iPods in Unreleased Colors Spotted in iTunes 12.2

That Apple might release these new iPod colors on a random Tuesday in July shows how far the iPod has fallen.

Jefferies Analyst, Ange Wu: iPhone 6C to Feature Metal Casing

I hope this proves true and that it’s both launching this year and coming in storage capacities higher than 16GB.

DuckDuckGo Improves !Bangs Discoverability

Jason Dorweiler:

We’ve heard from a lot of users about how much they love bangs. Unfortunately, finding bangs for your favorite sites from our current list of over 6000 bangs can be kinda difficult. To help with this we’ve taken a few steps to improve bang discovery.

Entering “!” in DuckDuckGo’s search box will now pop up an autocomplete menu with a list of Bangs and if a word in your search term matches an existing Bang you’ll receive a message letting you know which one you could have used.

Mac Power Users with Guest, John Gruber

If you’re doing any road tripping this weekend, load this up on your mobile device to listen to during the drive. Katie and David talk with John about the origins of Daring Fireball and the workflows he uses to publish the site.

Twitterrific’s New Facial Recognition Feature

Preshit Deorukhkar shows how an image is displayed in Twitterrific — with its new facial recognition feature — compared to Twitter’s official app. I wouldn’t mind seeing this feature in Tweetbot.

Apple Removed Home Sharing Support for Music in iOS 8.4

Chance Miller, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

As pointed out by several users on Apple’s Support forum, the company appears to have removed Home Sharing support for music in iOS 8.4. The Home Sharing support page has also been updated to reflect that the feature is not present in iOS 8.4.

You can still use Home Sharing to stream music from the mac to an Apple TV, but the option is no longer available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Hopefully support for it will return in a future version of iOS.

Apple Updates Leadership Page

Jony Ive has now officially taken the role of Chief Design Officer with Richard Howarth and Alan Dye becoming vice presidents of industrial design and user interface design, respectively.

The Real Difference Between iTunes Match and iCloud Music Library

Kirk McElhearn:

When you match and download files from iCloud Music Library (without having an iTunes Match subscription), however, you get files with DRM; the same kind of files you get when you download files from Apple Music for offline listening. (These files should have DRM, so you can’t just download and keep all the music you want for $10 a month.) But if you’re using Apple Music, and not iTunes Match, Apple doesn’t make a distinction between which files were originally yours, and which you downloaded for offline listening from Apple Music.

If you plan on making use of iCloud Music Library, be sure to keep copies of your original files. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck paying for Apple Music indefinitely or risk losing your music library all together.

‘Might I Suggest an Alternate Headline to Forbes: Here’s an Article for Someone Who Just Discovered the Internet Today’

G. Keenan Schneider does a great job tearing apart Maxine Joselow’s recent Forbes article, entitled “5 Tech Gadgets You Think You Need For College, But Don’t.” Although, I’m surprised he doesn’t point out the absurdity of a college student buying a 50-inch television for their dorm room. Maybe I’m out of touch, but who actually does that?

How to Turn Off Automatic Subscription Renewal in Apple Music

Whether you think you’ll enjoy Apple Music or not, I suggest turning off automatic subscription renewal to prevent a surprise charge in three months.

Apple Drops discoveryd with OS X 10.10.4

I would consider this worthy of a “finally.”

Also, John Gruber had an interesting note about this update:

At WWDC, word on the street was that Apple closed over 300 radars with this move. Not dupes — 300 discrete radars.

I wouldn’t hesitate to hit the update button on this one.

Photos of the Next Generation iPhone Casing

Mark Gurman with yet another scoop. Unfortunately, there isn’t too much to see here — most of the changes in the next iPhone will be under the hood.

Keeping Track of Birthdays in iOS

June is always a hectic month for me, and not just because of WWDC. The month of June contains more of my family and friends’ birthdays than any other month of the year. I have a cousin’s on the third, mine on the eleventh, my fiancée’s on the fifteenth, a family friend’s on the sixteenth, my niece’s on the nineteenth, and my mother and sister’s on the twenty seventh. Seven birthdays in thirty days.

I’ve always had a hard time keeping track of everyone’s birthday, but never is that more apparent then during the month of June. But, this year I decided to make use of a feature that Apple has supported for the entire time I’ve been using their platforms — birthday calendar events. And, it’s incredibly easy to set up.

Adding Birth Dates

All you need to do is start adding birthdates to the contact information in your Contacts app and birthdays will start to appear in the Calendar app. And Contacts even asks for the year the person was born, so the calendar event will include how old that person will be on their birthday. I found this information invaluable when I was picking out a card for my niece — I knew she was turning five and picked out a birthday card accordingly.

Birthday Reminders

The other feature I turned on is notifications for these incredibly useful calendar events. Inside Settings; under Mail, Contacts, Calendars; and buried under Default Alert Times, there’s an option to turn on notifications for birthdays. I have mine set to two days before, which gives me just enough time to pick up a card or gift and serves as a reminder to send them a greeting on their birthday.

Today View Birthdays

But, Apple didn’t stop there. For those of you who, like myself, check their Today View every few hours, iOS offers a reminder the day before and the day of someone’s birthday — I no longer have an excuse for neglecting to acknowledge a friend or family member’s birthday. Now, I just need to finish inputting birthdates into my Contacts app so I can start seeing more of those tiny present icons in my calendar.

Jim Dalrymple Talks to Eddy Cue and Jimmy Iovine about Apple Music

Required reading for anyone interested in Apple’s thought process behind Apple Music.

Apple Releases iOS 8.4

Federico Viticci:

Apple has released iOS 8.4 today, bringing a redesigned Music app with Apple Music support, audiobook listening features for iBooks and CarPlay, and iBooks Author textbook support on iPhone. […]

iOS 8.4 is available now through Apple’s software update. Beats 1 will debut today in Apple Music for all users today at 9 AM PT.

Unfortunately, I won’t have time to update my devices until later tonight or tomorrow.

Matt Gemmell Reviews the MacBook

A raving review by Matt Gemmell — he seems to love it. I found this part regarding who the MacBook is for to be particularly insightful:

This is a computer for those privileged enough to be able to use it.

I’m not talking about money, but rather the freedom to not care about the areas where it might be suboptimal for others. It’s for people who are lucky enough that this kind of machine doesn’t demand compromise.

I finally had the opportunity to get my hands on Apple’s new MacBook a couple of weekends ago and I have to say it’s a nice machine — it’s thin, it’s light, the display is gorgeous, and the Force Touch Trackpad, magically, feels like a real trackpad. But, I hate the keyboard.

The limited key travel felt really uncomfortable and because the keys are both closer together and larger, I never knew where my fingers were while I was typing. I would often miss when trying to hit keys above or below the home row and then would usually type a backslash when I was attempting to correct my error by hitting the delete key. It never felt good to use.

Granted, I didn’t spend too much time with the MacBook. I fiddled with it for about 20-30 minutes during my visit to the Walnut Street Apple Store in Philadelphia. It’s possible that it would begin to feel more comfortable after several hours of use, but I didn’t get that impression during my time with it. If I was in the market for a new Mac, I’d probably end up with an 11-inch MacBook Air.

Instapaper vs. Pocket

Conor McClure discusses why he finds himself switching between Instapaper and Pocket every few months. I’ve never tried Pocket — I’ve been an Instapaper user for years and haven’t spent any time exploring other services. But, Conor has me curious about trying a new read-later service. The claimed superior media handling and speed at which articles load in Pocket is something I want to experience for myself. I’m not going to be switching right away, but it’s definitely on my to do list.

Everything You Need to Know About Apple Music

With iOS 8.4 set to release tomorrow, I suggest reading Serenity Caldwell’s comprehensive Apple Music FAQ.

Apple’s Royalty Rates During Free Trials

Ben Sisario, writing for The New York Times:

For each song that is streamed free, Apple will pay 0.2 cent for the use of recordings, a rate that music executives said was roughly comparable to the free tiers from services like Spotify. This rate does not include a smaller payment for songwriting rights that goes to music publishers; Apple is still negotiating with many publishers over those terms, several publishing companies confirmed on Wednesday.

I can imagine Apple signing up tens of millions of customers for Apple Music. But if we conservatively estimate at 10 million users streaming an average of 20 tracks per day, that’s $400,000 a day paid to artists and record labels. Or $12 million a month. That may be insignificant to Apple’s bottom line, but might make a huge difference for some independent band that manages to release a hit single.


Low Power Mode Performance Benchmarked in iOS 9

Juli Clover, writing for MacRumors:

Without Low Power mode activated, an iPhone 6 Plus scored 1606 on the single-core processor test and 2891 on the multi-core processor test. When Low Power mode was turned on, the same iPhone 6 Plus scored 1019 on the single-core test and 1751 on the multi-core test, suggesting there’s a significant performance reduction when Low Power mode is enabled to save as much battery as possible.

Low Power mode can be turned on in Settings and is offered as an option when your device’s battery reaches 20% or 10%. When turned on, the battery indicator icon is yellow and Mail fetch, background app refresh, motion effects, and animated wallpapers are disabled.

I’m really excited about Low Power mode. As someone who has kept every iPhone I’ve ever purchased for two years, I can assure you that after about 16-18 months the battery life significantly drops. If this new feature makes the experience during those last 6-8 months a little more manageable, I’ll be more than happy with it.


New El Capitan Beta Reveals Future Apple Products

Mark Gurman details new findings inside the latest OS X El Capitan beta which suggest that Apple’s working on a Retina 21.5-inch iMac and a Bluetooth remote.

Clarification on the App Store’s Confederate Flag Policy

Carter Dotson, writing for TouchArcade:

Andrew Mulholland of HexWar says “basically we need to remove prominent flags from the screenshots” and “don’t have them in the app icon.” The Confederate flag is okay within games, but it appears that it just needs to not be prominent at all in the forward-facing parts of the App Store.

This seems like a much more reasonable rule to follow than what I thought Apple may have been enforcing yesterday. But, I still see the Confederate flag in screenshots for Hunted Cow Studios’ Civil War: 1863. If this is the rule, it shouldn’t be enforced inconsistently. Developers need to know what to expect before they create a game so that they don’t get the rug pulled out from underneath them.

The Impact of iOS 9’s Space Requirement

David Smith on iOS 9’s new space requirements:

I was curious, though, as to how much of an impact this reduction would have in practice. So using the dataset I have from my Audiobooks app I took a look at how many of my customers have enough space for the upgrade.

The result was pretty promising.

He found that 66% of his users had enough free space to install iOS 9 where as only 37% had the amount of free space required for the iOS 8 upgrade. Given the reduced free space requirements and the impressive list of supported devices, iOS 9’s adoption rate might end up being the fastest we’ve ever seen.

iOS 9 Beta 2 Includes Minor Tweaks

Juli Clover runs down the minor improvements in iOS 9 Beta 2 including a new Podcasts icon, improved system search, iPad keyboard tweaks, and more.

Apple on Confederate Flags in the App Store

In a statement made to BuzzFeed News:

We have removed apps from the App Store that use the Confederate flag in offensive or mean-spirited ways, which is in violation of our guidelines. We are not removing apps that display the Confederate flag for educational or historical uses.

I hate to take sides on this because I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. But, I don’t see how historically accurate video games about The Civil War could be perceived as offensive or mean-spirited because of their use of the Confederate flag. The flag’s use is period appropriate and should remain for the sake of historical accuracy.