Apple Seeking Lower Rates With Record Labels as Initial Deals Start Expiring

Apple is said to be aiming to reduce the share of revenue record labels get from streaming music as it works to establish new deals for Apple Music and iTunes, reports Bloomberg.

Apple is reportedly pursuing lower rates as part of an effort to revise its “overall relationship” with the music industry. Apple’s current deals with record labels expire at the end of June, but Bloomberg‘s sources say they will be extended if a new agreement can’t be reached.



Apple currently pays out some of the highest royalty rates with record labels receiving 58 percent of revenue from Apple Music subscribers, but it wants a deal closer to what Spotify recently negotiated. Spotify pays 52 percent of revenue from subscribers, down from an earlier rate of 55 percent.

Spotify’s new rate is contingent on subscriber growth, and music labels are said to be open to negotiating a similar deal with Apple. Record labels also want assurances from Apple that iTunes will be promoted in countries like Germany and Japan, where most music is still purchased rather than streamed.

The growth of Apple Music hasn’t been as detrimental to iTunes as labels had feared. But record labels are still asking for precautions. Labels have asked Apple to commit to promoting iTunes, and music in general, in countries where streaming isn’t as prevalent.

Since its 2015 introduction, Apple Music has seen steady growth, which may give Apple an upper hand when negotiating new deals with labels. As of June 2017, Apple Music has 27 million paying subscribers, up from 20 million in December of 2016.

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Apple Seeds Second Beta of New watchOS 4 Operating System to Developers

Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming watchOS 4 update to developers, a little over two weeks after its introduction at the 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference.

Once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Apple Developer Center, the watchOS 4 beta can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General –> Software update.

To install the update, the Apple Watch must have 50 percent battery, it must be placed on the charger, and it must be in range of the iPhone.

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watchOS 4 introduces three new watch faces, including a dedicated Siri watch face that displays dynamic information unique to each individual. There are complications for Now Playing and Apple News, and an enhanced Workout app that supports High Intensity Interval Training.

Gymkit, a new technology platform, will let the Apple Watch interface with gym equipment for workout data sharing purposes, and the Activity app will offer up intelligent coaching and tailored workout encouragement along with new monthly activity challenges.

watchOS 4 is only available to developers and will not be provided to public beta testers, so non-developers will need to wait until the software is officially released in the fall to try it out.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3, watchOS 4
Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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Apple Provides Second Beta of tvOS 11 to Developers

Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming tvOS 11 update for the fourth-generation Apple TV, a little over two weeks after seeding the first beta following the keynote of the 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference.

Registered developers can download tvOS 11 by connecting the Apple TV to a computer with a USB-C cable and installing the beta software using iTunes.



tvOS 11 received little attention at the Worldwide Developers Conference, but according to the release notes, it introduces a few new features to the operating system.

tvOS 11 brings automatic switching between light/dark mode based on local time, Home screen syncing options that keep multiple Apple TVs in a household in sync, new background modes and notification support, Focus API improvements, custom sound support, network-based pairing and development support, and improvements to Mobile Device Management.

Later this year, Apple will partner with Amazon to bring an Amazon Prime Video app to the Apple TV for the first time, and in tvOS 11, AirPods are able to pair automatically with an Apple TV.

The new tvOS 11 update is only available for registered developers at the current point in time, but Apple plans to release a public tvOS 11 beta in the future.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Buyer’s Guide: Apple TV (Don’t Buy)

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Apple Seeds Second Beta of macOS High Sierra to Developers

Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming macOS High Sierra update to developers for testing purposes, a little over two weeks after introducing the new software and releasing the first beta at its 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference.

The new beta can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center, and once installed, subsequent betas will be available through the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.

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macOS High Sierra introduces new core storage, video, and graphics technology. The update supports the new Apple File System (APFS) and High Efficiency Video Codec (HEVC), plus it introduces an updated version of Metal with support for VR and external GPUs.

Photos is being updated with a new sidebar that makes it easier to access editing tools and albums, and there are new editing options like Curves and Selective Color. It also supports external editing apps like Photoshop and Pixelmator, saving changes made in those apps.

Improvements to Safari are coming, including speed enhancements and a new feature that puts a stop to data tracking. Siri in macOS High Sierra has expanded music capabilities and a new, more natural voice, and Spotlight supports flight status information. There are also improvements to iCloud, FaceTime, Messages, and Notes.

macOS High Sierra is available only for registered developers, but Apple plans to make a public macOS High Sierra beta available later this summer, giving public beta testers a chance to try out the software before it sees a public release in the fall.

Related Roundup: macOS High Sierra

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Apple Seeds Second Beta of iOS 11 to Developers

Apple today seeded the second beta of iOS 11 to developers for testing purposes, a little over two weeks after releasing the first beta following the operating system’s debut at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

Registered developers can download the iOS 11 beta from Apple’s Developer Center, or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed.

According to Apple’s release notes, iOS 11 beta 2 includes a long list of bug fixes for both first and third-party apps. The Bluetooth button in Control Center, now works, for example, and there are new options for Do Not Disturb While Driving. 3D Touch with data detectors (phone numbers, addresses, and so on) is now working properly, Phone will no longer crash when deleting a voicemail, and apps over 100MB will no longer download over a cellular connection.

The release notes also outline several new known issues, such as an unexpected pop or sound when restarting an iPhone 7, or an SOS notification that goes out even if the SOS alert is cancelled. Developers downloading the beta should carefully read the notes and make sure to install it on secondary devices only.

iOS 11 is Apple’s biggest software release ever for the iPad, with a new Dock that introduces much improved multitasking, a Files app for better managing files, improved Apple Pencil support, a revamped App Switcher, and system-wide drag and drop.

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The update also includes many features for both the iPhone and the iPad, including a redesigned and customizable Control Center, a new Lock screen that’s merged with the Notification Center. Peer-to-peer Apple Pay payments are being introduced in the Messages app, which is also gaining a new App Drawer, and there’s a new Do Not Disturb feature that is designed to help drivers stay focused on the road. Siri, Photos, the Camera app, and more are also gaining significant improvements.



ARKit for developers will result in a wide range of new augmented reality apps, while a Core ML SDK will allow apps to become a whole lot smarter.

The iOS 11 beta is only available for registered developers at this time. As it has done in the past, Apple will provide a public beta for public beta testers in late June and the software will see an official release in the fall alongside new iPhones.

For full details on all of the new features included in iOS 11, make sure to check out our extensive iOS 11 roundup.

Related Roundup: iOS 11

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Snapchat Debuts New ‘Snap Map’ Location Sharing Feature

Snapchat for iOS was today updated with a new “Snap Map” feature that’s designed to let Snapchat users share their current location with their friends, facilitating real-life meet ups.

With the new Snap Map, all of your friends with location sharing enabled will show up on an in-app map with either photos or “Actionmoji” avatars marking each friend location. For those who do not want to share their location, Snapchat is including a “Ghost Mode.” Location is only updated when Snapchat is open, so it’s not tracking in the background.

We’ve built a whole new way to explore the world! See what’s happening, find your friends, and get inspired to go on an adventure!

It’s easy to get started — just pinch to zoom out and view the Map! You decide if you want to share your location with friends, or simply keep it to yourself with Ghost Mode.

If your friends are sharing their location with you, their Actionmoji will appear on the Map. Actionmojis only update when you open Snapchat.

Snap Map in Snapchat is available on iOS and Android devices starting today. Snapchat for iOS can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tag: Snapchat

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PSA: AppleCare+ for Mac and iPhone Must Be Bought Within 60 Days of Purchase

All of Apple’s AppleCare+ plans for Macs, iPads, and iPhones, must be bought alongside a new device or within 60 days of purchase, according to AppleCare+ support staff that MacRumors spoke to this morning.

Following its Worldwide Developers Conference in June that saw the debut of new iMacs, MacBooks, and MacBook Pro models, Apple introduced an updated AppleCare+ for Mac warranty plan that provides standard AppleCare coverage along with accidental damage coverage.

Apple’s AppleCare+ for Mac plan was introduced on June 5


The original AppleCare plans for the Mac could be purchased while the Mac was still under its standard warranty, so customers had a year to buy it, but with the new AppleCare+ plan for Mac, a purchase must be made within 60 days.

Apple in March changed its AppleCare+ policy for the iPhone and iPad and temporarily allowed customers to purchase the plan for up to one year after the device’s purchase, while it too was still under standard warranty, but that policy appears to have been reverted back to 60 days.

In March of 2017, an iPhone 7 Plus purchased in September was temporarily eligible for AppleCare+. That is no longer the case due to policy reversion


AppleCare+ plans for the iPhone and the iPad must once again be purchased within 60 days of a device purchase. Attempting to make an AppleCare+ purchase on an iOS device purchased more than 60 days ago now brings up no AppleCare+ purchase options when logging into the AppleCare+ website.



AppleCare+ is no longer available for an iPhone 7 Plus purchased less than a year ago


As for the Mac, customers who have had their Macs for longer than 60 days but less than a year are not eligible for AppleCare+ but are still able to purchase a standard AppleCare Protection Plan, MacRumors has learned. Apple is only offering AppleCare+ for Mac on its website, so customers will need to call in to Apple Support to make the standard AppleCare purchase. Standard Mac AppleCare is priced at $149 to $349, depending on the machine.



A MacBook Pro purchased in October 2016 isn’t eligible for AppleCare+, but standard AppleCare can still be purchased via Apple Support


AppleCare+ for Mac is available for the MacBook, 13-inch MacBook Pro, 15-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac mini, with prices ranging from $99 to $379. The plan extends the warranty of the Mac to three years and includes coverage for two incidents of accidental damage, but a service fee of $99 will be charged for screen damage or external damage while a service fee of $299 will be charged for any other damage.

AppleCare+ for iPhone is available for $129 for the iPhone 6s and later, $99 for the iPhone SE, and $99 for iPad models. It extends warranty coverage to two years and covers two incidents of accidental damage, with a service fee of $29 required for screen repairs or $99 for other damage.

Purchasing AppleCare+ for Mac, iPhone, or iPad after the device has already been purchased requires customers to run a remote diagnostic to ensure the device is working properly or have it inspected at an Apple retail location.

Tag: AppleCare

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Virgin Mobile goes iPhone-only, offers a year of service for $1

 In attempt to woo customers away from competitors, Virgin Mobile USA today announced a deal that will see it transitioning to become an iPhone-only carrier. The company is also partnering with Apple to activate Virgin’s services in Apple’s stores. To kick off this change, Virgin introduced a limited time promotion that will see it giving away a year’s worth of unlimited… Read More