Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi Discuss Bloated Software Accusations, Upcoming iTunes Plans

Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi spoke with John Gruber in this week’s episode of „The Talk Show,“ where they commented on recent opinions that Apple’s software isn’t up to snuff and offered some details on a new version of iTunes coming in OS X 10.11.4.

Last week, Re/code‘s Walt Mossberg wrote a piece entitled „Apple’s Apps Need Work,“ pointing towards a „gradual degradation“ in quality in several Apple apps and services like iCloud, Mail, and Photos. iTunes for the desktop was one of the most heavily criticized apps, with Mossberg saying he „dreads“ opening it because it’s „bloated, complex, and sluggish.“

During the podcast, Gruber asked Eddy Cue about Mossberg’s opinion, prompting him to give some background on how Apple wanted the iTunes experience to work. iTunes, Cue said, was designed at a time when people synced their devices via cable, so offering a centralized place with all of a user’s content was key. With Apple Music, Apple decided on a design that would put music front and center while also integrating cloud music with hard copies purchased through iTunes.

„We decided in the short term that what we wanted to do is really make it when you’re in music and iTunes, all you see is music,“ said Cue. He went on to explain that Apple is continually re-evaluating iTunes, and there are plans to release a refreshed version alongside OS X 10.11.4 next month.

„That’s not to say we are continuing… and will continue to think about what’s the best way to architect the app and whether it makes sense to do a separate app for some of the components that are in there or all of the components that are in there. But right now, we think we’ve designed iTunes and you’ll see we’ve got a new refresh with the new version of OS X that’s coming out next month that makes it even easier to use in the music space.“

Cue and Federighi went on to talk about the issues that arise whenever Apple makes major changes to software, as there are always people who prefer not to see significant changes. According to Federighi, there’s a „tricky balancing act“ with software updates.

„People are serious about their music and their collection, and so I think we debate pretty heavily internally the right way to evolve these things. We tend to err on the side of being pretty bold, but there’s a lot of responsibility.

The two also highlighted the immense scale that Apple is working on, with more than 1 billion active devices and 782 million iCloud users. More than 200,000 iMessages per second are sent at peak times, and there are more than 750 million transactions per week in the iTunes Store and the App Store. Apple Music has grown to 11 million subscribers and more than 2.5 million errors in Maps have been fixed, a number presented as evidence that Apple is continually working on its software.

„I would say first there’s nothing we care about more,“ said Federighi, speaking on Apple’s software and services. He believes Apple’s core software quality has improved significantly over the course of the last five years, but pointed towards an ever-raising bar that pushes Apple to keep evolving and implementing new features. „Every year we realize the things we were good at last year and the techniques we were using to build the best software we can are not adequate for the next year because the bar keeps going up,“ he said.

Federighi and Cue’s full discussion with John Gruber about the state of software, the desktop version of iTunes, and Apple’s efforts to expand its public beta program, can be listed to over on the Daring Fireball website.

Tags: iTunes, Apple Music
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Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi Discuss Bloated Software Accusations, Upcoming iTunes Plans

Amazon Echo adds Spotify to its musical repertoire

Amazon’s Echo smart speaker just upped its music game, adding Spotify streaming to its ever-growing list of skills. Now playing your favorite artists and playlists is just a voice command away — at least if you’re a Spotify Premium subscriber. “Now playing your favorite music from Spotify is as easy as asking Alexa,” said Toni […]

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


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Amazon Echo adds Spotify to its musical repertoire

App Store and iTunes Experiencing Issues for Many Users Worldwide

Apple has updated its System Status page to reflect that many users may be unable to access, purchase, or update apps on the App Store on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Multiple other iCloud services are or were also experiencing downtime, including the iTunes Store, iBooks Store, iCloud Drive, and iWork for iCloud.

The issues began shortly before 7:00 a.m. Pacific and appear to be widespread, affecting customers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere, according to social media posts. Apple TV services and Apple’s Volume Purchase Program are also affected by the service issues.

Update (9:10 a.m. Pacific): Apple’s System Status page shows that the App Store, iTunes, and other iCloud services have been restored.

Tags: App Store, iTunes, iCloud, downtime, system status
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App Store and iTunes Experiencing Issues for Many Users Worldwide

Apple May Develop Original TV Shows Exclusively for iTunes and Streaming TV Service

Apple has met with TV producers and Hollywood studios about developing original TV shows to offer exclusively to its iTunes customers, according to TheStreet. The article comes by way of independent contributor Ronald Grover, a longtime entertainment business journalist who has previously covered the media and entertainment industry for Reuters and Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

The original content could spearhead Apple’s plans to launch its oft-rumored streaming TV service, which has reportedly been placed on hold due to the iPhone maker’s difficulties in securing content deals with owners like CBS, ABC, Fox, Disney, and Viacom. The report, citing sources with knowledge of the matter, claims Apple could announce a cable-like offering alongside the iPhone 7 in September.

The Cupertino-based tech giant began sounding out Hollywood’s creative community late last year, but has yet to sign any agreements, according to two people with knowledge of the overtures. One plan is to have deals in place so Apple can announce exclusive content as part of a cable-like offering in September, when it is expected to unveil its iPhone 7, said one of the people.

The original TV shows would presumably be available for rent or purchase on iTunes, and/or through a subscription-based service like Netflix that would provide on-demand access to unlimited programming for a set monthly cost. Apple’s streaming TV service has been rumored to cost between $30 and $40 per month, but that price was contingent upon a „skinny bundle“ of TV channels rather than original programming.

Apple’s discussions with Hollywood executives are being led by iTunes chief Eddy Cue, and Robert Kondrk, vice-president of iTunes content, according to the report. In a recent interview, Cue said customers should be „able to buy whatever they want, however they want,“ and he used the App Store as an example of how Apple provides users with multiple ways to purchase content.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Apple has shown interest in acquiring Time Warner assets, which include CNN, HBO, TBS, TNT, NBA TV, Cartoon Network, its Warner Bros. movies division, and more. Gaining exclusive rights to the popular HBO series Game of Thrones would certainly give Apple a head start on its streaming TV service, along with Silicon Valley and other original programming.

Netflix, which collaborates with Hollywood on exclusive TV shows like Daredevil, House of Cards, Jessica Jones, and Orange is the New Black, has proven that original programming can be highly popular among consumers. Apple adopting a similar strategy could help bolster its own streaming TV service, which may be accessible on the web and devices like the Apple TV, Mac, iPad, and iPhone.

Tags: Eddy Cue, iTunes, thestreet.com, streaming TV service
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Apple May Develop Original TV Shows Exclusively for iTunes and Streaming TV Service

Apple Ceases Free iTunes Radio Streaming Worldwide

Apple today officially ended free streaming of its iTunes Radio channels worldwide, incorporating the catalogue of stations into its subscription-based Apple Music service.

The change follows Apple’s announcement earlier this month that its free radio-listening feature would be discontinued at the end of January but would remain available to Apple Music subscribers.

As of this morning, iOS Music app users who tap on a radio station are bounced to a screen prompting them to join Apple’s premium streaming music service.

Likewise, iTunes users on a Mac who attempt to access the stations or create their own are met with a dialog window asking them to „Get on Our Wavelength“ and join Apple Music.

Users with an iTunes Match subscription are also no longer able to access the stations. However, Apple’s Beats 1 radio channel remains available to iTunes users worldwide as a free listening option.

Apple had quietly continued to offer ad-supported iTunes Radio stations in the United States and Australia even after the launch of Apple Music on June 30, 2015. However, after the company’s decision to wind down its mobile iAd platform, the feature was already being limited in other regions to those who pay for Apple’s streaming music service.

iTunes Radio was originally released with iTunes 11.1 and iOS 7 as a free ad-supported service, offering music discovery through featured and genre stations provided by Apple or through the creation of new stations based on a specific artist or song.

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Apple Ceases Free iTunes Radio Streaming Worldwide

The future of driving tech and the nifty new features coming to iOS 9.3, on The CultCast

This week on The CultCast: super-sized drones, app-controlled robot bartenders, smart coffee mugs and the coolest of gadgets from CES 2016. Plus, don’t miss our picks for the absolutely, positively, you-should-install-them-today, most essential Mac and iOS apps. Our thanks to Harry’s for supporting this episode. Harry’s super-sharp, German-made razors ship free right to your door […]

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


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The future of driving tech and the nifty new features coming to iOS 9.3, on The CultCast

Walt Mossberg: Apple should fix its software in 2016

Walt Mossberg was Steve Jobs’ favorite critic, and has long been one of the most respected Apple analysts out there — with some people even arguing that he can be too forgiving when it comes to Cupertino’s mistakes. But in a new article about what tech companies should do to improve in 2016, Mossberg has […]

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


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Walt Mossberg: Apple should fix its software in 2016