TIME Technology & Media

How Spotify Wants You to Avoid Apple’s Extra Fees

Spotify logo displayed on an iPhone.
Daniel Bockwoldt—picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images Spotify logo displayed on an iPhone.

Paying for Spotify through Apple actually costs extra bucks

Spotify wants to save you from paying extra charges to Apple.

Music streaming service Spotify’s ad-free paid tier costs $9.99 per month, but because Apple charges a 30% fee for purchases made through its App Store, customers end up paying $12.99 if they set the Spotify iOS app to auto-renew their monthly subscription.

Spotify is planning to email its customers to tell them how to fix this, The Verge reports.

To avoid that extra fee, Spotify customers first need to cancel their subscription through iTunes. Then, once their current subscription has lapsed (they may have to wait until the end of the month), they can sign up again, this time through Spotify’s web service.

While on first glance Spotify’s move seems like just a helpful gesture, it’s also a shot at Apple, which just launched its own music streaming service that competes with Spotify. Apple Music costs $9.99 a month after the free three-month trial period, without users having to worry about any extra fees.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME twitter

Here’s How Twitter Plans to Capture Video Ad Dollars

Twitter Goes Public On The New York Stock Exchange
Andrew Burton—Getty Images

Feature comes days after Facebook ramped up its own video offerings

Twitter is making it easier for apps to advertise on Twitter through promoted videos.

The move, announced Wednesday, comes after Facebook started another option for those advertising through video: the ability to pay only after a video has played for at least 10 seconds.

Richard Alfonsi, Twitter’s VP of global business development and platforms, called the new feature “an immersive experience to have video directly in the tweet. It creates great performance and lets marketers convey a lot more about what the app does.”

The micro-blogging service said it will also allow advertisers to pay in different ways, too, called “optimized action bidding.”

“This new bidding type allows app install advertisers to optimize their bids according to install, while still paying by app click—offering another way to lower cost-per-installs and yield the highest possible ROI,” the company said in a statement.

Lyft, a ride-sharing service that rivals Uber, recently boasted about Twitter’s advertising capabilities: “Twitter has become our go-to channel for social media marketing,” the company said. “We’ve seen tremendous results with up to three times better performance than other social media channels.”

Twitter unveiled auto-play videos recently and started selling app-install ads last year, Adweek reported.

TIME Apple

Why Apple’s CEO Tim Cook Probably Has Way Too Many Direct Reports

Apple Unveils iPhone 6
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images Apple's CEO Tim Cook.

He manages 17 people

Tim Cook took over the top role at Apple in 2011 and has since amassed 17 direct reports, according to an analysis by Business Insider.

Cook was only overseeing nine people when he took over as CEO of Apple, which means his management load has increased more than two-fold in almost four years. That’s a pretty significant gain — and one that management experts say may be more than one manager can handle.

According to Hal Gregersen, who heads up the MIT Leadership Center, told Business Insider that the ideal number of direct reports is between six and 12. The optimal number is dependent on how many people a leader can have in a room and still maintain a constructive conversation, said Gregersen.

Gregersen hasn’t studied Cook directly, but said that he has his work cut out for him: “The odds are against any team of 17 versus a team of six.”

For instance, in an hour-long meeting, 17 people would each have three-and-a-half minutes to share their thoughts, versus 10 minutes each for 6 workers. Small groups of people have the ability to go deeper on any one issue.

On the other hand, more direct reports could mean fewer layers of management. Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch considered that an advantage when he ran the international conglomerate. It allowed “people to flex their muscles,” and it allowed him to “focus only on the big important issues, not on minutiae.”

TIME Virgin America

Faster Wi-Fi Speeds Are Coming To Virgin America

Courtesy of Virgin America.

Watch YouTube on your iPad to your heart's content.

Virgin America has launched faster inflight Wi-Fi that will give you smooth, uninterrupted YouTube views for your whole journey.

The company has partnered with broadband technology firm Viasat in outfitting its 10 new A320 aircrafts with updated Wi-Fi networks. The use of ViaSat-1, a high capacity Ka-band satellite service that offers speeds of up to 140 gigabits-per-second, could make Virgin’s Wi-Fi eight to ten times faster than your garden variety inflight networks. Passengers will be able to watch countless episodes of PewDiePie beginning in September, the company said in a statement.

It marks the next chapter in the wild world of wireless service on planes. Despite the obvious benefits, there are huge discrepancies in pricing and speeds for on-board Wi-Fi, as detailed in our recent story on the economics of inflight Internet. Most airlines use Gogo, the biggest player in onboard Wi-Fi, and Gogo can support connections of 3.1 Mbps to 9.8 Mbps. Gogo has also been raising the prices of surfing the Web in the skies, betting that customers will pay almost anything for such a privilege.

“I’ve seen prices as high as $35 a flight for a cross country flight,” Tim Farrar, satellite telecom analyst for TMF Associates, told Fortune. “That pricing isn’t widespread yet, but there appears to be no limit to what people are prepared to pay.”

TIME New York Stock Exchange

NYSE Abruptly Halts Trading in All Securities

Positive Earnings Push Dow Jones Average Higher For Day
Andrew Burton—Getty Images Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Early indications are that a computer problem or glitch is the cause

Reports are coming from Twitter that trading has been unexpectedly halted on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

In an immediate and brief statement, NYSE confirmed, “NYSE/NYSE MKT has temporarily suspended trading in all symbols. Additional information will follow as soon as possible.”

Early indications are that a computer problem or glitch is the cause. Coincidentally, United Airlines had to ground all flights for an hour this morning due to computer issues as well.

This is a developing story. Please check back for further updates.

TIME Gen X

Here’s Why Your Boss is Probably Younger Than You

McDonald's Flagship Restaurant Re-Opening In Frankfurt/Main
Hannelore Foerster—Getty Images Steve Easterbrook, CEO of McDonald's, was born in 1967.

Young CEOs already leading huge Fortune 500 companies

As baby boomers head for retirement, members of Generation X, or those born between 1965 and 1980, are taking their places in the c-suite.

The Wall Street Journal reports that this new batch of top executives comes with shared traits, including being more tech savvy on average, quicker to react, and more prone to retaining young employees.

“There is going to be a sea change in terms of the ways that individuals in the corner office lead,’’ Sandra Davis of MDA Leadership Consulting said in an interview with the newspaper. “They are far more nimble and agile.”

CEOs under age 50 have already been tapped to lead some of the world’s largest companies, including Microsoft, McDonald’s, 21st Century Fox and Harley-Davidson, according to the publication.

Satya Nadella, a star Gen X CEO, has used his post to attract from talent from young startups. He became CEO after Steve Ballmer, his older predecessor.

The publication also points out that younger CEOs tend to go for a flatter organization structure versus one that’s highly hierarchical, meaning less bureaucracy and more fluidity in decision-making.

TIME SpaceX

Elon Musk on SpaceX Explosion: It’s ‘Definitely a Setback’

He said it was "definitely a setback"

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Wednesday gave his first televised interview in which he made comments about a recent failed launch of his company’s Falcon 9 rocket.

Speaking with CNBC, Musk called the June 28 rocket failure “definitely a setback”, and said the company was in the midst of a thorough investigation. Until then, he added, SpaceX would refrain from any more launches.

“I think we need to understand exactly what went wrong and be very deliberate at it,” Musk said while attending the Allen & Co conference in Sun Valley.

June’s failed Falcon 9 launch — SpaceX’s 19th — was carrying supplies and experiments bound for the International Space Station. With other resupply missions planned for the near future, the SpaceX rocket’s loss should not put the astronauts aboard the ISS in jeopardy.

“We need to look at the data and see if there were any near-misses,” Musk added. “Could something else have gone wrong and what do we need to do to fix that. Our goal is to have the most reliable rocket ever because it’s going to be launching astronauts soon, so it needs to be super reliable.”

Despite the setback, NASA recently affirmed its support for SpaceX. with agency administrator Charles Bolden saying the explosion should not deter Musk and his team from their spaceflight program.

“SpaceX has demonstrated extraordinary capabilities in its first six cargo resupply missions to the station, and we know they can replicate that success. We will work with and support SpaceX to assess what happened, understand the specifics of the failure and correct it to move forward,” Bolden said in a statement.

TIME Video Games

The New Destiny PlayStation 4 Bundle Is What We Deserved Last Year

Activision

Now that's one gorgeous PlayStation 4

The original Destiny “glacier white” PlayStation 4 bundle was a trifle bland. White in that case indicated “builder white,” or white-white. Actual glaciers are nearer turquoise, like the crystal meth Walter White cooked in Breaking Bad. Imagine how much cooler that would have been!

The new Destiny: The Taken King 500GB PlayStation 4 bundle, just unveiled to celebrate the eponymous third expansion’s release on September 15, is by contrast delightfully ornate. The still-white console (with matching controller) now sports a lovely looking silver etching of the game’s cosmic map, with a large gold Guardian’s crest smack in the middle. And the bundle includes a physical copy of the “legendary edition” of the game, including all expansions through The Taken King, plus several “digital collector’s edition” upgrades (exotic Guardian items, emotes, armor shaders and an early access weapon pack).

In short, it’s the PlayStation 4 whoever’s responsible for pulling the trigger on these things should have green-lit a year ago.

Activision

The Taken King, chock full of new stuff to do (including a brand new campaign), is apparently developer Bungie’s plan to shore up the game’s dearth of content. Not that said dearth has dulled Destiny’s luster. Destiny has done very well for publisher Activision, with around 16 million registered users to date.

And it’s probably done very well for Sony’s PlayStation 4, too, what with Sony shrewdly securing enviable timed-exclusive content from day one. In The Taken King‘s case, that includes: a co-op Strike, a PvP multiplayer map, three legendary gear sets and an exotic scout rifle.

No word on a price yet, but last year’s Destiny PlayStation 4 bundle, which included a standard $60 copy of the original game, went for $450 (a 500GB PlayStation 4 currently goes for $400). The legendary edition of The Taken King runs $60 by its lonesome, while the collector’s edition goes for $80. The “limited” and “ghost” editions of the original game, by contrast, went for $100 and $150 respectively.

Wherever the new bundle’s price lands, you’ll probably need a loan to finance whatever eBay scalpers wind up asking, assuming this thing sells after it rolls out on September 15.

TIME Parenting

Everything You Know About Boys and Video Games Is Wrong

Here's what they really think about how women are portrayed on screen

Kids are fed up with Kate Upton.

When the ads for Game of War started showing up on my students’ phones last year—they haven’t stopped—many were annoyed. They hated that it was impossible to close the ad, forcing them instead to watch the video until the end. But what really irritated them was Ms. Upton, in a full-cleavage-baring white flowing dress. The ads are clearly effective for some, but the message is obvious: Game of War is a boys’ game, and Upton is the game’s mascot, walking through battles totally unscathed and doing nothing except looking pretty.

Action games with big battles like Game of War are incredibly exciting to kids. And kids I’ve worked with, both male and female, will put up with a lot to play exciting games. But it doesn’t mean they like the way women are portrayed. Yet the video game industry seems to base much of its game and character design on a few assumptions, among them that girls don’t play big action games, boys won’t play games with strong female characters, and male players like the sexual objectification of female characters.

You can guess what the results are: a gaming landscape that thrusts a hyper-sexualized depiction of women onto the phone, computer and TV screens of millions of boys and girls.

MORE What Boys Really Want

The issue of sexism in video games, long simmering, is sure to bubble up again during the Comic-Con convention this weekend in San Diego. (47% of attendees are expected to be women.) In collaboration with my colleagues, Charlie Kuhn and gaming expert Ashly Burch, we surveyed more than 1,400 middle and high school students from throughout the country last year. We asked them to tell us what they thought about gender representation in games, what games girls play, and more. Our survey was exploratory—we didn’t have the resources to conduct a thorough evaluation—but we believed it was an important issue to study and hope others will follow.

Here are three things we found that may surprise.

Boys believe female characters are treated too often as sex objects

47% of middle school boys agreed or strongly agreed, and 61% of high school boys agreed or strongly agreed. “If women are objectified like this it defeats the entire purpose of fighting,” Theo, an eighth-grader who loves playing Mortal Kombat, told us. “I would respect the [female] character more for having some dignity.”

Both boys and girls aren’t more likely to play a game based on the gender of the protagonist

70% of girls said it doesn’t matter and 78% of boys said it doesn’t matter. Interestingly, boys care less about playing as a male character as they age and girls care more about playing as a female one.

Girls play a variety of game genres

26% played first-person shooter games like Call of Duty and HALO, 36% played role-playing games like Skyrim and Grand Theft Auto, and 17% played sports games like FIFA and Madden. (19% did not play games, compared to 3% of boys.)

We also asked kids if they identified as “gamers.” Especially in light of the “Gamergate” controversy that erupted last year and revealed intense sexism among some self-identified gamers, would the young people who identified as gamers share any of these sentiments? But very few of our respondents knew what Gamergate was and they had very different responses from what one may expect: 55% of boys who identify as gamers think there should be more female heroes in games, and 57% believe that female characters are too often treated as sex objects.

This all matters because gaming has become an important part of our culture, and it’s sending the wrong message onto our boys’ and girls’ sceens. Our kids deserve better. And it’s what they want.

Rosalind Wiseman is the author of Masterminds and Wingmen (Harmony Books, 2013) as well as Queen Bees and Wannabes (Harmony Books, 2002)

TIME Star Wars

Disney Confirms Plans for Han Solo Spin-off Movie

On the set of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
© Sunset Boulevard/Corbis—© Sunset Boulevard/Corbis American actor Harrison Ford on the set of 'Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope.'

Character will get his own film, set for release in 2018

The first film in the new Star Wars franchise isn’t even out yet, and already details are emerging about more of them.

On Tuesday, The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, the duo that directed The Lego Movie, are working on a Han Solo origin film set to be released in 2018 as part of the Star Wars anthology series.

Disney, which bought LucasFilm in 2012 for $4 billion, confirmed the movie, in a statement with comments from the directors: “We pledge ourselves to be faithful stewards of these characters who mean so much to us,” said Miller and Lord.

The Han Solo movie will be part of a standalone anthology series, the first of which, Rogue One, comes out in 2016. Separately, the first film in the new trilogy, Episode VII: The Force Awakens, comes out in December of this year.

As THR notes, the Han Solo news should be candy to big Star Wars fans for a number of personal details about who is involved. Miller, who will-co-direct, interned at LucasFilm when he was younger and, at one point, even put on a Stormtrooper costume at George Lucas’s request. Meanwhile, the screenplay is being written by father-son team Jon and Lawrence Kasdan—the latter, 66, co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, as well as Raiders of the Lost Ark, which starred Harrison Ford, who played the original Han Solo.

To read more about the major bet Disney and its CEO Bob Iger is placing on the new line of Star Wars films, check out our January 2015 Fortune cover story: Bob Iger’s empire of tech.

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