iTunes Stories December 17, 2015

Apple Music Android app updated with Beats 1 fix, Sonos support and more

Apple has updated the Apple Music Android app with a bug fix and a couple of new features.

This update fixes an issue that prevented listening to Beats 1 without an Apple Music membership. It also includes support for the upcoming beta of Apple Music on Sonos, and for playlist folders created in iTunes.

It also includes stability and performance improvements.

Apple first offered the app to Android users last month, and offers a three-month free trial, after which an individual subscription costs $10/month while a family of up to five can share a $15/month subscription.

Check out our setup and first impressions video for a taster.

iTunes Stories December 4, 2015

Google soon pushing a fix for false 1 star App Store ratings in search results

According to a post today on the Google Search Help Forum, Google will soon push a fix for a long standing search bug that falsely shows iTunes App Store listings as having 1 star ratings (via MacRumors). The problem was first reported by several iOS app developers in late October, and it seems Google has finally acknowledged the issue…

Today, a Community Manager on the forum said that a fix is scheduled for the next release:

Hi everyone, thanks for your continued reports here. As Spencer mentioned, he’s been following up thoroughly with us regarding this and I’m happy to share that we’ve been working hard on providing a solution, and a new fix has been scheduled for the next release, which should be rolling out early next week. Appreciate your patience here.

iTunes Stories September 28, 2015

Site claims to be offering Apple Music for Android beta access

UPDATE: One of our readers, with experience of using Betabound commented the following: “Centercode, who runs Betabound, has been around for over a decade running software/hardware betas. I have been through numerous tests with them. I understand the skepticism but this is a legit company.” Perhaps then, we can be a little less skeptical of the beta test.

Apple shocked the tech world back in June when it announced that its music streaming service, Apple Music, would be making its way cross-platform. Up until now, the company has kept all of its mobile products in-house, and hasn’t offered anything on the Google Play Store except for the ‘Move to iOS’ app, and we all know how that turned out. In an unusual move, it looks like Apple may have signed up a third party to get early beta testers onboard its first media app for Android.

Members of Betabound.com have received emails inviting them to apply to test Apple’s music app for Android. Little detail is given in the email, except a short paragraph and a linked questionnaire which hopeful testers have to fill in. Betabound, a Centercode company, proudly labels the test as an exclusive.

We’re excited to invite you to come test Apple Music for Android. If you’re a current Android user that would like to join the beta for the new music streaming service, you won’t want to miss this opportunity. To learn more and apply, click the link below. Best of luck! The Betabound team.

There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical. First off, Apple tends to manage its beta testing in-house, even to the point of offering a public beta of iOS 9 to anyone and everyone who wanted to try it before launch. Why then would it go with a third party company, especially one which is seemingly so unknown? It definitely seems weird. Perhaps the Android community’s response to its last app prompted the Cupertino-based tech giant to try a much quieter launch of Apple Music for Android. Perhaps it only wants a small number of testers onboard, and so isn’t announcing anything. Perhaps, it’s just a way for Betabound to get their name out there and isn’t a genuine beta test.

 

iTunes Stories November 3, 2014

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Back in February, Apple and Disney teamed up on a new app called Movies Anywhere that allowed iOS users to access their library of purchased movies—whether bought on the iTunes Store, DVD, or other media (with the appropriate redemption code in the box).

Today, Disney has launched the same service for Android users. Movies Anywhere owners will now be able to access their movie library featuring titles from Disney, Pixar, and Marvel from any of their devices. Because this is a cross-platform solution, movies previously purchased on the iTunes Store will now be available to users on Android devices, and iOS users will be able to watch Disney movies they’ve purchased from the Google Play Store.

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iTunes Stories September 4, 2014

The latest Angry Birds edition, Stella, hit the app store today, with pink, female characters apparently designed to appeal to girls. The game itself, though, is a variation on the familiar theme of firing birds at pigs hidden in the scenery …  expand full story

iTunes Stories May 29, 2014

Crowd-sourced crime-reporting and safety app Tapshield goes public

A crowd-sourced crime-reporting and safety app trialled on selected university campuses has now been rolled out to everyone. Tapshield allows real-time viewing of crime stats and suspicious activity in an area, and allows you to summon help when in trouble.

An award-winning mobile safety app and response dashboard, TapShield uses collaboration and crowd-sourcing to build safer communities & improve response times. Think of TapShield as your social safety network with you wherever you want to go.

The way the app works is that users can report crimes in progress and anything else they spot that concerns them, and those locations and incidents are then automatically shown to other Tapshield users in the area.

When a crime is reported, Tapshield sends a message to campus security when used within one of the participating colleges, and dials 911 when used elsewhere. You also have the option of sending a non-emergency alert to police when you see something that concerns you but which doesn’t justify an immediate emergency response – such as a bunch of street lights out, leaving a path in darkness.

If you have to make a journey that concerns you, you can specify your route and ETA and allow family and friends to follow your journey remotely, raising the alarm if you go off-route or don’t reach your destination when expected.

Finally, the app has a ‘yank’ mode, which automatically sends an alert if headphones are forcibly pulled from the device, such as when your phone is snatched by a thief.

Tapshield is a free download from Google Play.

Via TheNextWeb

[protected-iframe id=”ee8f89c8e8a919fbb2f5c26911077925-22427743-8994189″ info=”http://player.theplatform.com/p/PhfuRC/9RGhkvepi1us/embed/select/h_PJWCPpI_2K” width=”640″ height=”360″ frameborder=”0″]

If you love the idea of smart home technology like Nest, but are concerned about the cost of replacing half the appliances and devices in your home, Nest CEO Tony Fadell has some good news. Speaking at the Re/Code conference, he said that while “you need new hardware to allow things to flourish,” there are many things that could be done with software alone.

 Just like your smartphone has many many apps on it, we think there [could be] many apps in your home but you don’t necessarily need new hardware …

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iTunes Stories April 4, 2014

youtube-logoLast October, Billboard reported that YouTube was planning to launch a music streaming service in late 2013 or early 2014. This evening, however, Billboard has published another report claiming that YouTube’s music streaming platform has been delayed until the second quarter of this year or beyond. According to the report, which cites “an executive briefed on YouTube’s plans”, YouTube is approaching this service with a “get it right” attitude.

The company wants to launch the first version of the service in an incredibly polished form that will help it stand out against competitors like Spotify and Rdio, which have been around for a while and have had several iterations of improvements. “They feel that there’s just too much scrutiny of this product, and that they need to get it right out of the gate,” said a senior label executive speaking to Billboard. This, of course, contradicts the strategy of YouTube’s parent company, Google, which launches services left and right in beta form, many of which get shut down relatively quickly.

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iTunes Stories March 21, 2014

iTunes Radio

According to a new report from Billboard, Apple is considering launching an iTunes Store app on the Android platform to combat declining music sales on the digital platform. The report also says that Apple execs are in talks with high level label executives to discuss debuting an on-demand streaming service.

Apple has opened exploratory talks with senior label executives about the possibility of launching an on-demand streaming service that would rival Spotify and Beats Music, according to three people familiar with the talks. Apple is also thinking about adding an iTunes App for Android phones, the Google rival that has been growing faster than the iPhone, these sources said.

The move to an on-demand streaming service could transform iTunes Radio from the Pandora-like radio model to the more robust on-demand model used by Spotify, Rdio, Beats Music, and others. expand full story

iTunes Stories December 10, 2013

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Chalk up another Google Drive update for iOS as Google just announced a new sorting feature for files. Google’s iOS version of Google Drive has received quite a few updates in recent months to bring it in line with its Android counterpart. The new sorting feature should prove useful to just about every Google Drive user as it’s a much-needed and important feature.

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iTunes Stories July 5, 2013

Acer’s C710. A bigger, thicker battery and more RAM (compared to Pixel and Samsung Chrombooks)

I’m an Apple snob – I’ve been using MacBook Pros and Airs almost exclusively for over a decade – in fact, it has gotten so bad that I can barely use or figure out Windows anymore. I often find the experience with anti-viruses, updates and crapware infuriating to the point where I’m no longer curious what happens in the Windows world.

On the other hand, I never have a problem jumping on a Chromebook (or Box) because it is almost exactly like using a browser in a desktop OS.  That makes using Chromebooks quick, easy and productive for me. I liked the cheap, ARM-based Samsungs and loved the decked out Pixel even though I’m still not able to give native apps up entirely (Twitter, Skype, iTunes, etc keep pulling me back). But for a second computer to use as either as a backup or special occasion device or for light computer users, I wholeheartedly recommend Chromebooks.

Acer initially had a bad rep in their Chromebook department because the initial offerings seemed to be repurposed Windows netbooks (and the problems that come along with them – including little RAM, bad battery life, HDDs instead of SSDs and cramped plastic-y keyboards). To be fair, I’m going on a few minutes of use at a Best Buy and a bunch of online reviews for those assumptions.

Last month, I finally got my hands on the updated Acer ‘C710-2055’ version which has a 50% bigger battery pack than earlier models, 4 GB of RAM, and an Intel Celeron 847 processor. The price was also bumped to $279 from $199.

So, $80 later, does Acer have a compelling Chromebook here?

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iTunes Stories June 25, 2013

Google Currents iOS app updated with Audio Playlist support, UI polish

Google has updated its Currents app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch with the ability to manage Audio Playlists in the Editions panel. Additionally, the new update brings UI polish in terms of pinch-to-zooming for photos, vertical pagination, and more. The update is free on the iTunes App Store.

iTunes Stories May 14, 2013

Pinterest for Android updated with push notifications, @mentions, search suggestions, more

Pinterest is rolling out a big update to its mobile apps today that brings a number of highly requested features to Android devices. Some of the more notable updates include notifications and push notifications for comments and mentions, the ability to @mention friends from within the app, and improved search that provides suggestions as you type.

A full list of what’s new in Pinterest 1.5 for Android is below:

What’s in this version:

-Send a pin to someone -Get push notifications to know when someone comments, likes or repins your stuff -Search…and you shall receive suggestions -Mention your friends in comments

 

iTunes Stories October 15, 2012

Jared Polis, U.S. Representative for Colorado’s 2nd congressional district

U.S. Federal Trade Commission officials supposedly want to bring an antitrust case against Google due to complaints about it suppressing competition in the market, but Colorado Rep. Jared Polis cautioned the regulatory body in a letter last week that such a lawsuit would be a “woefully misguided step.”

Many Internet businesses, such as Yelp and Nextag, have criticized Google at open hearings in Congress, asserting Google unjustly applies its search dominance to give web sites lower-quality rankings in search results. The effect would essentially push Internet users toward Google products that provide similar services.

Google has continually rebuffed any wrongdoing, and the Vice President of Engineering Amit Singhal even came to his employer’s defense on the Google Public Policy Blog earlier this summer —in an aggressive tactic not usually taken by the Mountain View, Calif.-based company—to spearhead the rumor-mill accusations in a “claim vs. fact” format.

Democrat Polis specifically wrote in his letter that an anti-trust lawsuit by the FTC would “threaten the very integrity of our anti-trust system, and could ultimately lead to Congressional action resulting in a reduction in the ability of the FTC to enforce critical anti-trust protections in industries where markets are being distorted by monopolies or oligopolies.”

Political newspaper The Hill, which first reported on the letter, further noted that Polis said the market for online search remains adequately competitive despite antitrust complaints:

He noted that customers search Amazon for shopping results, iTunes for music and movies, Facebook for social networking and Yelp for local businesses.

“To even discuss applying anti-trust in this kind of hyper-competitive environment defies all logic and the very underpinnings of anti-trust law itself,” Polis wrote.

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iTunes Stories October 14, 2012

Image via <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2012/10/15/3504532/xbox-music-pricing-availability-microsoft-xbox-360-windows-phone-8-windows-8" target="_blank">The Verge</a>

Microsoft announced this evening its new music service, called “Xbox Music”, that aims to compete with iTunes, Spotify and RDIO. The service is set to launch tomorrow for the Xbox 360 and Oct. 26 for Windows 8 (coming pre-installed) and Windows Phone 8 devices. GigaOm noted the service will also launch as an Android app shortly after:

But the biggest story to me is that Xbox Music will embrace Android and iOS. Jerry Johnson, general manager of Xbox Music, wasn’t able to tell me exactly when the apps for those two platforms are going to come out, but the sense that I took away from the briefing was that his team is working on making it happen sooner rather than later. Xbox Music on Android and iOS will look very much like Xbox Music on Windows Phone 8, which itself in many ways follows the style formerly known as Metro.

There is no word on what pricing Android users will see, but Microsoft said it will offer a free ad-support version for Windows 8 device owners and a $10 ad-free plan for those wanting an ad-free experience.

More details are at TechCrunch.

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iTunes Stories August 16, 2012

Google Play Movies go live in Germany

 

Our friends in Germany reported that the local Google Play Store is now showing movies for both purchase and renting. This already surpasses Amazon’s reach and makes a bit of headway in matching Apple’s iTunes Store reach. Usually the Play Store follows rentals in YouTube. German users: Ja or nein?

iTunes Stories August 14, 2012

The majority of American teens prefer YouTube to iTunes, radio, online radio, and CDs when it comes to finding and listening to music.

Approximately two-thirds of 18-and-younger U.S. teenagers, according to a “Music 360” survey from research firm Nielsen (via The Wall Street Journal), claimed they sidestepped other music-listening mediums for Google’s video-sharing platform.

YouTube snagged 64 percent of 13-to-17 year olds, while radio came in second at 56 percent. iTunes held 54 percent, with CDs and Pandora rounding the top five at 50- and- 35 percent respectively.

The Wall Street Journal noted young folks regard YouTube as a “de facto free music service,” but adults do not take full advantage of the site’s complimentary content. The survey showed 67 percent of them actually preferred radio for music consumption, but another 61 percent still gave CDs a whirl. Meanwhile, YouTube stole 44 percent, Pandora landed the No. 4 spot at 32 percent, and iTunes sat at fifth with 29 percent.

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iTunes Stories June 22, 2012

Samsung opens ‘Easy Phone Sync’ app to help iOS users move to Galaxy products

Samsung wants you.

The South Korea-based Company is making it easier than ever to jump ship from iOS to its Galaxy line with the Easy Phone Sync app. The software is free to anyone purchasing a Samsung Galaxy device, and it quickly installs on any Galaxy product, PC, or Mac.

In the most straightforward manner, it transfers media, contacts, content—and all that other stuff packed into handhelds—from iTunes to an Android-powered tablet or phone by Samsung. Users can also manage their content through iTunes to maintain preferences during the sync process.

For more information on Samsung’s plan to pilfer iPhone users from Apple, check out its newest marketing strategy that 9to5Google detailed earlier this week.

The press release is below. 

iTunes Stories April 27, 2012

We reported on 9to5Mac in February that Apple acquired discovery app Chomp and was thought to be using the company’s technology to help improve the App Store and iTunes experience. We later confirmed Chomp’s CEO Ben Keighran and CTO Cathy Edwards already started working at Apple on the iTunes teams. Today, it appears Apple has shut down Chomp for Android with Chomp’s website now only listing links to iOS versions of the app, as noted by GigaOM.

The “Download Chomp” tab in the upper right corner of the Chomp.com now leads directly to the iTunes download page and only iPhone and iPad options are available for searching online. However, when searching for apps on the website, changing the platform to “Android” in the URL still allows you to view Android apps. As we noted earlier, Chomp helps power Verizon’s Android market, so it is unclear what will happen with that partnership going forward.

[tweet https://twitter.com/#!/g_____________n/status/195900431413673985]

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iTunes Stories April 3, 2012

The widely popular “Instagram” iOS app is now available for Android devices at Google Play.

The iTunes-friendly version showcases 30 million users and holds Apple’s 2011 iPhone App of the Year crown. The Android community patiently waited for a Google variant, and now it can finally propel mobile snapshots to the retro days with snazzy filters and effects.

“Today, we’re excited to bring you Instagram for Android,” announced Instagram on its official blog. “We’ve been meticulous about translating the Instagram experience to the Android platform. The Android app offers an extremely familiar Instagram experience when compared to the iOS app.”

A screenshot gallery is available below. 

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iTunes Stories January 23, 2012

We have seen Siri clones in the Android Market trying to pass themselves off as the real thing, and some Siri alternatives making their way to the Windows Phone Marketplace. Evi, on the other hand, might actually be the first true Siri competitor/alternative for Android and non-iPhone 4S iOS users.

Available on the App Store for 99 cents and free to Android users on the Android Market, Evi is the work of True Knowledge and its “core semantic search technology” better known as The True Knowledge Answer Engine. The 99-cent price tag on iOS is apparently to cover the cost of using Nuance voice recognition (the same voice recognition tech as Siri), which is not used in the Android version.

The app’s iTunes page explained Evi is capable of returning local data for the United Kingdom (along with the United States), which has been a complaint from U.K. Siri users since the iPhone 4S launch. According to TechCrunch, the app uses “an ontology of tens of thousands of classes into which” every possible user command can be recognized. True Knowledge said the app contains “almost a billion ‘facts’ (machine understandable bits of knowledge)” with the ability to infer trillions if necessary. It also reportedly uses all the expected sources, such as local results from Yelp, third-party websites, traditional web searches, and APIs.

While as of yet Evi is incapable of integrating with Calendar and Reminders like Siri, TechCrunch pointed out it sometimes provides more accurate and useful results for certain types of questions. Siri requests to search the web for an answer when users ask certain questions, such as “How do I make apple pie?” Evi, however, would provide a list of recipes with relevant links to that specific question. TechCrunch highlighted another example where Evi excels:

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iTunes Stories November 15, 2011

Before its official announcement at an event tomorrow night, more details on Google’s new Music service have leaked out. Bloomberg reports that Music will have a store that closely resembles Apple’s iTunes and will allow users to purchase music. Google has reportedly earned licensing deals with Sony (this evening actually), Universal Music Group, and EMI Group Ltd. Songs will also cost between 99-cents and $1.29, but Google may offer discounts.

Wall Street Journal drops an awesome feature that Google Music will reportedly have.

“Additionally, after buying songs from Google Music for around $1 apiece, users are expected to be able to share one or two free listens of the songs with their contacts on the Google+ social-networking service, these people said.”

All the details will be spilled tomorrow. Make sure to stick with us tomorrow evening at 5 PM EST for all of the breaking news.

iTunes Stories October 24, 2011

As you probably know, they Steve Jobs book is now in public hands and there will be lots of coverage.  As is also known, Jobs wasn’t a huge fan of Android and Google in general, though he was known to council CEO Larry PAge and cofounder Sergey Brin on more than one occasion.  Here are some of Jobs’thoughts on building an iTunes client for Android like they did on Windows:

“We thought about whether we should do a music client for Android. We put iTunes on Windows in order to sell more iPods. But I don’t see an advantage of putting our own music app on Android, except to make Android users happy. And I don’t want to make Android users happy.”

He lumps Google in with the Axis of evil:

“IBM was essentially Microsoft at its worst. They were not a force for innovation; they were a force for evil. They were like ATT or Microsoft or Google is.”

And Jobs’ meeting with Eric Schmidt:

“We spent half the time talking about personal matters, then half the time on his perception that Google had stolen Apple’s user interface designs,” recalled Schmidt. When it came to the latter subject, Jobs did most of the talking. Google had ripped him off, he said in colorful language. “We’ve got you red-handed,” he told Schmidt. “I’m not interested in settling. I don’t want your money. If you offer me $5 billion, I won’t want it. I’ve got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that’s all I want.” They resolved nothing.

And then there was the thermonuclear War…

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs said. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.” Jobs used an expletive to describe Android and Google Docs, Google’s Internet-based word processing program.

He did have constructive criticism for Larry Page however:

We talked a lot about focus. And choosing people. How to know who to trust, and how to build a team of lieutenants he can count on. I described the blocking and tackling he would have to do to keep the company from getting flabby or being larded with B players. The main thing I stressed was focus. Figure out what Google wants to be when it grows up. It’s now all over the map. What are the five products you want to focus on? Get rid of the rest, because they’re dragging you down. They’re turning you into Microsoft. They’re causing you to turn out products that are adequate but not great….

I suppose it is better to be hated by Jobs than dismissed (Microsoft).

iTunes Stories September 29, 2011

Apple has made its concerns official. The iPhone maker fears Samsung tablet will lure consumers away from the powerful iTunes ecosystem. Apple’s been successfully leveraging iTunes to tie people to the platform through app and entertainment content sales.

The heated Apple vs. Samsung legal battle over who’s copying who is really about the ecosystem rather than the hardware or the patents. That’s the gist of today’s hearing before the Federal Court in Sydney related to an Apple-requested ban on sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Australia. According to Smh.com.au, lawyers for Apple argued that the launch of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 could take away iPad 2 sales so quickly that buyers may be “seduced” from the iOS platform.

It’s all about the apps and the broader ecosystem, Apple’s legal team told Justice Annabelle Bennett, arguing the Galaxy Tab 10.1 “is vastly the one that is going to be targeting the iPad 2”. IDC numbers released today suggest that that tablet shipments to Australia and New Zealand doubled sequentially in the June quarter, which the research firm attributed to an influx of Android tablets recently released into those markets.

Apple’s lawyers then resorted to the “fire hose” metaphor to make their case:

This is going to be launched on the market with the velocity of a fire hose and it is going to just come in and take away iPad 2 sales so quickly that by the time we get to final hearing the full impact of the patent infringement will be to the detriment of Apple and to the benefit of Samsung.

And this bit about the battle of ecosystems:

They’ll then be Android people and the investment in the apps that they make to purchase on their Galaxy Tab will be something they can’t use on an Apple product.

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iTunes Stories August 8, 2011

Google has just pushed an update for the official Google+ app for iOS, bringing with it support for iPad and iPod touch, two devices the app was previously unavailable for, among a few other features including aggregated circle add notifications, huddle settings, and the usual “Performance and stability improvements”.

You should be able to update the app now via the App Store or swing by iTunes and grab the new version now. We’ll keep you posted with any other discoveries we might make in this latest update.

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iTunes Stories August 2, 2011

Android devices seem to be getting bigger and bigger which is good if you like huge mobile devices and even bigger tablets.  But to be “take everywhere”, devices need to get smaller.

Think the size of an iPod nano that many have taken to wearing on their wrists like a watch.

WIMM is building a platform based on devices this size.  They are squeezing Android onto super-small devices with 160×160 screens with Bluetooth and Wifi tagging along.  The devices can be worn as watches, on a belt or bag strap or even on the neck.   Not only will these thigs be able to play media, they’ll also be able to pull feeds from RSS, Twitter and Social media Sites.  They’ll also make great universal remotes for not only entertainment centers but anything else you can think of.

I like this idea a lot but the devil is in the details and execution is paramount.

Full release below: expand full story

iTunes Stories July 21, 2011

For reasons yet undefined, Google Books has been removed from the iTunes App Store. Was Google in violation of Apple’s new in app purchase terms of service? Is this because Harry Potter is coming out next week?? We’ve reached out to Google and Apple for answers.

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