Kanye West Says New Album Will ‘Never’ Be Available Through Apple Music

Kanye West’s latest album, „The Life of Pablo,“ is available exclusively on Tidal, the Apple Music rival service created by Jay Z. According to West, he has no plans to offer „The Life of Pablo“ through other streaming services, including Apple Music, instead intending for it to be a permanent Tidal exclusive.

In a tweet shared this afternoon, West said „The Life of Pablo“ will „never never never“ be available through Apple, a statement that presumably includes both Apple Music and iTunes.

The seriousness of West’s claim about never releasing the album on Apple Music and other streaming services is unclear, as his recent tweets declaring himself to be $53 million in debt and asking Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page for money may point towards a muddled state of mind.

West, who is an investor in Tidal, announced the launch of his new „The Life of Pablo“ album over the weekend following a performance on Saturday Night Life. While West originally planned to release the album on his website as well as streaming it on Tidal, he later changed his mind to encourage potential listeners to buy a Tidal subscription, priced at $9.99 a month for a standard premium subscription or $19.99 a month for a HiFi subscription.

West’s decision has made the Tidal iOS app the top free iPhone app in Apple’s App Store, according to the company’s App Store charts.

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Kanye West Says New Album Will ‘Never’ Be Available Through Apple Music

Apple confirms it’s working on a fix for ‘1970’ iPhone bug

Apple has acknowledged the existence of a somewhat bizarre bug which bricks any iOS devices that has its date set back to 1970 — and confirms that a fix is on the way. “An upcoming software update will prevent this issue from affecting iOS devices,” Apple notes on one of its support pages. While there’s […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Apple confirms it’s working on a fix for ‘1970’ iPhone bug

Japan Display’s Upcoming Touch Screens Feature Slimmer Bezels, Wet Finger Support

Apple supplier Japan Display revealed some details on its second-generation „Pixel Eyes“ LCD modules over the holidays, providing us with a look at some of the ways the display industry is advancing. Japan Display’s „Pixel Eyes“ modules incorporate touch functionality into the display, and in the second-generation model, there are some exciting improvements.

Using a new sensor structure and new materials, Japan Display has managed to decrease the thickness of the bezel, going from 0.8mm to 0.5mm. A deeper black level is available, and the display can accept input with a stylus as narrow as 1mm for finer detail when drawing or writing.

Perhaps the most intriguing feature in the LCD module is its ability to operate with wet fingers. Many current smartphone screens are unable to work accurately under water and when fingers are wet as water is capacitive and confuses the built-in touch sensors.

iPhones, iPads, and the Apple Watch, for example, don’t respond well to touch with wet fingers or when placed in water, so technology like this could be essential if Apple wants to have a functional display in a device advertised as „waterproof.“ Some iPhone 7 rumors have indicated the next-generation iPhone could be a waterproof device.

In a report earlier this week, The Motley Fool highlighted Japan Display’s second-generation „Pixel Eyes“ technology and the possibility it could be included in the iPhone 7. Volume shipments on the displays will begin during the current quarter, making them available for possible inclusion in the iPhone 7 when Apple begins ramping up production during the summer months.

While Japan Display is one of Apple’s suppliers, it is not entirely clear if Japan Display screens are used in the iPhone and if the second-generation Pixel Eyes display technology will be used in future products. There have been rumors suggesting Apple and Japan Display have partnered up for a $1.7 billion display plant to produce screens for iPhones in 2016, so it’s not out of the question that we’ll see Japan Display screens in the iPhone 7 or the iPhone 7s.

Regardless of whether Japan Display’s technology ends up in the iPhone, the advancements made by the company serve as an interesting glimpse at features that could be adopted more widely by the display industry in the future, eventually making their way into Apple’s devices.

Related Roundup: iPhone 7
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Japan Display’s Upcoming Touch Screens Feature Slimmer Bezels, Wet Finger Support

New Bill Introduced in U.S. Congress to Block State-Level Efforts to Weaken Smartphone Encryption

A new bill introduced in U.S. Congress today by representatives Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Blake Farenthold (R-TX) would attempt to block state-level efforts to ban sales of strongly encrypted smartphones, reports Ars Technica.

The federal bill will need to pass the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, and be signed by the president, in order to become law. If passed quick enough, the bipartisan legislation would set precedent over state-level bills.

California and New York assemblymen have introduced new bills over the past year that would require smartphone manufacturers like Apple and Google to create devices that can be decrypted or unlocked, or be subject to fines.

The virtually identical bills would require any smartphone manufactured after January 1, 2017 and sold in New York or California to „be capable of being decrypted and unlocked by its manufacturer or its operating system provider.“ Apple and others would face a $2,500 fine per phone in violation of the proposed law.

Apple is strongly against government efforts to weaken smartphone encryption. The company ceased storing encryption keys for devices on iOS 8, making it impossible for the iPhone maker to unlock content on passcode-protected devices under police request. Both iOS and Android share these default encryption settings.

In September, FBI Director James Comey expressed concerns that Apple and Google are „marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves above the law.“ Meanwhile, Apple CEO Tim Cook believes providing the U.S. government with back door access means the „back door’s for everybody, for good guys and bad guys.“

Read the full text of the „ENCRYPT Act of 2016“ for more details about the new house bill.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

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Virtual Reality Coming to iOS Within 2 Years, Claims Gene Munster

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster believes Apple plans to put iOS at the center of several forthcoming augmented reality and VR innovations set to launch within the next two years.

In a research note obtained by AppleInsider, Munster claims a timeline of recent purchases and hires by the company suggests that iOS support for „mixed reality“ applications could be set for launch as soon as 2018.

The analyst points to a LinkedIn search which reveals at least 141 Apple employees with a background in AR, although it should be noted that the same search returns 425 and 267 people with similar experience working at Microsoft and Google, respectively.

Of particular interest to Apple is the concept of „mixed reality“ wearables, or advanced optics that use embedded cameras and sensors to blend holographic imagery with real-life objects, claims Munster.

Intellectual property gained via research and development projects as well as strategic acquisitions, such as Apple’s purchase of 3D body sensing firm PrimeSense, are said to be behind the recent drive.

We believe 10 years from now Generation Z will find reality inefficient. We believe the concept of an ‘inefficient reality’ is evident through smartphone use today — the precursor to mixed reality — offering users the ability to find more information as needed.

The analyst goes on to suggest a natural progression in the personal technology market from smartphones to AR/VR and believes Apple is looking at VR as an iPhone peripheral, much like the Apple Watch. The prospect of Apple releasing hardware on this front in the near term is seen by Munster as unlikely, although by 2018 Apple may be ready to offer developers an official software framework for licensed third-party hardware solutions, similar to the company’s MFi Program for iOS devices.

Munster has made questionable assertions in recent years, with predictions such as Apple’s rumored television set having failed to materialize. Still, the note does follow a recent report by Financial Times claiming that Apple has built a „secret research unit“ in which hundreds of employees are experimenting with AR and VR technologies. The team is said to be made up of, among others, experts plucked from Microsoft and live-action VR company Lytro.

Apple’s interest in virtual reality has gained pace over the last few years, with the filing of multiple patents for VR-related products, like video goggles, motion-sensing 3D virtual interfaces for iOS devices, and 3D „hyper reality“ displays. More recently, Apple has made a spate of AR/VR-related acquisitions, including Metaio, Faceshift, Emotient, and image-recognition app creators Flyby Media. Last month, the company hired Doug Bowman, said to be one of the leading VR experts in the United States.

Related Roundup: Apple VR Project
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Virtual Reality Coming to iOS Within 2 Years, Claims Gene Munster

Pagaré Smartstrap Plans to Bring Contactless Payments to Pebble Time

Financial tech startup Fit Pay recently launched a new Kickstarter for its third-party Pebble Time „smartstrap“ called the Pagaré. The new accessory will bring NFC payment capabilities to the smartwatch, using the power of the Pebble’s smart accessory port, giving Pebble Time the same mobile wallet opportunities allowed to Apple Watch customers thanks to Apple Pay.

The Pagaré smartstrap will come in all of the same colors and finishes that Pebble creates for the Pebble Time, so that „you won’t have to sacrifice your style to receive the benefits of Pagaré,“ according to Fit Pay co-founder and CEO Mike Orlando. The strap runs on its own battery, so with a small USB connector on one end, users will be able to charge the Pagaré smartstrap and the Pebble Time simultaneously.

Fit Pay said that its new smartstrap will be able to be used „at over 9 million point of sale terminals worldwide,“ including places like GameStop, Panera Bread, and Whole Foods. Similar to the Apple Watch, when the Pagaré is removed from a user’s wrist it locks access to any of the payment features of the band. A four-digit passcode reactivates those features when the Pebble Time is reattached.

Pagaré has multiple layers of security to protect sensitive data. In addition to secure hardware, we leverage the same card network service as Apple Pay to replace your card number with a surrogate value called a token. This means we never need to store your credit card.

Notably, once the Pagaré app is installed on a user’s phone and credit cards are scanned in, the new accessory is „a completely phone-free solution.“ Users will be able to pay at compatible NFC terminals using Pagaré without having their smartphone nearby. The company is looking to the future, as well, with plans to introduce transit and entertainment ticket options into the Pagaré suite of tools if the Kickstarter gets funded.

As of writing, the campaign sits at just over a $26,000 funded level with a goal of $120,000 over the next 29 days. Users interested can get in on an early bird discount of the Pagaré for $49, and once those are gone the band will cost $69 at retail price. Higher early bird reward tiers bundle in the Pebble Time ($199), Pebble Time Steel ($249), and Pebble Time Round ($249) alongside a Pagaré smartstrap.

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Tim Cook Talks iPhone Sales, Apple TV, Campus 2, and More at Employee Town Hall Meeting

Following Apple’s first quarter earnings report, Apple executives hosted a Town Hall meeting with Apple employees to answer questions and to divulge a few details about the company’s future plans. 9to5Mac has shared highlights of what was covered at the event. While much of what was said was reiterating information that was shared during the earnings call, there are a few tidbits worth noting.

When it comes to the iPhone and the rumor that Apple has perhaps reached „peak iPhone,“ Cook said the device is the „greatest business of the future“ with growth potential in key emerging markets like India and China. He said Apple does not need to launch a less expensive device with pared-down features to entice buyers in these markets, as research suggests people will spend more for a better experience. These comments relate directly to the upcoming „iPhone 5se,“ which some rumors have suggested will be positioned as a less powerful, lower-end device, though not a cheap one by general smartphone standards.

On the Apple TV and tvOS, Cook said the two products point towards a „bright“ future for Apple, but he didn’t mention how Apple might expand its presence in the living room going forward. tvOS is Apple’s way of giving content providers the tools to offer streaming television solutions to customers after having failed to launch its own streaming service due to difficulties with negotiations. The most recent TV-related rumors suggest Apple is exploring the possibility of original content, following in the footsteps of Netflix and Amazon.

Cook also reportedly expressed excitement over future products coming from the company’s software, services, and hardware divisions. In the next few months, Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 5se, the iPad Air 3, new bands for the Apple Watch, and perhaps new Retina MacBooks and Retina MacBook Pros. Later in the year, Apple is also expected to introduce the highly-anticipated iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

He also teased „far off“ hardware products coming beyond 2016, perhaps hinting at the company’s work on the Apple Car or its exploration of virtual and augmented reality. Recent rumors suggest Apple is prototyping virtual reality headsets similar to the Oculus Rift.

The last bit of interesting information was on Apple Campus 2, the company’s second „spaceship“ campus that’s under development in Cupertino. Construction appears to be on track to be finished at the end of 2016, as Cook says the first employees will move into the campus by the end of January 2017. He also said the new underground auditorium will allow Apple to hold events on its grounds instead of at venues in San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area.

The meeting also included more mundane information on upcoming time-off benefits for Apple employees, flagging iPad sales, new solutions for retaining employee talent, and Apple’s supply chain, which can be read at 9to5Mac.

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Tim Cook Talks iPhone Sales, Apple TV, Campus 2, and More at Employee Town Hall Meeting