Tag - ITunes Match
Following the release of the first e-book volume of MacNN Pointers, we are offering another, shorter publication intended to help users -- a free PDF file called iTunes: More Than Just Your Music, a guide to exploring the various free and paid options for streaming music available through iTunes on OS X and through some third-party programs. The guide focuses on the differences between the built-in and free Internet Radio guide, the currently-free iTunes Radio feature (which will soon be folded into the subscription Apple Music section), Apple's flagship Beats 1 station, and of course the paid Apple Music services iTunes Match and Apple Music.
Apple is slowly rolling out upgrades to iTunes Match to its users, multiplying the track capacity of the cloud-based music storage service by four. Previously able to hold up to 25,000 tracks in the online music library, some users are starting to discover again that their account song allowance has been raised to a new maximum of 100,000 tracks in total, just as Apple said it would complete "before the end of the year."
In addition to today's update of the iOS 9.2 beta, Apple has also released a developer-only third tvOS 9.1 beta. The upcoming update, expected to be released early next year, will add promised but thus far missing features such as Siri control of Apple Music (Apple has already added Siri control of general searches and iTunes Match support). Also found in testing was some support for "app folders" as seen in iCloud.
In a follow-up response to his earlier remarks that the library size for iTunes Match and Apple Music subscribers will be vastly increased, Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue now believes that the upgrade, originally thought to be planned for release with iOS 9, should come "before the end of the year." The change would allow subscribers to either service to store many more songs matched, but not purchased, through the iTunes Store for access on multiple devices.
We reported last week on fellow Mac journalist Jim Dalrymple's particularly bad issues with iTunes 12.2 and later on the Mac, centered around the arrival of Apple Music and Apple's attempts to blend the paid service's ability to store songs for later streaming or offline use with some customers' existing or previous iTunes Match libraries, which appears to cause much confusion, ranging from mislabelled entries in the iTunes library to missing songs in some cases.
A feature from the iOS 8.4 release pruned by Apple was Home Sharing for music. While possibly removed for licensing reasons, the true reason for the original omission was unclear. However, the feature has been reinstated to all devices, not just the Apple TV, with the new developer beta of iOS 9.
[Update -- not all problems are fixed] A problem in the new iTunes 12.2 update -- which including a substantial behind-the-scenes change to the database part of the program to accommodate the new Apple Music features, and which caused confusion in metadata and album art in song files -- has allegedly been fixed in a new update, bringing the program to version 12.2.1. The update, now available through the Mac App Store, is also said to correct a problem where uploaded DRM-free music in users' iCloud Music Libraries had been replaced with DRM-enabled Apple Music versions.
The heralded Apple Music service launch has accompanied a merger of iTunes Match with Apple's new streaming service. However, possibly to appease record labels, some significant changes have been made to iTunes functionality, including the removal of Home Sharing for music on the iPhone and iPad, as well as substituting iTunes Matched songs downloaded to a device with DRM-laden versions.
Just spotted on one of our reviewers' Facebook page: a music fan has written "so long Spotify, it was good while it lasted." Time will tell -- specifically three months of time, as that's how long Apple's giving for free -- but we're already impressed with Apple Music. Not so impressed, however, with the expected problem of it being difficult to download the necessary updates while everyone else in the world was trying to grab them too. Actively disappointed with the unexpected issues facing some unknown number of iTunes Match users, as well. Yet in terms of what Apple Music does, and what it's like, we actually are impressed.
The launch on Tuesday of Apple Music appears to be wreaking havoc with existing users of iTunes Match, the company's virtual music cloud storage service. Reports beginning yesterday and worsening today indicate that users who have not or are unable to currently update their iOS version to the just-released 8.4, as well as Apple TV users, are seeing issues including duplicate entries for artists and playlists, inaccurate album art, and a general inability to download or stream songs.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.4 ( -2.7 )
WhatsApp now handles over 100M calls daily
WhatsApp is celebrating that it is being used for over 100 million calls every day. In a brief notice, the Facebook-owned messaging platform advises the voice-calling feature it rolled out to its users last year now deals with an average of over 1,100 calls initiated per second. Earlier this year, it increased the security of its calls and other messages, by introducing end-to-end encryption on all platforms. http://bit.ly/292HqCX
Adele's '25' album now streaming
Recording artist Adele has "pulled a Kanye" after saying that her current album "25" would not be available for streaming. The seven-month-old record, which has yielded a number of hit singles, is now available for streaming on all the major streaming services, such as Apple Music and Spotify, as of today in most major markets, with worldwide distribution to come. Reportedly, the singer had demanded streaming be limited to paid subscribers -- a condition that has hurt some streamers with artists, who aren't paid royalties for free or trial listens . Apple pays performers its normal royalty rates during its free trial, avoiding the issue -- and having repeated success in both signing up exclusives and placing those exclusives into the top of the charts. http://ti.me/28U7NOu
SanDisk iXpand case has battery, storage
A new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s case from SanDisk appears to be the "holy grail" of accessories: a stylish and protective case that offers both extra storage as well as the option of extra battery power as well. The iXpand Memory case offers either 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB of additional storage incorporated into the case, and an optional add-on battery pack (sold separately) adds up to an extra day or more of charge. Through the associated iXpand app, camera photos and videos can be automatically stored on the extra storage, optionally password-protected, The cost for the case is (in order of storage capacity) $60, $100, and $130. The battery pack's release data has not yet been announced, but the add-on should retail for an additional $30. http://bit.ly/291epHu
Fifth Hong Kong store to open June 30
The 46th official Apple store in what the company calls the "Greater China" region will open at 10AM local time in Hong Kong's New Town Plaza in the Sha Tin district on Thursday, June 30, according to a new page on Apple's retail website. Despite slowing growth due to economic turmoil in China, the country is still Apple's fastest-growing market. The new story will be the fifth for Hong Kong, a lucrative market for Apple thanks to the high concentration of wealth there and a thriving "gray" market. Normal store hours for the new store will be 10AM to 10PM every day. http://apple.co/291diaT
Apple Music bug bites very short songs
There appears to be a reproducible bug in the current version of iTunes -- version 12.4.1, running on OS X 10.11.5, both the current non-beta versions of the respective software -- that causes a streamed song to become "stuck" in endless buffering if the streamed item just before this happened was 60 seconds or less in length. The problem appears to stem from code in iTunes that signals the next track to start downloading one minute before the currently-playing track is done, and thus songs shorter than one minute don't trigger the download. Locally-stored music is unaffected by the bug, and the problem does not appear to exist in either the macOS Sierra developer beta or versions of iTunes earlier than 12.4, and does not affect the iOS Music app at all. http://bit.ly/291cN0l
Walmart Pay expands to 15 states
Walmart, one of the key progenitors of the failed CurrentC mobile payment system that was distinguished from Apple Pay by its ability to collect and share customer financial and buying data among its participants, has expanded the soft rollout of its alternative solution "Walmart Pay" to an additional 15 US states following a pilot program in Arkansas and Texas last month. Walmart continues to resist adding Apple Pay. The system, built into the Walmart app for iOS and Android, works with a complicated system of the camera scanning a purchase code at the register, then generating a QR code which is then scanned by the register. The system is available now in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC. http://apple.co/28SqZfu
Amazon refreshes entry-level Kindle
Amazon has added a new Kindle to its ebook reader range, one that is thinner and lighter than the previous entry-level model. Offering a six-inch 167-dpi touchscreen display, a doubled 4GB of storage, and an option for a white casing, the new model also adds in the ability to export highlights and notes to an email account as a PDF. Two versions of the all-new Kindle are available, priced at $80 including "Special Offers" and $100 without. http://amzn.to/28Q4c3R