You already have a ton of options when it comes to cloud-based music, including iTunes Radio, Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, Amazon Cloud Player, and more. Yet you might want to consider Google Play Music, since it offers a combination of features not otherwise available. As you know, services like Pandora and iTunes Radio let you listen to songs similar to what you like, but you're unable to request specific songs. And subscription services such as Spotify and Rdio let you request a particular song and typically charge a monthly fee of around $10, but they don't store your personal collection in the cloud. Then there are services like iTunes Match and Amazon Cloud Player that let you upload your collection to the cloud and stream music that you already own. Google Play Music combines the ability to request specific songs (like Spotify and Rdio) with the ability to upload your music collection (like iTunes Match and Amazon Cloud Player).
Apple has posted a Black Friday page on their website alerting people to special sales coming up. But they give no detail. They'll be hard pressed to match the great deals being offered by big-box retailers such as Target and Walmart.
DigiTimes, which has connections in Apple's supply chain and which is frequently a source of rumors, reported today that the Taiwan-based company Quanta has been tapped by Apple to manufacture the rumored 12.9-inch iPad, which some are calling the iPad pro. The report says the larger iPad will be targeted toward the education and enterprise markets. And it notes that Quanta is facing some serious design challenges with the larger iPad that could limit its availability. The report says the new iPad is expected to launch in the second half of next year. Interest in larger tablets seems to be increasing, so it wouldn't be a surprise if Apple jumped into this arena.
If you're in the market for a new iPhone or iPad, Black Friday (Nov. 29) is the day to take the plunge. Actually, many of the great deals start as early as Nov. 28 and continue through the weekend. In a previous post I mentioned two websites tracking Black Friday deals and summarized the best deals. I wanted to also point you to the continuously updated comprehensive roundup posted on MacRumors. Plus, they summarize the best deals in a chart at the top of the page. Some remarkable deals are to be had: iPad Air for $379 at Target, iPad mini (first generation) for $199 at Walmart, iPad 2 for $299 at Target, and iPhone 5s for $114 and iPhone 5c for $0 at Walmart. MacRumors also offers shopping tips, such as which online retailers charge local sales tax in which states.
Apple posted a new page on its website this past week titled Life on iPad that shows the amazing range of uses for this device. It offers a two-minute overview video (embedded below) that shows snippets of people using an iPad for maintaining wind turbines, harvesting crops, assessing athletic performance, tracking inventory, accessing recipes, navigating in vehicles, driving race cars, doing surgery, playing games, drawing, performing music, accessing augmented reality, climbing mountains, and more.
We're going to have months of rumors regarding the next iPhone, but already they're starting to converge around a common theme: the iPhone 6 will have a larger screen. According to AppleInsider, the latest rumor comes from a popular Chinese technology blog, which reported that Apple is field testing an iPhone with a 4.9-inch display. Earlier Bloomberg had reported Apple was developing phones with curved 4.7- and 5.5-inch displays. In the past I've read that in fact Apple typically tests a variety of different models before settling on a particular one, so that may be what's going on here. But it does seem to indicate that Apple is serious about adding a larger iPhone to its line. In 2014 we may therefore see both a larger iPad and a larger iPhone.
Since there's so much video available for free online, I avoid paying for content. Therefore, my main use for my $99 Apple TV device has been to use the AirPlay feature to stream free content from my iPad. Most of the best channels that come with Apple TV require a subscription, such as Netflix and Hulu, or they require that you already have a cable TV service (which I don't). So it was a real revelation when I tried the two new channels that Apple TV added Tuesday: Yahoo Screen and PBS. Each offers a trove of content—and all of it is free. These two channels may be the most compelling reason yet to get an Apple TV if you're someone who's considering cutting your cable subscription.
It's now a lot easier to shop in Apple's online store via your iPad thanks to Apple's new free app Apple Store for iPad. It does a good job of using the larger screen space of the iPad to enhance your shopping experience, while having some useful features.
On Sunday the Israeli publication Calcalist (Google translation here) reported that Apple has purchased a company called PrimeSense, which makes chips used in 3D motion-sensing and computer vision. Their technology is used in Microsoft's popular Kinect (see image accompanying this post), which lets users of Microsoft's Xbox video game console and Windows PCs control the devices and play games just by making motions in the air. The article speculates that Apple will use the technology in conjunction with the rumored HDTV that Apple has been said to be working on. And it notes that Apple does indeed have patents regarding controlling a TV via motion sensing.
The Korea Times reported today that Apple will be launching a 12.9-inch iPad early next year, according to "an official at a local Apple supplier in Korea." The source says that Apple's Korean supplier is already producing the display. Also, the iPad will not only be larger but will also have improved picture quality, approaching that of ultra high-definition. When Apple introduced the iPad Air last month, a number of observers suggested the name change opened the door for an 'iPad Pro," paralleling Apple's line of MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. The Korea Times says Apple is making the move to compete with Samsung and LG, who will also be introducing larger tablets next year. And the Sony VAIO Tap 11, with an 11.6-inch screen, is already available.