM: Reuters shares the exact statement from an Apple spokeswoman: "We have not discussed nor do we have any plans to launch an MVNO."
“I wrote the letter at around four A.M.,” Swift says. “The contracts had just gone out to my friends, and one of them sent me a screenshot of one of them. I read the term ‘zero percent compensation to rights holders.’ Sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and I’ll write a song and I can’t sleep until I finish it, and it was like that with the letter.”Swift's main concern was that her letter would be taken as whining, particularly since she had addressed a similar issue regarding Spotify last year, but after running the letter past her mother, Swift decided to publish it.
Apple did indeed listen, and later the same day reversed course on its decision and announced plans to pay artists during the initial free trial of Apple Music. In the Vanity Fair interview, Swift notes Apple's near-immediate response and genuine care for her and her fellow artists, further alluding to her public break from Spotify and that company's subsequent reaction to the pulling of her music from the service.
Says Swift, “Apple treated me like I was a voice of a creative community that they actually cared about,” she says. “And I found it really ironic that the multi-billion-dollar company reacted to criticism with humility, and the start-up with no cash flow reacted to criticism like a corporate machine.”Although it's hit a few bumps in the road, Apple Music has been steadily providing its early adopters with exclusive tracks, celebrity-hosted Beats 1 radio shows, and personalized music discovery since its June 30 launch. Those who signed up on day one still have just under two months left to their three-month free trial, with monthly subscriptions priced at $9.99 for individuals and $14.99 for families after the trial. The company reportedly has ten million users on the free trial so far, but it remains to be seen how many of those will convert to paying users.
Consomac's research into the code of the new OS X beta found three new files, two of which include screen resolutions that hint at the possible arrival of new 5K 27-inch iMacs, and the other with a 4096×2304 resolution. Like the second El Capitan beta, this code could potentially refer to a 21.5-inch Retina iMac display with 4K resolution coming down the line. Although, as Consomac discovered, an image accompanying the three files points to a design that will largely "remain unchanged" for the new line-up.
Beginning last October, Apple launched a few updates for the 27-inch iMac with Retina Display, but the rest of the iMac line-up hasn't seen a proper upgrade since September 2013. The major reasoning behind the stalled upgrade cycle is the company waiting for Intel's various desktop components -- including the Broadwell and Skylake processors -- to be available for a more substantial update to Apple's smaller-sized desktop computer line-up.
An update to the 21.5-inch iMac line has been hinted at for a while now, including a rumor just yesterday from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that pointed to the iMac line gaining a significant boost this quarter. Kuo points to display improvements with greater color saturation thanks to a few new processors, but never references directly the arrival of a retina display for the 21.5-inch iMac line. Still, the timing with back-to-school shopping swinging into gear, and the lengthy update cycle of the 21.5-inch line-up, definitely suggests an impending update for the model sometime soon.
The update, which arrives as Build 15A244d, is available through the software update mechanism in the Mac App Store and through the Apple Developer Center.
While early betas introduced minor design changes and features, the last few betas have focused on under-the-hood performance improvements and bug fixes to optimize OS X El Capitan ahead of its public release.
OS X El Capitan builds on the features introduced with OS X Yosemite, focusing on improving performance and user experience. Behind-the-scenes improvements in El Capitan have made a number of apps and processes on the Mac much faster, and the introduction of Metal makes system-level graphics rendering 40 percent more efficient.
Along with a new systemwide font, El Capitan includes a revamped Mission Control feature, a new Split View feature for using two full-screen apps at once, deeper functionality for Spotlight, and several new features for Safari, including Pinned Sites for housing frequently visited websites and a universal mute button that quiets all tabs.
OS X 10.11 El Capitan is available to both registered developers and public beta testers. After testing is completed, Apple will release El Capitan to the public in the fall.
According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, the site, which consists of undeveloped land, is approved for up to 2.8 million square feet of office space, much like Apple's Campus 2 location in Cupertino. Apple has not submitted building plans for the site, and it is unclear what the company plans to do with the land.
Apple is expanding rapidly in the Bay Area. In addition to the second Cupertino campus and the 300,000 square feet of space leased in San Jose in July, the company made its first real estate lease in San Francisco last week, signing a deal for 76,000 square feet of office space.
Along with office space, Apple is also said to be seeking additional space for both industrial purposes and research and development, possibly for undisclosed projects like its Apple Car.
What's interesting in the latest transaction is that Apple opted to buy, not lease. It's possible Apple wants more control over whatever it does there, and simply felt more comfortable owning the land. In addition to office space, Apple has been in the market for broad swaths of heavy R&D and industrial space, industry observers tell me. The latter could be read as a tantalizing sign of Apple's interest in manufacturing, though such a possibility is for now market speculation.The land that Apple purchased in North San Jose is located approximately 12 miles from its 1 Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino and is across the freeway from the Mineta San Jose International Airport. North First Street is already home to other major companies like Cisco and Samsung.
Update August 4, 5:57 AM: Apple has given a statement to Silicon Valley Business Journal regarding its general plans for the site.
"As we continue to grow, we're planning to build R&D facilities and some additional office space in San Jose," spokeswoman Rachel Wolf said in an emailed statement. "The property isn't far from the future home of our new campus and we're looking forward to expanding our presence in the Bay Area."
The worm was created by security engineer Trammell Hudson, who first discovered the Thunderstrike exploits, and Xeno Kovah, owner of firmware security consultancy LegbaCore. When Thunderstrike made waves earlier this year, it was a limited proof-of-concept attack with no known presence in the wild, but Thunderstrike 2 demonstrates a real-world worm able to target Macs using the same general vulnerabilities.
Thunderstrike 2, unlike the first demonstration of Thunderstrike, is able to infect a Mac remotely through a malicious website or email. Once on a Mac, it's able to spread itself to other Macs by hiding in the option ROM of peripheral devices like Apple's own Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet adapter, external SSDs, RAID controllers, and more. Once infected by a Mac that has the Thunderstrike 2 worm, the peripheral would go on to infect any other Mac it connects to.
"People are unaware that these small cheap devices can actually infect their firmware," says Kovah. "You could get a worm started all around the world that's spreading very low and slow. If people don't have awareness that attacks can be happening at this level then they're going to have their guard down and an attack will be able to completely subvert their system."Removing malware embedded into a Mac's firmware would need to be done at the hardware level, making it particularly dangerous. According to the researchers, Apple has not done enough to fix the vulnerabilities that leave Macs open to these kind of attacks.
"Some vendors like Dell and Lenovo have been very active in trying to rapidly remove vulnerabilities from their firmware," Kovah notes. "Most other vendors, including Apple as we are showing here, have not. We use our research to help raise awareness of firmware attacks, and show customers that they need to hold their vendors accountable for better firmware security."Kovah and Hudson have notified Apple about the Thunderstrike 2 vulnerabilities, but thus far, Apple's only fixed one of five security flaws and introduced a partial fix for a second. Three of the vulnerabilities have not yet been patched, but it's likely Apple is working to get the flaws fixed in an upcoming security update.
More information on Kovah and Hudson's research and the Thunderstrike 2 exploit can be found in a lengthy report over at Wired.
If completed, Apple would essentially become its own network carrier, freeing the company and iPhone users from any particular current carrier like T-Mobile or AT&T, and allow users to pay for the usual data, calls, and text services directly from Apple. The MVNO would allow Apple to lease space from network carriers already in the business of providing data to customers, with the Apple SIM card -- already included in the cellular versions of the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 -- picking up and switching between carriers on the fly for the best service possible.
As Business Insider points out, the testing of the MVNO service doesn't guarantee its eventual arrival for customers using an iPhone in the United States and Europe. But, if the company does intend to eventually become a carrier itself, it would be a fairly long-term goal of five years or more to be fully implemented.
If Apple is testing the service then there's no guarantee that it will launch, and if it does, it's not going to roll out anytime soon. Telecoms sources say that Apple is looking long-term with its MVNO, and could take at least five years to fully launch the service. Apple has been in talks with telecoms companies for years over its MVNO plans, and it's an "open secret" amongst carriers that a virtual Apple network is on the way.Speculation surrounding Apple becoming its own wireless provider has been swirling for a decade now, resurging in various rumor and patent stories every now and again over the years. With Apple rumored to be in "advanced talks" with mobile standards organization GSMA in the production of a standardized mobile electronic SIM card -- which would allow customers to avoid being locked into a dedicated network carrier -- the company appears to at least be positioning itself for the possibility of a future MVNO launch.
One of Macfixit's photos includes a quality control label showing a pass date of July 29, which, if legitimate, would put the assembly in a correct time frame for Apple's traditional September iPhone launches. The image also appears identical to those released over the weekend by repair company GeekBar, with the same possible cutouts for a taptic engine to fuel Force Touch and a slightly thicker frame.
A few possible third-party case manufacturer design renders have also been shared by uSwitch and Nowhereelse.fr's OnLeaks channel, backing the theory that this year's iPhone line will be slightly thicker than the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Theories that support Apple's reasoning behind increasing the iPhone's thickness -- other than the inclusion of Force Touch -- include attempts to avoid another "Bendgate" controversy from last year with a stronger body. Height and width of the iPhones shown in the renderings are also marginally larger than the measurements for the current lineup.
While the iPhone 6 came in at 6.9mm thick, the iPhone 6S is 7.1mm, according to our source.The renders also suggest that the "iPhone 6s" could be missing the slightly protruding camera found on the current lineup, perhaps made possible by the slightly thicker body. The "iPhone 6s Plus" renderings, however, continue to show a protruding rear camera. uSwitch does note the renders could simply be incomplete, so Apple's plans for rear camera designs remain unconfirmed. Otherwise, the site notes an overall similarity between generations, with a home button, volume rockers, lock switch, and screen size that make the new phones "largely indistinguishable" from last year's models.
The iPhone 6S Plus, which was the model most often cited in the so-called 'bendgate' scandal, has also been body-building. It’s gone from 7.1mm thick to 7.3mm, we were told.
Even with the possibility of a thicker frame, the size increase of the so-called iPhone 6s would be small enough to allow most accessories and cases to function with both generations of the device. News and rumors regarding the "iPhone 6s" and "iPhone 6s Plus" have begun to proliferate in the past few weeks, and will no doubt continue to do so as we head into the iPhone launch season.