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Apple’s Phil Schiller talks HomePod delay, AirPods engineering, Face ID in iPhone X, iMac Pro

Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller continues his media rounds talking about all things Apple, with the latest interview delving into the internal thought process when the company decided to move away from Touch ID in the iPhone X, thoughts on Apple’s collaborative environment, and the iMac Pro’s imminent release.

a5c45_23992-30971-schiller-l Apple's Phil Schiller talks HomePod delay, AirPods engineering, Face ID in iPhone X, iMac Pro

In an interview granted to T3 and published on Tuesday hours before the iMac Pro availability announcement, Schiller called Face ID “the boldest of the things we’ve done” and reiterating the Apple committed to the new technology early in the process.

“That’s an exciting moment, when you have to sort of the old saying: Burn the boats. Leave the past behind, and commit’,” said Schiller. “Knowing that the team was willing to make that gamble was a key point early enough in the process.”

As far as the Face ID technology included in other products, Schiller danced around the subject.

“We try not to get ahead of ourselves,” Schiller said to T3. “While we have many plans throughout the year for many things, we also are realists in that we need to create something, and that we need to make it great, and that we need to study, and we need to learn all the user cases all around the world from everybody in every situation, before we then imagine some of the other things we might do.”

Schiller also has seen that the new gestures on the iPhone X made necessary by the omission of a home button have been easy for users to adapt to.

“Most people are comfortable with it within minutes – 30 minutes, whatever. It’s not the kind of thing you have to live with for a week or two to get used to,” said Schiller. “That, to me, is always the sign of some or our most advanced, best thought-out technology: they become intuitive incredibly quickly and change how you think about everything else you use.”

Tim Cook’s powers of collaboration

Apple’s deep integration between its assorted technologies is often cited as a reason for sticking with the ecosystem. Pointing to the Apple Watch being able to unlock a Mac, AirPods, and the Apple Pencil as examples, Schiller sees Apple CEO Tim Cook at the core of those interactions.

“One of the great things Tim has done is to recognize the power of collaborative work at Apple; he encourages us all to really take advantage of that; and to not only work together, but to imagine things in our products that would not be possible had it not been for that collaboration,” said Schiller about Cook. “And those then turn into strengths that, as customers, we all benefit from.”

Apple innovation in the AirPods

Schiller spoke at length about the engineering process for the AirPods. Saying that the company first had the Apple Watch Series 3 in mind when they conceived the device, the executive spoke about problems that they ran into along the way.

“At the surface level, it’s an incredibly simple product. But the reality is it’s actually an incredibly complex product to make,” Schiller said regarding the very popular wireless earbud released in the end of 2016. “Each AirPod really is its own computer, running software and hardware. And those two computers need to deliver this very clear experience that you want, and they have to work together, because we’re very attuned to synchronization in audio as a species.”

Issues cited along the way were the unexpected result that removing the cable had on bud retention in the ears, dealing with RF shielding by the human body itself, and other fit and finish issues.

iMac Pro is a game-changer

Schiller claims that Apple “learned over the last few years” the “depth and love” that the Mac platform has by pro users. He says that the definition of Pro is very wide, and is very difficult to accommodate in full —but they are listening.

“So why now? Because this is how long it’s taken. It was a big, big project, and that’s just how things go. It takes this time. And we’re getting close to when it’s out there. It’s very soon. A matter of days now.” Schiller said. “And like all of our products, we have a lot of thoughts and feelings about it, but the truth will be: what do customers tell us? I can’t wait.”

HomePod delayed, but no real reason given

“It’s really very simple. It’s a brand new product. It’s a lot of engineering to make it be the product we’ve described, and for it to be what we all hope it can be.” Schiller said about the HomePod’s delay into 2017. “I’m actually really proud that we’re a company that will take the time to do something right. Our goal is always not to be most’ but to be best’, and we set high standards. We often exceed those, but not always. And we need to be self-honest if something’s not ready, and continue to work on it until it is.”

How to Flash Your iPhone’s LED from Your Apple Watch

As you may know, you can use your Apple Watch to locate your iPhone through the magic of its Control Center. To get there, swipe up from the bottom of your watch face.

2dfe3_Modular How to Flash Your iPhone's LED from Your Apple Watch

Modular face 4-eva.

Once Control Center opens, scroll down until you find the little vibratey-phone-icon thing.

2dfe3_Modular How to Flash Your iPhone's LED from Your Apple Watch

If you tap that, it’ll play a loud sound through your iPhone to help you find it, which works even if the device is muted; however, you can press and hold on this icon as well. When you do so, not only will it give you the same annoying beeping noise, it’ll also flash the iPhone’s LED. This could be important for those of you with hearing loss, for example.

I guess if you wanted to flash the iPhone’s LED without making any associated noise, you could consider opening your Watch’s camera app, pressing firmly on the screen to turn the flash on, and then taking a picture. I can’t imagine why that’d be important, but I dunno. Maybe you’ve got a sleeping baby and you often lose your phone in dark rooms. Maybe you’re trying to avoid waking the Christmas demon that lives under your bed. Whatever works for you!

Expect to see iPhone and iPad apps up for pre-order in the Apple App Store

Super Mario Run was the first instance of the Apple App Store allowing you to pre-order a title, but from today all developers will be able to do the same for their upcoming software.

It’s something we see quite often within the Google Play Store for Android, not to mention on games consoles, but now those who are using an iPad or iPhone will be able to pre-order titles too.

Developers can start to build the hype for apps and games 90 days ahead of the official release date by listing it on the store.

Straight to your phone

You’ll now be able to press the pre-order button and you’ll then get either the app or the game downloaded to your phone or tablet immediately when it’s released.

If you’re spending money on the title, you’ll only have to pay once the app or game is released. You can also cancel at any time without incurring a charge from Apple or the developer.

Some markets – including the US – are already seeing a pre-order section within the App Store, but we’ve yet to see that in the UK and expect it to roll out in the coming days.

Via TechCrunch

Mission Impossible? How To Find An Apple Phone X For Your Christmas

Are you hoping to purchase an iPhone X before Christmas? It looks like that you could be in luck, at least in the US. Apple’s online store is reporting that shipments of the iPhone X with carrier contracts are being fulfilled in around two days, with SIM unlocked models available in a similar timescale.

202df_960x0 Mission Impossible? How To Find An Apple Phone X For Your Christmas

Some floor model iPhone Xs are seen inside the the Apple Store Union Square prior to the store’s opening on November 3, 2017, i (Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP/Getty Images)

Given the handset zoomed out to a six-week wait not long after it was publicly released on November 3rd, Tim Cook and his team in Cupertino will be delighted to have the stock levels under a modicum of control ahead of the festive gift buying period. It’s not the same as being able to walk into an Apple Store and walk out with one of the tenth-anniversary handsets, but it does mean that if you want a handset and can contain yourself for seventy-two hours, you will get a handset.

Apple and its mobile partners can now happily turn up the heat on the festive marketing, safe in the knowledge that any demand created will be sated. That means you can expect to hear a lot more about FaceID, you will see a lot more about the tweaks to portrait mode, and you’ll read even more about the ‘bezel-free’ nature of the iPhone X (just make sure you, er, ignore the visible bezels).

Whether this final burst of sales in the last quarter of the year will be enough to allow Q4 figures to show a rise in sales, or if it will be the third Q4 to show falling sales remains to be seen. No doubt the ongoing sales of the iPhone X in Q1 2018 will balanced out any lower performance.

Now read more about how the iPhone X fails to light up Apple’s future…

1 Surprising Rumor About Apple’s Upcoming 6.1-Inch iPhone

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Apple’s most expensive computer goes on sale this week

Apple’s new iMac Pro, first announced this summer, will go on sale Thursday (Dec. 14), the company said today.

The computer features the same design as the existing iMac line, except that it comes in a fetching shade of “space gray.” It can also be configured with up to an 18-core Intel Xeon processor, 128 GB of memory, and 4 TB of flash storage. It’s a monster of a machine, and it will set you back accordingly: The Verge reports that the price will start at $4,999, before all the possible upgrades.

Apple’s current most-expensive model, the trash can-shaped Mac Pro, starts at $2,999, and is customizable with upgrades that can take the price to over $7,000 before you even add on a monitor.

Unlike Apple’s forthcoming HomePod smart speaker, which was announced and promised at the same event as the iMac Pro, this computer will be shipping on time. Apple said last month that the HomePod would be delayed until “early 2018.”

In case you weren’t sure whether you needed a massively expensive professional computer, here’s one thing that could put you over the top: The iMac Pro will come with an exclusive black (or dare we say, “space gray”) Lightning cable. So if you’re sick of all of Apple’s white cables, there’s that.

Apple iPhone X Supply Improves In Time For Christmas

Apple‘s (AAPL) iPhone X will be home for Christmas for shoppers interested in getting the company’s flagship handset this holiday season.

Analysts say Apple’s production of the 11th-generation smartphone could catch up with demand by the end of this month.

The iPhone X was in short supply when it went on sale Nov. 3, with expected delivery wait times of about a month. On Monday, Apple said iPhone X units purchased online would be delivered in two to four days. Many models were listed as available for same-day pickup in stores.

“IPhone X supply improved materially over the past week both in-store and online,” Gene Munster, a managing partner of Loup Ventures, said in a blog post Sunday. “We now believe iPhone X will be near global supply demand equilibrium by the end of December or early January. Previously, we had anticipated iPhone X would reach global supply demand equilibrium by mid- to late January.”

That change should help iPhone sales numbers and average selling prices in the December quarter, he said.


IBD’S TAKE: Apple stock has an IBD Composite Rating of 90, meaning it has outperformed 90% of stocks in key metrics over the past 12 months. For more analysis on Apple, visit the IBD Stock Checkup.


Apple shares were up 1.5%, near 171.90, in morning trading on the stock market today.

In other Apple news, the consumer electronics giant reportedly is near a deal to buy music-identification app Shazam for about $400 million, TechCrunch and others reported.

The popular app allows users to identify songs by sound.

Apple would link the Shazam app more tightly with its Apple Music service and iOS operating system, according to media reports.

RELATED:

Apple iPhone X Supply Improving, But Still Tight At Retail Stores

Apple Doesn’t Need Next Big Thing For A While, Analyst Says

Apple iPhone 2018 Sales Outlook Good, But Not Super: Analyst

Even Google is helping Apple secure iOS 11 now

Just as iPhone jailbreaking appeared poised to take its last breath, a report from Motherboard last week revealed that the first publicly available iOS 11 jailbreak is in the works — and Google is behind it. According to the report, Ian Beer — a security researcher from Google’s Project Zero — discovered a series of exploits in iOS 11.1.2, many of which were patched in 11.2. But using those exploits, a bonafide iOS 11 jailbreak might finally be possible.

Although we’re still waiting for the jailbreak, Beer on Monday shared new details about the exploit on Twitter and even attached the exploit on a Chromium forum thread. He also claimed that the “tfp0” — which allows users to take control of the operating system’s core — “should work for all devices.”

There are a few things worth noting about this entire episode. First of all, Project Zero is a team within Google that works primarily to find vulnerabilities in other companies’ devices and software. In the past, the team has discovered bugs in Windows 8.1, Cloudflare and popular password management app LastPass.

The team also has a policy of publishing any bugs or exploits within 90 days reporting it if the company in question fails to release a patch. Microsoft found out the hard way when Project Zero published a Windows bug along with the code necessary to exploit it when Microsoft failed to offer any meaningful response within the 90 day period.

It’s a fascinating endeavor, but when it comes to the iOS 11 exploit, don’t get your hopes up. A former Apple security engineer told Motherboard that the exploit Beer releases will be “the bare minimum required to allow security researchers to research iOS.” So a full, untethered jailbreak seems like a pipe dream at this point.

Even Google is helping Apple secure iOS 11 now

Just as iPhone jailbreaking appeared poised to take its last breath, a report from Motherboard last week revealed that the first publicly available iOS 11 jailbreak is in the works — and Google is behind it. According to the report, Ian Beer — a security researcher from Google’s Project Zero — discovered a series of exploits in iOS 11.1.2, many of which were patched in 11.2. But using those exploits, a bonafide iOS 11 jailbreak might finally be possible.

Although we’re still waiting for the jailbreak, Beer on Monday shared new details about the exploit on Twitter and even attached the exploit on a Chromium forum thread. He also claimed that the “tfp0” — which allows users to take control of the operating system’s core — “should work for all devices.”

There are a few things worth noting about this entire episode. First of all, Project Zero is a team within Google that works primarily to find vulnerabilities in other companies’ devices and software. In the past, the team has discovered bugs in Windows 8.1, Cloudflare and popular password management app LastPass.

The team also has a policy of publishing any bugs or exploits within 90 days reporting it if the company in question fails to release a patch. Microsoft found out the hard way when Project Zero published a Windows bug along with the code necessary to exploit it when Microsoft failed to offer any meaningful response within the 90 day period.

It’s a fascinating endeavor, but when it comes to the iOS 11 exploit, don’t get your hopes up. A former Apple security engineer told Motherboard that the exploit Beer releases will be “the bare minimum required to allow security researchers to research iOS.” So a full, untethered jailbreak seems like a pipe dream at this point.

Even Google is helping Apple secure iOS 11 now

Just as iPhone jailbreaking appeared poised to take its last breath, a report from Motherboard last week revealed that the first publicly available iOS 11 jailbreak is in the works — and Google is behind it. According to the report, Ian Beer — a security researcher from Google’s Project Zero — discovered a series of exploits in iOS 11.1.2, many of which were patched in 11.2. But using those exploits, a bonafide iOS 11 jailbreak might finally be possible.

Although we’re still waiting for the jailbreak, Beer on Monday shared new details about the exploit on Twitter and even attached the exploit on a Chromium forum thread. He also claimed that the “tfp0” — which allows users to take control of the operating system’s core — “should work for all devices.”

There are a few things worth noting about this entire episode. First of all, Project Zero is a team within Google that works primarily to find vulnerabilities in other companies’ devices and software. In the past, the team has discovered bugs in Windows 8.1, Cloudflare and popular password management app LastPass.

The team also has a policy of publishing any bugs or exploits within 90 days reporting it if the company in question fails to release a patch. Microsoft found out the hard way when Project Zero published a Windows bug along with the code necessary to exploit it when Microsoft failed to offer any meaningful response within the 90 day period.

It’s a fascinating endeavor, but when it comes to the iOS 11 exploit, don’t get your hopes up. A former Apple security engineer told Motherboard that the exploit Beer releases will be “the bare minimum required to allow security researchers to research iOS.” So a full, untethered jailbreak seems like a pipe dream at this point.

Will You Find Apple’s Phone X For Your Christmas?

Are you hoping to purchase an iPhone X before Christmas morning? It looks like that you could be in luck, at least in the US. Apple’s online store is reporting that shipments of the iPhone X with carrier contracts are being fulfilled in around two days, with SIM unlocked models available in a similar timescale.

57d67_960x0 Will You Find Apple's Phone X For Your Christmas?

Some floor model iPhone Xs are seen inside the the Apple Store Union Square prior to the store’s opening on November 3, 2017, i (Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP/Getty Images)

Given the handset zoomed out to a six-week wait not long after it was publicly released on November 3rd, Tim Cook and his team in Cupertino will be delighted to have the stock levels under a modicum of control ahead of the festive gift buying period. It’s not the same as being able to walk into an Apple Store and walk out with one of the tenth-anniversary handsets, but it does mean that if you want a handset and can contain yourself for seventy-two hours, you will get a handset.

Apple and its mobile partners can now happily turn up the heat on the festive marketing, safe in the knowledge that any demand created will be sated. That means you can expect to hear a lot more about FaceID, you will see a lot more about the tweaks to portrait mode, and you’ll read even more about the ‘bezel-free’ nature of the iPhone X (just make sure you, er, ignore the visible bezels).

Whether this final burst of sales in the last quarter of the year will be enough to allow Q4 figures to show a rise in sales, or if it will be the third Q4 to show falling sales remains to be seen. No doubt the ongoing sales of the iPhone X in Q1 2018 will balanced out any lower performance.

Now read more about how the iPhone X fails to light up Apple’s future…

Tips for shooting portraits on your Apple iPhone X (or any phone …

57d67_snapseed Tips for shooting portraits on your Apple iPhone X (or any phone ...

Learn how to take the best portraits on your iPhone.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Shooting lovely pictures of your family and friends is one of the best uses for your phone’s camera. Though I regularly shoot weddings as a professional photographer using expensive DSLRs and lights, I also love using my iPhone ($849.00 at Apple) to take gorgeous portraits.

Taking your phone portrait photography from casual Facebook snaps to frame-worthy art is simple, you just need to follow these easy tips. While I shot my pictures on the iPhone X ($1,149.00 at Apple), most of these examples will apply to any phone camera.

This article is part of my series on how to take better photos with your phone. Make sure to check out my best tips on taking great shots of cars and how to take amazing action sports photos.

Consider the setting for your portrait

Location is everything, so think carefully about where you’ll shoot and whether the surroundings match the people you’re photographing and tell the story you want to capture. Hoping for a sweet photo for your grandparents’ anniversary? That gritty wall of street art probably isn’t the best place to represent them and the time they’ve spent together (unless they painted it, of course).

A natural pose for a natural shot

One of the best ways to turn awkward holiday snaps into stunning portraits doesn’t involve equipment at all. Forget about asking your subjects to stand up straight and stare straight into the camera — it’s not a natural pose, and it sure as hell won’t look it in the pictures.

57d67_snapseed Tips for shooting portraits on your Apple iPhone X (or any phone ...

Get your subjects to pose naturally. 


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Instead, talk to your subjects and help them to relax. Put your phone down for a moment and see how they naturally position themselves when they’re not being photographed. Don’t force it; give them time to unwind and try a few different poses — sitting, standing, even lying down — and see how they respond. Remember that if they feel uncomfortable, they’ll look uncomfortable.

Try for a variety of facial expressions, too. If you’re taking photos at a wedding or birthday, try to get your subjects to laugh — their expressions will convey the joyful emotions of the day and result in a natural-looking photo. For a more candid feel, have them look away from the camera too, as though they didn’t know you were there taking photos.

Creative composition

57d67_snapseed Tips for shooting portraits on your Apple iPhone X (or any phone ...

Always remember the rule of thirds.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Composition is crucial in all aspects of photography, but nowhere is it more important than in portraits. Simply putting your subjects in the middle of the frame with no thought about where they are in the scene won’t produce the best shots. But taking a moment to think about how you’ll compose a photo and how your subjects will fit into it is a great step towards a better portrait.

Rather than framing a subject so your shot includes the body down to the waist, try moving in to fill more of the frame with their head and shoulders. Then, move away to capture the entire body and more of the background.

Don’t have people stand in the center of the picture, either. Consider the photography “rule of thirds” and frame in the right or left third of the image instead. Most smartphones have a rule-of-thirds grid overlay (look in the Settings menu) that’ll help you compose this shot.

57d67_snapseed Tips for shooting portraits on your Apple iPhone X (or any phone ...

Portrait mode isn’t just for iPhone users.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Pay attention to the background in the shot, and make sure that all the elements are where you want them to be. Check that the horizon line is straight, that there’s no streetlight or tree sticking out of the top of someone’s head and that any buildings (such as a church spire) aren’t sliced off at the top. Remember that you can fix some lighting and color issues with editing, but you can’t rescue bad composition.

Composition is important for lighting, too. With a bright sky in the background you have two choices on a phone: Expose for the sky and plunge your subject into shadow or expose for your subject and likely wash out the sky. Instead, move your subject to a location where they’re lit well by the sun, but with no bright background.

Use portrait mode

Portraits shot on a DSLR with a telephoto lense have a characteristic blur to the background which helps the subject really pop out of the scene. Now that feature has come to phones. The iPhone 7 Plus ($894.99 at Amazon.com), 8 Plus and X all have a portrait mode which can simulate that effect and give a great depth of field to your images.

You’ll get the best results when your subject is close to your camera (between 3 and 6 feet). When you switch to portrait mode, your phone’s camera will automatically apply the depth effect when it focuses on your subject’s face. It can be a bit hit and miss (busy hairstyles with lots of flyaways don’t always produce good results), and might take a few attempts to get just right, but it works well if you take the time.

Phones like the new Pixel 2 ($649.99 at Best Buy), Note 8 and OnePlus 5T have portrait modes as well, so it’s not just iPhone users who can get this effect.

Don’t be afraid to experiment

Even with all I’ve just said, don’t stick too rigidly to rules of how a photo “should” be taken. It’s when you start to break the rules and play around a bit that the creativity really starts to flow. Move around your subject while you’re shooting to mix up your composition, try some new angles, or find some unusual locations.

Never be afraid to try something new and unusual in your photos. With the ability to store hundreds of pictures on your phone, the worst-case scenario is that you simply delete an image that didn’t work out. You might just come away with a wonderfully unique image that you’ll treasure for years.

Edit for artistic results

57d67_snapseed Tips for shooting portraits on your Apple iPhone X (or any phone ...

Have fun with your edits, you can always return to the original. 


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Clever editing is a great way to turn an everyday snap into a beautiful piece of artwork. When shooting on your phone, apps like Snapseed, VSCO and even Instagram (all free on both iOS and Android) have a variety of filters and tools to tweak your portraits to your desires.

There’s no single correct way to edit a photo. I love simply playing around with different effects and seeing what works. You can always undo your edits if you don’t like them and go back to the original.  

For some general editing tips however, try to avoid increasing contrast and structure too much (unless you want a very stylised, dramatic effect) as it can produce an unflattering effect on skin. Also avoid any colour filters that result in too much of a sickly green tinge to the face. 

Will You Find Apple’s Phone X For Your Christmas?

Are you hoping to purchase an iPhone X before Christmas morning? It looks like that you could be in luck, at least in the US. Apple’s online store is reporting that shipments of the iPhone X with carrier contracts are being fulfilled in around two days, with SIM unlocked models available in a similar timescale.

eb72b_960x0 Will You Find Apple's Phone X For Your Christmas?

Some floor model iPhone Xs are seen inside the the Apple Store Union Square prior to the store’s opening on November 3, 2017, i (Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP/Getty Images)

Given the handset zoomed out to a six-week wait not long after it was publicly released on November 3rd, Tim Cook and his team in Cupertino will be delighted to have the stock levels under a modicum of control ahead of the festive gift buying period. It’s not the same as being able to walk into an Apple Store and walk out with one of the tenth-anniversary handsets, but it does mean that if you want a handset and can contain yourself for seventy-two hours, you will get a handset.

Apple and its mobile partners can now happily turn up the heat on the festive marketing, safe in the knowledge that any demand created will be sated. That means you can expect to hear a lot more about FaceID, you will see a lot more about the tweaks to portrait mode, and you’ll read even more about the ‘bezel-free’ nature of the iPhone X (just make sure you, er, ignore the visible bezels).

Whether this final burst of sales in the last quarter of the year will be enough to allow Q4 figures to show a rise in sales, or if it will be the third Q4 to show falling sales remains to be seen. No doubt the ongoing sales of the iPhone X in Q1 2018 will balanced out any lower performance.

Now read more about how the iPhone X fails to light up Apple’s future…

What Apple is likely to do with Shazam, the early name-that-tune iPhone app

CLOSE

Apple is reportedly buying music recognition app Shazam, a move that could allow it to integrate an important feature into its line of smartphones at a time when the iPhone’s innovation crown is under threat from Google and Samsung.
Wochit

LOS ANGELES — The music app Shazam is best known for its uncanny ability to identify songs that are already playing. 

But Shazam’s new owner Apple could use that technology for more than just naming that tune. It could also fine-tune Apple Music’s feature that recommends songs for listeners, similar to the algorithmically updating playlists that streaming giant Spotify offers.

Apple on Monday said it was buying Shazam, one of the first music apps used with the iPhone when the device originally launched, to beef up its Apple Music subscription service. 

Apple Music is the No. 2 streaming music service, with 30 million subscribers, to No. 1 Spotify’s 60 million. 

Richard Windsor, an analyst at Edison Investment Research, predicts Shazam can help strengthen Apple’s music streaming service by suggesting songs.  

“This is one of the traits that makes Spotify’s service so good as it is able to take that and match it to users’ tastes,” he says. 

Shazam, which has been downloaded over 1 billion times, is used over 20 million times daily to discover music by using the smartphone microphone to identify songs. While its heyday was several years ago, when the technology was novel, London-based Shazam has been struggling to find a business model that works in today’s world, analysts say. It has tried expanding into naming music from commercials, 

The app is no longer at the top of the charts, at No. 91 on the Apple iTunes chart and no longer in the top 100 for the Google Play Store chart.

Shazam and Apple didn’t announce a purchase price, but TechCrunch reported it at $400 million, a deep discount to its prior value. In January 2015, Shazam announced a new $30 million fund-raising round it said valued the company at $1 billion.

Waning use of Shazam reflects increased integration onto the iPhone. Shazam is now accessible from Siri, the iPhone personal digital assistant, allowing users of the iPhone to identify songs without having to open the Shazam app. 

More: These were the most downloaded Apple apps of 2017

More: Garth Brooks explains why he chose Amazon over Apple Music

The growing shift to streaming music, as opposed to downloads, has also crimped Shazam’s model — as well as challenged Apple’s, which popularized music downloads with the Apple iTunes store and pre-phone iPods.

When more listeners would buy and download music, Shazam was able to pick up affiliate fees when its customer would buy a song or album at an online store like iTunes after hearing the music on Shazam. That buying pattern faded as more listeners streamed music. 

“It doubled down on providing tools for TV advertisers but never got enough traction for that to be a true pivot,” said Mark Milligan, an analyst with British based Midia Research. That Shazam sold for far less than the company’s 2015 valuation “illustrates how much value has seeped out of Shazam’s business.”

Shazam has been built into Siri since 2014–“(“Siri, what song is playing on the radio?””) while rival Google has built even stronger identification tools into the new Google Pixel 2 phone, without asking, and the “Google Lens,” feature lets you place your phone in front of a record album to get information about the band and featured songs.

Paul Resnikoff, the publisher of Digital Music News, thinks Apple will keep the app going, but re-orient to send consumers to Apple Music.

Currently, identified songs are offered as potential downloads on Apple Music, or as streaming options on services like Spotify and Google Play Music.

Additionally, Digital Music News Monday published a report that forecast Apple will put all of its efforts into music subscriptions in 2019 and close down the iTunes store, which sells downloads of singles and albums.

“Downloads are cratering,” says Resnikoff. “They are dropping in double digits every year. There’s been a massive shift to streaming. The $1.29 download feels like a couple of years ago.”

Apple disputed the report, saying it’s “not true.”

 

Follow USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham on Twitter, @jeffersongraham. 

 

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What Apple is likely to do with Shazam, the early name-that-tune iPhone app

CLOSE

Apple is reportedly buying music recognition app Shazam, a move that could allow it to integrate an important feature into its line of smartphones at a time when the iPhone’s innovation crown is under threat from Google and Samsung.
Wochit

LOS ANGELES — The music app Shazam is best known for its uncanny ability to identify songs that are already playing. 

But Shazam’s new owner Apple could use that technology for more than just naming that tune. It could also fine-tune Apple Music’s feature that recommends songs for listeners, similar to the algorithmically updating playlists that streaming giant Spotify offers.

Apple on Monday said it was buying Shazam, one of the first music apps used with the iPhone when the device originally launched, to beef up its Apple Music subscription service. 

Apple Music is the No. 2 streaming music service, with 30 million subscribers, to No. 1 Spotify’s 60 million. 

Richard Windsor, an analyst at Edison Investment Research, predicts Shazam can help strengthen Apple’s music streaming service by suggesting songs.  

“This is one of the traits that makes Spotify’s service so good as it is able to take that and match it to users’ tastes,” he says. 

Shazam, which has been downloaded over 1 billion times, is used over 20 million times daily to discover music by using the smartphone microphone to identify songs. While its heyday was several years ago, when the technology was novel, London-based Shazam has been struggling to find a business model that works in today’s world, analysts say. It has tried expanding into naming music from commercials, 

The app is no longer at the top of the charts, at No. 91 on the Apple iTunes chart and no longer in the top 100 for the Google Play Store chart.

Shazam and Apple didn’t announce a purchase price, but TechCrunch reported it at $400 million, a deep discount to its prior value. In January 2015, Shazam announced a new $30 million fund-raising round it said valued the company at $1 billion.

Waning use of Shazam reflects increased integration onto the iPhone. Shazam is now accessible from Siri, the iPhone personal digital assistant, allowing users of the iPhone to identify songs without having to open the Shazam app. 

More: These were the most downloaded Apple apps of 2017

More: Garth Brooks explains why he chose Amazon over Apple Music

The growing shift to streaming music, as opposed to downloads, has also crimped Shazam’s model — as well as challenged Apple’s, which popularized music downloads with the Apple iTunes store and pre-phone iPods.

When more listeners would buy and download music, Shazam was able to pick up affiliate fees when its customer would buy a song or album at an online store like iTunes after hearing the music on Shazam. That buying pattern faded as more listeners streamed music. 

“It doubled down on providing tools for TV advertisers but never got enough traction for that to be a true pivot,” said Mark Milligan, an analyst with British based Midia Research. That Shazam sold for far less than the company’s 2015 valuation “illustrates how much value has seeped out of Shazam’s business.”

Shazam has been built into Siri since 2014–“(“Siri, what song is playing on the radio?””) while rival Google has built even stronger identification tools into the new Google Pixel 2 phone, without asking, and the “Google Lens,” feature lets you place your phone in front of a record album to get information about the band and featured songs.

Paul Resnikoff, the publisher of Digital Music News, thinks Apple will keep the app going, but re-orient to send consumers to Apple Music.

Currently, identified songs are offered as potential downloads on Apple Music, or as streaming options on services like Spotify and Google Play Music.

Additionally, Digital Music News Monday published a report that forecast Apple will put all of its efforts into music subscriptions in 2019 and close down the iTunes store, which sells downloads of singles and albums.

“Downloads are cratering,” says Resnikoff. “They are dropping in double digits every year. There’s been a massive shift to streaming. The $1.29 download feels like a couple of years ago.”

Apple disputed the report, saying it’s “not true.”

 

Follow USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham on Twitter, @jeffersongraham. 

 

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Apple, Google attend China internet conference that promotes control and censorship

December 11, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – CEOs from Google and Apple participated last week in China’s World Internet Conference, bringing what critics called “credibility” to an annual event used by the country’s Communist government to promote a more controlled and censored internet globally. 

Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook went as far as praising the Communist country during his keynote speech at the conference, saying that China’s vision of cyberspace as promoted by the conference “is a vision we at Apple share.”

“The theme of this conference — developing a digital economy for openness and shared benefits — is a vision we at Apple share,” he said. “We are proud to have worked alongside many of our partners in China to help build a community that will join a common future in cyberspace.”

Bloomberg News reported that the appearance of leaders “from two of the world’s most valuable tech giants lends credibility to China’s efforts to influence the global internet so it better resembles its own.”

China has a notorious record of aggressively monitoring and censoring it’s citizens online. 

“The World Internet Conference held in the eastern Chinese city of Wuzhen is meant to promote China’s vision of ‘cyber-sovereignty’ — the idea that governments all over the world should have the right to control what appears on the Internet in their countries,” wrote Simon Denyer in a Washington Post article. 

“In practice, in China, that amounts to the largest system of censorship and digital surveillance in the world, where criticism of the Communist Party is sharply curtailed and can even land you in jail,” he continued.

“But that wasn’t mentioned when Cook delivered a keynote speech on the opening day of the gathering Sunday,” he added.

During his keynote address at the conference held December 3-5, Cook called for prospective internet and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to include privacy, security and humanity. 

That same day Wang Huning, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee — the seven-member group that rules China — called for more forceful government involvement online to battle terrorism and crime. He also called for control beyond China’s borders.

RELATED: President Obama’s Net Neutrality is a globalist tool for control. It must be repealed (Net Neutrality urges government regulation of the Internet and is strongly supported by both Google and Apple)

Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai did not give a keynote speech. Instead, he was on a panel to discuss the digital economy.

Free speech and human rights activists criticized the appearance of the tech giant CEOs at the conference. 

“Cook’s appearance lends credibility to a state that aggressively censors the Internet, throws people in jail for being critical about social ills, and is building artificial intelligence systems that monitors everyone and targets dissent,” Maya Wang of Human Rights Watch in Hong Kong wrote.

“The version of cyberspace the Chinese government is building is a decidedly dystopian one, and I don’t think anyone would want to share in this ‘common future.’ Apple should have spoken out against it, not endorsed it,” Wang added.

Apple and Amazon have been previously criticized for giving into strict Internet censorship regulations in China, Breitbart reported in August.  

Apple had acted to remove VPN and anti-censorship apps from its Chinese app store. Chinese citizens used the apps to get around China’s exceedingly restrictive Internet firewall, which blocks various U.S. websites such as Facebook. 

Customers using Amazon’s Web Services in China were told to stop using any software allowing Chinese citizens to bypass the Chinese firewall or face cancellation of their services.

It is not surprising that big U.S. tech companies are sympathetic towards China’s vision for cyberspace given that they have been criticized for themselves censoring in the U.S., specifically pro-life and family messages.

Apple blocked a mobile pro-life app from its App Store in October after abortion supporters complained

Google “review teams” were set up to flag what it deemed “upsetting-offensive” content in search results earlier this year, intending for “better” content to rank higher in the searches. 

Google began censoring what it termed “hate speech,” “potentially controversial or offensive” videos, and “inflammatory religious or supremacist content” on its YouTube platform in August.

In May of this year, YouTube removed a video released by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) that was shot undercover at an abortion conference. 

In August, YouTube demonetized more than 900 videos published by prominent evangelical Dr. Michael Brown. The videos offered a conservative perspective on controversial issues, such as the LGBT movement.

Google refused to accept anti-abortion advertisements on its platforms despite allowing pro-abortion ads, until they were sued over the policy in 2008.

Facebook and Twitter have both censored pro-life content as well.

Back in 2011, a study conducted by the National Religious Broadcasters and the American Center for Law and Justice found social media platforms, including Apple, Google, and Facebook, were actively censoring Christian content

Apple, Google attend China internet conference that promotes control and censorship

December 11, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – CEOs from Google and Apple participated last week in China’s World Internet Conference, bringing what critics called “credibility” to an annual event used by the country’s Communist government to promote a more controlled and censored internet globally. 

Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook went as far as praising the Communist country during his keynote speech at the conference, saying that China’s vision of cyberspace as promoted by the conference “is a vision we at Apple share.”

“The theme of this conference — developing a digital economy for openness and shared benefits — is a vision we at Apple share,” he said. “We are proud to have worked alongside many of our partners in China to help build a community that will join a common future in cyberspace.”

Bloomberg News reported that the appearance of leaders “from two of the world’s most valuable tech giants lends credibility to China’s efforts to influence the global internet so it better resembles its own.”

China has a notorious record of aggressively monitoring and censoring it’s citizens online. 

“The World Internet Conference held in the eastern Chinese city of Wuzhen is meant to promote China’s vision of ‘cyber-sovereignty’ — the idea that governments all over the world should have the right to control what appears on the Internet in their countries,” wrote Simon Denyer in a Washington Post article. 

“In practice, in China, that amounts to the largest system of censorship and digital surveillance in the world, where criticism of the Communist Party is sharply curtailed and can even land you in jail,” he continued.

“But that wasn’t mentioned when Cook delivered a keynote speech on the opening day of the gathering Sunday,” he added.

During his keynote address at the conference held December 3-5, Cook called for prospective internet and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to include privacy, security and humanity. 

That same day Wang Huning, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee — the seven-member group that rules China — called for more forceful government involvement online to battle terrorism and crime. He also called for control beyond China’s borders.

RELATED: President Obama’s Net Neutrality is a globalist tool for control. It must be repealed (Net Neutrality urges government regulation of the Internet and is strongly supported by both Google and Apple)

Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai did not give a keynote speech. Instead, he was on a panel to discuss the digital economy.

Free speech and human rights activists criticized the appearance of the tech giant CEOs at the conference. 

“Cook’s appearance lends credibility to a state that aggressively censors the Internet, throws people in jail for being critical about social ills, and is building artificial intelligence systems that monitors everyone and targets dissent,” Maya Wang of Human Rights Watch in Hong Kong wrote.

“The version of cyberspace the Chinese government is building is a decidedly dystopian one, and I don’t think anyone would want to share in this ‘common future.’ Apple should have spoken out against it, not endorsed it,” Wang added.

Apple and Amazon have been previously criticized for giving into strict Internet censorship regulations in China, Breitbart reported in August.  

Apple had acted to remove VPN and anti-censorship apps from its Chinese app store. Chinese citizens used the apps to get around China’s exceedingly restrictive Internet firewall, which blocks various U.S. websites such as Facebook. 

Customers using Amazon’s Web Services in China were told to stop using any software allowing Chinese citizens to bypass the Chinese firewall or face cancellation of their services.

It is not surprising that big U.S. tech companies are sympathetic towards China’s vision for cyberspace given that they have been criticized for themselves censoring in the U.S., specifically pro-life and family messages.

Apple blocked a mobile pro-life app from its App Store in October after abortion supporters complained

Google “review teams” were set up to flag what it deemed “upsetting-offensive” content in search results earlier this year, intending for “better” content to rank higher in the searches. 

Google began censoring what it termed “hate speech,” “potentially controversial or offensive” videos, and “inflammatory religious or supremacist content” on its YouTube platform in August.

In May of this year, YouTube removed a video released by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) that was shot undercover at an abortion conference. 

In August, YouTube demonetized more than 900 videos published by prominent evangelical Dr. Michael Brown. The videos offered a conservative perspective on controversial issues, such as the LGBT movement.

Google refused to accept anti-abortion advertisements on its platforms despite allowing pro-abortion ads, until they were sued over the policy in 2008.

Facebook and Twitter have both censored pro-life content as well.

Back in 2011, a study conducted by the National Religious Broadcasters and the American Center for Law and Justice found social media platforms, including Apple, Google, and Facebook, were actively censoring Christian content

Apple confirms it has officially acquired Shazam (Updated)

1ff86_Shazam-840x473 Apple confirms it has officially acquired Shazam (Updated) Shazam

Update (12/11): Apple has announced that it is officially acquiring Shazam. The deal, first reported by TechCrunch last week, was originally valued at “around £300 million” ($401 million).

An Apple spokesperson commented on the acquisition to The Verge:

We are thrilled that Shazam and its talented team will be joining Apple. Apple Music and Shazam are a natural fit, sharing a passion for music discovery and delivering great music experiences to our users. We have exciting plans in store, and we look forward to combining with Shazam upon approval of today’s agreement.

The deal is expected to close in the coming weeks.

Original article (12/9): Spotify is getting closer to going public. Google Assistant can finally recognize songs. It’s about time for Apple to make some moves in the music service arena, and if TechCrunch‘s sources are on the money, it appears that the Cupertino-based company is this close to acquiring Shazam.

According to the sources, the deal was signed sometime last week and will be announced this coming Monday. We don’t know how much Apple reportedly bought Shazam for, but one source said the deal was in the nine figures. Another source said the deal was worth around £300 million, or $404 million, but there seems to be a consensus that the deal will be lower than the $1.02 valuation that Shazam reached in its last funding round back in 2015.

There’s also the question of why Apple would acquire Shazam. The music-recognition service already implements its song ID feature on iPhones as of iOS 8 and Macs. Shazam also has a background listening tool that can recognize songs and audio clips, a useful feature that we could see implemented in Apple’s upcoming HomePod smart speaker.

Apple countersuit alleges Qualcomm infringed battery life patents for Snapdragon 820, 800

It also helps that Shazam has quietly worked on its augmented reality brand marketing, with augmented reality being an arena that Apple has focused on with iOS 11. We don’t know how much of Shazam’s offerings will carry over in the reported acquisition, but given their usefulness, it’s doubtful that Apple will not use all of them in some capacity.

The more obvious concern for Android users is the likelihood of Apple pulling the Shazam app from the Play Store. That likelihood is rather high, though the bigger concern is whether Shazam will continue being a separate entity. That’s a bit murkier, seeing how not every company Apple has acquired was dissolved — Beats, for example, still stands on its own — though others, like HopStop, no longer exist on their own.

We’ll likely get more details on Monday if the acquisition goes official.

Apple Shares New Ads Highlighting iPhone X Face ID and Portrait Lighting

Apple this afternoon shared three new ads on its YouTube channel, all of which are quick clips that focus on select iPhone X features like Portrait Lighting and Face ID.

The first video, “Opens with a Glance,” displays the iPhone X with the words “Introducing the most unforgettable magical password ever created. Your face,” before showing off a series of faces to demonstrate how the iPhone X can be unlocked with facial recognition.

A second video, “Adapts to Your Face,” was previously available on Apple’s Canadian YouTube channel. It’s designed to highlight the machine learning techniques used to allow Face ID to adapt to beards, hats, sunglasses, and other facial changes.

The third video, “Introducing Portrait Lighting,” demonstrates the Portrait Lighting feature that’s available on the iPhone X. Portrait lighting is designed to allow users to adjust the lighting in an image using depth mapping techniques, and it is also available on iPhone 8 Plus.

Today’s iPhone X videos follow several iPhone X feature ads that Apple shared in late November. Those previous videos focused on Face ID and Animoji, demonstrating specific Face ID features like its ability to work in the dark and adapt to makeup.

Apple will use these short 15-second ads to show off iPhone X features on television, on the web, and on social networks like Instagram.

Apple buys early iPhone music app hit Shazam

  • 2ade7_920x920 Apple buys early iPhone music app hit Shazam

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Apple Inc. agreed to acquire music-identification service Shazam, taking ownership of one of the first apps to demonstrate the power of the iPhone, recognizing songs after hearing just a few bars of a tune.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but a person familiar with the situation said Apple is paying about $400 million for the United Kingdom startup. That would be one of Apple’s largest acquisitions ever, approaching the size of its 1996 purchase of Next Computer Inc. which brought co-founder Steve Jobs back to the company. That transaction would be worth more than $600 million in today’s dollars.

The deal announced Monday will be a disappointment for some of Shazam Entertainment Ltd.’s investors, including Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim and venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Institutional Venture Partners and DN Capital Ltd. The 18-year-old company, which has required twice the average time to deliver an exit for backers, was valued at about $1 billion when it closed its last funding round in 2015.

“A company isn’t worth a billion dollars until it’s sold or exited. Many of these so-called unicorns are of course fakies,” said Mark Tluszcz, co-founder of VC firm Mangrove Capital Partners and chairman of website building service Wix.com Ltd. “They will face their day of reckoning and may turn out to be a disappointment. The case of Shazam will serve as a stark warning to other companies.”

The Shazam app uses the microphone on a smartphone or computer to identify almost any song playing nearby, then points users to places they can listen to it in future, such as Apple Music or Google’s YouTube.

While Shazam has been popular with customers, it struggled turning its clever music service into a business that justified its valuation. It expanded beyond simple audio recognition in 2010 by adding capabilities that let television viewers “Shazam” an ad, which would then open a promotion from the advertiser on a user’s device. The company said this feature was used 700,000 times during the 2014 Super Bowl broadcast.

“Apple Music and Shazam are a natural fit, sharing a passion for music discovery and delivering great music experiences to our users,” Apple said in an emailed statement on Monday. “We have exciting plans in store, and we look forward to combining with Shazam upon approval of today’s agreement.”

In November, Shazam had about 175 million monthly active users globally across iOS and Android, according to research firm App Annie. The U.S. is the largest single market, with about 20 million active users in November, while the United Kingdom had about 4 million in the same month.

“Since the launch of the App Store, Shazam has consistently ranked as one of the most popular apps for iOS,” Apple also said. “Today, it’s used by hundreds of millions of people around the world, across multiple platforms.”

The acquisition would help Apple embed that capability more deeply into its music offerings. The company’s digital assistant Siri gained Shazam integration in 2014, so users could ask it what song is playing in the background.

Adam Satariano and Lizette are Bloomberg writers. Email: asatariano1@bloomberg.net, lchapman19@bloomberg.net




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