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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 2017.

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.

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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 15 percent cut from customers who have subscribed to a service for more than a year, instead of a 30 percent cut.

Sewell's letter to Spotify ends with some clarification on why Spotify's app was rejected on May 26. Spotify replaced its in-app subscription purchase options with an account sign-up feature Apple says was "clearly intended to circumvent Apple's in-app purchase rules."

Apple notified Spotify about the guideline violation and following discussions with Apple, Spotify submitted a new version of the app on June 10 that incorporated the same sign-up feature asking for customer email addresses to be used to invite customers to sign up for a Spotify subscription on the web, which Apple again rejected.
That feature exists only for the purpose of avoiding to having to pay Apple for your use of the App Store by emailing customers within hours, directing them to subscribe to Spotify on its website. A clear violation of the terms every other developer adheres to. [...]

There is nothing in Apple's conduct that "amounts to a violation of applicable antitrust laws." Far from it. Apple has continued to innovate with lower pricing for our customers, and a new revenue share model for the developers that have helped make us so successful. We understand you want special treatment and protections from competition, but we simply will not do that because we firmly adhere to the principle of treating all developers fairly and equitably.
In Spotify's own letter, sent to Apple on June 26 but made public yesterday, Spotify accused Apple of causing "grave harm" to its business by rejecting the app update. Spotify said Apple's aim was to "exclude and diminish the competitiveness of Spotify on iOS," which "raises serious concerns under both US and EU competition law."

Sewell's full letter to Spotify can be read over at BuzzFeed.

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 Sierra:

- WWDC 2016 Overview in Seven Minutes
- iOS 10's Overhauled Lockscreen
- The New iOS 10 Photos App
- The New iOS 10 Messages App
- macOS Sierra - Siri
- iOS 10 Hidden Features
- watchOS 3 Overview
- iOS 10's Redesigned Apple Music Experience
- 3D Touch in iOS 10
- The New Home App for Controlling HomeKit Devices
- iOS 10's Face Gallery App for Apple Watch
- Everything New in tvOS 10
- Apple's Upcoming Apple TV Remote App

We've also got roundups for all of the upcoming operating systems, including watchOS 3, macOS Sierra, and tvOS 10.

Related Roundup: iOS 10
Tag: Apple News

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.

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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. Still, some knowledgable of the deal and the streaming sports world see the move as a way for Disney to continue to bolster ESPN's streaming offerings if MLBAM were to be rolled into the company's online video platforms.
“MLBAM has some great assets that could help ESPN build a robust over-the-top offering,” said Bernard Gershon, a media consultant based in New York.

“You see the biggest sports media company moving to greater digital delivery,” said Chris Russo, a former National Football League executive who now heads sports investment banking at Houlihan Lokey Inc. in New York. “It really shows they’re trying to get ahead of the digital phenomenon rather than being left behind it.”
Disney currently offers a number of its services as streaming options on the fourth-generation Apple TV, including Watch ABC, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Jr, and Watch ESPN. MLB has also been a strong Apple content partner, with an advanced live streaming app being one of the key demos during the introduction of the fourth-generation Apple TV.

Tags: ESPN, Disney

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.

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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 June 2016, Apple Music has more than 15 million paying subscribers.

Tag: Tidal

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.

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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.

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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 and Wi-Fi. Unconfirmed possible features include a flush home button, improved water resistance, and a thinner body.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7
Tag: Concepts

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.

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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."

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"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 Genius.

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.

spotify app
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 conduct aimed at Spotify...we cannot stand by as Apple uses the App Store approval process as a weapon to harm competitors."
At issue is the 30 percent cut that Apple takes from App Store subscriptions, which has caused Spotify to charge $12.99 for subscriptions purchased through the App Store, a $3 premium over subscriptions purchased on the web and $3 more than the price of Apple Music. Apple does not force apps to use its billing system, but it also does not allow apps to offer other purchase options. As stated in the App Store guidelines:
Apps may not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms other than IAP. [...]

Auto-renewing subscriptions should only be offered using in-app purchase and may only be used for periodicals (e.g. newspapers, magazines), business apps (e.g. enterprise, productivity, professional creative, cloud storage), media apps (e.g. video, audio, voice, photo sharing), and other approved services (e.g. dating, dieting, weather).
Apple in the past had a battle with Amazon and other book sellers over its App Store rules, which resulted in Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo removing an in-app book store purchase options from their apps. Apple has never relented on the issue, even years later.

Apple recently announced plans to tweak its subscription policies to take a smaller 15 percent cut from subscribers who stay subscribed to a service for more than one year, but Spotify says those changes don't "get to the core of the problem."

Though Apple has rejected Spotify's update, options to purchase Spotify subscriptions in the Spotify app for iOS devices have been gone since the end of May, removed via a backend update. At the current time, it is not possible to purchase a subscription through the Spotify app, and the Spotify app is not able to direct customers to purchase a subscription on the web.

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.

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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 of the Apple Music experience on its mobile platform, completely revamping the app with new organization and a new design. The new design in particular has been controversial, with bold fonts standing in stark contrast to most of the rest of the operating system. But the new layout makes for a much more logical organization of content and features, with downloaded music receiving its own section and Connect receiving much less prominent placement.

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Apple is also pushing forward its relationships with artists for Apple Music, working hard to secure exclusive content as it seeks to follow the model of "MTV in its Eighties and Nineties heyday" in becoming the go-to place for artists and content.

Apple Music is clearly still in its early days, with Apple still evolving its integration of the Beats Music team and their streaming service into iTunes and the stock Apple user experience across all platforms. But with strong subscriber growth and industry trends pointing toward a continued shift toward streaming services, it's clear this is where Apple's content future lies, whether it be the current music service or future video services.

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.

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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 share any of that with the music industry. They want to have their cake and eat everyone else's too."
Spotify has long been unhappy with Apple's pricing policy. In the past, Spotify fought against Apple's cut by sending emails to its customers who had signed up for a $12.99 per month subscription on an iPhone or iPad, encouraging them to cancel their subscriptions and re-subscribe via the web.

Recently, Spotify criticized some upcoming App Store changes like a new revenue split for subscriptions and ads in search results, saying Apple's efforts don't "get to the core of the problem" and criticizing Apple's insistence on "inserting itself between developers and their customers."

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Apple Seeds Fourth Beta of iOS 9.3.3 to Developers and Public Beta Testers

Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming iOS 9.3.3 update to developers and public beta testers for testing purposes, one week after seeding the third beta of iOS 9.3.3 and more than a month after the release of iOS 9.3.2, a minor bug fix update. iOS 9.3.3 has been in testing since May 23.

Today's iOS 9.3.3 beta update can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center (developer only) or over-the-air with the proper configuration profile installed.

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As another minor 9.x.x update, iOS 9.3.3 features under-the-hood bug fixes and performance improvements to address issues unearthed since the release of iOS 9.3.2. No outward-facing changes or obvious bug fixes were discovered in the first three betas of iOS 9.3.3.

iOS 9.3.3 beta 4 follows the developer launch of iOS 10, a new version of iOS that will be released to the public this fall. iOS 10 includes features like a redesigned Lock screen experience, a revamped Messages app with its own App Store, a Siri SDK for developers, a new Home app for controlling HomeKit devices, a redesigned Apple Music app, and more.

Related Roundup: iOS 9
Tag: iOS 9.3.3

Apple Supplier Cirrus Logic Releases Kit for Creating Lightning-Based Headphones Ahead of iPhone 7

Philips-LightningApple supplier Cirrus Logic has announced a new MFi Headset Development Kit, a reference platform that is designed to help "Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod" accessory makers quickly develop Lightning-based headphones.

The development kit, available through Apple's MFi Program, includes a form factor reference design and other resources to help MFi licensees create Lightning-based headphones. A reference iOS app is also available.
The MFi Headset Development Kit demonstrates the advantages of Lightning-connected headsets over conventional analog headsets. For example, digital connectivity with an integrated, high-performance DAC and headphone driver delivers high-fidelity audio to the headphone speakers. In addition, Lightning-connected headphones can interact with an iOS app to create a more custom audio experience, such as personalized EQ settings.
Multiple credible sources have confirmed that Apple plans to remove the 3.5mm headphone plug on the iPhone 7 series in favor of an all-in-one Lightning connector for audio output, charging, and connectivity, but only a handful of Lightning-equipped headphones are available today.

Cirrus Logic MFi
Apple introduced new MFi Program specifications in June 2014 that allow third-party manufacturers to create headphones that connect to iOS devices via a Lightning cable, but the rollout has been slow. Philips has unveiled Lightning-equipped Fidelio M2L and Fidelio NC1L headphones, pictured above, over the past two years.

Apple may also release Lightning-equipped EarPods, but a more recent conflicting rumor said the iPhone 7 will ship with standard 3.5mm EarPods and a 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapter. Apple is also believed to be exploring Bragi Dash-like wireless headphones (AirPods?), but it may hold off on adopting the technology until 2017 or later.

Those interested in learning more about Lightning-equipped headphones can watch our video: Lightning Headphones: Are They Better or Just an Inconvenience? We also shared a video showing what an aftermarket 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapter looks like as they begin to reach the market.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7
Tags: Lightning, MFi Program, Cirrus Logic