Cloud

How Apple Music Can Disrupt Users' iTunes Libraries 341 341

An anonymous reader writes: Early adopters of Apple Music are warning others they could get more than they bargained for if they intend to download tracks for offline listening. Since Apple Music is primarily a streaming service, this functionality necessitates turning on iCloud Music for syncing purposes. The way Apple syncs files is to scan your library for known music files, and if it finds one, the service gives your account access to Apple's canonical copy. Unfortunately, this wipes out any custom edits you made to the file's metadata. For those who have put a lot of time into customizing their library, this can do a lot of damage to their organizational system. Apple's efforts to simplify and streamline the process have once again left advanced users with a difficult decision to make.
Graphics

Square Enix Pulls, Apologizes For Mac Version of Final Fantasy XIV 91 91

_xeno_ writes: Just over a week after Warner Bros. pulled the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight due to bugs, Square Enix is now being forced to do the same thing with the Mac OS X version of Final Fantasy XIV (which was released at the same time as Batman: Arkham Knight). The rather long note explaining the decision apologizes for releasing the port before it was ready and blames OS X and OpenGL for the discrepancy between the game's performance on identical Mac hardware running Windows. It's unclear when (or even if) Square Enix will resume selling an OS X version — the note indicates that the development team is hopeful that "[w]ith the adoption of DirectX 11 for Mac, and the replacement of OpenGL with a new graphics API in Apple's next OS, the fundamental gap in current performance issues may soon be eliminated." (I'm not sure what "the adoption of DirectX 11 for Mac" refers to. OS X gaining DirectX 11 support is news to me — and, I suspect, Microsoft.) Given that the game supports the aging PS3 console, you'd think the developers would be able to find a way to get the same graphics as the PS3 version on more powerful Mac OS X hardware.
Government

Can New Chicago Taxes On Netflix, Apple, Spotify Withstand Legal Challenges? 186 186

Mr D from 63 writes: Today, a new "cloud tax" takes effect in the city of Chicago, targeting online databases and streaming entertainment services. Residents who stream movies and music from companies like Netflix and Spotify will now need to pay an additional 9% tax. This also applies to Chicago businesses that pay to use databases online. Chicago expects to collect $12 million a year as a result of the new tax ruling. From the 24/7 Wall St. story: "Also worth noting is that the city’s tax ruling in both cases avoids the issue of whether there is a close-enough connection (nexus, in legalese) to require providers like Netflix or others to collect either tax. International law firm ReedSmith weighs in on this point as well: '[O]nce the Department begins to audit and assess customers located within the city, many of those customers are likely to demand that providers collect the tax going forward. As a result, many providers will likely feel the need to register to collect the taxes, despite lacking nexus, and despite having strong arguments against the Department’s expansive interpretation of its taxing ordinances.'"
Movies

"Jobs" vs. "Steve Jobs": Hollywood Takes Another Stab At Telling the Steve Jobs Story 262 262

theodp writes: Didn't like Jobs, the 2013 biopic about the life of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher? Maybe you'll prefer Steve Jobs, the 2015 biopic about the life of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs starring Michael Fassbender. "Steve Jobs is a tech visionary, total dick," writes Esquire's Matt Patches in his mini-review of the just-released Steve Jobs trailer. So, is inspiring kids to become the "Next Steve Jobs" a good or bad thing?
Safari

Is Safari the New Internet Explorer? 310 310

An anonymous reader writes: Software developer Nolan Lawson says Apple's Safari has taken the place of Microsoft's Internet Explorer as the major browser that lags behind all the others. This comes shortly after the Edge Conference, where major players in web technologies got together to discuss the state of the industry and what's ahead. Lawson says Mozilla, Google, Opera, and Microsoft were all in attendance and willing to talk — but not Apple.

"It's hard to get insight into why Apple is behaving this way. They never send anyone to web conferences, their Surfin' Safari blog is a shadow of its former self, and nobody knows what the next version of Safari will contain until that year's WWDC. In a sense, Apple is like Santa Claus, descending yearly to give us some much-anticipated presents, with no forewarning about which of our wishes he'll grant this year. And frankly, the presents have been getting smaller and smaller lately."

He argues, "At this point, we in the web community need to come to terms with the fact that Safari has become the new IE. Microsoft is repentant these days, Google is pushing the web as far as it can go, and Mozilla is still being Mozilla. Apple is really the one singer in that barbershop quartet hitting all the sour notes, and it's time we start talking about it openly instead of tiptoeing around it like we're going to hurt somebody's feelings."
The Courts

Apple Loses Ebook Price Fixing Appeal, Must Pay $450 Million 97 97

An anonymous reader writes: A federal appeals court ruled 2-1 today that Apple indeed conspired with publishers to increase ebook prices. The ruling puts Apple on the hook for the $450 million settlement reached in 2014 with lawyers and attorneys general from 33 states. The Justice Dept. contended that the price-fixing conspiracy raised the price of some e-books from the $10 standard set by Amazon to $13-$15. The one dissenting judge argued that Apple's efforts weren't anti-competitive because Amazon held 90% of the market at the time. Apple is unhappy with the ruling, but they haven't announced plans to take the case further. They said, "While we want to put this behind us, the case is about principles and values. We know we did nothing wrong back in 2010 and are assessing next steps."
Cellphones

iPhone 6S New Feature: Force Touch 191 191

New submitter WarJolt writes: Apple is adding Force Touch to their iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. I'm not sure if Force Touch enough to convince an Android user like myself to switch, but there are definitely some interesting possibilities for app developers. A challenge for App developers will be to make apps compatible with both Force Touch iPhones and non-force touch iPhones. (Here's the Bloomberg report Forbes draws from.)
Apple

AppleCare+ Now Covers Batteries That Drop To 80% 152 152

Mark Wilson writes with news that Apple's AppleCare+ plan has been updated to address one of the biggest worries that people have about products with non-removeable batteries, and that become very expensive paperweights when the juice runs out. From BetaNews: "Previously, the extended warranty only covered batteries that would hold 50 percent charge or less. Now this has been updated so that you can request a free replacement within the coverage period if your device's battery is only able to hold 80 percent of full charge. The new terms to no apply to everyone — it all depends on when you bought your Apple device. If you bought your iPhone, iPad, iPod or Apple Watch before April 10, 2015, you're stuck with the old terms. I wish this change applied to my MacBook Air, with which I'm lucky to get 90 minutes of battery power.
United States

Google, Apple, and Others Remove Content Related To the Confederate Flag 818 818

davek writes with news that Google is removing results related to the Confederate Flag from Google Shopping, the company's online marketplace. They're also blocking advertisements involving the flag. They say, "We have determined that the Confederate flag violates our Ads policies, which don't allow content that's generally perceived as expressing hate toward a particular group." At the same time, Apple is removing from the App Store any games or other software featuring the Confederate Flag. This, of course, follows the recent shooting in South Carolina, which triggered a nationwide debate over whether the flag should be flown at government buildings (or anywhere). Major online merchant websites like eBay and Amazon have already taken the step of banning merchandise relating to the flag.
Music

Apple To Pay Musicians For Free Streams, After All 134 134

vivaoporto writes: As reported on Re/code, Apple media boss Eddy Cue appears to have capitulated and Apple Music will be paying music owners for streaming even during customers's free trial period. He says Taylor Swift's letter, coupled with complaints from indie labels and artists, did indeed prompt the change.

Cue says Apple will pay rights holders for the entire three months of the trial period. He explains that it can't be at the same rate that Apple is paying them after free users become subscribers, since Apple is paying out a percentage of revenues once subscribers start paying. Instead, he says, Apple will pay rights holders on a per-stream basis.

No word from Swift or her camp about whether Apple's move is enough to get her to put "1989," her newest album, on Apple Music. On Twitter, she says, "I am elated and relieved. Thank you for your words of support today. They listened to us."
Music

Taylor Swift: Apple's Disdain For Royalties Is 'Shocking, Disappointing' 368 368

Mark Wilson writes to note that Apple Music, yet unlaunched, already faces resistance on several fronts. From the BetaNews article: It's not just smaller, independent labels that are complaining about Apple's refusal to pay artists any royalties during the initial three month free trial period. Taylor Swift has added her voice to the growing number of complainants, writing an open letter to Apple in which she says she will withhold her new album "1989" from the service. In the letter, entitled "To Apple, Love Taylor," the singer says that the company's decision not to make royalty payments is "shocking, disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive and generous company." Swift is an artist who could afford to shoulder the cost of three months of not being paid by Apple, but she has chosen to make a stand and stick up for those who are less fortunate.
Privacy

DuckDuckGo Sees Massive Growth In Post-Snowden World 112 112

DuckDuckGo, the privacy-oriented search engine, has been around for over six years. But when Edward Snowden revealed the extent of NSA surveillance in 2013, DuckDuckGo started a period of strong growth that hasn't slowed yet. The search engine has seen a 600% increase in traffic over the past two years, and they're now serving 3 billion searches a year. This shouldn't be a surprise — last month, a Pew survey found that 40% of American adults didn't want their search engine to retain information about them. But members of the general public are notoriously slow to change their privacy-related behavior. DuckDuckGo's growing popularity has led them to double their employee count since early 2014, now totaling 28 people. Their success is beginning to fuel speculation about an acquisition, with Apple's name being tossed around as a potential buyer.
Music

The Problems Apple Music Needs To Fix Before Launch 110 110

journovampire writes: In less than two weeks, Apple Music arrives for consumers, but it still has some serious problems. Many in the industry are predicting the biggest digital music launch in history, but Apple hasn't even achieved its primary stated goal of de-fragmenting the music market. To illustrate, the article points out that Apple Music catalog is currently missing the current most popular artist (Adele), the most popular artist of the past decade (Taylor Swift), and the most popular artist of all time (The Beatles). The company is also promising a three-month free trial period. Great for customers, but not great for musicians, who won't see a dime from that trial, regardless of how much their music is being played. Apple has likely made you-scratch-my-back deals with the major publishers, but indies have no bargaining power. They've been hesitant to jump on board, and that only decreases the selection. Add to that the complications by DRM, Apple Connect, and the new service flat out not working on some music devices (competitors to Apple, now that they own Beats), and you have a recipe for yet another troubled streaming site.
Open Source

LibreOffice Now Available On Apple's Mac App Store 132 132

sfcrazy writes: It's an event of historical magnitude: One of the most popular Open Source projects, LibreOffice, is now available directly from Apple's Mac App Store. You can get LibreOffice on OSX with automatic updates, long-term maintenance, and optional professional support, for the first time. There are two editions of LibreOffice available on the Mac App Store: LibreOffice from Collabora and LibreOffice Vanilla. While the Vanilla edition can be downloaded free of cost, LO from Collabora has a price tag of $10. "Free through the App store" is an implicit endorsement that plain old "free" can't beat, even taking open-source licensing out of the picture.
Security

Researchers Find Major Keychain Vulnerability in iOS and OS X 78 78

An anonymous reader notes a report from El Reg on a major cross-app resource vulnerability in iOS and Mac OS X. Researchers say it's possible to break app sandboxes, bypass App Store security checks, and crack the Apple keychain. The researchers wrote, "specifically, we found that the inter-app interaction services, including the keychain and WebSocket on OS X and URL Scheme on OS X and iOS, can all be exploited by [malware] to steal such confidential information as the passwords for iCloud, email and bank, and the secret token of Evernote. Further, the design of the App sandbox on OS X was found to be vulnerable, exposing an app’s private directory to the sandboxed malware that hijacks its Apple Bundle ID. As a result, sensitive user data, like the notes and user contacts under Evernote and photos under WeChat, have all been disclosed. Fundamentally, these problems are caused by the lack of app-to-app and app-to-OS authentications." Their full academic paper (PDF) is available online, as are a series of video demos. They withheld publication for six months at Apple's request, but haven't heard anything further about a fix.
Businesses

Apple De-Certifies Monster Cables After Lawsuit Against Beats 288 288

An anonymous reader writes: Since 2005, Monster cables have been licensed under Apple's "Made For iDevice" program, which lets cable manufacturers put a logo on their product signifying they work with Apple products. Now, Apple has revoked that certification. In January of this year, Monster sued Beats, accusing its founders of fraud. Beats was acquired by Apple in 2014, and Monster is accusing Apple of bullying them by terminating the licensing deal. Monster's general counsel said the move would "significantly disrupt Monster's business and that the two companies had worked well for years, with Monster paying Apple more than $12 million in licensing fees since 2008."
Communications

Should Edward Snowden Trust Apple To Do the Right Thing? 196 196

Nicola Hahn writes: As American lawmakers run a victory lap after passing the USA Freedom Act of 2015, Edward Snowden has published an op-ed piece which congratulates Washington on its "historic" reform. He also identifies Apple Inc. as a champion of user privacy. Snowden states: "Basic technical safeguards such as encryption — once considered esoteric and unnecessary — are now enabled by default in the products of pioneering companies like Apple, ensuring that even if your phone is stolen, your private life remains private." This sort of talking point encourages the perception that Apple has sided with users in the battle against mass surveillance. But there are those who question Snowden's public endorsement of high-tech monoliths. Given their behavior in the past is it wise to assume that corporate interests have turned over a new leaf and won't secretly collaborate with government spies?
Businesses

Apple Will Pay More To Streaming Music Producers Than Spotify -- But Not Yet 141 141

Reader journovampire supplies a link to Music Business Worldwide (based on a re/code report) that says Apple's new Apple Music service, after a trial period during which the company has refused to pay royalties, is expected to pay a bit more than 70 percent of its subscription revenue out to the companies supplying it, rather than the 58 percent that some in the music industry had feared. Notes journovampire: "If 13% of iOS device users in the world paid $9.99-per-month for Apple Music, it would generate more cash each year than the entire recorded music biz manages right now."
Apple

Woz To Be Immortalized In Wax 72 72

mikejuk writes: Having already made wax figures of Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, the Madame Tussauds museum recently put out a call for nominations for who should be next, with the stipulation that the nominees have a connection with the Bay Area. The shortlist was then whittled down to ten, including Google co-founder Larry Page, Tesla's Elon Musk, Marc Benioff of Salesforce, Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer of Yahoo. Any of them would look great as wax figures, but outcome of the public vote was a clear winner — Steve Wozniak. Once his statue is complete Woz will be on display next to Steve Jobs in San Francisco and an ideal setting for a selfie.
Programming

Swift: Apple's Biggest Achievement For Coders 337 337

GordonShure.com writes: Despite its publicity and hype being rather quiet by Apple standards, the Swift programming language has attracted praise since its release last year. Swift is one of the few Apple products that represent a departure from the hardware-led Steve Jobs approach to the business. If this year's survey of coders by Stack Overflow is anything to go by, it looks as if the language might have potential to really shake things up in a landscape which has been little changed since the 1990s. Might the days of Apple programmers relying upon objective C be numbered?