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

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.

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

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 Music for Android Now Supports Saving Songs to SD Card

Apple today updated its Apple Music app for Android users, adding a new feature that allows them to save downloaded songs to an SD card on compatible smartphones. „You can now keep more music offline,“ reads the update note.

Several Android-based phones allow users to upgrade their storage using SD and microSD cards. As The Verge points out, with the ability to save downloaded content, Android users can potentially have access to more music than iOS users who are limited to a maximum of 128GB of storage on iPhones and iPads.

Today’s Android update also adds a full schedule for Beats 1 shows and it includes My Music options for browsing by Composers and Compilations, features previously available to iOS users.

Apple Music for Android first launched in November, marking Apple’s first major app for Android users. The Android-based app, available in all the countries where Apple Music for iOS is available, allows Android users to subscribe to the Apple Music service.

The Android Apple Music app, which remains in beta, can be downloaded from the Google Play Store for free. It comes with a free three-month Apple Music trial.

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Apple Music for Android Now Supports Saving Songs to SD Card

Apple Planning to Open Third Retail Store in Turkey in 2016

Apple is preparing to open a third retail store in Turkey, reports MacReports, citing a source familiar with the company’s plans. Set to open in Istanbul, the store will launch later in 2016.

Apple is said to be in the process of hiring for retail positions at the store and has posted advertisements on job sites in Turkey. The store will reportedly be located at the Emaar Square Mall in Istanbul. Still under constriction, the Emaar Square Mall will feature 491 stores and restaurants, a hotel, and apartment space for residents.

Emaar Square rendering, via MacReports

When it launches, the Emaar Square Apple Store will be the third Apple retail location in Istanbul, joining retail stores at Zorlu Mall and Akasya Mall, both of which opened in 2014. Turkey’s Zorlu store opened with quite a fanfare as it featured a unique design with an all glass exterior.

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Apple Planning to Open Third Retail Store in Turkey in 2016

Physics-Based Game ‘Piloteer’ Named App of the Week, Available for Free

Challenging physics-based game Piloteer has been named Apple’s App of the Week, and as a result, it’s available to download for free for the first time since it launched in June of 2015.

In Piloteer, the goal is to navigate a jetpack-wearing inventor through three gameplay environments to complete a series of 60 missions. Piloteer‘s tap-based controls are easy to grasp but difficult to master, so the inventor spends a lot of time being flung around and crashing to the ground in a heap of limbs.

Blending elements of both physics and trick-based games, players will need to maneuver their state-of-the-art jetpack through the skies while completing a myriad of increasingly difficult missions to change public perceptions.

Players will find themselves immersed in a wholly integrated physics simulation, making the beautiful world around them feel dynamic, unpredictable, and alive.

Along with Career mode for completing missions, Piloteer also includes a Free Fly mode and a series of GameCenter achievements to earn.

Piloteer will be available from the App Store for free for the next week. [Direct Link]

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Physics-Based Game ‘Piloteer’ Named App of the Week, Available for Free

Apple Introduces New ‘Night Shift’ Feature in iOS 9.3

Apple’s latest beta, iOS 9.3, brings quite a few changes to iOS 9, including a new „Night Shift“ feature. Night Shift is designed to cut down on the amount of blue light an iOS device is putting out during the evening hours, based on studies that have demonstrated that blue light can negatively impact sleep by altering the body’s circadian rhythm.

With Night Shift mode enabled, when the sun goes down, the iPhone’s screen will automatically change towards the warmer (yellower) colors in the spectrum, reducing blue light. In the morning, the display automatically turns to its normal temperature color, mimicking natural daylight.

Many people who use f.lux on the Mac are likely already familiar with the type of visual changes to expect with Night Shift mode. f.lux is an app that has been available for free on the Mac for several years, successfully cutting down on the amount of blue light that users see at night.

In fact, f.lux recently attempted to introduce an iOS app that featured the same functionality, but because it used private APIs, it skirted the App Store by asking users to side-load the app on their devices using Xcode, something Apple asked f.lux to put a stop to shortly after it was released.

At the time, Apple said that asking users to side-load an app violated the Developer Program Agreement, and f.lux was forced to stop providing the app to iOS users. F.lux appealed and asked Apple to allow the necessary APIs for a legitimate App Store app, but it appears Apple was working on its own in-house solution instead.

Night Shift is currently available to developers who have downloaded the iOS 9.3 beta. Today’s beta also includes several other important features, including the ability for an iPhone to connect with more than one Apple Watch and improvements to Apple News, Notes, Health, and CarPlay.

Update: The Night Shift feature appears to be limited to iOS devices that have a 64-bit processor. That includes the iPhone 5s and later, the iPad Air and later, and the iPad mini 2 and later.

Related Roundup: iOS 9
Tag: iOS 9.3
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Apple Introduces New ‘Night Shift’ Feature in iOS 9.3

Space Black Milanese Loop Apple Watch Band Spotted on Apple Store

A new Space Black Milanese Loop band for the Apple Watch has been spotted on the Czech Republic Apple Store website today, hinting towards an incoming announcement for the new Milanese Loop band (via 9to5Mac). The new accessory appears to match the Space Black Stainless Steel Apple Watch case, similar to that of the Space Black Link Bracelet.

The Czech Republic Apple Store listing parrots much of the same information as the traditional Milanese Loop, pointing to a possible launch date in about a week. Besides a handful of new color options for the Sport Band lineup earlier in 2015, Apple has yet to expand its higher-end Apple Watch accessory market with as many options for customers.

The Space Black Milanese Loop’s Czech Republic listing only mentions a 42mm option, although if made official it seems that Apple would also include a 38mm alternative, akin to that of the original Milanese Loop band. The new band was also spotted on the Portugal and Hungary Apple Store sites, but all of them lack any official buy button at the time of writing. As usual, today’s spotting could be some kind of mix-up and there is a possibility that the Space Black Milanese Loop band won’t make it to consumer markets.

Update: Links to the Space Black Milanese Loop’s online store page have been removed, and now redirect to the existing stainless steel option.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 2
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Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)
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Space Black Milanese Loop Apple Watch Band Spotted on Apple Store

Apple Offering Free Next Day Delivery On December 23

For procrastinators and last minute shoppers, Apple is planning to offer free next day delivery on December 23rd, ensuring Apple products and accessories will arrive in time for the upcoming Christmas holiday. According to Apple’s website, customers who place an order for an in-stock item by 2:00 p.m. on 12/23 will be eligible for free next day delivery.

In-store pickup orders made two hours before closing on 12/24 will also be available in any Apple retail location. Holiday hours for each retail store are available using Apple’s store locator tool.

Apple already offers free next day shipping on the iPhone, but other products like iPads, Apple Watches, Macs, and accessories are delivered using two day shipping. Products ordered ahead of 12/23 will deliver on time using the standard two day shipping that Apple provides.

As a reminder, Apple’s annual extended return policy is now in effect on the Apple Online Store and in retail locations in the United States, Canada, and many other countries. Most products and accessories purchased between November 1 and December 25 are eligible for return until January 8, 2016, extending the typical 14-day return policy. In some European countries, return dates are extended until January 20, 2016.
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Apple Offering Free Next Day Delivery On December 23