Transit App Expands Real-Time Crowdsourced Data to 175 Cities

The developers of the Transit app this week announced the expansion of real-time crowdsourced data for buses, trains, streetcars, ferries, and so forth to 175 cities across the United States, Canada, and Europe.


Normally, the locations of public transportation vehicles are pulled from a transit agency's data feed, which can take anywhere from 10 seconds to five minutes to update. This can result in the app showing a bus approaching a certain stop, for example, when in reality it has already passed by—without you on it.

To solve this problem, the Transit app has turned to crowdsourced data from opted-in users of GO, its step-by-step navigation feature.

GO itself isn't new. The feature automatically tracks your transit vehicle, walking speed, and location in real time, notifying you exactly when to leave to catch your ride, and when to disembark. The feature can also reroute you and provide adjusted ETAs when unforeseen changes or delays arise.

Now, when users enable GO, they will also be helping others. Once a rider opts into GO on a bus or train, for example, the Transit app will start broadcasting the vehicle's real-time location, second-by-second, to riders down the line. In general, this greatly improves the location of a vehicle versus agency data.


This means you can watch your vehicle approach—in actual, second-by-second real-time—on the map, whenever someone on that vehicle is using GO.

The team behind Transit has been testing real-time crowdsourced data for nearly two years. Over that time, they've generated data for "millions of trips," starting in the Canadian cities of Montréal and Victoria. Other test regions have included New York City and Los Angeles. The tests are said to have "went well."

For those with privacy concerns, the Transit team ensures that your location is completely anonymous. Data is only shared with its servers while GO is active and you are actually on board the vehicle. As soon as you disembark, GO shuts off, and your vehicle's location stops being sent, according to the app's FAQ.

It's unclear if there's a way to continue using the GO navigation helper without opting in to the real-time crowdsourced data sharing aspect, so if you do not wish to participate, it may be best to keep the feature disabled entirely.

Transit also notes that the location sharing feature relies on extended GPS use, which can use up to five percent of battery life on a 20-minute ride, assuming the rider is actively using the device during the trip. In terms of data, though, Transit says GO uses only about 100 kilobytes on a 20-minute trip.

Despite this, the Transit team is hoping that many riders will opt into the feature. They've even added some gamification features to the app as an incentive. GO users will now see a smile face in the top-left corner of the map, for example, indicating how many nearby riders they are helping out.


The app also shows GO users how many nearby riders they've helped on a monthly basis, and provides a "helpfulness" rank compared to other GO users. Transit is hoping that a little bit of competition will motivative riders to participate.

Transit bills itself as a real-time urban travel companion. The app is especially popular in Canada, making navigation via public transit easier with real-time data, trip planning and comparisons, step-by-step navigation, service disruption notifications, departure and stop reminders, and much more.

Transit works with not only buses, commuter trains, and subways, but streetcars, ferries, ride-sharing, bike-sharing, scooter-sharing, and more. The app is free to download on the App Store for iPhone and Google Play for Android.

Beats 1's Zane Lowe Says Streaming Music Goes Beyond Apple: 'There is No League With One Team'

In a new interview today with The Los Angeles Times, Beats 1 host Zane Lowe discussed a few topics related to Apple Music's daily streaming radio show, including the company's rivals. Without directly referencing Spotify, Lowe explained the need for competition among streaming music platforms.

“This is a controversial statement: I don't ever want us to be the only streaming service on the block,” Lowe says. “There is no league with one team. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don't. But you're still in the game. Not to sound too holistic but I'm glad I'm in the game.”
Still, when Spotify was brought up during the interview -- comparing Apple Music's 40 million paid subscribers to Spotify's 83 million paid subscribers -- Lowe said he doesn't look to Spotify when thinking about Beats 1. "We're the only voice in streaming," he mentioned, referring to the streaming radio show. "That's not cockiness. It's fact."

Beats 1 is a 24/7 streaming radio channel comprised of a collection of radio shows hosted by different DJs throughout the day, including Julie Adenuga, Ebro Darden, and Lowe. Guest and celebrity hosts also include Elton John, Charli XCX, Pharrell, and St. Vincent. Shows range from artist interviews, listing current popular tracks on Apple Music, and more.

In response to Beats 1's success on Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube are now believed to be looking into beefing up their radio-style programming as well.
Other services, however, are starting to mirror the Beats 1 mode of radio-style programming. In June, Spotify announced the hiring of Dawn Ostroff as its new chief content officer. Formerly of Conde Nast Entertainment and the CW network, she’ll oversee production of shows, radio stations, podcasts and episodic programming. YouTube Music’s Lyor Cohen has also indicated a desire to move into Beats 1-style programming.
Despite the apparent influence of Beats 1 in the market, The Los Angeles Times questioned Lowe directly regarding specific listener counts for the service's shows. Lowe dodged answering and stated that Beats 1 streams in "more than 100 countries," and doubled down on the service's ability to sell listeners new artists and ultimately convert them into paid Apple Music subscribers (anyone can listen to Beats 1 in the Apple Music app, but paid Apple Music subscribers get access to on-demand stations and shows).
Last year, head of content Larry Jackson said, “Beats 1 is the biggest radio station in the world.” Is it? Lowe sidesteps because to him the question is premature. He recalls advice given to him by Jimmy Iovine[...]

“Jimmy said to me at the beginning: be the thing that moves the needle.” For Lowe, that meant getting cozy with artists. Before when Lowe encouraged fans to buy artists' records, whether or not they did wouldn't affect his livelihood. “This directly affects my business. By that very nature we are in business together.”
In regards to Jimmy Iovine, the former Apple Music head this month transitioned to a "consulting role" for the company's streaming music service. According to people familiar with the matter, this means that Iovine has stepped back from daily involvement with Apple Music so that he can spend more time with his family, while also support Apple Music and Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue "as needed." The transition from Beats' "edgy culture" to Apple's focus on "appealing to the masses" reportedly proved to be a challenge for Iovine.

Beats 1 launched alongside Apple Music on June 30, 2015, kicking off with a day full of tracks that preceded an interview Lowe hosted with Eminem, the debut of St. Vincent's "Mixtape Delivery Service", and more. A few months after launch, Beats 1 eventually began saving replays of recent shows so subscribers could revisit an episode they missed at any time.

During the two-year anniversary of Beats 1 in 2017, Lowe said that he's "never been more excited about where Beats 1 is at this moment, and this is just the beginning."

Prince's Estate Launches 23 of His Albums and New Anthology on Apple Music and Other Streaming Services

Sony Legacy announced over the summer that it had obtained the rights to release the "bulk" of Prince's back catalog, namely the albums he debuted after he left Warner Bros. in the mid-nineties. Today, The Prince Estate digitally released 23 total Prince albums that first launched between 1995 and 2010 onto "all major streaming services," including Apple Music and Spotify.


As Variety points out, today's launch marks the first time that many of these albums will be available for listeners to stream and download. Along with the individual albums, The Prince Estate released a new album called "Anthology: 1995-2010," which curates a collection of 37 songs from this period in Prince's career.

The 23 Prince albums now available on Apple Music include:
  • The Gold Experience (1995) (“The Most Beautiful Girl in the World” greyed out, partial album streaming only; album unavailable for download)
  • Chaos and Disorder (1996)
  • Emancipation (1996)
  • Crystal Ball (1998)
  • The Truth (1998)
  • Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic (1999)
  • Rave In2 The Joy Fantastic (2001)
  • The Rainbow Children (2001)
  • One Nite Alone… (2002)
  • One Nite Alone…Live! (2002)
  • One Nite Alone…Live – The Aftershow: It Ain’t Over (Up Late with Prince & The NPG) (2002)
  • Xpectation (2003)
  • N.E.W.S. (2003)
  • C-Note (2004)
  • Musicology (2004)
  • The Chocolate Invasion (Trax from the NPG Music Club: Volume 1) (2004)
  • The Slaughterhouse (Trax from the NPG Music Club: Volume 2) (2004)
  • 3121 (2006)
  • Planet Earth (2007)
  • Indigo Nights (2008)
  • LOtUSFLOW3R (2009)
  • MPLSoUND (2009)
  • 20Ten (2010)
To find the albums and anthology, visit the Browse tab on Apple Music and swipe through the carousel until Prince's "Featured Artist" spotlight card appears. In this section, subscribers can also pre-add the upcoming Prince album "Piano & a Microphone 1983," which will be a compilation of previously unreleased home recordings for tracks like "Purple Rain," "17 Days," and "International Lover." The album launches September 21.

Before today, many of Prince's classic albums were already available to stream on Apple Music, so now that his later work is on streaming services, fans have the chance to listen to most of the albums from the late singer's lifelong career.

There are still numerous Prince albums missing from streaming services, but a deal struck between Sony Legacy and The Prince Estate should see these missing albums appear to stream in the future. Unfortunately, it won't be until 2021 at the earliest, at which time Sony Legacy's distribution rights will expand to include 12 of Prince's non-soundtrack albums from 1978-1996.

Prince passed away in April 2016, and prior to that time he had pulled all of his music from every streaming service except Tidal in the summer of 2015.

Google Planning to Launch Echo Show-Like Smart Speaker With Touch Screen Later This Year

Google entered the smart speaker market in 2016 with the introduction of Google Home, allowing users to speak to Google Assistant and control various smart home products, listen to music, get the news, and more. Eventually, Google added the Home Mini and Home Max to the lineup, introducing products that were direct competitors to the Amazon Echo Dot and Apple HomePod, respectively.

Looking forward, the next Google Home will be a smart speaker equipped with a touch display that should arrive in time for the holiday shopping season, according to sources speaking to Nikkei Asian Review. This means that the new device "is likely to be similar to the Amazon Echo Show," which includes a display so users can do things like watch videos, view photos, and hold video calls.

The Lenovo Smart Display with Google Assistant (left) and Amazon Echo Show (right)

Google's plan for the upcoming device is described as "aggressive":
"Google targets to ship some 3 million units for the first batch of the new model of smart speaker that comes with a screen," an industry source said. "It's an aggressive plan."
Earlier in 2018, Google announced a new "Smart Display" platform with partners like Lenovo, JBL, and Sony. Through these partnerships, the Google Assistant can be placed in devices not directly built by Google, like the Lenovo Smart Display and upcoming JBL Link View and ThinQ View. The new product described in today's report would represent Google's own first-party entry into this market.

Google and Amazon butted heads following the launch of the Echo Show last year, when Google removed YouTube from any Amazon Echo device with a screen. Google said that Amazon was violating its terms of service, but in December 2017 a YouTube spokesperson explained that the removal was due to Amazon not carrying certain Google products. This grants the upcoming speaker-equipped Google Home a potential edge in the market as Nikkei points out that playing and browsing YouTube will likely be a major selling point.

For Apple, the company is sticking to smart speakers without full displays. Although the HomePod does include a small screen that provides a visual indicator for Siri and volume buttons, no information regarding the currently playing song or album selection is available. Currently, the main rumor for the next iteration of HomePod is that Apple is working on a low-cost version of the speaker.

Google typically holds a hardware event in October, so we should hear more about the upcoming Google Home speaker with a touch screen -- if it exists -- around that time.

MoviePass Now Limiting Subscribers to a Choice of Six Movies Each Day

MoviePass today announced new restrictions for its ever-changing movie service, with the company now limiting its subscribers to a choice of what appears to be six to seven movies per day.

On the MoviePass site, MoviePass lists "This Week's Movies," a section described as a "full lineup of movie titles available on MoviePass in the coming days."


For this Friday, that includes Mile 22, Christopher Robin, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, We The Animals, Skate Kitchen, Juliet Naked, and Summer of 84. Noticeably missing is Crazy Rich Asians, which won't be available until Sunday, and some of the movies seem to be limited distribution films not available in all areas.


Several popular movies that have already been released are not included for Friday, such as Mission: Impossible - Fallout, Mamma Mia, and Ant-Man.

MoviePass in early August restructured its subscription model to allow customers to see three movies per month for the $9.95 monthly fee. Prior to that, MoviePass had announced that it would raise its base subscription price to $14.95 per month, and before that, it introduced peak pricing and restricted major film releases, all in an attempt to stop hemorrhaging money.


For now, MoviePass seems to have settled on the $9.95 per month plan for three movies a month, while also restricting the movies available to customers each day.

Sony Unveils New Version of Its Top-Rated Aftermarket CarPlay System

Sony today introduced its new XAV-AX210 receiver, which doubles as an aftermarket CarPlay and Android Auto system.


The XAV-AX210 is an update to Sony's year-old XAV-AX200 receiver, with the headline new feature being support for iDatalink Maestro, a car audio system that seamlessly interfaces with steering wheel controls, amplifier functions, on-screen vehicle settings, and more when used outside of CarPlay mode.

The receiver has a 6.4-inch touchscreen, but Sony hasn't specified if it's resistive or capacitive. Other key features include hands-free phone calls and music playback via Bluetooth, SiriusXM compatibility, rear view camera readiness, a built-in four-channel amplifier, and a built-in CD/DVD player.

This product is ideal for vehicles that don't come with factory installed CarPlay, mirroring several apps onto the dashboard, including Phone, Messages, Apple Maps, Apple Music, Spotify, and starting with iOS 12, Google Maps and Waze. As a wired system, an iPhone must be connected via Lightning cable.

Sony said XAV-AX210 pricing and availability in North America will be announced in the fall of 2018. It will likely have a similar price as the XAV-AX200, available on Amazon for between $399 and $499 depending on configuration.

Of note, the XAV-AX100 and XAV-AX200 have received favorable reviews from publications such as The Wirecutter.

Other brands with aftermarket CarPlay and Android Auto receivers include Alpine, Pioneer, JVC, Kenwood, and Clarion.

Related Roundup: CarPlay
Tag: Sony

Toyota Confirms CarPlay in 2019 Sienna

Toyota has confirmed on its website that CarPlay is a standard feature in all 2019 Sienna models sold in the United States. This is the first model year of the Sienna equipped with Apple's in-car software platform.


LE, SE, and XLE trims of the 2019 Sienna all feature a seven-inch touchscreen display on the dashboard with Toyota's custom Entune 3.0 infotainment system, through which CarPlay can be accessed. Amazon Alexa and Siri Eyes Free are also supported, but like other Toyota vehicles, there is no Android Auto.

Toyota's other CarPlay-equipped vehicles include the 2019 Avalon, 2019 Corolla Hatchback, 2019 RAV4, and the 2019 CH-R. It's also likely that the 2019 Camry, which also has the Entune 3.0 system, will support CarPlay, but Toyota's website still lists the 2018 model, and a spokesperson would not confirm.

Toyota and its premium brand Lexus were among the last major automakers to begin offering CarPlay earlier this year. On the Lexus front, CarPlay-equipped models include 2019 model years of the ES, LC, LS, RC, and UX.

Toyota and Lexus have deployed a wired implementation of CarPlay, meaning that an iPhone must be connected to the system with a Lightning cable to access a wide variety of apps from the dashboard display, including Phone, Messages, Apple Maps, Apple Music, Spotify, and starting with iOS 12, Google Maps and Waze.

The 2019 Sienna goes on sale this fall at dealerships in the United States, with a suggested starting price of $31,115.

Related Roundup: CarPlay
Tag: Toyota

Google's New Cloud Storage Plans Launch in the U.S.

Google today launched its new cloud storage pricing scheme under the moniker Google One, which replaces all paid storage plans under the Google Drive brand.

The new plans include 100GB storage for $1.99 a month, 200GB for $2.99 a month, and 2TB for $9.99 a month (down from $19.99). The free 15GB for non-paying users remains. There's also a new family option for divvying up a single storage plan amongst up to five members.


As a result of the changes, Google is removing its 1TB/$9.99 plan, but existing 1TB Drive plans will be upgraded to 2TB at no extra cost. Pricing for plans larger than 2TB will remain the same.

The new storage plans provide users with space for Google Drive, Gmail, and original quality photos and videos (including 4K) in Google Photos. The paid plans also come with live chat support, something that was previously limited to G Suite business account holders.

Apple's iCloud monthly storage plans aren't so different: they start with 5GB free storage for non-paying users, then offer 50GB for $0.99, 200GB for $2.99, and 2TB for $9.99.

On the face of it, Google One's new 100GB/$1.99 plan offers something of a middle ground between iCloud's 50GB and 200GB tiers, but that doesn't account for the practicalities of switching ecosystems that you'd need to factor in, not to mention differing privacy policies.

As of today, the new Google One plans are available to users in the United States, with existing Drive subscribers there having already been moved to the new plans. Google is promising availability for other regions soon.

How to Subscribe to Calendars on iPhone and iPad

Calendar subscriptions offer a convenient way for you to stay up to date with everything from national holidays to the match fixtures for your favorite sports team. In this article, we'll show you how to subscribe to a public calendar on your iPhone or iPad – all you need in advance is the web address of the calendar (ics) file.


Note that if you want a calendar subscription to sync across all devices signed into your iCloud account, you'll need to subscribe to it on your Mac. To do so, open the Calendar app in macOS and select File -> New Calendar Subscription, enter the URL of the calendar to subscribe to, and then select iCloud in the Location menu.

How to Subscribe to a Calendar in iOS 11


  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.

  2. Tap Accounts & Passwords.

  3. Under the Accounts section, tap Add Account.

  4. Tap Other.

  5. Under Calendars, tap Add Subscribed Calendar.

  6. Type in your calendar link in the Server field; to paste in a copied link, tap and hold the field and select Paste.

  7. Tap Next.

  8. Use the Description field to give the calendar an easily recognizable name.

  9. Enter a server username and password if required (most users will be able to skip this step).

  10. Tap Save.

How to Remove a Calendar Subscription in iOS 11


  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.

  2. Tap Accounts & Passwords.

  3. Tap Subscribed Calendars.

  4. Tap the calendar subscription you want to remove.

  5. Tap Delete Account.


Apple Expands Transit Directions in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Michigan

Apple recently updated its Maps app to expand the availability of transit directions to several new states.

Transit data is now available in areas of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Michigan. Apple previously offered transit directions in Detroit, Michigan, but availability has expanded across the state.


Transit directions are new in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Full transit lines are not yet being displayed in the Maps app, but the transit directions are active.

Apple has been rolling out transit directions to major cities across the United States and around the world, but in recent weeks has concentrated on expanding it further in various states.

Transit directions were first added to Apple Maps in 2015 with the launch of iOS 9 and were initially limited to a few cities, but Apple has been introducing the feature in new markets at a steady pace.

Transit information is now live in dozens of cities and countries around the world, with a full list available on Apple's iOS Feature Availability website.

(Thanks, Ram!)

Apple Facing Investigation in Japan Over Accusations of Anti-Competitive Behavior

Japan's Fair Trade Commission is investigating allegations that Apple pressured Yahoo Japan into pulling back from its Game Plus platform in the country, reports Nikkei.

Yahoo last fall submitted complaints about its Game Plus platform, a web-based service first launched in July 2017. Game Plus is designed to let users play games without needing to download a full app.


52 companies were participating in Games Plus at launch, according to Nikkei, including major game makers like Square Enix, and Yahoo initially planned to expand the platform into other areas, like business software.

Yahoo cut its Game Plus budget last year and pulled back on promotions for the service. According to Yahoo, it did so because of "pressure behind the scenes from Apple." Such a platform competes with the App Store, where Yahoo also offers apps for sale.

Japan's Fair Trade Commission is said to be gathering information on the situation, which it says "may constitute interference in Yahoo's business prohibited by the Anti-Monopoly Act."

Nikkei says it's unclear how the investigation will proceed, as Japanese investment company SoftBank, a major Yahoo shareholder has stepped in to mediate. Companies also often hesitate to work with authorities, according to an attorney that spoke to Nikkei, which can make it difficult to prove wrongdoing.

Tag: Japan

Tweetbot Removes Timeline Streaming, Activity and Stats Tab, and Push Notifications for Some Features Ahead of Twitter Changes [Updated]

Ahead of upcoming Twitter changes set to be implemented tomorrow, Tapbots has released an updated version of its Tweetbot app for iOS devices, removing several features that have been present in the app for years.

Timeline streaming over Wi-Fi has been disabled, which means Twitter timelines will refresh every one to two minutes instead of as new tweets come in. We've been using the Tweetbot for iOS app in a beta capacity with these changes implemented, and while it's not a huge change, the delay is noticeable.


Push notifications for Mentions and Direct Messages are also delayed by a few minutes, and push notifications for likes, retweets, follows, and quotes have been disabled. Tapbots says it is, however, investigating re-adding some of these push notification options in the future.

The Activity and Stats tabs have been removed from the app, and because the Apple Watch app was heavily dependent on Activity data, it too has been eliminated.

Tapbots says that it is sorry that the changes had to be made, but Twitter has decided to eliminate certain features provided to third-party apps without offering alternatives.
On August 16th Twitter will disable parts of their public interface that we use in Tweetbot. Because Twitter has chosen not to provide alternatives to these interfaces we have been forced to disable or degrade certain features. We're sorry about this, but unfortunately this is totally out of our control.
Other third-party Twitter clients, such as Twitterrific, have also had to remove the same features that have been disabled in Tweetbot because of Twitter's new limitations on third-party apps.

Twitter is requiring Twitter clients to pay for Premium or Enterprise accounts to access certain features, and timeline streaming has been deprecated entirely.

Tapbots has not yet updated Tweetbot for Mac, but changes should be coming to the Mac app soon as well.

Tweetbot for iOS can be downloaded from the App Store for $4.99. [Direct Link]

Update: Tweetbot 2 and Tweetbot 3 for Mac have also been updated to work with Twitter's new API changes. Features that have been changed or removed are listed below:

- Timeline streaming is now disabled. Your timelines will now refresh automatically every 1-2 minutes instead.
- Notifications for Mentions, Direct Messages, Follows, and Follower's Tweets will now be delayed by a few minutes.
- Notifications for Likes and Retweets have been disabled.
- Activity and Notification tabs have been removed.