Mitchel Broussard

Mitchel is a Contributing Editor at MacRumors. Southern Louisiana-born, he lives off of bad TV, good books, and great video games. Despite a few close calls, he has yet to forget the face of his father.



Eve Systems' Portable 'Flare' Lamp With HomeKit Support Launches in the U.S. and Canada

Following an announcement last year and launch in Europe, Eve Systems today released the portable LED lamp Eve Flare in the United States and Canada. Similar to Hue Go, Eve Flare lets you pick up and easily move the lamp around the house -- or to outdoor locations thanks to IP65 water resistance -- to bring light wherever you go. Eve Flare is compatible with Apple HomeKit and offers six hours of battery powered light. When the battery runs down, you can recharge Eve Flare easily thanks to an included wireless charging base. “Wherever you need a pop of light, it is easy with Eve Flare. Find a spot, open the Eve App, pick the perfect shade and enjoy hours and hours of soothing light,” says Ina Hirsch, Director of Marketing. “As with all Eve products, there’s no bridge required so Eve Flare is built to go from your bedroom to your balcony to your garden and beyond.” The lamp allows you to choose from pre-made lighting shades or create your own custom color scenes, and does not require a bridge to work with HomeKit. Thanks to HomeKit support, you can include Eve Flare in your existing scenes and automations to turn the light on/off when you arrive/leave home, activate a scene via Siri, and more. Eve Systems is continuing its rebranding from Elgato by focusing solely on its Eve line of HomeKit products, a move that was announced last summer. After that news, Eve Systems announced a new power strip, light strip, and light switch; and also updated the Eve Room in the fall. All of these products are compatible with HomeKit. Eve Flare is priced at $99.95 and available

SoundCloud's New Tool Lets Artists Distribute Music Directly to Apple Music and Spotify

SoundCloud today announced a new feature that allows creators to distribute their music directly to major streaming music services like Apple Music, Spotify, and Amazon Music (via Billboard). The tool will be included in SoundCloud Pro and Pro Unlimited subscription tiers for artists, and each artist will get 100 percent of earnings back from each streaming platform, meaning SoundCloud won't take any cuts and won't charge additional distribution fees. Artists on SoundCloud Pro or Pro Unlimited who are 18 years or older, control all rights to their original music, have no copyright strikes, and have garnered at least 1,000 plays in the past month will be able to use the tool. These eligible artists will now see a distribution button within the track manager section of SoundCloud, prompting them to select from a list of distribution channels like Apple Music, and schedule their release. Last September, Spotify launched a beta for a service similar to SoundCloud's, allowing indie artists to bypass distributors and upload their music directly to the service. SoundCloud is now expanding this idea to support all streaming services, and the company hopes that these companies see it more as a location to scout new up-and-coming artists rather than another streaming rival. "SoundCloud isn’t, nor ever was, meant to be a one-way, mass streaming experience," Trainor explains. "Streaming has risen, people are paying for music again and it’s fantastic what all the major streaming services are doing there. But what SoundCloud has been about, always, is empowering creators

Epson Printers Gain Siri Shortcuts Support for Voice-Activated Printing

Printer company Epson today announced the launch of voice-activated mobile printing support for Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant. With the addition, iOS users can snap a photo and ask Siri to print to a compatible Epson printer thanks to Siri Shortcuts. You'll need the Epson iPrint app, which now supports Apple's new Shortcuts app on iOS. After the shortcut is installed, you can set up a voice activation phrase for printing, and when an image is displayed on your iPhone ask Siri to print it, even if you aren't home. Other commands supported include scanning a document with an iPhone, iPad, or the Epson printer, and you can also ask Siri how much ink you have left in the printer. The company says all of these Shortcuts will help streamline printing and scanning documents since you will no longer have to navigate any software menus. “Our customers have overloaded daily routines and are always looking for ways to save time and quickly get errands done,” said Jack Rieger, senior product manager of software and user experience, Epson America. “By expanding compatibility with some of the top smart home voice assistants, Epson is committed to making printing and scanning easier and more efficient for all of our busy customers.” Compatible printers include those with support for the Epson Connect service, like Epson EcoTank, WorkForce, and Expression models. Once enabled, you can say "Hey Siri, open Epson printer" to get

Sphero Launches Kickstarter for New Programmable Robot 'RVR'

Sphero today debuted a Kickstarter for its latest robot, the RVR, a fully programmable and customizable RC car that the company says has "endless coding possibilities." The RVR Kickstarter begins its pledge levels at $199 and will have a final MSRP of $249, and marks Sphero's first ever Kickstarter project. The final goal for the project is $150,000. Sphero says that initial shipments will start in September/October 2019, but as with all Kickstarters you should remember that sometimes things are delayed for longer than initially promised. Still, Sphero is a well-known company, and a representative told us that RVR will ship in the designated time frame regardless of the Kickstarter. “RVR is the kind of robot I wish I had growing up,” said Adam Wilson, Sphero co-founder and chief creative officer. “For makers, developers and anyone who loves to build things, RVR’s advanced capabilities bring to life everything that makes coding exciting. That creative experience is at the core of why we first started Sphero.” The company says that RVR is drivable out of the box and is usable for coders of all levels, but it has a few advanced features geared toward those looking for a more complex coding experience. RVR can be customized through a universal expansion port, full suite of on-board sensors, and an advanced control system. Sphero says the robot has a fine-tuned, high-resolution motor encoder that allows for extreme agility and accuracy when controlling it. RVR's universal expansion port has the ability to connect to third-party hardware like Raspberry Pi, Micro:Bit,

Apple's Recent Leadership Changes Suggest Transition From iPhone Reliance to Focus on Services

A new report out today by The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the recent shake ups to Apple leadership, and how the changes could be an indicator that the company is transitioning from relying on iPhone sales to prioritizing its services business and other divisions. Newly appointed executive John Giannandrea also heads Siri development Specifically, the report claims that recent hires, departures, promotions, and restructurings have led to several projects being put on hold while the new managers reassess priorities. This has left many existing Apple employees "rattled" as they have become unaccustomed to such frequent changes in leadership prior to the shake up at the company. The primary reasons for the shifts vary by division. But collectively, they reflect Apple’s efforts to transition from an iPhone-driven company into one where growth flows from services and potentially transformative technologies. These changes include the promotion of John Giannandrea to senior vice president, from a machine learning and AI role. After his promotion, Giannandrea decided to move Bill Stasior, head of Siri, to a lower role at the company. In terms of high-profile departures, retail chief Angela Ahrendts recently left Apple after spending five years with the company. These three major changes happened within the past two-and-a-half months. Along with the staffing updates, Apple has trimmed around 200 employees from its autonomous vehicle project, and continues to redirect much of its engineering resources into its streaming TV service ahead of the planned 2019 launch. “

Huawei's Efforts to Steal Apple Trade Secrets Include Employee Bonus Program and Other Dubious Tactics

Last month, the United States Justice Department announced a series of criminal charges against Chinese smartphone maker Huawei for stealing trade secrets, bank fraud, wire fraud, and obstructing justice. Today, The Information has shed light on Huawei's tactics of stealing trade secrets, some of which were aimed at Apple. According to today's report, a Huawei engineer in charge of the company's smartwatch project tracked down a supplier that makes the heart rate sensor for the Apple Watch. The Huawei engineer arranged a meeting, suggesting he was offering the supplier a lucrative manufacturing contract, but during the meeting his main intent was questioning the supplier about the Apple Watch. The Huawei engineer attended the supplier meeting with four Huawei researchers in tow. The Huawei team spent the next hour and a half pressing the supplier for details about the Apple Watch, the executive said. “They were trying their luck, but we wouldn’t tell them anything,” the executive said. After that, Huawei went silent. This event reportedly reflects "a pattern of dubious tactics" performed by Huawei to obtain technology from rivals, particularly Apple's China-based suppliers. According to a Huawei spokesperson the company has not been in the wrong: "In conducting research and development, Huawei employees must search and use publicly available information and respect third-party intellectual property per our business-conduct guidelines." According to the U.S. Justice Department, Huawei is said to have a formal program that rewards employees for stealing

Streaming TV Service Revenue Will Be a 'Drop in the Bucket' for Apple, Even If It Rivals Netflix

Analyst Tim O'Shea recently published a new research report looking at the impact of Apple's upcoming streaming TV service on the company's overall financial earnings (via Business Insider). According to O'Shea, even if Apple priced the service at $15/month (and took a 30 percent cut, while the rest went to video production partners), the resulting revenue would just be "a drop in the bucket." O'Shea predicted that if Apple could get to 250 million subscribers by 2023, it would earn the company $13.5 billion in revenue and account for about 5 percent of the company's revenue that year. Not only that, but 250 million subscribers in four years is a generous prediction, given it took Netflix 12 years to reach its 139 million subscribers as of January 2019. "It's going take a long time for this type of service to really move the needle," O'Shea told Business Insider. To figure out the potential of the video service, which Apple is widely expected to launch next month, O'Shea estimated that Apple would charge customers $15 a month and take a 30% cut, giving the rest to video production partners If the service is extremely successful and attracts 250 million subscribers, it would yield $13.5 billion in revenue for Apple. That's nothing to sneeze at. After all, Netflix's total sales last year were $15.8 billion. But in the context of Apple, such a figure would be just a drop in the bucket. In fiscal 2018, the company posted revenue of $265 billion. Though O'Shea and other analysts expect Apple's sales to drop sharply this year before slowly recovering in coming ones,

Apple Working With Non-Profit Dream Corps to Develop New Educational Coding Initiative

Apple today announced that it will partner with the Oakland-based non-profit organization Dream Corps in an effort to bring educational and workforce development opportunities to young adults. The program's goal is to help these individuals find success and career placement in the tech sector. Vien Truong, CEO of Dream Corps The program is part of Apple's Community Education Initiative, and stems from Dream Corps' existing #YesWeCode Initiative, which aims "to help 100,000 young women and men from underrepresented backgrounds find success in the tech sector." To date, #YesWeCode has graduated around 100 people and placed 60 percent in new tech jobs. As part of the new initiative, Apple will work with Vien Truong, CEO of Dream Corps, to bring coding and workforce development programs to local youth in Oakland, California. “We are thrilled about launching this new initiative in Oakland,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. “Our hope is that by bringing expertise, stakeholders and resources together, we’ll be able to magnify the already impressive impact that Dream Corps is having in the Bay Area and across the nation and help a new generation of young people realize their potential.” For its part, Apple will provide technology, professional support, curriculum guidance, and advocacy to those in middle and high school, college, and beyond. Apple's Swift coding language will be a major focus of the program, which is set to launch later this year in the Bay Area, and then expand nationwide at a later date. To

Classical Music on Apple Music: What's Wrong and How Apple Can Fix It

Last August, Apple Music was updated with a new section in Browse curated by Deutsche Grammophon, one of the biggest classical music labels in the world. While classical music fans welcomed the specific focus of the area, many of our readers quickly pointed out the numerous issues that remain for classical listeners on a daily basis within Apple Music, and the fact that they've been there since the launch of the service with seemingly no correction in sight. To help break down and highlight these problems, we reached out to a few experts in the classical music field, including professor Benjamin Charles, who wrote a blog post about his frustrations with streaming music services last October. We also spoke with Franz Rumiz, a classical music fan whose article "Why Apple Music fails with classical music" struck a chord with the community in early 2017. Frustrations with classical music streaming are nothing new, but as Charles tells us, this is a problem that affects nearly every streaming music service, including Apple Music rival Spotify. In an effort to find out exactly what's wrong with classical music on Apple Music -- and what steps could be taken to address these problems -- we asked Charles and Rumiz to detail the biggest issues with classical music on Apple Music. The Problems Classical music is treated as a single genre When you tap on "Genres" in Apple Music's Browse tab, you're treated with a list of over 30 styles of music, from Alternative and African Music to Christian, Electronic, K-Pop, and Metal. This is where classical music fans have to visit

Deals Spotlight: Get $100 Off the AmpliFi HD Mesh Wi-Fi System Through New Upgrade Program

In the wake of Apple's decision to end its AirPort line of routers, many users continue to hunt for the best possible Wi-Fi networking solution. Ubiquiti Networks' AmpliFi routers have been some of the more popular mesh systems on the market in recent years, and this month the company is offering a notable $100 discount on its AmpliFi HD Mesh Wi-Fi System, as long as you're willing to go through a bit of a process to get it. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with AmpliFi. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. To take part in AmpliFi's new upgrade program, you'll have to take a picture of an existing, non-AmpliFi mesh Wi-Fi system and send it into the company with an explanation as to why you want to upgrade to AmpliFi. Once you do so, you can get the AmpliFi HD Mesh Wi-Fi System for $240.00, down from $340.00. There are four total ways you can do this, which we've outlined with specifics below: Email Send a message to social@ubnt.com Attach a picture of your current, non-AmpliFi mesh Wi-Fi system unplugged In the email, explain why you want to upgrade to AmpliFi Twitter/Instagram Post a photo of your current, non-AmpliFi mesh Wi-Fi system unplugged In the post, explain why you want to upgrade to AmpliFi Use the hashtag #AmpliFiUpgrade and tag @AmpliFiHome Facebook Post a photo of your current, non-AmpliFi mesh Wi-Fi system unplugged in the comments of this post Along with the photo, explain why you want to upgrade to AmpliFi After you complete one of these tasks,

Valentine's Day Deals: Save on Apple Products and Accessories From Anker, Twelve South, Best Buy, and More

Today is Valentine's Day, and as it happens on holidays, many online retailers are using the event to share Valentine-themed discounts and offers to their customers. In this post we've highlighted some of the best sales around today. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. These include sales from Twelve South, Incipio, Best Buy, and Anker, offering discounts on MacBooks, iPhone cases, wireless chargers, Lightning cables, speakers, and more. Some sales will end later tonight, so be sure to browse the discounts and place your order soon if you find anything that you're interested in. Anker Popular accessory company Anker introduced a Valentine's Day event in late January, and it's set to end later today. In the sale, you can save up to 40 percent on Anker's most useful devices, like the PowerWave Pad, Powerline II Lightning Cable, SoundCore Mini 2, and much more. Below we've listed a few of these deals, but you can browse the full list of discounts on Anker's website, and then head to Amazon to check out. Wireless and Wall Chargers PowerWave Pad - $12.99, $11 off from $23.99 PowerWave 7.5 Stand - $23.99 with code ANKER521, $6 off from $29.99 PowerPort+ (1 USB-A port) - $9.79 with code ANKERWCQ, $4.20 off from $13.99 PowerPort mini (2 USB-A ports) - $8.79 with code ANKERWCB, $2.20 off from $10.99 PowerPort USB-C Wall Charger - $13.59 with code ANKERWCP, $2.40 off from $15.99 Cables PowerLine II Lightning Cable

iPhone-Connected Mattress 'The Pod' Dynamically Adjusts Temperature as You Sleep

Sleep fitness company Eight Sleep today announced "The Pod," a smart bed that lets users control the temperature of their side of the bed through their iPhone. Not only that, but The Pod will dynamically warm or cool you (55 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit) as you sleep based on settings you enter in the app. The Pod does not support HomeKit and Eight Sleep has no plans to do so as of now. When we asked about HomeKit integration, the company pointed out that The Pod does support IFTTT, which opens up many smart home connection possibilities. The Pod also integrates with Alexa devices, Google Home, Philips Hue, Wemo products, and more. With these integrations, you can say things like "Alexa, cool down my bed" to prepare for nighttime. This "smart temperature mode" is powered by machine learning and biofeedback, and is accompanied by a thermo alarm that leverages temperature to wake you up more naturally, without disturbing a sleep partner and without the need of a noisy alarm. This mode gradually cools your side of the bed in the minutes prior to the wake-up time you set on your iPhone. In addition, The Pod includes biometric tracking to monitor time slept, time to fall asleep, time of wake up, respiratory rate, heart rate, heart rate variability, temperature in bed, sleep breaks, light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep. All of this is fed into Eight Sleep's AI engine to calculate your "sleep fitness score" and rate your sleep each night. You can then take this score to adjust your next night of sleep as needed, change settings in The Pod, and even compare scores

Apple Tweaks British and Australian Speaking Voices for Siri on HomePod

Over the past 24 hours, we've seen a handful of reports talking about a new update to the speaking voice of Siri on HomePod in a few regions. These reports are mostly located in the United Kingdom and Australia, and mention the British (Male and Female) and Australian (Male and Female) speaking voices for the assistant, specifically on Apple's HomePod smart speaker. The change appears to be very subtle. MacRumors readers described the Australian Female and British Male voices as "more natural" and "much clearer," and similar reports have emerged about other voices. Although there are many different descriptions for each voice, the consensus appears to be that the tweaks make Siri sound more human-like. HomePod users can choose any Siri voice no matter the region they are located in, but as of now the vast majority of these reports appear to be located in the same regions as the voice they represent. This may be the beginning of a wider rollout, but that's still unclear at this point. Twitter user @callumjcoe recorded the difference between the current iteration of the Australian Female voice (on an iPad) and the updated voice (on HomePod). Of course, distortion and muddled sound quality from a recording don't provide a perfect example, but there is a slight change between the two heard in the video, which is likely much more pronounced in person. So will the real #Siri please stand up. pic.twitter.com/8a8LCyarqI— Callum (@callumjcoe) February 13, 2019 As of writing, MacRumors hasn't noticed any similar updates to Siri on HomePod (for any voices) in the

Nintendo's 'Fire Emblem Heroes' Crosses $500M in Player Spending on Two-Year Anniversary

Further cementing its status as Nintendo's most successful mobile game to date, Fire Emblem Heroes has officially crossed the half-a-billion-dollar revenue mark, which it hit just after the two-year anniversary of its launch in early February 2017. The game's $500 million in player spending includes players on both iOS and Android (via Sensor Tower). Fire Emblem Heroes is a free-to-play game that lets players spend real money inside the app once they download it. Most of Nintendo's apps have followed this structure, except Super Mario Run, which requires players to pay $9.99 to see the full game. In total, Fire Emblem Heroes has brought in "more than seven times the revenue" of Super Mario Run, and grossed more than twice the combined earnings of all of Nintendo's other mobile games, according to Sensor Tower. To date these include Miitomo (now defunct), Super Mario Run, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, and Dragalia Lost. Released just last September, Dragalia Lost has already become Nintendo's second most lucrative mobile game, surpassing Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and Super Mario Run. In terms of platforms for Fire Emblem Heroes, players on Google Play/Android accounted for the majority of spending at 54 percent, while the iOS App Store made up 46 percent of player spending. Most players are located in Japan, which accounted for 56 percent of the game's $500 million total, while the United States is the game's second largest market at 31 percent of player spending. Despite Super Mario Run performing poorly in comparison to the free-to-play games, Shigeru

Deals Spotlight: Amazon Discounts Apple's Latest 9.7-Inch iPad to $249 ($80 Off)

Amazon this week is discounting Apple's 9.7-inch iPad from early 2018 (32GB, Wi-Fi only) to just $249.00, which is $80 off its original price of $329.00. You can purchase this model in all three colorways, including Gold, Silver, and Space Gray. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. This iPad has a 9.7-inch Retina display, an A10 Fusion chip with 64-bit desktop-class architecture, Touch ID, and support for the first-generation Apple Pencil. Apple refreshed the line in early 2018, making the model on sale today one of the lowest prices we've tracked for the latest iPad. Apple's Latest 9.7-Inch iPad (32GB + Wi-Fi) Silver - $249.00, $80 off Gold - $249.00, $80 off Space Gray - $249.00, $80 off Amazon also has the 128GB model (Wi-Fi, Space Gray) available for $329.00, savings of $100 from its original $429.00 price tag. For more information on the latest sales and bargains, be sure to visit our full Deals Roundup.

Wireless AirPods Charging Case Expected Soon, but AirPods 2 May Not Launch Until Fall

OnLeaks' Steve Hemmerstoffer today tweeted that the AirPods wireless charging case will be ready to launch sometime soon, but the actual AirPods 2 with "Hey, Siri" funtionality may be delayed to the fall. OnLeaks itself casts some doubt on this rumor, by stating up front that the news was gained from a "new and yet unconfirmed," but seemingly reliable source. Hemmerstoffer appears to be most certain about the wireless charging case launching soon and being shipped with the first-generation AirPods. Some #AirPods2 details I got from a new and yet unconfirmed but seemingly reliable source. Thus, I can't vouch these at 100%...- New wireless charging #AirPods Case to be launched soon BUT shipped with current AirPods- Brand new AirPods + new color(s) likely unveiled this fall pic.twitter.com/eNYom3Xys6— Steve H.McFly (@OnLeaks) February 12, 2019 Most rumors about AirPods 2 have pointed toward an early 2019 launch for the new wireless earphones, so definitely take this new report with a grain of salt. Just this morning, a sketchy report from Greek tech news site iphonehellas.gr claimed the new iPads, AirPods 2, and AirPower are all set to launch on March 29. Yesterday, DigiTimes reiterated previous rumors that stated Apple will release AirPods 2 in the first half of the year. When they do launch, OnLeaks says the AirPods 2 will come in new colors, and yesterday rumor site MySmartPrice claimed that the new headphones will come in black and white. Beyond AirPods 2 and their new "Hey, Siri" functionality, Apple is believed to already be working on the third-generation

Deals Spotlight: AT&T Offering Apple TV 4K At No Cost When Signing Up for Fiber Internet

AT&T has kicked off a new Apple TV 4K promotion, this one tied to the company's Fiber Internet service. For the month of February, anyone who signs up for AT&T Fiber Internet 300 or Fiber Internet 1000 will have the chance to get a 32GB Apple TV 4K at no cost. Shoppers should note that the deal is contingent upon AT&T Fiber being available in your area. AT&T Fiber Internet 300 costs $70/month and Fiber Internet 1000 costs $90/month, and both plans require customers to sign up for a twelve-month agreement. For Fiber Internet 300, customers will have a 1TB monthly data cap, and a $10 charge for each additional 50GB of data they need if they exceed their cap. Fiber Internet 1000 has no data cap. To get the new deal, head to ATT.com, click "Check Availability," and enter your address. Those eligible for the deal and in an area supported by AT&T Fiber will then see the plans available to purchase. Choose either the 300 Mbps or 1000 Mbps tier, and during the checkout screen enter the promo code GET4KTV to add the Apple TV 4K to your order at no additional cost. If you've been planning to switch to Fiber Internet, AT&T's new promo is a great chance to save a lot of money on a brand-new Apple TV 4K. At 32GB, these models currently sell for around $170 at places like B&H Photo. AT&T previously offered a notable discount on the 32GB Apple TV 4K during a DirecTV Now promotion, which required customers to prepay for 3 months of DirecTV Now at $105 to get an Apple TV at no cost. The company has since ended this offer, and during a recent earnings report AT&T stated that

Apple CEO Tim Cook Joins Coalition Renewing Push for Immigration Reform

Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and others have signed a new letter urging Congress to pass bipartisan legislation that would enable more than 700,000 immigrants to legally work and live in the United States (via CNBC). The coalition's letter to help "Dreamers" will be featured in a full-page ad in The New York Times today. The term Dreamers refers to individuals who were brought to the United States at a young age when their parents or guardians illegally immigrated into the country. Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, these people are protected and can gain legal work status in the United States. "With the re-opening of the federal government and the presumptive restart of immigration and border security negotiations, now is the time for Congress to pass a law to provide Dreamers the certainty they need. These are our friends, neighbors, and coworkers, and they should not have to wait for court cases to be decided to determine their fate when Congress can act now," they wrote in the letter. "We have seen time and again that the overwhelming majority of Americans of all political backgrounds agree that we should protect Dreamers from deportation," the letter said. "American employers and hundreds of thousands of Dreamers are counting on you to pass bipartisan, permanent legislative protection for Dreamers without further delay." Apple and Tim Cook have been supporting DACA for years, and Cook began writing letters in support of the Dreamers in

Ariana Grande's 'Thank U, Next' Breaks Apple Music Record for Most-Streamed Pop Album in First 24 Hours

Ariana Grande's latest album "Thank U, Next" has set a few Apple Music records since its debut on Friday, February 8. The music streaming service told Billboard that "Thank U, Next" saw the highest day 1 streams ever for a pop album on Apple Music. This also makes "Thank U, Next" the biggest debut for any female artist in any genre on Apple Music within the first 24 hours of release. Ariana began releasing singles for the album last year, starting with the title track "Thank U, Next" and followed by "Imagine" and "7 Rings." "Thank U, Next" released about six months after Grande's previous album, Sweetener. Other recent Apple Music records include Shawn Mendes' self-titled third studio album becoming the most-streamed pop album of 2018, and Cardi B's "Invasion of Privacy" setting a new record for first-week streams by a female artist, beating Taylor Swift's "Reputation." "Thank U, Next" appears to be on the path to battling both of those albums for the record of first-week streams by a female artist on Apple Music. According to the latest numbers, Apple Music now has over 50 million paid subscribers around the world. This update came during Apple's latest earnings call and was the first update on Apple Music subscriber numbers since May 2018, when Apple Music had 50 million paying and trial subscribers combined. In comparison, Spotify now has 96 million paid global

New Report Delves Into Poor Working Conditions at an Apple Maps 'Black Site'

A new report out today by Bloomberg offers a look inside one of Apple's so-called "black sites," this one a satellite office near Apple Park in California where the company hires contractors to work on Apple Maps. These contract workers were hired by Apex Systems, which staffs and manages a few Apple mapping offices, and creates a "culture of fear" according to former employees. One former worker at the black site near Apple Park, on Hammerwood Avenue in Sunnyvale, said that "it was made pretty plain to us that we were at-will employees and they would fire us at any time." Most workers at the office signed up for 12-15 month work contracts, but many didn't make it that long. Image via David Paul Morris/Bloomberg To hire workers, sources referred to "aggressive" messaging received via LinkedIn. Apex Systems browses the social network to find people with proficiency in mapping-related skills, and then "messages them repeatedly." Former workers then say Apex uses the revelation that the job will be for Apple as a way to tip potential employees over the edge and easily hire them. Former workers described a poor work environment with understocked vending machines, long lines for men's bathrooms due to a predominantly male workforce, and restrictions on using the bathrooms designated for full-time Apple employees. To protect Apple's secrets, management instructed employees to enter the building through the back door every day, and to walk several blocks away from the building before calling for a ride home at the end of the day. The working environment was