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'Amazon' Articles

Amazon's 48-Hour 'Prime Day' Event Takes Place July 15 and 16

For the last few years, Amazon has been hosting an epic Prime Day sale that offers up deals and discounts on a huge range of products. This year, Prime Day is actually going to take place over two days, kicking off at midnight on July 15 and lasting through July 16. Last year's Prime Day ultimately lasted 36 hours, but 48 hours will be the longest Prime Day event to date. Amazon has some Prime Day event previews on its website, and Prime Day itself will include discounts on everything from tech products to home products, clothing, toys, and more. Amazon is also highlighting products launching on Amazon on Prime Day, such as the Mophie Juice Pack Air. When Prime Day kicks off, Amazon's website will be filled with lightning deals that kick off at different times over the course of the day, with the available products rotating over time. Lightning deals last for as long as stock lasts, and some of the better deals can go quick. Last year, we did a live blog covering all of the best Apple-related deals available during Amazon's Prime Day, and we plan to do similar coverage this year so make sure to tune in to MacRumors on July 15 and 16 for help sorting through all of the sales. Prime Day sales are designed for Amazon Prime members, and a Prime membership is required to get the deals. Prime Day discounts will be available to Amazon customers in the United States, UK, Italy, India, Germany, France, China, Canada, Australia, Belgium, UAE, Austria, Spain, Singapore, and the

Amazon Reveals 'Echo Show 5' With New Design and Alexa Commands for Deleting Voice Recordings

Amazon today announced the Echo Show 5, the latest Echo device with a 5.5-inch display, more compact design, and privacy-focused voice controls for Alexa. Echo Show 5 is priced at $89.99 and is set to launch on June 26, 2019. Amazon's Echo Show devices have speakers and a touchscreen, aimed at letting customers watch the news via apps like NBC and Reuters, look at the weather, or make video calls. Echo Show 5 continues this idea, and Amazon even pointed out that you can use the device to listen to music via Apple Music, thanks to recent integration. Like other Echo devices, Echo Show 5 can also act as a smart home hub so that you can say things like "Alexa, turn on the lights," or use on-screen display controls to adjust brightness levels. Smart camera feeds can be viewed on the display, as well as thermostat levels and more. Echo Show 5 also supports two-way talk functionality with Ring doorbell cameras. If you use the Echo Show 5 as an alarm clock, the device's display will naturally brighten and show a sunrise animation before the alarm goes off. At that time, you can set a routine that displays the weather forecast for the day, the morning news, and more on the Echo Show 5 screen. “Since we launched the first Echo Show device, customers have told us they love asking Alexa to show them things—whether it’s a recipe for banana bread, their shopping list, or music lyrics. With Echo Show 5, we’ve made it even easier and affordable for customers to add a smart display to every room of their house,” said Tom Taylor, Senior Vice President, Amazon Alexa.

'Alexa Guard' Security Feature Rolls Out to Amazon Echo Devices in the US

Amazon announced this morning that Alexa Guard is now rolling out to all Echo device owners in the U.S. The free feature update, which has been trialed by a select few over the last few months, turns Echo speakers into security devices when no-one's home by allowing them to listen for key sounds indicating danger or intrusion. Users need to say "Alexa, I'm leaving" to set Alexa Guard to Away mode, after which the device will listen for sounds like breaking glass and the sound of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. According to TechCrunch, Amazon has worked with licensed contractors to break hundreds of different glass windows with different instruments in order to create a wide range of different sounds for Alexa to listen for. Upon detecting an ominous sound, Alexa sends the owner Smart Alerts via phone notifications. Users can also play the detected sound from the Alexa mobile app or Drop In on their Echo device remotely to find out what's happening. Alexa can arm a Ring or ADT security system, with the user able to choose to forward Smart Alerts they receive to Ring or ADT. Users with Away Lighting can also use the alert to turn on lights so as to make it look like they're actually home. For more details about Alexa Guard, check out Amazon's FAQ.

Amazon Rumored to Launch High-Fidelity Music Streaming Platform By End of 2019

Amazon is reportedly readying a high-fidelity music streaming service that's set to launch by the end of the year. According to Music Business Worldwide, Amazon is in discussions with various large music rights-holders regarding the upcoming launch of the new streaming platform, which is likely to cost $15 per month. "It's a better bit rate, better than CD quality," one source told MBW. "Amazon is working on it as we speak: they're currently scoping out how much catalog they can get from everyone and how they'll ingest it."Probably the best known hi-def music streaming service currently is Tidal's HiFi plan, which costs $19.99 per month and offers CD-quality lossless streams at 44.1 kHz / 16 bit. Subscribers to the plan also benefit from Tidal's partnership with MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) to deliver guaranteed master-quality recordings directly from the master source, which is billed as "an audio experience that the artist intended." The rationale behind this is that while HiFi audio is a superior sound, it's still limited to 44.1 kHz / 16 bit resolution, whereas MQA audio is the highest possible resolution (typically 96 kHz / 24 bit). MBW understands that Amazon has not partnered with MQA for its own HD tier, suggesting it will use a different audio technology. It's not clear though whether the hi-fi service will be a standalone platform or a new tier option to be offered as part of Amazon's Music Unlimited service. Apple Music streams 256kbps AAC files across the board and doesn't offer users a higher sound quality price plan, while Spotify uses the Ogg

Employees Who Listen to Amazon Alexa Requests Can Access Customers' Home Addresses

Earlier this month, Bloomberg shared details on the thousands of employees that Amazon employs around the world to listen to voice recordings captured in the homes of Amazon Echo owners when the Alexa wake word is spoken, with the purpose of improving the service. There was some concerning information in the report, including employee access to private recordings, recordings that are upsetting or potentially criminal, and an employee tendency to share private recordings in group work chat environments. As it turns out, there's something Alexa owners should be even more worried about -- some of these employees have access to the home addresses of Amazon customers. In a new report on the team Amazon employs to listen to Amazon Echo recordings, Bloomberg says that employees have access to location data and can "easily find a customer's home address" by typing geographic coordinates into third-party mapping software. The new information was shared by five anonymous Amazon employees who spoke to Bloomberg.Team members with access to Alexa users' geographic coordinates can easily type them into third-party mapping software and find home residences, according to the employees, who signed nondisclosure agreements barring them from speaking publicly about the program. While there's no indication Amazon employees with access to the data have attempted to track down individual users, two members of the Alexa team expressed concern to Bloomberg that Amazon was granting unnecessarily broad access to customer data that would make it easy to identify a device's owner.Bloomberg

Alexa Support for Apple Music Expands to Sonos Speakers

Amazon Echo devices have been able to use Alexa-based voice commands to control Apple Music since December, but the feature has been limited to Amazon's own devices until today. Sonos One and Sonos Beam owners in the United States, United Kingdom, and Ireland are now also able to use Alexa to control Apple Music after adding the Apple Music skill to the Alexa app. In the US, UK, and Ireland, you can now use your voice to control @AppleMusic through your Sonos One, Beam, or Echo device. Just add the #AppleMusic skill in your Alexa app. pic.twitter.com/2yNius56jo— Sonos (@Sonos) April 17, 2019 To get Alexa controls for Apple Music on Sonos, users will need to update to the newest version of the Sonos app, enable the Apple Music skill in the separate Amazon Alexa app, and link an Apple Music account. From there, Sonos owners will be able to use commands like "Play My Chill Mix on Apple Music," or "Play Beats 1 Radio on Apple Music." It's not yet clear if other Alexa-enabled devices will also be gaining support for Apple Music controls in the future, but right now, the feature is available on all Amazon Echo and Fire TV devices along with the Sonos One and Sonos

Thousands of Amazon Employees Listen to Alexa Requests for Improvement Purposes [Updated]

Amazon has thousands of employees around the world that listen to voice recordings captured in the homes of Amazon Echo owners, reports Bloomberg. Voice recordings are captured when the Alexa wake word is spoken and then a subset of those recordings are listened to, transcribed, annotated, and added back into the software as part of Amazon's effort to help Alexa better respond to voice commands. Amazon has facilities for Alexa improvement in places that range from Boston to Costa Rica, India, and Romania. Seven people familiar with Amazon's review process spoke to Bloomberg and revealed some insider details on the program that may be concerning to Echo users. While much of the work has been described as "mundane," employees have sometimes come across more private recordings, such as a woman singing off key in the shower or a child screaming for help. Amazon employees have internal chat rooms where they share files when help is needed parsing a word or, more concerning, when an "amusing recording" is found. Two workers told Bloomberg that they've heard recordings that are upsetting or potentially criminal, and while Amazon claims to have procedures in place for such occurrences, some employees have been told it's not the company's job to interfere.Sometimes they hear recordings they find upsetting, or possibly criminal. Two of the workers said they picked up what they believe was a sexual assault. When something like that happens, they may share the experience in the internal chat room as a way of relieving stress. Amazon says it has procedures in place for

Apple Music Now Available on Amazon's Alexa Devices in the UK and Ireland

Amazon Echo and Fire TV devices in the UK and Ireland are now compatible with Apple Music, reports Pocket-lint. In the United States, Amazon Echo models have supported Apple Music since December of last year, allowing Echo speakers to integrate directly with Apple's music service, but the functionality was not made available in other countries. Amazon Echo owners in the UK can now install the Apple Music integration using the Amazon Alexa app for iPhone or iPad and then use Alexa commands to play songs, albums, and more from the Apple Music service. As of mid-March, Apple Music is also available as an option on the Amazon Fire TV.

Amazon Working on Alexa-Enabled Wireless Earbuds to Rival AirPods

Amazon is developing a set of Alexa-enabled wireless earbuds that will compete with Apple's AirPods, reports Bloomberg. The earbuds will "look and act" similar to Apple's AirPods, but will offer built-in Alexa voice support. Alexa is Amazon's Siri rival, built into the Amazon Echo line of products and many other third-party devices. Amazon is aiming to offer better audio quality than the AirPods, and its earbuds have been designed to sit inside the ears without clips to hold them in place. The Alexa wake word will allow Amazon earbuds users to access music, order goods, make search queries, and more, though physical gesture controls will also be available. Built-in cellular connectivity will not be included, and the earbuds will need to connect to a user's smartphone. A storage case that also serves as a charging device will be included, and it will charge using a standard USB cable. Amazon is testing earbuds in black and gray. There's no word on pricing for the earbuds, but Amazon often prices its products lower than Apple's, so Amazon earbuds could be available for $159 or less, the base price of the AirPods. Bloomberg says that the new earbuds are considered one of the most important projects at Amazon's Lab126 hardware division, and while there have been delays, Amazon is now seeking suppliers and manufacturing partners. Multiple companies have already come out with wire-free earbuds in an effort to compete with the AirPods. Google, for example, has the Pixel Buds while Samsung has the Galaxy

Apple Music Now Available on Amazon Fire TV

Amazon today expanded its Apple Music integration to the Amazon Fire TV, allowing Fire TV owners to ask Alexa to play songs from the Apple Music service. According to CNBC, Apple Music on the Amazon Fire TV is available starting today. The expansion comes three months after Apple allowed Apple Music to be streamed on Amazon Echo speakers using the Alexa voice assistant. On the Fire TV, users can use commands like "Alexa, play music by Stevie Nicks," or "Alexa, play a Fleetwood Mac album" to play content directly from Apple Music. It can be enabled by going to the Alexa app on an Android or iOS device and activating the Apple Music skill. Those who have already set up Apple Music with Alexa for Echo devices will not need to repeat the steps. Right now, Apple Music is limited to the Fire TV and Amazon Echo speakers, though it may be expanded to third-party Alexa devices in the future. Apple's effort to allow Apple Music to be streamed on third-party platforms is part of a deeper push to grow services revenue. Apple is also planning to expand iTunes to Samsung Smart TVs in the form of an iTunes app, and AirPlay 2 functionality is being built into recent smart TV sets from a number of manufacturers like Sony and

Apple Not Fighting Royalty Increase for Songwriters That Spotify, Pandora, Google and Amazon Have Appealed

Spotify, Google, Pandora, and Amazon have all teamed up to appeal a ruling by the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board that will increase royalties paid to songwriters by 44 percent, reports Variety. In a joint statement, the companies, which all operate major streaming music services, said that the decision harms both music licensees and copyright owners. "The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), in a split decision, recently issued the U.S. mechanical statutory rates in a manner that raises serious procedural and substantive concerns. If left to stand, the CRB's decision harms both music licensees and copyright owners. Accordingly, we are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to review the decision."Apple is not joining the other streaming music services and will not appeal the decision. According to Variety, songwriter organizations have been heavily praising Apple while condemning the other streaming services. David Israelite, CEO of the National Music Publishers' association, called the appeals from Spotify, Pandora, Google and Amazon "tech bullies who do not respect or value the songwriters who make their businesses possible." He also thanked Apple Music for not participating in the appeal and for "continuing to be a friend to

Amazon Pulls Echo Wall Clock Over Connectivity Issues

Amazon has pulled its Echo Wall Clock over concerns about connectivity issues, just a little over a month since it began shipping the product. The Wall Clock's lack of availability on the Amazon website was first spotted by The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern before being confirmed by Amazon in a statement given to The Verge. "We're aware that a small number of customers have had issues with connectivity. We're working hard to address this and plan to make Echo Wall Clock available again in the coming weeks."Announced in September along with several other Alexa-enabled products, Amazon's Wall Clock costs $29.99 and performs the expected Alexa and Echo tasks while also telling the time. It runs on four AA batteries and connects to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for setup, but requires the user to own a standard Echo to access all the features, which include displaying timers on the clock face. Customers who received a clock before they were delisted and have experienced connectivity issues are advised to contact Amazon to arrange a

Reports Suggest Ring Allowed Employees Unfettered Access to Customer Camera Feeds

Over the course of the last month, some troubling information has surfaced about Ring, the Amazon-owned company that has millions of cameras inside and outside homes across the globe. The Information in December suggested Ring employees in both the U.S. and the UK had unfettered, unnecessary access to customer camera feeds, and today, The Intercept has shared additional details. Starting in 2016, Ring allowed its Ukraine-based research team to access "every video created by every Ring camera around the world." Video content was unencrypted and "easily browsed and viewed," plus videos were linked to specific customers. Ring employees highlighted objects in video feeds to improve object and facial recognition> Ring's Ukraine team was provided with access to further development on facial and object recognition software, with executives and engineers in the U.S. also able to access the same data even if they didn't specifically need it for their jobs. Employees with access to customer feeds could view an individual's camera with just an email address.Although the source said they never personally witnessed any egregious abuses, they told The Intercept "I can say for an absolute fact if I knew a reporter or competitor's email address, I could view all their cameras."Ring employees weren't just watching outdoor video, either, with a source who spoke to The Intercept suggesting indoor video was viewed as well for the same object recognition training. Ring employees were instructed to draw boxes around objects with labeling, allowing the system to learn to recognize

CES 2019: Ring Debuts New Door View Cam, HomeKit Still Not Included

Ring, which was purchased by Amazon last year, today debuted its latest line of home security products. The Ring Door View Cam, its newest doorbell option, is the most notable. The Door View Cam is designed to replace the viewfinder or peephole built into a front door, and while it doesn't require drilling or permanent door modifications, it does require the removal of the existing peephole. Ring's Door View Cam fits into the empty space of the viewing hole, filling the space on both sides of the door. It features a rechargeable battery, motion detection, an impact sensor to detect knocking if the doorbell isn't pressed, two-way talk, and 1080p HD video that supports door activity detection, person detection, night vision, and more. In addition to providing a video feed, the peephole the new Ring camera replaces remains functional. Ring says that the Door View Cam is ideal for apartments and rental locations because of its easy installation. The Ring Door View Cam will be available in the United States later this year for $199. Ring also plans to release it in UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. Ring is also adding new accessories to its Ring Alarm security system, including a $35 smoke and carbon monoxide detector, a $35 flood sensor, and a $30 add-on siren, along with new outdoor lights. All of Ring's products work with Alexa, but despite promising HomeKit for some of its video doorbell devices, Ring is not adding HomeKit compatibility to any of its new devices. The new Ring Door View Cam, like

Amazon Confirms More Alexa-Enabled Speakers Will Eventually Support Apple Music

Amazon has confirmed that Apple Music will eventually be supported on additional Alexa-enabled speakers, according to a tweet from Mashable's Raymond Wong spotted by AppleInsider. Amazon didn't provide a timeframe for the rollout. A variety of third-party Alexa speakers and devices are available from brands such as Sonos, JBL, Ultimate Ears, and First Alert. 🚨UPDATE!!!🚨Amazon has confirmed to me @AppleMusic will be coming to other Alexa enabled devices in the future. When? Idk... but hopefully soon https://t.co/ZYqyfNKWk1— Raymond Wong📱💾📼 (@raywongy) December 19, 2018 Apple Music went live on Amazon's line of Echo speakers last Friday in the United States. This allows users to link Apple Music with their Amazon account in the Alexa app for iOS and use Alexa voice commands to control playback of Apple Music songs and playlists and Beats 1 radio on Echo speakers. To access this feature, simply use a voice command such as "Alexa, play music by Ed Sheeran on Apple Music" or "Alexa, play today's hits on Apple Music." Apple Music can also be set as the default music service in the Alexa app so that "Apple Music" does not need to be specified each time. Apple and Amazon announced this new partnership in late November, with Amazon saying it is "committed to offering great music providers to our customers," and referring to Apple Music as "one of the most popular music services."

Apple Music Now Playable on Amazon Echo Speakers via Alexa in United States

Apple Music can now be streamed on Amazon Echo speakers via Alexa in the United States, a few days ahead of schedule. As spotted by 9to5Mac, it is now possible to link Apple Music with your Amazon account in the Alexa app for iPhone and use Alexa voice commands to control playback of songs, playlists, and Beats 1 on Apple Music on Amazon Echo speakers. To access this feature, simply use a voice command such as "Alexa, play music by Ed Sheeran on Apple Music" or "Alexa, play today's hits on Apple Music." Apple Music can also be set as the default music service in the Alexa app, so that "Apple Music" does not need to be specified each time. Other streaming music services supported on Echo speakers include Spotify, Deezer, Vevo, SiriusXM, Tidal, and Pandora. Apple and Amazon announced this new partnership in late November, with Amazon saying it is "committed to offering great music providers to our customers," and referring to Apple Music as "one of the most popular music services." Apple Music playback on Amazon Echo speakers is currently limited to the United

Apple Music to Launch on Amazon's Echo Devices the Week of December 17

Apple and Amazon today announced that Apple Music will launch on Echo devices beginning the week of December 17. In a blog post, Amazon explains that Apple Music subscribers will be able to ask Alexa to play their favorite songs, artist, playlists, Beats1 radio stations, and albums, all through an Echo speaker. One example they give is the command, "Alexa, play Bebe Rexha on Apple Music." The integration will launch as an Apple Music skill that will need to be enabled within the Alexa app, where users will also be able to link their account to start listening to Apple Music on an Echo speaker. Apple Music will join the ranks of a few other music streaming services already supported on Echo, including Spotify, iHeartRadio, and Pandora. “Music is one of the most popular features on Alexa—since we launched Alexa four years ago, customers are listening to more music in their homes than ever before,” said Dave Limp, senior vice president, Amazon Devices. “We are committed to offering great music providers to our customers and since launching the Music Skill API to developers just last month, we’ve expanded the music selection on Alexa to include even more top tier services. We’re thrilled to bring Apple Music – one of the most popular music services in the US – to Echo customers this holiday.” Apple Music is said to have over 56 million total subscribers, including those on the free trial. The company is in a battle with Spotify as each tries to grow their numbers. In November, Spotify reported 87 million paid subscribers on its service, and 191 million monthly

Amazon Begins Selling More Apple Products, Including Latest Macs, iPad Pro, and Apple Watch Series 4

Nearly two weeks after Amazon reached an agreement with Apple to sell more of its products, a selection of Apple products are available on Amazon in the United States, including the latest iPad Pro, Apple Watch Series 4, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, iMac Pro, Mac Pro, and Mac mini models. Other products available include accessories such as Apple Watch bands, the Apple Pencil, Beats headphones, and the Magic Mouse 2. Prices are fairly consistent with Apple.com, but there are some discounts to be had, including $100 off a base model MacBook and $300 off the latest 15-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.6GHz six-core Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD. Note that some of the products are currently out of stock or available in limited quantities. Amazon has yet to begin selling any new iPhones directly from Apple or its network of Apple Authorized Resellers, but the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR are expected to be available soon as part of the deal. One product that won't be available is the HomePod since it is an Amazon Echo competitor. Apple has prominent marketing banners on each of its Amazon listings that resemble the look of its product pages on Apple.com. Apple-authorized product listings contain the wording "ships from and sold by Amazon.com." A limited selection of new and used Apple products were already available on Amazon via third-party resellers, but those product listings will be removed after January 4, 2019 under the new deal. Third-party resellers will need to apply to become Apple Authorized Resellers to continue selling on

Amazon Inks Deal to Sell New Apple Products Like iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and 2018 iPad Pro

Amazon and Apple have reached an agreement that will see Amazon selling an expanded selection of iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch devices through its online storefronts in the United States, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, and India, reports CNET. In the near future, Amazon will offer its customers the Apple latest devices, which includes the new 2018 iPad Pro models, the iPhone XR, the iPhone XS and XS Max, Apple Watch Series 4 models, the 2018 Mac mini, and a selection of Beats headphones. The products will be available through Apple-authorized resellers on Amazon's marketplace. Certain Apple products will not be included on Amazon's site, such as the HomePod, which directly competes with Amazon's line of Echo devices. In a statement provided to CNET, Amazon said that it added Apple products because it's always aiming to improve the customer experience."Amazon is constantly working to enhance the customer experience, and one of the ways we do this is by increasing selection of the products we know customers want," an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement Friday morning. "We look forward to expanding our assortment of Apple and Beats products globally."At the current time, many Apple products are not available on Amazon's site or are sold through unreliable third-party marketplace sellers at non-standard prices. With the new agreement, Apple devices will be available at regular retail prices. Independent sellers who offer new and used Apple products on Amazon will have their listings removed after January 4, 2019, under the new deal. Those

Amazon Alexa App Gains Redesigned Interface for Controlling Devices and Groups

Amazon is currently rolling out an updated version of its companion app for Alexa-enabled devices that includes a significantly redesigned user interface. The visual changes are immediately apparent on firing up the app, and center around a new Devices and Groups tab located in the lower right of the screen. With the new menu selected, the devices are listed in a horizontal strip along the top of the interface, allowing users to control individual smart lights, audio devices, and power outlets all from the same screen. Below that, Alexa devices are also grouped by room indicated by colored cards, which have on/off buttons and can also be tapped to control and edit included devices. Elsewhere, users can add new devices by tapping a plus button in the upper right of the interface, while the original clunky sidebar menu remains available via a button in the upper right. The changes to the app come on the heels of Amazon's recent additions to its ecosystem of Alexa-powered devices, which include new Echo speakers, a subwoofer, amplifiers, a microwave, wall clock, and more. The Amazon Alexa app is a free download on the App Store for iPhone and iPad. [Direct Link]