Re/Code reported late last week that Apple's new subscription music service, expected to be announced next month, may include a free trial of one to three months, if Apple gets its way in current negotiations with the record labels. In addition, Apple would like to offer free samples of songs. A company, for example, might make one song from a new album available for free as a way of enticing listeners to purchase the album. Plus, Apple wants to offer free iTunes Radio stations curated by real DJs and has already begun hiring them.
So now that the Apple Watch has been out for a while, you've likely read the reviews. Overall, they tend toward the positive but are definitely mixed. But what about regular users? A company called CrowdFlower analyzed more than 30,000 individual tweets on Twitter to get a sense for what users are saying. And a delightful video, embedded below, gives the charming reaction of 11 kids who are introduced to the Apple Watch.
Apple knows you may have good reason not to want your iPhone or iPad to track what you're doing when you're browsing the web in Safari, and for some time iOS has had Private Browsing Mode, in which no record is kept of which websites you've visited, your search history, or your AutoFill information. With iOS 8 came the introduction of the convenient feature of private tabs. You can have multiple tabs open, with some of them being private and others not.
Sales of the iPad have been declining for a year, though it's still the most popular tablet on the market. Apple clearly hasn't given up on the iPad, as evidenced by their new marketing campaign that includes a 90-second commercial and a new area on their website. Titled "Everything Changes with the iPad," the website is oriented toward prospective iPad purchasers and possibly new users, showing how the iPad can change how they do things. The information is divided into the categories of Cooking, Learning, Small Business, Traveling, and Redecorating. In addition, there's a "Why iPad?" section that highlights third-party apps and the App Store.
Rumors have been swirling about a music subscription service from Apple ever since they purchased Beats Music and Beats Electronics. Many are expecting Apple to unveil a subscription music service that will compete with services such as Spotify. For $10 per month you can listen to all your favorite music without having to purchase it. However, on Tuesday Billboard reported that Apple was having challenges finalizing the licensing deals with the content providers, raising the question of whether Apple would be able to announce the service at the Worldwide Developers Conference June 8–12, as many had been expecting. But 9To5Mac contacted their sources and learned that Apple is still planning to announce the service at WWDC and will launch the new service in late June as part of iOS 8.4 and iTunes 12.2.
Consumer Reports has now conducted a series of tests on 11 different smartwatches, and the stainless steel Apple Watch came out on top. The tests looked at durability, health functionality, readability in bright and low light, ease of use, and ease of interaction. The sapphire crystal display of the stainless steel Apple Watch outperformed all other watches on the scratch test, earning a score of 9 on the Mohs test (meaning that the only mineral that could scratch it is diamond). The Apple Watch Sport, which has Gorilla Glass, didn't do as well and was on par with other watches that use Gorilla Glass.
Some months ago is was discovered that the Apple Watch has a port that lies between the casing and the band, and isn't visible when the band is connected. No one is quite sure what its purpose is. Some speculated that it was there so that Apple could run diagnostics on the watch, though now that the watch is available, Apple employees use an iPhone to do the diagnostics. Now an accessory maker has figured out how to use the port to provide power to the Apple Watch. They're planning to sell a band that will let you charge your Apple Watch while you're on the go. The company, called Reserve Strap, was originally designing a band that would wirelessly supplement your Apple Watch's battery. But then they discovered that the six-pin port could be used instead.
I really enjoy the Flyover feature of Apple's Maps app, which lets you see "select major metro areas from the air with photo-realistic, interactive 3D views. Explore cities in high resolution as you zoom, pan, tilt, and rotate around the city and its landmarks." There are currently 141 landmarks and cities that have the Flyover feature, including 20 new ones that Apple recently added. (Note that it can take time for to roll out these new locations so that they're available in everyone's app.) The new locations include:
It's long been rumored that Apple will be coming out with a 12.9-inch iPad called the iPad Pro. And alleged specs for the new device have even been leaked. Plus, apparently manufacturers are already making cases for the larger iPad. The legendary Sonny Dickson, who's come up with some big scoops in the past, has obtained some of these cases, and a video uploaded by Unbox Therapy compares the cases with the iPad Air. The video gives a very clear picture of how big the rumored iPad Pro would be.
There have long been rumors that Apple will be coming out with a new Apple TV to replace the aging device that hasn't been updated for several years. The first clue that it might happen soon was when Apple recently lowered the price of the current Apple TV to $69, suggesting that the company might be trying to clear out inventory. And now Apple's website shows that the current Apple TV is no longer in stock and gives a ship time of one to two weeks. This sort of thing usually happens in advance of an updated device from Apple. It now seems likely that Apple will announce a new Apple TV at the Worldwide Developers Conference scheduled for June 8–12. Rumors for the past 18 months have suggested that Apple would open up the Apple TV to developers, and now it may be happening.