TIME Media

Everything You Need to Know About Apple Music

Apple's foray into music streaming launches Tuesday

Apple’s answer to the fast-changing digital music landscape is finally upon us. Apple Music, which launches Tuesday, is the tech giant’s most ambitious music project since the original iTunes Store launched in 2003.

But unlike the company’s famous digital storefront, Apple Music won’t be selling users individual songs or albums. Instead, customers will pay a monthly subscription fee of about $10 per month for access to tens of millions of songs.

It’s a way of listening to music that’s fast becoming the norm thanks to similar offerings by competitors such as Spotify and Google. Though Apple is years late to the party, the company’s arrival signals that streaming is here to stay.

Here’s a quick primer on Apple Music and how it differs from the other streaming services on the market.

What does Apple Music offer?

Apple Music lets users stream songs from Apple’s massive library whenever they want. Users can make playlists or listen to playlists curated by music experts. Tracks can also be downloaded for offline listening.

While these are all standard features of most subscription services, Apple is also trying to make it easier for users to seamlessly switch between music in their personal libraries and songs on Apple’s service. Apple Music will automatically upload any tracks in a user’s library that aren’t available on the service to an iCloud account, so they can be streamed from any device — meaning users won’t have to use up lots of space on their phones. Users will be initially be able to store up to 25,000 of their own songs in the cloud; Apple has plans to increase that limit to 100,000 this fall.

How much will it cost?

A single membership is $9.99 per month, the standard rate for a paid streaming service. Users can also pay $15 per month for a family plan for up to six users. The service is launching with a three-month free trial available to all users.

Which devices does Apple Music support?

At launch Apple Music will support PC, Mac, Apple Watch and iOS devices that can run iOS 8 or newer. An Android version is coming in the fall.

How do I download Apple Music?

For iPhone users, simply download the iOS 8.4 update, expected to appear around 11 a.m. ET Tuesday.

What features make Apple Music stand out?

Apple is launching a live radio station called Beats 1 that will broadcast 24 hours a day. Helmed by former BBC Radio DJ Zane Lowe, the free station will feature shows by stars such as Drake and Elton John, as well as interviews with celebrities like Eminem.

Apple Music will also have a feature called Connect that lets artists post behind-the-scenes content and communicate directly with fans.

What about exclusive music?

It’s likely Apple will try to leverage its considerable clout and deep pockets to line up many exclusive releases for its music service. Already Taylor Swift has said her hit album 1989 will be available for streaming for the first time ever through Apple Music. Dr. Dre’s The Chronic will also make its streaming debut on Apple’s service (Dre began working for Apple after the company bought his company Beats Electronics for $3 billion last year). Expect similar deals in the future.

Which features is Apple Music missing?

Spotify remains the best service for making music-listening social thanks to its collaborative playlists and tight integration with Facebook. Apple hasn’t mentioned either feature being part of Apple Music. Apple’s service will also reportedly stream at a maximum bitrate of 256 kbps, which is below the 320 kbps that Spotify, Google Play Music, Tidal and Rdio all offer. Whether or not average users will notice or care about that difference remains to be seen.

What if I don’t want to pay for a subscription service?

Apple Music offers the live station, as well as artist and genre-specific Internet radio stations similar to Pandora, for free. Google Play Music and Rdio also have free tiers that offer Internet radio rather than on-demand streaming. Spotify remains the most fully-featured free ad-supported service as desktop users can play any song on demand for free while mobile users can build playlists to be enjoyed in random order.

TIME LGBT

Ben & Jerry’s Just Renamed This Ice Cream Flavor in Honor of Gay Marriage

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Ben & Jerry's

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough has a new name

Ben & Jerry’s, a longstanding corporate champion of gay rights, is celebrating the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing gay marriage throughout the U.S. by renaming one of its ice cream flavors. During the summer the chain will rename its Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream to “I Dough, I Dough” at participating stores. Proceeds from the ice cream sales will go to the Human Rights Campaign, a nonprofit that advocates for LGBT rights.

This is not the first time Ben & Jerry’s has been a vocal supporter of gay rights. In 1989 the company was the first major employer in Vermont to offer health insurance to same-sex partners of employees. More recently Ben & Jerry’s joined a petition of major businesses asking the Supreme Court to strike down same-sex marriage bans across the U.S.

TIME Netherlands

This Dutch City Plans to Give Residents a Universal ‘Basic Income’

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ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN—AFP/Getty Images A man cycles past a cafe displaying Tour de France items for sale, ahead of the upcoming Tour de France cycling race, in downtown Utrecht on June 23, 2015.

Residents will receive money to cover living expenses with no strings attached

A city in the Netherlands is planning a large-scale experiment to see what happens when a society sets a standard, baseline income for all its citizens.

Utrecht is partnering with a local university to provide residents with a “basic income,” which is enough to cover living costs, The Independent reports. The idea is to see whether citizens dedicate more time to volunteering, studying and other forms of self and community improvement when they don’t have to worry about earning money to survive. People who participate in the experiment won’t have any restrictions placed on how they choose to spend the money they receive.

During the experiment, researchers and city officials will study the people who are offered a basic income as well as a control group who continues earning money in the traditional way. Utrecht officials hope to launch the experiment this summer and are in talks with other cities to expand the experiment to other locations as well.

[The Independent]

TIME Web

Facebook Has a Super Easy Way to Let You Celebrate Gay Pride

Expect to see a lot of rainbow filters this weekend

Not to be outdone by Google’s search results celebrating gay marriage, Facebook is helping its users convert their profile pictures into emblems of gay pride. The social network unveiled a new feature Friday that lets users quickly apply a rainbow-colored filter to their existing profile picture. The filter mimics the gay pride flag and arrives just two days before the annual pride parade in New York.

To see how your own profile picture looks with the new filter, visit facebook.com/celebratepride.

TIME cybersecurity

U.S. Intelligence Chief Points Finger at China for Data Hack

Director Of Nat'l Intelligence James Clapper Speaks At Council On Foreign Relations
Bryan Thomas—Getty Images Director of National Intelligence James Clapper speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations on March 2, 2015 in New York City.

Large data breach left millions of Social Security numbers exposed

The most senior U.S. intelligence official has openly implicated China in a large hack of U.S. government data.

James Clapper, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, said Thursday that China was a “leading suspect” in a recent security breach that saw millions of personnel records of Americans stolen from government computers.

Previously, U.S. officials hadn’t named a suspect for the breach, which was disclosed in early June. Clapper mentioned China at an intelligence conference in Washington, D.C. “You have to kind of salute the Chinese for what they did,” he said, noting the difficulty of the attack.

Earlier this year Barack Obama signed an executive order that grants the Treasury greater ability to impose sanctions on countries who conduct cyberattacks against the U.S. China has denied involvement in the attack, which may have exposed as many as 18 million Social Security numbers.

[WSJ]

TIME Web

Here’s What Happens If You Google ‘Gay Marriage’ Today

You get a very special search result

Google is celebrating the Supreme Court’s Friday ruling legalizing gay marriage across the U.S. Type “gay marriage” into the search engine and you’ll see a string of cartoon couples holding hands across the top of the screen with rainbow colors that represent the gay pride flag.

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It’s no surprise that Google is supporting gay marriage. The company launched a “Legalize Love” campaign in 2012 to combat anti-gay laws and publicly opposed a 2011 California bill that would have banned gay marriage in the state. Other tech giants have also pledged strong support for gay rights. Apple CEO Tim Cook came out publicly as gay last October and has spoken out against religious-freedom laws in several states that could allow businesses to discriminate against same-sex couples.

TIME Fast Food

McDonald’s Sells Fewer Sodas With Happy Meals

General Images From Inside A McDonald's Restaurant
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images A Happy Meal is displayed for a photograph on a tray at a McDonald's Corp. restaurant in Little Falls, New Jersey, U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012.

The fast food giant made a pledge to curb kids' love of sugary drinks

McDonald’s is selling fewer sodas with its happy meals after removing the drinks from its kids menu.

The fast food chain agreed to remove sodas from the menu board and marketing material for its kids’ meals last July as part of a partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Between July 2014 and May 2015, 48% of patrons got soda with their Happy Meals, compared to 56% during the same period a year earlier. McDonald’s has been pushing kids to select healthier drink options such as milk and juice instead.

The anti-soda initiative is part of a broader pledge by McDonald’s to help families lead healthy lifestyles. The company has said it will offer side salads, fruits or vegetables as an alternative to french fries in 20 major markets by 2020.

[Los Angeles Times]

TIME Apple

Apple’s New Software Has Hidden Clues About Its Next Product

The iMac is due for a big upgrade

Apple may be developing a 4K iMac and other interesting new products, according to references in the code of its latest operating system. The beta for OS X El Capitan mentions within its code support for a 4096 x 2304 resolution display, also known as 4K. 9to5Mac, which sniffed out the reference, speculates that the display could be rolled out for Apple’s 21.5-inch iMac later this year. Right now, Apple has a 5K display for its $2,000 27-inch Mac, but the smaller desktop computer hasn’t yet been given a super-high-resolution screen.

Other bits of code in El Capitan appear to indicate that Apple is working on a new Bluetooth remote control that includes a Multi-Touch trackpad and audio support. Earlier reports have mentioned that a revamped remote control with a touchpad is expected to be rolled out with a revamped version of Apple TV later this year.

TIME mergers

Charter Promises To Play by the Government’s Internet Rules

Charter Communications Buys Time Warner Cable In $79 Billion Deal
Yvonne Hemsey—Getty Images Charter Communications's office in Newtown, Connecticut is seen May 30, 2015.

If it's allowed to merge with Time Warner Cable

Charter is ready to go above and beyond the government’s requirements for maintaining a free and open Internet, as long as it gets to merge with Time Warner Cable. The cable and Internet giant submitted a statement to the Federal Communications Commission Thursday explaining why the proposed merger between the two companies, along with Bright House Networks, is in the public interest.

If the merger is approved, Charter said that it would not block or throttle certain types of Internet traffic or prioritize certain content in paid “fast lanes.” These are central tenets of net neutrality rules which the FCC recently reenacted, but Charter is agreeing to adhere to these standards even if the new regulations are later ruled illegal (it’s happened before).

Charter also said it would submit disputes over interconnection agreements to the FCC. Interconnection is how ISPs like Charter transfer traffic from content services such as Netflix into people’s homes. The agreements have come under increased public scrutiny over the last year due to drawn-out debates between Netflix and Internet companies like Comcast and Verizon.

Even with these promises, there’s no guarantee that the FCC will approve the merger, which would give Charter about 19 million broadband customers and 17 million TV customers. Comcast dropped a bid to acquire Time Warner Cable earlier this year after it became clear that the FCC was unlikely to approve the deal.

TIME Media

HBO Has The Most Profitable iPhone App

New Product Announcements At The Apple Inc. Spring Forward Event
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Richard Plepler, chief executive officer of Home Box Office Inc. (HBO), speaks during the Apple Inc. Spring Forward event in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Monday, March 9, 2015.

New standalone service is attracting subscribers.

Two months after its launch, HBO’s new standalone streaming service seems to be bringing in a lot of money. HBO Now was the highest-grossing highest-grossing app globally on iOS in May, according to App Annie, a research firm that tracks app sales and downloads.

At $14.99 per month, HBO Now costs significantly more than the typical apps people download. Still, the new service managed to top other streaming platforms such as Spotify and Hulu, which cost between $8 and $13 per month in the App Store.

Right now, Apple devices are still the easiest way to access HBO Now without having it bundled with something else. Optimum sells the service with its Internet package, and Sling TV offers it with a bundle of other channels delivered online. Soon Google is planning to launch the service on Android devices and Chromecast.

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