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'Amazon' Articles

Amazon Offers Free Ad-Supported Music Through Amazon Music App on iOS

Amazon today announced that Amazon Music users without an Amazon Prime membership or a subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited can listen to an ad-supported selection of playlists and radio stations for free on iOS devices. Amazon has been offering free music access on its Echo devices, but is today expanding that access to the iPhone and iPad along with Android and Fire TV devices. Free Amazon music is also available on the web. Amazon Music does not require any subscriptions or credit/debit cards, and it is available in the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany. According to Amazon, users can play thousands of stations based on "any song, artist, era, and genre." Some of the playlists include "All Hits," "Fuego Latino," and "Holiday Favorites." Amazon Music is designed for those without an existing Amazon subscription, as there are already benefits for Amazon Prime member and those who subscribe to Amazon Music Unlimited. Prime members can access a catalog of more than two million songs along with thousands of playlists and stations without ads, while Amazon Music Unlimited provides access to 50 million songs. The Amazon Music app can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Apple TV App Now Available on Amazon Fire TV Sticks

Following in the footsteps of Roku, Amazon today announced that the Apple TV app is now available on select Fire TV devices, including the second-generation Fire TV Stick, the Fire TV Stick 4K, and the Fire TV Stick Basic Edition. Available through the Amazon Appstore, the Apple TV app allows users to access their iTunes libraries of movies and TV shows and the Apple TV Channels feature through the Fire TV platform. The app will also users to stream original content from Apple TV+ when the streaming video service launches November 1. As of today, the Apple TV app on Fire TV is available in the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, India, and the United Kingdom. The app is also available for Fire TV Basic Edition users in over 50 countries. Amazon says the Apple TV app will be coming soon to the first- and second-generation Fire TV Cube, the third-generation diamond-shaped Fire TV dongle, Fire TV smart TVs from Toshiba and Insignia, and the Nebula sound bar. The app is not compatible with the first- or second-generation Fire TV or Fire TV Stick. In addition to Fire TV, the Apple TV app is available on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Apple TV, Roku, and select 2018 and newer Samsung smart TVs. The app is also coming to select LG, Sony, and VIZIO smart TVs in the future. Apple TV+ is a Netflix-like subscription-based service that will allow users to stream original TV shows and movies curated by Apple. Pricing will start at $4.99 per month with a one-week free trial. Up to six family members can share a single ‌Apple TV‌+ subscription

Amazon Music Launches on Apple TV

Amazon Music today expanded to the Apple TV, and a new Amazon Music app is now available for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models. Amazon says that ‌Apple TV‌ owners can now download the Amazon Music app from the tvOS App Store to get access to millions of songs and thousands of playlists and stations. Amazon Music listeners on the ‌Apple TV‌ are also able to browse and search for music from their favorite artists and access purchased and imported music from the "My Music" library. Scrolling lyrics are also available. The Amazon Music app for ‌Apple TV‌ is available in the United States, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Mexico, Japan, and India. Earlier this week, the Amazon-owned Twitch service also introduced an ‌Apple TV‌ app, and Spotify also brought its app to the tvOS ‌App Store‌.

Amazon Prime Video Currently Unavailable in App Store Across iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV [Update: It's Back]

Amazon Prime Video is currently unavailable in the App Store across iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. Amazon had updated the iOS version of the app shortly before it was removed from the App Store, but it is unclear why the app was pulled or whether this is a temporary move. Apple deferred comment to Amazon, which has yet to respond to our email. We'll update as we learn more. Update: MacRumors has been informed this was a technical issue and the app should be back up shortly. Update 2: Amazon Prime Video has returned to the App

Amazon Unveils Multiple New Echo Devices, Including HomePod and AirPods Competitors

At an event in Seattle, Amazon today unveiled a series of new Alexa-enabled Echo products, ranging from a new high-end speaker to a lamp. Amazon's Echo Studio, a new higher-end version of its Echo smart speaker, is designed to compete with Apple's HomePod. The Alexa-equipped Echo Studio, which is priced at $199, supports 3D Dolby sound and, like the ‌HomePod‌, is designed to optimize sound based on the layout of a room. Image via The Verge The Echo Studio features three mid-range speakers (left, right, and top) along with a directional tweeter and a 5.25-inch subwoofer for bass and improved sound. Amazon is working with record labels that include Sony, Universal, and Warner Music Group on music tracks that support Sony 360 audio. The Echo Studio is able to connect to 4K Fire TV devices and when Atmos-encoded content is played, the speaker will be engaged to "fill the room with sound." In addition to a ‌HomePod‌ competitor, Amazon also debuted a new product designed to compete with the AirPods. The Echo Buds, priced at $130, are Amazon's first Echo wearable that offers hands-free access to Alexa. Amazon says the earbuds deliver excellent sound with crisp, clear vocals and dynamic bass, plus they're equipped with Bose Active Noise Reduction technology. The Echo Buds last for five hours and have a case that adds additional battery life for up to 20 hours. Amazon also unveiled a new version of its main Echo smart speaker today, which features improved sound quality with new Neodymium drivers and a 3-inch woofer. Priced at $100, the speaker is said to

Amazon Music Adds Lossless Streaming Tier for $14.99/Month ($12.99 for Prime)

Amazon today introduced a new tier of Amazon Music, called Amazon Music HD, which offers lossless versions of audio files for streaming or downloading. This tier will cost $14.99/month, or $12.99/month for Amazon Prime members (via The Verge). Amazon is offering a catalog of over 50 million songs in "High Definition," which are songs with CD-quality bit depth of 16 bits and a 44.1kHz sample rate. Then, there are "millions" of songs in Ultra HD, meaning they have 24-bit and sample rates that range from 44.1kHz up to 192kHz. All of these songs will be delivered in a lossless FLAC file format. Amazon is hoping that being the first of the so-called big three streaming music services (Amazon Music, Apple Music, and Spotify) to offer lossless streaming will win some converts. Tidal has always offered lossless streaming as one of its main selling points, but its price is $19.99/month, which Amazon is now undercutting. Amazon’s VP of Music, Steve Boom says that “It’s a pretty big deal that one of the big three global streaming services is doing this — we’re the first one.” Amazon Music isn’t often in the conversation about music streaming competition, which usually ends up following a Spotify vs. ‌Apple Music‌ narrative. But Amazon considers itself in their company, and with the new HD offering it’s looking to differentiate itself and perhaps raise its profile. According to reports from earlier this year, Amazon Music had 32 million subscribers as of April 2019. That compares to the 60 million subscribers gained by Apple Music as of June 2019, and the 100 million Spotify

Google and Amazon Put Brakes on Human Review of Voice Assistant Recordings

Following Apple's decision last week to suspend a Siri program that allows employees to listen to audio recordings for quality control purposes, Amazon and Google have both chosen to make their policies on human reviews of voice assistant audio more clear. Late last month, Apple confirmed that a small number of anonymized ‌Siri‌ requests are analyzed for the purpose of improving ‌Siri‌, after a Guardian report revealed that contractors regularly hear private conversations recorded by Apple's voice assistant. To allay privacy concerns, Apple said it was temporarily stopping the program while it reviewed the process that's currently used. It also said it plans to release a software update that will let ‌Siri‌ users opt out. On Friday, Google said it had also suspended its policy of reviewing Google Assistant audio. The company actually suspended the practice across the EU on July 10 when a German privacy regulator started investigating it following a Belgian media report, but this is the first time Google has confirmed the fact publicly. According to Bloomberg, Amazon will let Alexa users opt out of human review of their voice recordings. The new policy took effect Friday, and adds an option in the settings menu of the Alexa mobile app for removing recordings from analysis by Amazon employees. All of the tech companies employ staff to review a small subset of voice recordings while claiming to anonymize the source. For example, Google distorts the recording before it is listened to, so as to disguise the user's voice, while Apple strips them of

FTC Looking Into Impact of Apple's Sales Agreement With Amazon on Independent Resellers

Last year, Apple began selling many of its products on Amazon, including the latest iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch models. As part of Apple's agreement with Amazon, unauthorized resellers who offered new or refurbished Apple products on Amazon had their listings removed after January 4, 2019. Since then, independent sellers have been required to apply for Apple Authorized Reseller status and the Amazon Renewed program to continue to offer used or refurbished Apple products on Amazon, but this is not always feasible due to hefty requirements outlined by The Verge earlier this year:The first is to purchase at least $2.5 million worth of refurbished inventory every 90 days from Apple itself or through a retailer with more than $5 billion in annual sales, like a wireless carrier or big-box retailers like Target or Walmart. The second is to reach out directly to Apple to become an authorized reseller. Apple has yet to make its reseller requirements known to the public, but to become an Apple-authorized provider of repairs requires a physical retail space for customers to enter.Now, The Verge reports that the FTC has looked into the Apple-Amazon deal, although it has yet to formally raise any antitrust concerns. Specifically, the report claims that FTC lawyers recently reached out to John Bumstead, a Minnesota man who sold refurbished MacBooks on Amazon until his listings were removed from the platform due to the new policy:"They wanted to know how Amazon works, how eBay works. I went into describing how a listing works on Amazon. Amazon is interesting in that you

Amazon Prime Day Live Blog: Follow Along for the Best Deals

It's the middle of July, which means it's time for Amazon's annual Prime Day shopping event, offering Amazon Prime customers the chance to save money on a vast array of items across the retailer's online storefront. Like we did last year, today we've launched a live blog that will track notable Prime Day discounts across Amazon, most of which will relate to Apple products and accessories. You can expect great discounts from companies like Anker, iOttie, and more. 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. Prime Day 2019 kicked off earlier this morning at 12:00 a.m. PT, and it will continue through tomorrow, Tuesday July 16 at 11:59 p.m. PT. This makes Prime Day 2019 the longest event so far at a total of 48 hours. In contrast to deals that last for a majority of the event, there will also be limited-time lightning deals that appear at different times throughout Monday and Tuesday, and only last for an hour or so. According to Amazon, new deals will launch as often as every five minutes throughout the event. In this live blog, we'll be tracking lightning deals and longer-lasting discounts as products get marked down throughout Prime Day, as well as competitor sales since retailers like Best Buy, eBay and Target have all been known to launch anti-Prime Day deals. Be sure to bookmark this page and check back for new bargains as Amazon's mid-year shopping event continues into Tuesday night.

Amazon Reportedly Developing Echo With Better Sound Quality to Rival Apple HomePod and Other Speakers

Amazon is developing a higher-quality version of its popular Echo smart speaker, according to a new report today by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Prototypes of the cylindrical speaker are wider than the current Echo to squeeze in additional components including at least four tweeters, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss an internal matter. The speaker is reportedly being developed to include improved audio to rival Apple's HomePod and other competing speakers on the market. According to Gurman, the Echo has lost some ground to more premium smart speakers that are marketed as offering superior sound. The Echo, which went on sale in 2015, will grab 63% of the U.S. market this year, according to EMarketer. But it has lost some ground to the Sonos One, Apple Inc. ‌HomePod‌ and Google Home Max -- all of which claim to deliver superior audio. Google now has 31% of the market, while the rest have a combined 12%. The ‌HomePod‌ isn't selling as well as Apple expected, and the company recently dropped the price.The development of a higher-quality Echo marks a new phase in Amazon's attempt to gain ground in the smart speaker segment. The company has previously introduced halfway-house solutions to improve the audio of the existing cylindrical Echo by offering a standalone subwoofer and connections to link the speakers to a hi-fi stereo system. The Echo range will also receive minor updates this fall, people familiar with the plans told Bloomberg. Amazon also reportedly plans to launch a hi-fidelity version of its music streaming service by the end of the year. In

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 Buds. There are also many other less impressive

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