Apple Releases iOS 8.4 with Apple Music and a lot of improvements!

Apple has now made iOS 8.4 available to everyone for download. If it hasn’t happened already, you should be receiving the relevant update notification on your iOS device in the next few hours.

iOS 8.4’s most notable feature is, as you may know, Apple Music. The company’s new music streaming service is included in this release. So today also marks the official debut of Apple Music.

You will find the new service inside the redesigned Music app for iOS. Along with this, the latest software release also contains some unnamed improvements to iBooks and bug fixes throughout the OS.

Apple Music should be accessible from more than 100 countries across the globe. It offers a three month long free trial, after which you have to pay $9.99 per month. A $14.99 per month family plan is also available, and this works for up to 6 persons.

It has a few different components to it. First off, you can stream any song you want from Apple’s vast collection. But then there’s also Beats 1, a live radio station that will be broadcast 24/7 exclusively on Apple Music, with tracks chosen by real people, not algorithms. The same human touch is employed in the “For You” section which has recommendations of playlists and albums to listen to. And finally, Apple’s service lets artists directly connect with their fans if they want to.

Update: looks like ios 8.4 is jailbreakable with PP jailbreak. Should wait the confirmation from saurik and the jb team.

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Taylor Swift slams Apple for not paying artists, Apple reverses policy!

In case you haven’t heard about it yet, Taylor Swift wrote an open letter to Apple regarding their iTunes store policies, specifically regarding the new iTunes streaming service that Apple is about to launch soon.

The letter, published on Swift’s personal Tumblr, talked about why she is not allowing her new album ’1989′ to be streamed on iTunes. She mentioned how Apple is not paying artists for first three months of the launch of the service.

With streaming services, artists get paid according to the plays on their songs. If Apple is giving the service for free to its customers, it should reimburse the artists for the three months of lost revenue, which they don’t. (Worth noting is that Swift also does not have her entire discography on Spotify for similar monetary reasons.)

Swift further talked about how people in the music industry were dissatisfied with this move but were afraid to speak up publicly “because we admire and respect Apple so much.” She later finished her post saying “We don’t ask you for free iPhones. Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music for no compensation.”

It didn’t take long for the post to go viral and get people talking about it even on a Sunday. But before it escalated further, Apple quickly stepped in and tried to make amends. Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President, Internet Software and Services, personally called Swift. In an interview with Billboard he said, “When I woke up this morning and saw what Taylor had written, it really solidified that we needed to make a change. And so that’s why we decide we will now pay artists during the trial period.” He then confirmed Apple will be paying the artists out of its own pockets for the first three months of the service, and that it was never their intent to not compensate artists.

Swift later tweeted out saying she was “Elated and relieved”, although she didn’t confirm if she will be making her album available for streaming on iTunes.

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WWDC 2015: Apple announces OS X El Capitan, iOS 9, Apple Music and so much more!

OS-X-El-Capitan

Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference has kicked off in San Francisco this morning with a keynote talk at 10am PST. Surprisingly, Apple has skipped the usual round of business updates and went right for the big news.

Following months of speculation and rumor mongering, the California firm has formally unveiled the next major version of the Mac operating system. It’s called OS X 10.11 El Capitan.

Yup, you read that right.

OS X 10.11 has new gestures like the shaking gesture to show the mouse pointer and more.

Safari Pin Tabs

In Safari, you can pin a website.

pin Tabs

Pin Tabs have a dedicated icon left to the tab bar. If a tab plays audio, there’s a new option to see what website is playing and can mute it with a click of the mouse button.

Spotlight Search Improvements
The improved Spotlight has better natural language processing so you can search for stuff like “Mail I ignored from Phil,” “Documents I worked on last June” and more.

OS X El Capitan Spotlight

Improved Mission Control
You can now snap windows to either side of the screen directly in Mission Control, similar to Windows 7, which provides a great way to work split-screen. If you drag a window past the top of the screen, it takes it immediately full screen. And if you drag another window on top of it, you’ve just created a split-screen environment. Super handy.

And if you drag a window past the top of the screen, it takes it immediately full screen. And if you drag another window on top of it, you’ve just created a split-screen environment.

Split View

Super handy.

Performance

OS X El Capitan features some serious plumbing work to accelerate your daily computing. You’ll experience 1.4 times acceleration in app launching, 2x faster in snappiness, four times faster opening PDF in Preview and more.

Metal, an iOS 8 framework for close-to-the-metal access to the GPU is now available to Mac developers.

Metal in OS X El Capitan delivers 50 percent increase in graphics performance and 40 percent greater rendering efficiency, leading to better battery life.

El Capitan performance improvement

Metal will do wonders for all kinds of Mac applications.

Apple is working with Adobe, which will update its creative apps for the Mac with support for Metal technology. Epic Games showed off an updated Unreal Engine with Metal support.

A demo shown off on stage included 64 layers of shading, with all the effects done completely in real-time. Epic said Metal on OS X El Capitan delivers a 70 percent reduction in CPU use compared to OpenGL.

OS X El Capitan Beta today

Apple has taken the stage this morning inside San Francisco’s Moscone West to deliver the latest advancements to its three crucial platforms: iOS, OS X and watchOS.

According to Apple, registered Mac developers will have their chance to download the first beta of OS X 10.11 El Capitan later today, which just got officially announced, after the event has wrapped up (currently, Apple’s portal for developers is down).

Members of Apple’s OS X Public Beta Program will be able to try out El Capitan next month, and we’ll update you on that as soon as it becomes available.

For everyone else, OS X 10.11 El Capitan will roll out this fall as a free update.

OS X El Capitan free upgrade fall

OS X 10.11 includes an improved Mission Control with great window snapping features, an enhanced Safari browser with the Pin Tabs feature, Spotlight Search improvements and a number of performance optimizations revolving around Metal for Mac and more.

iOS 9

Ask More to Siri

Finishing up with OS X El Capitan, Apple’s Craig Federighi moves on to talk about Siri. Apple has been working on a number of improvements to the digital assistant, which has been criticized over the years for lagging behind the efforts of Google and others.

In line with run-up event rumors, Siri is getting more intelligent in iOS 9 thanks to ‘Proactive,’ which makes your device more contextually aware.

For some examples, saying “Show me photos from Utah from last August” will now return all of your photos that have been geo-tagged in Utah. “Remind me to grab coffee off the roof of my car when I get in” will also work, because Siri knows when you’re in the car.

Spotlight iOS 9

Spotlight search has been completely redesigned for iOS 9, and it brings with it a new interface, a new search API, deep linking to search results, and more. With an interface that harkens back to the pre-iOS 7 days, search is now a powerful new tool in iOS.

iOS 9 Search

To access the new search interface, you’ll need to swipe right on the Home screen to reveal the search panel. Not only do you get the standard search input box, but you’re provided with Siri suggestions, nearby information based on your location, news, Netflix movies, sports schedules, and more.

One of the most impressive things about the new search interface is its ability to deep link into the apps that you have installed on your phone. When tapping on one of the app links provided in the search interface, you’ll be taken directly into the respective apps, and not just to the app’s main interface, but deep into the location in the app that relates to the specific search result.

Apple Pay UK

Apple Pay, Apple’s wireless payment system, will be coming to the United Kingdom next mont with 250,000 UK merchant locations. Commuters using London transportation system will be able to use Apple Pay, too. Furthermore, the system will be available to Discover’s 50 million card members this fall, said Apple during the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote today.

Trader Joe’s, J.C. Penneys and many other retailers will be joining Apple Pay soon. Small business will be supported on Apple Pay through Square via a brand new reader that will be available on Apple Stores.

Apple will enable loyalty and rewards in-store cards through Apple Pay this fall, it’s been confirmed.

Developers are seeing more than 2x checkout conversion rate with Apple Pay, noted the firm, saying that Pinterest will roll out support for Apple Pay next month.

Maps Transit

It’s transit time! Apple just announced that its Apple Maps service now provides transit lines, bus stations, ferry lines and more.

Available across Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod devices, the improved Apple Maps also sports departure times, multi-modal routing with step-by-step directions and estimated times for walking directions.

You can now find locations by type with just a tap, with a new icon telling you if a business location accepts Apple Pay.

Noting that Apple is seeing 3.5 times higher Maps usage compared to the “next leading mapping app,” the firm has said that you’ll be able to ask Siri for transit directions, too.

Maps cities launch transit

Apple Maps will be rolling out to a select number of major cities throughout the world, including more than a hundred cities in China.

Wallet rewards

During its WWDC conference today, Apple announced that it has decided to change the name of its stock iOS app Passbook to Wallet. The move makes sense, considering that last fall it took over Apple Pay duties, and soon it will be getting store and reward cards.

That’s right, you can now add store and rewards cards from retailers and restaurants. Kohl’s, Walgreens, Dunkin Donuts are all apparently on board for the launch of this initiative, and it sounds like Apple is talking to a number of other high profile partners.

Notes Sketch

Apple says that many iPhone users use the Notes app regularly to do things like create lists, capture ideas, and more. As a big proponent of the Notes app, I completely concur.

Notes on iOS 9 brings some significant new improvements to the Notes app to help those users, including the ability to create lists, rich text, and hand-drawn notes, and more.

Notes Checklist

The new Notes app will also allow you to add content directly from Safari, Apple Maps, and other apps. This is done via the share sheet, which is accessible via the share button on supported apps.

Lastly, you’ll be able to use your camera directly from the Notes app to add photos. As someone who often captures images for documentation, the ability to do this right from within the Notes app is a great feature.

Keyboard improvements

Apple has said that people using iOS 9 on their iPads will be more productive thanks to an improved QuickType virtual keyboard. The suggestion bar introduced in iOS 8 now has handy shortcuts to format your content, move between apps, position the cursor and even multitask like a pro.

Located right at the top of the QuickType keyboard, a new bar provides access to handy shortcuts to cut, copy and paste text. You also get shortcuts for rich text formatting, accessing attachments and your photos and much more.

iOS 9 new app switcher

Probably the coolest feature of the improved QuickType keyboard is the ability to move a cursor by dragging: just put two fingers on the keyboard and it essentially turns it into a virtual trackpad of sorts, allowing you to position the cursor more precisely and easily than before, no need to use the copy-paste loupe whatsoever.

ios 9 battery

Among the many new features Apple announced today in iOS 9, is a new Low Power battery mode. Much like the feature of the same name on Apple Watch, the new iOS feature will help save precious battery life on your iPhone or iPad.

MULTITASKING Finally!

Split View multitasking

True multitasking is now a reality on the iPad! With iOS 9, you can view two apps at the same time and interact with them using multitouch at the same time.

You can also adjust the Split View between the two apps on the fly, and access additional apps by means of a brand new App Switcher. You’ll even be able to watch videos via a brand new Picture in Picture mode.

Picture in Picture

The new multitasking interface works using four main components:

App Switcher – The App Switcher has been completely redesigned in iOS 9.

iOS 9 new app switcher

Slide Over – Lets you open a second app from the side of the screen without leaving the app that you’re currently using. Slide over is available for the following iPad models:

  • iPad Air
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad mini 2
  • iPad Mini 3

Split View is available only on the iPad Air 2, and allows two apps to be open and active on screen at the same time. You can then use multitouch gestures with both apps simultaneously.

Slide Over

Picture in Picture – Will scale down a video so that you can enjoy the video while doing things like web browsing and checking email.

Multitasking on the iPad is a complete game-changer, and one of the biggest changes to the iPad since the original device launched in 2010. Seriously, it looks incredible, and I’m going out to buy a new iPad Air 2 asap.

HomeKit iOS 9

HomeKit, Apple’s platform for the connected home that was unveiled last summer, is beginning to pick up support from some well-established names in smart home appliances.

Last week, several vendors brought out some compelling HomeKit-certified home automation devices ahead of the Worldwide Developers Conference. And now, HomeKit is going to get a lot smarter with support for new types of home automation systems and improved remote management of your home.

In addition to the existing crop of device types for the connected home, HomeKit in iOS 9 will support many more types of sensors to make your connect home smarter, including windows shades, carbon monoxide sensors, motion sensors and dedicated security systems as well.

Additionally, you will be able to access and manage your home via iCloud.

It should be noted that the current crop of devices can be managed remotely through the Apple TV acting as a HomeKit hub, or a dedicated HomeKit hub device.

iOS 9 beta today

In wrapping up its iOS 9 preview at WWDC, Apple announced availability for the upcoming software update. As usual, it looks like a beta will be available to developers sometime after the keynote today, but there’s a bit of a new twist this year.

iOS 9 public fall

As with previous versions of OS X, Apple says that non-developers will be able to get in on the beta festivities this year. You can sign up here for Apple’s public beta testing program, and it will be released in the vague timeframe of “July.”

For those who don’t care about pre-release betas, Apple says iOS 9 will be available to the public “this fall.”

Watch face photo

Framed as a “giant moment” that feels like “opening the App Store” back in 2008, Apple CEO Tim Cook today at Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco said that apps for the Apple Watch, which launched just six weeks ago, will soon run natively on the device through the new watchOS.

The forthcoming Apple Watch operating system update, among other things, brings out a pair of additional watch faces with custom Complications.

watchOS 2 (yes, that’s what they’re calling it) also includes a plethora of other enhancements such as improvements in communications, health and fitness, Maps, Siri and more.

watchos 2 third party

Now that it’s done talking about OS X El Capitan and iOS 9, Apple has moved on to watchOS. In previewing the Apple Watch’s first major software update, the company has announced several new features including support for third party complications.

Apple Music is official

Apple Music

“The next chapter in music,” the rumored Apple-branded subscription streaming-music service, is now official. Apple CEO Tim Cook brought Jimmy Iovine today on stage in San Francisco to deliver what Apple’s been doing in the music space.

Apple Music is all your playlists, recommendations, radio stations with celebrity DJs, streaming music, the Connect feature that’s basically artists pages with information about their songs, behind-the-scenes videos, news updates and more, all available through one app.

Here’s what else Apple Music is all about.

Apple Music is “All the ways you love music, all in one place.”

Apple Music three pilars

It’s three things:

  • Revolutionary music service
  • 24/7 global radio
  • Connecting fans with artists

Revolutionary music service

Apple Music is curated by hand-picked experts to help create the magic of what app comes up next, depending on your activity, mood and a number of other criteria.

Apple Music revolutionary music service

All your purchase music and playlists created on Macs and iOS devices are included in the My Music section of Apple Music. Another new tab is For You, a personalized playlists of artists and songs that Apple’s team of experts thinks you’ll love, with a little help of the iTunes recommendation engine.

These recommendations can be explored by genre and activity.

“Algorithms alone can’t do that emotional taks,” said Iovine.

24/7 global radio

They’re calling it Beats One.

Apple Music Global Radio

As for the global radio, they’re using celebrity DJs in three major cities—New York, Los Angeles and London—that provides great music “without any restriction.”

Connecting fans with artists

Noting that the streaming music and video space is “a fragmented mess,“ Iovine said that Apple Music delivers the art of music, with the sense of respect and discovery, giving artists a place to engage with their audiences.

Artists can post, publish and update anything, and fans can like and comment on those posts.

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WWDC 2015: What to expect from Apple tomorrow?

WWDC-2015-Wallpaper-for-Mac 2880 x 1800

As it does every year around this time, Apple is getting ready to host its Worldwide Developers Conference. The popular conference will take place between June 8 and June 12, and will give developers a glimpse at the future of iOS and OS X.

To kick off the event, Apple will give a keynote address on the 8th, where it will make all of its most significant announcements. As usual, it’s been fairly quiet about its plans, but there are several things we’re expecting to see come Monday.

OS X

Rumor has it that Apple is using this year’s OS X release (believed to be 10.11) to shore up major features like Handoff and polish the new design introduced in Yosemite. Think Snow Leopard. Apple has been widely criticized for OS X 10.10, which has been riddled with Wi-Fi issued and other bugs since its release. It’s expected to fix a lot these issues in 10.11, as well as introduce a new system-wide font and security features such as Rootless and Trusted Wi-Fi.

iOS

Like OS X, the next version of iOS (likely iOS 9) is expected to be more of a Snow Leopard-like release, with less of the focus on new features and more on refinements. iOS 8, too, has been criticized for bugs and stability issues, and it sounds like Apple means to squash those bugs in iOS 9.

That doesn’t mean we won’t see any new features, though. Rumors indicate that Apple is working on a new Google Now-like feature called Proactive, which will make Siri smarter and more contextually-aware, as well as the ability to run apps side-by-side on iPad, and access to public transit information in its Maps app. We’re also expecting design tweaks, and various other enhancements.

iPad-Pro-mockup-video-image-001-1024x826

Music

Apple is expected to talk about the overhaul of two major services on Monday: Beats Music and iTunes Radio. Let’s discuss the former first. It’s been reported that Apple is rebranding the streaming music service, which it acquired as part of its $3 billion Beats purchase last year, to simply ‘Apple Music’ and has rebuilt it from the ground up. Rumored features include a $10/month subscription fee, a 3-month free trial to make up for the fact that there’s no free tier offering, exclusive content, and a focus on music curation and discovery.

As for iTunes Radio, it hasn’t really made the splash that Apple had hoped for in its short tenure, so it’s expected to get refreshed next week as well. Rumored features for the radio service have been more scarce, but we have heard that Apple has been hiring up ‘celebrity DJs’ like Drake, Pharrell and French DJ David Guetta.

Apple Watch

We know of at least one major Apple Watch-related announcement coming next week—Apple itself confirmed it already. The company plans to give developers a preview of its new SDK at WWDC, which will allow them to develop native apps for the wearable. Since its launch in April, Apple Watch has been criticized for its slow and clunky third-party app experience, and the new SDK is expected to remedy that.

Other potential Apple Watch announcements include new security features like Find My Watch, and talk of third-party bands as part of the newly-launched ‘Made for Apple Watch’ initiative. We also expect Apple to talk about how well the Watch has been selling over the last 2 months, and the upcoming expansion to 7 more countries.

Apple TV

For months, reports have been pointing to a new Apple TV set-top box and possibly a new streaming TV service making appearances at WWDC, but sadly, that talk has been put to rest. Within the last week, multiple credible outlets have claimed that Apple has decided to delay the announcement of its new TV hardware because it’s “not quite ready for prime time.” Like-wise, we’ve heard the same thing about the TV service.

Prior to the news, we were expecting Apple to show off a slimmer, more powerful set-top box at WWDC, with a much improved remote control and an operating system that would support native apps (it’s possible Apple could still announce an Apple TV SDK). For the service, reports suggested that Apple was putting together a cheap, web-based alternative to cable with a slimmer channel lineup and unique mix of live and on-demand content. Learn more about Apple’s TV plans below.

Apple Pay

There hasn’t been much talk about Apple Pay in the run-up to WWDC, outside of one New York Times report that claims the mobile payment service is likely getting a rewards program soon. The program, reportedly, will allow retailers to offer customers coupons, store cash and other promotions for making purchases using Apple Pay.

HomeKit

There has been lot of talk about HomeKit in recent weeks, as multiple companies have announced products that will support the smart home platform. Announced at last year’s WWDC, HomeKit acts as a unifying bridge and dashboard for various accessories. The goal is to allow users to control products made from different manufacturers with touch and voice controls, and rumor has it that there is an app coming in iOS 9 called Home that will help achieve that objective.

And that should just about cover all of our expectations. Of course, while it seems like we know a lot about what’s going to be announced on Monday, it’s possible this is all way off. Apple is known for secrecy and misdirection, so you have to expect surprises.

Apple’s WWDC keynote begins at 10am Pacific Time on Monday, and a live stream will be available on the Apple TV, and iOS and Mac devices via Safari. We will be covering the event live on iDB, as well as subsequent announcements throughout the day.

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