Tag - ITunes Store
Canadian users visiting the country's version of the iTunes store now have the option of donating to the Canadian Red Cross for disaster relief in Fort McMurray, Alberta, a town best known as the center of the country's oilsands industry. Wildfires in nearby areas have grown to cover 620 square miles -- about the size of the whole of New York City -- and forced the evacuation of over 80,000 people. On the US iTunes Store, the American Red Cross continues to focus on donations for earthquake relief in Japan and Ecuador.
An outage earlier today has since been corrected, but affected users around the world with a roughly two-hour disruption of the various App Stores, some iCloud services, and related features such as Apple Maps. As of 11AM ET, the problem has been fixed and all services are reporting operational again, but no explanation of the nature of the outage or the percentage of users affected has been reported by Apple. The downtime struck for about two hours from around 10AM Eastern Time until noon.
Though the year isn't quite over yet, Apple's iTunes Stores staff have posted their picks for the best (as well as top-selling, which are often different) apps, music, e-books and movies/TV shows for 2015 on its various stories. Twitter's live video app Periscope won App of the Year, with Lara Croft GO winning Game of the year, while the company set up small collections of winners for most other categories as the "best" in other areas. "A Little Life," a novel by Hanya Yanagihara was singled out as Apple's favorite fiction book of the year.
A new follow-up to the Beatles: 1 collection, originally launched in 2000, has now appeared exclusively on the iTunes Store. The new 1+ collection consists entirely of promotional films and music videos for 50 of the Beatles' hit singles, often filmed for cinemas in Europe and other reasons after the band stopped touring. The $27 download collection includes videos for the 27 number-one hit singles for the band, along with 23 other films, including some alternate versions.
[Update: outage has ended] Some of Apple's online services are down, for at least some users, in a prolonged attack that started around 8:30PM Pacific Time on Wednesday and is currently ongoing. Prior to that, 0.6 percent of iCloud users were cut off from iCloud Tabs and iCloud Keychain services for about an hour and 45 minutes, beginning around 7PM PT. At the time of writing, Apple's System Status page shows the App Store, Apple TV, the iBookstore, iTunes Store, Mac App Store and Volume Purchase Program are either slow or down entirely for some percentage of users.
While the news will come as a surprise to those outside China, the country is only just today getting its own Apple Music service and some of the various iTunes Stores, including Movies and the iBookstore for the first time. The various stores will, as is the case in most other countries, emphasize native artists at least as much as western acts. Local heroes such as G.E.M. and Eason Chan will be seen in the Music store alongside popular western artists. The Movies store will feature Chinese cinema and Hollywood films, while the iBookstore will offer a wide selection of native-language e-books.
A widespread but apparently brief outage was reported to have affected Apples online digital storefronts this morning, such as the App Store, iTunes Store and Mac App Store. The problem appeared to occur worldwide, but Apple's System Status Page did not acknowledge the issue until hours after it was resolved, which occurred at approximately 8:30AM Pacific. The company suffered a much longer and more severe outage just two weeks ago.
[Update: Apple acknowledges issues] A range of Apple's online services are experiencing issues, with the majority of problems relating to the company's online stores. The iTunes Store, App Store, and Mac App Store are all apparently having issues loading up elements of some store pages, though the issues are also apparently affecting back-end services as well as those on the consumer side.
Apple has launched a new area on the iTunes Store in the US, simply dubbed "Free on iTunes." rel='nofollow' The section highlights free song and TV downloads. Some musical examples include singles from Waters, Sharon Van Etten, The Babies, and Penguin Prison. TV content includes episodes from Backstrom, 12 Monkeys, The Musketeers, and other shows.
As was the case last year, Canadians are once again getting a sale on selected albums in iTunes as part of a "Boxing Day" event, part of a traditional observance throughout Canada and a number of other Commonwealth countries. The UK iTunes Store is also having a sale on hit albums, but doesn't label the event as a "Boxing Day" sale. US users don't get a sale, but are instead enjoying special holiday channels on iTunes Radio, which remains unavailable in the UK and Canada.
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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