TIME Apple

Apple Wants to Put an iPhone in Your TV

Apple Starts iPhone 6 Sales In Germany
Sean Gallup—Getty Images

Expect some iPhone-like qualities to invade your television

Apple’s next big media event is on Wednesday, Sept. 9, and many Apple insiders are expecting the company to reveal its long-awaited Apple TV.

There have been reports of an Apple-branded smart television since last year, and the tech wunderkind had even planned to debut the new Apple TV hardware and software upgrades at the June WWDC. However, the company put off the reveal, saying it wanted to focus its resources on iOS9 development. And that’s the big hint as to what Apple may have in mind for its new television device.

The new Apple TV is expected to be the first television model to run a full-blown iOS core, reports 9to5Mac. It’s basically going to be an optimized, much bigger version of your iPhone (assuming it’s running iOS9). That will give it a range of extra benefits over the current Apple TV product, including Siri support, better search capabilities, and a new Apple TV App Store.

Read more about it at 9to5Mac.

TIME Smartphones

Why We Finally Have the First True ‘Smartphones’

It's about time

When did smartphones become “smart?” Was it when they added Internet browsers? Multi-touch-sensing screens? Poop emoji? There’s nothing truly smart about any of those features, many of which had been around for years before the iPhone revolution. In fact, our phones were still pretty dumb for years after the prefix “smart” started getting attached to them and then pretty much everything else.

That is finally changing. With Apple’s announcement Monday of a smarter, “proactive” Siri that absorbs your behaviors and predicts what you’ll need and when, the company is finally joining rivals Google and Microsoft in making smartphones that actually are. Smarts, or intelligence, isn’t simply a matter of more sensors, more processing power, more features. It means being able to change behavior by employing all that technology.

Google has long led the way with Google Now, which can, for instance, pull up your electronic boarding pass when it’s time for your next flight or map the best route to the office based on current traffic conditions. Microsoft’s Cortana, which is being improved and included as part of the company’s upcoming Windows 10, is equally intelligent, if not potentially moreso. And now Siri is getting smarter, too.

There’s something new and a little strange about this kind of electronic intelligence. Namely, they feel like a combination of magic and “well, duh.” All the information your phone needs to let you know it’s time to leave for your next meeting is already baked in—your calendar app has your appointments, your GPS knows where you’re at right now, your mapping app is getting live traffic data. Why shouldn’t your phone be able to tie all that together for you? Android users have known this pleasure for years, Apple loyalists are about to learn it, many for the first time.

That’s the simple stuff, though. Things get more interesting when your phone starts trying to learn your daily habits and serve you up the content it thinks you want at a given moment. It sounds promising—no more awkwardly fiddling through folders and apps searching for what you want. But how accurate could it possibly be? Are we predictable enough—boring enough, in other words— that Siri will really get us?

Sadly, for me at least, the answer is yes. Siri will learn that I open up one news reader on the subway every weekday morning, but I prefer a different one on weekends. She’ll learn that I text my fiancée to figure out dinner plans almost every afternoon. She’ll learn the embarrassing amount of time I spend reading Marvel comics after work. And that’s when I will get an actual smartphone.

TIME Apple

This Is Apple Music’s 1 Huge Advantage Over Spotify

It's simpler than you think

Apple on Monday unveiled a new music streaming service called, aptly enough, Apple Music. It combines your own music with Apple’s massive song library, plus human-powered Internet radio stations and recommendation engines.

Apple Music is clearly aimed at on-demand streaming king Spotify, even matching the $9.99/month price for Spotify’s ad-free Premium subscription. What Spotify offers that Apple Music doesn’t is a free version, which has a more limited feature set and jams your jams with ads every few songs.

But that free tier could actually be a massive disadvantage for Spotify. Only about about 15% of Spotify’s 60 million users pay for the service, but their subscription fees make up around 90% of the company’s revenue.

That small but highly lucrative slice of Spotify users is exactly what Apple is after with Apple Music. After all, those users have already shown they’re willing to fork over 10 bucks a month for unlimited tunes. And there’s no penalty for switching: Spotify charges month-to-month with no cancellation fee, so users aren’t locked in to the service. This also explains why Apple’s rolling out an Android version of Apple Music — to go after more of Spotify’s user base. If Apple converts enough of Spotify’s paid users, it could totally decimate Spotify’s business.

Read more Streaming Showdown: Apple Music vs. Spotify vs. Pandora vs. Rdio

But the biggest advantage Apple Music will have is even simpler than all that: It will be automatically installed when iPhone users upgrade to iOS 8.4 later this month, while iPhones sold with that software on board will have the app pre-installed. Installing an app from the App Store is a dead simple process, but it’s still a big barrier to adoption. Having that nice shiny Apple Music logo on users’ screens right off the bat will give Apple Music a big push in its early days — especially in concert with Apple’s three-months-free offering. If Apple converts enough trial users into paid subscribers, that one-two punch could send Spotify spiraling into second place.

Read next: 4 Things Apple Just Announced That You Need to Know About

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Apple

See How Google and Apple’s Latest Big Announcements Compare

Apple and Google have both held major developers' conferences in the past few weeks. See how the big events compare.

TIME apps

Streaming Showdown: Apple Music vs. Spotify vs. Pandora vs. Rdio

It’s a digital battle of the bands for these music services

Back in 2001, Apple’s iPod “1000 songs in your pocket” ad campaign changed how the world thought about music. And over the 14 years that have passed since, high speed Internet and wireless data changed it again. These days, we have closer to zero songs in their pocket, because music streaming services let us listen to whatever we want on-demand from the cloud. But each streaming service hits its own set of high notes and low notes.

Here’s a comparison of the most popular subscription music services going:

Apple Music

When Apple’s new streaming music service launches on June 30, it could have a huge leg up on the competition because it will come pre-installed on millions of iPhones running the soon-to-be-released iOS 8.4 operating system. A medley of the former Beats Music paid subscription service and iTunes Radio, Apple’s free streaming offering, the $9.99-per-month Apple Music boasts more than 30 million tracks.

But the company knows a massive library isn’t enough if it wants to overtake competitors like Spotify. So the iPhone-maker bundled in some new features, as only it can. By unleashing Siri’s smarts on its library, Apple Music lets subscribers say things like, “Play the top songs from 1982,” and immediately get an earful of totally ‘80s tunes. Also, the Apple Music on-boarding process (which was a big part of Beats Music) is intuitive, quizzing users on their favorite genres and bands to get a feel for how to best customize its recommendations.

Still, nothing is better than the human touch. For that, Apple Music includes Beats 1, a worldwide streaming radio station with expertly selected tracks introducing people to great new artists. The company also boasts a new social feature that allows artists to share notes, photos, and other media with fans, directly in the app. Apple did something like this before with its Ping social music service, but it didn’t move the needle with fans or artists. So, like the entire offering, the jury is still out on this one until later this month for iOS and — get this — Android. One thing families will love is its group rate: $14.99 will cover six users in a household.

Spotify

The reigning champion of the digital music world feature-wise, Spotify has more than 60 million active users in at least 58 countries, but only 15 million people pony up the $9.99 per month for the ad-free Premium service. Still, it’s those free users that stick in Apple’s craw, because they still get access to many of Spotify’s 30 million songs, only with ads interrupting the playback, among other restrictions.

Yet the big draw for many Spotify users is how refined the service has become since launching in 2008. As a platform hosting other apps on PCs, a digital jukebox on tablets, or a high-powered personal music library on mobile phones, Spotify delivers not only great tunes, but also an excellent user experience. And by integrating with Facebook early on, Spotify made it extremely easy for users to find their friends, letting them share their favorite albums, artists, playlists and tracks. Available on everything from Android to Windows to set-top boxes, Spotify has excellent reach not just with devices but also with demographics. Kids who have grown up listening to tracks on it are now turning their parents on to it as well. Thankfully, Spotify lets users double-, triple-, even quadruple-up on the bill by offering 50% off every account after the first. So, coincidentally, the cost for two household users is — you guessed it — $14.99.

Pandora

With 80 million users, Pandora is currently the most popular streaming music service, but with Spotify and Apple Music on its heels, you have to wonder for how long. Pioneering data-driven personalized recommendations, the service was revolutionary when it launched in 2000. In the 15 years since, its seen the competition emulate its recommendation engine and surpass it in features offered. But name recognition alone keeps it awash in users, helping the free, ad-based side of the service continue to generate profit. Available everywhere from the Pebble smartwatch to the Ford Focus, Pandora has used its multi-year head start to gain ubiquity ahead of the competition.

But with far fewer songs in its library than Apple and Spotify, it works within its limitations. For instance, users can’t pull up just any song on demand; instead they can listen to a curated station based on an artist or song they enjoy. With the free service, users only get six skips an hour or 24 fast-forwards per day. Pandora One, the company’s $4.99 per month subscription offering, eliminates the ads and increases the amounts of skips a user gets, but continues to let stations automatically pause if they think you’re not listening, which can be a drag if you’re in a good radio groove.

Rdio

Boasting the same 30 million-sized library as Spotify and Apple Music, Rdio takes a page out of all the competitors playbooks, offering free and a couple of paid tiers to provide plans to fit all its customers. The company’s free offering plays like Pandora, with ad supported radio stations based on artists, genres, moods, and more. Meanwhile, Rdio’s lowest cost plan, the $3.99 per month Rdio Select, cuts out the ads and the free service’s six-skips-per-hour limits. Or, for $9.99 per month, Rdio Unlimited delivers the on-demand perks that Spotify and Apple Music also promise: any track, or album, any time.

With desktop and mobile apps (including Android, iOS, and Windows Phone) Rdio’s reach competes with the other services very well. And with Facebook integration, it also has the social chops to help friends share music with each other. Unfortunately, these are all walled gardens, which means if you’re an Rdio user, you can’t share music with your Spotify-playing friends. Hopefully one day in the future, all these services will work in perfect harmony — but I wouldn’t bet on it.

TIME Apple

See the 6 Coolest Things Apple Announced At WWDC

It was a huge day for the company

  • 1. Apple Music

    Apple

    A new streaming service to take on companies like Spotify.

  • 2. iOS 9

    Apple

    New iPhone software that will make the smartphone more intelligent.

  • 3. OS X Yosemite

    Apple OS X El Capitan
    Apple

    A new Mac update packed with features like a split-screen viewing mode.

  • 4. Native Apple Watch Apps

    Apple

    Native apps are coming to the Apple Watch, which should make the device run faster.

  • 5. Apple’s News

    Apple

    The Apple News app is finally replacing Newsstand for the journalism junkies among us.

  • 6. Apple Pay

    Apple

    Apple is adding some retailers’ rewards points systems.

TIME Apple

See Everything Apple Announced Today in 2 Minutes

A new streaming service and more

Apple made several big announcements Monday at its 2015 Wordwide Developers Conference, including a new streaming service, a major iPhone software upgrade and improvements to the Apple Watch.

Check out the best of the event in under two minutes.

TIME Apple

Watch Drake Pitch Apple’s New Music Service

"Focus on your body of work"

Rapper and artist Drake said at an Apple event Monday that Apple Music, the company’s new streaming service, is a way for artists and their fans to interact better.

“Focus on your body of work,” he said. “Instead of having to post your stuff on these different and sometimes confusing places, it’s all in one place: and that is Connect.”

TIME Apple

This Is Apple’s New Spotify Killer

A streaming service, radio station and social network in one

Apple unveiled a streaming music service on Monday to rival popular products from the likes of Spotify, which let users listen to songs without buying them outright. Dubbed simply Apple Music, the service will debut on June 30.

At its annual World Wide Developers Conference in San Fransciso, the world’s most valuable technology company showed off software that combines a variety of music-focused services. Apple Music will allow users to stream songs from the millions of tracks on iTunes. The firm also unveiled Beats One, a 24-hour streaming radio station curated by well-known DJs in New York City, Los Angeles and London. Connect, another feature, is a built-in social network intended to let musicians communicate with fans by previewing upcoming work, for example.

Apple Music will be free for three months and then cost $9.99 per month or $14.99 for families of up to six. Executives said it would be available in more than 100 countries at launch.

“Music is such an important part of our lives and our culture,” CEO Tim Cook said on stage before introducing the service. Cook took the wraps off Apple Music more than an hour and a half into the WWDC keynote presentation, saying he had “one more thing” in a nod to co-founder Steve Jobs’ favored keynote tactic. The presentation included comments from artists like rapper Drake about what the new service meant to them.

The company is hoping that it can convince millions of customers worldwide to change their habits around music, much the way it did more than a decade ago when it introduced the iPod. In 2003, Apple’s introduction of the iTunes Music Store turned downloading individual tracks into the most common way for consumers to purchase music. It also transformed iTunes into the world’s largest music retailer.

Monday’s announcement is a milestone for the burgeoning streaming industry. Many observers expect Apple’s entry into the market to push the technology into the mainstream from where it is today, popular mainly among early adopters. Apple may be able to push the hundreds of millions of iTunes customers — most with credit cards already registered on file — to swing for a subscription on the devices the already use to download songs and albums.

“I’m here because in 2003 the record industry was a state of confusion,” Apple executive Jimmy Iovine said on stage. “This giant invader from the north: technology,” he continued before comparing the current climate in streaming music to the pre-download era.

Though it has been available for years, streaming music still has a relatively small footprint. Some 41 million people globally now pay for streaming music from Spotify, Deezer and others, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. The group says subscription revenue grew 39% last year to $1.6 billion, while overall download sales fell 8% to $3.6 billion.

Last year, Apple acquired headphonemaker and music-streaming service Beats for $3 billion last year. Data from royalty-tracking firm Audiam showed Beats Music had just 303,000 U.S. subscribers as of December. Market leader Spotify, by comparison, had 4.7 million in the U.S.

TIME Apple

9 Ways the Apple Watch Is About to Get Better

A big update is coming this fall

Apple unveiled several big software upgrades for the Apple Watch at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday. The new features will arrive with watchOS 2, coming as a free update this fall.

Among the upcoming Apple Watch upgrades:

  1. Third-party app developers will be able to write apps that run directly on the Apple Watch itself. That should make them faster and more responsive than the current batch of third-party apps, which run on an iPhone paired with the Watch.
  2. New photo-based watch faces are coming, including one that rotates in photos from one of your own albums.
  3. You’ll be able to select any photo and make a watch face out of it, much the same way you set an iPhone background.
  4. App developers can make “Complications” for the Apple Watch faces, tiny widgets that display information and link to other apps.
  5. A new feature called “Time Travel” lets you see information like calendar events and weather in the future.
  6. When charging on its side, the Apple Watch will display a “Nightstand” mode that shows the time horizontally.
  7. Third-party fitness apps will now deliver data directly to Apple’s Activity app, and you can use Siri to begin workouts.
  8. The Maps app’s Transit feature is getting step-by-step subway and bus directions.
  9. You’ll be able to control HomeKit smart home equipment from your Apple Watch.

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