TIME Wireless

T-Mobile Will Let You Upgrade Your Phone Whenever You Want

T-Mobile
Steve Sands John Legere CEO of T-Mobile announces the company's new plans on March 18, 2015 in New York City.

New plan grants customers three upgrades a year with no additional cost

T-Mobile has been wreaking havoc on the wireless industry for two years with disruptive customer deals that upset the tradition of binding two-year contracts. Now the company has another new initiative that its larger competitors may be forced to respond to.

On Thursday, T-Mobile announced Jump! On Demand, a new initiative that will let users upgrade their smartphones up to three times a year without having to pay any additional fees. Customers can get their first phone on the plan for $0 down, then pay a monthly fee toward the purchase of the new phone. When ready for a new phone, a customer can trade in their current device for another one at no cost.

Rates for the monthly payment plan vary, but an initial promotion will let customers get an iPhone 6 with a payment plan of $15 per month when they trade in their old smartphone. These phone payment rates are in addition to the cost of the wireless plan.

There is some fine print. T-Mobile has an older Jump! plan that charges a $10 per month fee but includes perks such as phone insurance. This new plan has no fee, but no insurance. The payment plan also is part of an 18-month lease, and after a year and a half, customers must either upgrade to a new phone or pay the balance on their current phone to purchase the device outright.

Still, for people who are constantly eager to upgrade, the offering is an affordable way to always have the latest and greatest device. It’s also more flexible than offerings by T-Mobile’s competitors aimed at frequent upgraders.

Jump! Unlimited kicks off on June 28 at participating physical T-Mobile stores.

TIME Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ Will Be Available on Apple Music

Less than a week after calling Apple out, Swift says she'll bring latest album to streaming service

Less than a week after calling Apple out for not wanting to pay artists during the launch of Apple Music, Taylor Swift is now saying she’ll make her latest album available on the streaming service.

The pop star announced via a tweet that 1989, her smash hit album that was the best-selling LP of 2014, will be available on Apple Music. Swift’s back catalogue is available on some on-demand streaming services but 1989 has never been available to stream before.

The announcement is a big coup for Apple, which is entering a crowded market of subscription streaming services. On Sunday Swift penned a widely shared blog post criticizing the company for its plan to not pay artists during a three-month free trial period of Apple Music. The tech giant reversed course in a matter of hours and is now planning to pay artists a small amount for streams that occur during the free trial.

Swift has spoken out in the past against the idea of offering up artists’ music for free. She removed her entire catalogue from Spotify around the time of 1989‘s release in the fall because she doesn’t approve of the service’s free, ad-supported tier.

In her tweets, Swift also seemed to address the claim made by some observers that her entire spat with Apple might be a marketing ploy to promote herself and Apple Music. “In case you’re wondering if this is some exclusive deal like you’ve seen Apple do with other artists, it’s not,” she said. “This is simply the first time it’s felt right in my gut to stream my album. Thank you, Apple, for your change of heart.”

TIME Gadgets

How Google Wants to Make Work Meetings Wildly Better

Chromebox
Google Chromebox

Updated Chromebox product handles large meeting rooms

Google is expanding its footprint in the world of office meetings.

Last year, the company unveiled a package of teleconferencing devices that included a Chromebox computer, a webcam and a speakerphone for $999. This week, the company announced an expanded version of its “Chromebox for meetings” offering that includes a pan-tilt-zoom camera, two speakerphones and dual screen support. The onboard Chrome software is also getting an upgrade, with the ability for participants to share their screens in a full-screen mode during teleconference.

The new package, which is aimed at accommodating especially large meeting rooms, will cost $1,999. Google also throws in a free first year of its $250-per-year support fee for the devices.

Google rival Microsoft is also taking a stab at improving work meetings with its 84-inch Surface Hub device.

TIME Media

Hey, Taylor Swift: Here’s How Much Apple Is Really Paying Musicians

onstage during KIIS FM's Jingle Ball 2014  powered by LINE at Staples Center on December 5, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.
Kevin Winter—2014 Getty Images Taylor Swift onstage during KIIS FM's Jingle Ball 2014 powered by LINE at Staples Center on December 5, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

Apple will pay labels and publishers less during free trial of Apple Music, but it will pay something

The new terms of Apple’s deals with record labels for its new music streaming service are slowly leaking out.

The New York Times reports that Apple Music will pay labels 0.2 cents per stream during the service’s three-month free trial. Meanwhile, Billboard says music publishers, who control the songwriting rights for recorded music, will get 0.047 cents per stream during the free period.

That’s a turnaround from Apple’s initial plan, which was to pay rights holders nothing during the free three month trial. Pressure from independent labels and a widely shared blog post by Taylor Swift criticizing the policy compelled Apple to change course.

It’s unclear whether this plan to pay up during the free trial will affect Apple’s plan to offer 71.5% of total Apple Music subscription revenue to music rights holders. The figure would be slightly higher than Spotify’s rate of 70%.

TIME Gadgets

6 Secret Tricks You Didn’t Know Your iPhone Could Do

Apple's I Phone  : Launch at Apple Opera Store In Paris
Chesnot—Getty Images A Woman checks the iPhone 6, on the day of its launch at the Apple Store Opera on September 19, 2014, in Paris, France.

Your phone is about to get way more useful

The iPhone always seems to have a new trick up its sleeve. Tucked away in the device’s myriad menus, there’s probably a setting or two you’ve never played with that could make the device even more useful. That’s to say nothing of the numerous gesture-based controls Apple tucks away in its mobile operating system, many of which may not be readily apparent. Chances are you could be typing faster, taking better pictures and noticing more texts with these hidden wonders.

Here, we uncover six lesser-known iPhone tricks that you can use every day:

Take Pictures Using Your Headphones

Pressing the volume-up button on Apple’s official headphones will snap a picture with the iPhone’s camera app. This is a useful trick if you’re setting up your phone on a tripod or want to ensure your shot is steady, as you won’t have to press a button on the screen to take a photo. You can also take a picture by hitting the volume buttons on the side of the iPhone itself.

Shake to Undo

Typed an error into a text or email? Simply shake the iPhone to bring up the option to Undo your last action. The gesture works in iMessage, Mail and other default apps, but developers can also implement the feature, so try it in all kinds of different apps.

Take High-Quality Photos

There’s an easy way to automatically make your iPhone camera take better pictures. With the Camera app open, select HDR On at the top of the screen to take a high dynamic range picture. An HDR photo takes three pictures of a scene and combines the best parts of each to make an image that best captures what the human eye sees.

It’s especially useful for landscapes, pictures in sunlight and photos in low light. If you’re not sure when an HDR photo is appropriate, select HDR Auto at the top of the Camera app, and the iPhone will automatically determine when to use the feature.

Enable Read Receipts

If you want to receive a text from a friend, not reply for a while, but let her know you read it, read receipts are the feature for you. The iMessage function lets other iPhone users know exactly what time you read their texts, similar to how BlackBerry’s BBM worked. To enable the feature, go to Settings, scroll down to Messages and toggle on “Send Read Receipts.” Rumor has it that the upcoming iOS 9 will also let people tailor which friends receive read receipts and which don’t.

Create Keyboard Shortcuts

You can create custom text shortcuts for long words or phrases you often use, like an email address. In the Settings menu, select General, then select Keyboard, then Add New Shortcut. The first field will ask for the long phrase you want to use and the second field will ask for the shortcut you want to stand in for the longer phrase. After the shortcut has been saved, if you type it into iMessage and press the space bar, it will automatically transform into the longer phrase.

Make your phone flash for text message alerts

Sometimes a phone vibration or chime isn’t enough to alert you to a new text message. You can use the iPhone’s LED flash as another alert signal. Simply open the Settings menu, select General, Select Accessibility, then toggle LED Flash for Alerts on.

TIME Apple

Apple Just Signed a Major Deal for its New Music Service

Apple Worldwide Developers Conference Opens In San Francisco
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue speaks during the Apple WWDC on June 8, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

More artists are coming to Apple Music

Just days before its June 30 launch, Apple has signed on thousands of additional independent record labels to participate in its new Apple Music streaming service. Record company Beggars Group and independent label network Merlin have agreed to sign their artists — including Adele and the Arctic Monkeys — onto Apple’s platform.

The indies had been holding out because Apple initially didn’t plan to pay artists during a three-month free trial period. Beggars Group publicly spoke out against the policy last week, but it wasn’t until Taylor Swift penned a widely shared blog post calling Apple out that the tech giant backtracked and changed its policy. Apple will now pay artists even when customers aren’t paying during the trial, but the company hasn’t said exactly what the royalty rate will be.

After the free period, customers will have to pay $9.99 per month for Apple Music. Apple will share at least 71.5% of its revenue with artists, according to the New York Times.

TIME Media

These Taylor Truthers Think the Apple Feud Was a PR Stunt

Taylor Swift Live In Shanghai
ChinaFotoPress—ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images Taylor Swift performs on the stage in concert at Mercedes-Benz Arena on May 30, 2014 in Shanghai, China.

It worked out so well. Almost too well...

After pop superstar Taylor Swift and Apple resolved their spat about music royalty rates over the weekend, both sides came out looking golden.

Apple had been planning not to pay artists during a three-month free trial period of its upcoming streaming service, Apple Music. The company swiftly about-faced, however, after the singer wrote a post Sunday demanding Apple pay up.

After the dust settled, Swift came out looking like a champion for her fellow artists, while Apple appeared open to making big changes when faced with mounting pressure. Apple also came out of the ordeal with more public interest in Apple Music, which launches June 30 but was announced to fairly muted fanfare.

In short, both sides won — a rare outcome in business negotiations. It was, at the very least, a savvy PR campaign by Swift to build public support for her cause and an effective response by Apple. But some people — let’s call them Taylor Truthers — think the two sides may have been in cahoots all along:

Meanwhile, former Pandora executive Tom Conrad deemed the so-called dispute “mostly theater.” Conrad pointed out that competitors such as Pandora, Spotify and YouTube already pay artists even for users who don’t pony up for their music.

Whatever the case, the entire episode speaks to the power of Swift’s brand. When she speaks about the future of the music business, people listen.

TIME Media

The One Huge Thing We Still Don’t Know About Taylor Swift’s Apple Battle

Z100's Jingle Ball 2014 Presented By Goldfish Puffs - Show
Jamie McCarthy—2014 Getty Images Taylor Swift performs onstage during iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2014, hosted by Z100 New York and presented by Goldfish Puffs at Madison Square Garden on December 12, 2014 in New York City.

Company's royalty rate remains unknown

Taylor Swift scored a big win this week after she successfully pressured Apple to pay musicians during a free three-month trial of its upcoming Apple Music streaming service.

However, the breadth of her win is still unclear, because Apple is mum on exactly how much money artists can expect to make during that free period.

Competing streaming services such as Spotify pay artists a discounted rate when users participate in free or reduced-price trials. Spotify, for example, pays half of its typical royalty rate during its three-month promotional offering of 99 cents per month, according to the Wall Street Journal. Apple hasn’t detailed its exact royalty rate (Spotify’s was about .68 cents per listen for paying subscribers in December). What the company has said is that the rate paid to artists during the free trial will be lower than that paid after the free three months is over.

So it remains to be seen just how much money Swift’s blog post will end up netting for music artists. One thing’s clear, though: She’s one of the few musicians in the world that has Apple’s undivided attention.

Correction: The original version of this post misstated Spotify’s royalty rate. It is about .68 cents per listen.

TIME Media

Google Launches Free Music Streaming Service

But it's more like Pandora than Spotify

Amidst all the hubbub about Apple Music and Taylor Swift, Google wants you to remember that it has a music streaming service of its own. And soon, users will be able to access it for free.

The search giant announced Tuesday that it’s introducing a free version of Google Play Music that allows users to listen to custom-made radio stations based on time of day, mood, artist or other factors. The new stations will be built in part by the staff of Songza, the contextual music streaming service that Google bought last year.

Unlike with Spotify or the paid version of Google Play Music, users of the free, ad-supported Google service won’t be able to play songs on-demand. They’ll also only be able to skip a limited number of songs, like on Pandora, though Google hasn’t specified how many skips per hour people will be allowed.

The free version of Google Play Music will be available on the web Tuesday and on iOS and Android devices later this week.

TIME Video Games

Here’s Why Destiny Is Down Right Now

Bungie

Developer Bungie offers an explanation, sort of

The futuristic first-person shooter Destiny is down for maintenance, according to a tweet from developer Bungie. The game was scheduled to be down for about six hours starting around 8 a.m. PT on Monday across all platforms (PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360).

Bungie, the world-famous creator of the Halo franchise, offered little explanation for the scheduled downtime, only noting in the tweet that it was related to “future plans.” The company is planning an expansion for the shooter called The Taken King that will launch on September 15.

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