TIME Media

How Taylor Swift is Snubbing Apple in One Huge Way

Pop star still isn't fully sold on music streaming

When Apple launches its music streaming service at the end of June, its library will have least one glaring commission.

Taylor Swift’s 1989 — the bestselling LP of 2014 — won’t be available on Apple Music, her reps confirmed to BuzzFeed. The pop star’s latest album hasn’t yet been made available on any subscription streaming service.

Swift became the posterchild for artist frustration with the streaming business model when she removed her entire catalogue from Spotify last fall. The singer told TIME in November last year that she doesn’t feel Spotify values her music. “On Spotify, they don’t have any settings, or any kind of qualifications for who gets what music,” she said. “I think that people should feel that there is a value to what musicians have created, and that’s that.”

Her older albums are still available on competing streaming services that don’t have such a robust free tier, and they’re expected to be on Apple Music as well.

[BuzzFeed]

TIME Autos

American Toyota Executive Arrested for Drugs in Japan

Communications head allegedly tried to import oxycodone

Toyota’s chief communications officer was arrested in Japan Thursday for allegedly importing oxycodone. Julie Hamp, who took on the role as Toyota’s communications head in April, violated the country’s Narcotics Control Act by attempting to use an international parcel service to receive oxycodone, according to Tokyo Police. The substance is a prescription drug in the United States but banned in Japan.

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said the company should have done more to prepare Hamp for her relocation from the U.S. to Japan. “Through the investigation, I believe that we will learn she had no intent to violate the law,” he said.

[CNN Money]

TIME twitter

Twitter’s Overhaul Will Let You Follow Events Rather Than People

US-INTERNET-COMPANY-TWITTER
Leon Neal—AFP/Getty Images

Project Lightning aims to separate the wheat from the chaff surrounding live events

With its CEO on the way out, Twitter is planning big changes this fall to make the social network more accessible to newcomers.

In a BuzzFeed profile, company executives detail an upcoming initiative called Project Lightning that will lead to an increased focus on surfacing interesting content around live events.

Each day, users will be able to access a curated set of media centering around seven to ten events within the Twitter app. The events could be big television broadcasts such as the Super Bowl, or breaking news such as the protests in Ferguson, Mo. For each event, Twitter will use a team of human editors to select the best tweets, photos, videos, and Periscope live-streams to present to users, who can swipe through each piece of content one by one. Twitter users will also be able to follow these events and temporarily see a stream of curated tweets related to the event in their timelines. After the event is complete, tweets from accounts a user isn’t explicitly following will no longer appear in his or her feed.

The new feature seems similar to Live Stories on Snapchat, which curate a rolling set of photos and images from users based on a single event. Critically, the event feeds will be available to users who are not logged into Twitter as well. The company, which has faced slow user growth since its IPO, has long argued that much of its value comes from those people who see tweets embedded on other websites, or when surfing Twitter.com while logged out.

TIME Gadgets

The Next Apple Watch Could Have This Awesome Feature

A customer tries out an Apple Inc. Apple Watch on display at a SoftBank Corp. store in Tokyo on April 24, 2015.
Bloomberg/Getty Images

It's a whole new way to communicate

The first Apple Watch has only just hit physical store shelves, but Apple is already gearing up for the next iteration.

According to 9to5Mac’s unnamed sources, the next Apple Watch will come with an onboard video camera to let users FaceTime directly from their wrists.

The camera is expected to be located on the top bezel of the device. An upcoming OS update for the first Apple Watch will allow users to receive FaceTime audio calls, so it’s no surprise that Apple wants to include video functionality as well.

In addition to FaceTime, the next Apple Watch will be less dependent on the iPhone to function. Features such as messaging, email and weather updates are expected to work via Wi-Fi without the need to sync up with a user’s nearby phone. The company will also reportedly give the next watch a similar battery life to the first one since market research found that customers don’t mind charging the device up at night.

Given the annual product updates Apple typically rolls out for the iPhone and iPad, it’s likely that the next Apple Watch will launch sometime in 2016.

TIME Gadgets

Here’s How Many Apple Watches Have Been Sold So Far

Apple Watch
Chris McGrath A customer tries on an Apple Watch at a store on April 24, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan.

Early adopters are springing for extra watch bands

The Apple Watch has now been available for nearly two months, but Apple’s been tight-lipped about sales so far. But that’s not stopping research firms from offering their own estimates.

Slice Intelligence provided data to Reuters showing that about 2.8 million Apple Watches have been sold in the U.S. through mid-June. Unsurprisingly, the entry-level $349-$399 model of the watch has been the most popular. However, nearly 20% of purchasers are also springing for an extra watch band, which costs $49 or more.

Estimates for the Apple Watch’s first-year sales have been all over the map, with analysts’ guesses ranging from 15 million to more than 30 million. Apple doesn’t plan to break out Apple Watch sales specifically in its quarterly earnings report, so it may be quite a while until we get an official number to gauge the device’s performance.

TIME Security

There’s a Massive Security Flaw in the iPhone and Mac

Verizon Store Stocks Shelves With New Apple iPhone 6
George Frey—Getty Images Apple's iPhone 6 (R) and iPhone 6 Plus (L) phones are shown together at a Verizon store in Orem, Utah on September 18, 2014 in Orem, Utah.

Malicious app that can steal passwords was approved for the App Store

Apple devices are often thought to be more secure than open platforms such as Windows and Android, but a recent study shows there are still significant malware threats for iPhone and Mac owners.

Researchers from Indiana University, Peking University and Georgia Tech have published a study highlighting security issues with the way apps communicate with each other on iOS and OS X. The researchers created an app that was able to steal users’ data from the password-storing keychain in OS X, as well as pilfer passwords from banking and email accounts via Google Chrome.

The researchers’ app was able to bypass the security measures Apple has in place to ensure one app can’t gain access to other apps’ data without permission. Methods used include hijacking a browser extension so hackers can collect passwords when users type them in and deleting passwords from the OS X keychain so they can be retrieved when the data is re-entered.

The biggest issue regarding the malicious app is that it was approved for placement in the App Store, which is supposed to be pre-screened by Apple staff for potentially malicious apps. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The researchers said they informed Apple about the vulnerability in October but were asked to hold off on making the information public for six months. However, according to their study, the problems still persist. A system-wide update to OS X and iOS is the only way to fully protect against the vulnerabilities, according to the study’s authors.

TIME e3 2015

See the Adorable Early Sketches Used to Create Mario

Nintendo designers drew the levels by hand in the early days

In the leadup to Nintendo’s new level-creator game Super Mario Maker, the company is offering an inside look into the design process that goes into creating games in its most successful franchise. During Nintendo’s E3 video presentation, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto and longtime Mario designer Takashi Tezuka showed off some early sketches of gaming’s most famous plumber.

NintendoAn early sketch of Super Mario Bros.

 

NintendoEarly designs of Mario’s enemies

Initially Mario had an even more cartoony look, with an extra-large nose and a pretty serious overbite. The sketches show the character riding a cloud (a feature that would crop up in later games in the series) and hurling fireballs at flying turtles that look pretty similar to Koopa Troopas.

Miyamoto also explained how he physically created levels in the series early days. Designers used graph paper to map out each tile of a given level block by block, then handed the drawings over to programmers to build in the game. To make edits to a level’s layout, designers would place a thin sheet of translucent paper over the original design that marked the specific changes.

NintendoEarly Mario levels were designed by hand using graph paper

Eventually, the company developed a more efficient computer program that allowed designers to easily insert different types of obstacles and architecture into a given level. That program became the basis for Super Mario Maker, which debuts on Wii U on Sept. 11.

TIME Video Games

Nintendo’s New Game Lets You Create the Mario Levels of Your Dreams (or Nightmares)

Super Mario Maker lets players build custom levels

Super Mario Bros. turns 30 this year, and Nintendo is celebrating the iconic video game character’s birthday in style with a new game that’s like a love letter to Mario’s legacy.

In Super Mario Maker, players can build their own levels using the warp pipes, question-mark blocks, piranha plants and other items that have become Mario staples over the years. Players can even skin their levels to look like the original Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World or New Super Mario Bros. U, complete with items and moves specific to those games. Levels can be shared with others online.

In an E3 trailer showing off the title, Nintendo revealed some particularly twisted worlds built with the level editor, featuring giant Koopa Troopas, a screenful of Boos and an entire wall of fireballs, among other obstacles. Players will be able to use Mario’s signature mushrooms to transform into other Nintendo characters, such as Link and Wii Fit Trainer, as well. The alternate costumes can be unlocked in-game or using Nintendo’s toys-to-life Amibo action figures.

Super Mario Maker debuts on Sept. 11 for the Wii U.

TIME Video Games

Watch Brand New Footage of Nintendo’s Next Star Fox Game

New Wii U title hits shelves during holiday 2015

The upcoming Star Fox game is going to place a big emphasis on vehicle variety.

Star Fox Zero, set to debut on Nintendo’s Wii U console by the end of the year, will let players transform Fox McCloud’s famous Arwing into a walking mech with the press of a button. The functionality was a feature in the never-released Star Fox 2 for the SNES, now resurrected for the new title.

Players will also be able to drive Fox’s landmaster tank and a gyro-wing copter in the new game, which appears heavily influenced by the on-rails dogfights of Star Fox 64.

The game will also make heavy use of the Wii U’s gamepad. Players will see a cockpit view of the action on the gamepad screen and a more cinematic, third-person view on their television screen. Aiming will be aided by the gamepad’s gyroscope controls.

Check out Star Fox Zero in action in the new footage above.

TIME Video Games

Watch Conan Get Dominated in Halo by the Stars of Silicon Valley

Conan is on the red team, of course

No one has gained as much notoriety for being terrible at video games as Conan O’Brien.

The late-night talk show host has taken his tongue-in-cheek celebration of the medium to a new level in a recent segment in which he (poorly) attempted to play the upcoming Halo 5: Guardians. Conan, along with Andy Richter and Aaron Bleyaert, squared off against Silicon Valley stars Thomas Middleditch, TJ Miller and Zach Woods in a multiplayer bout of the new first-person shooter.

Conan was predictably awful, spending one round trying to shoot out a pane of impenetrable glass to release a shark that’s actually just there for decoration. At one point the warring factions call a truce, only for Conan to “accidentally” take a potshot against one of the Silicon Valley stars.

Check out all the antics in the video above.

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