Yes, Apple Music has a DRM component. Yes, it sucks, but it’s similar to every other streaming service. No, it does not overwrite the files on your Mac to make all your music DRM-laden. For those Googling in a panic, here’s the deal.
When you play a radio song, you will notice a heart—this is the like button. If you tap the heart, indicating you like that song, it does absolutely nothing to “tune” that station. Since the stations are human curated, there is no need for a tuning algorithm.
Tapping the heart does affect “For You,” the section of Apple Music that’s custom built with playlists, albums and songs tailored to your individual tastes. For You also takes into account music you add to your library and full plays you listen to. Skips aren’t really taken into account, because there are so many reasons you may skip a song—maybe you’re just not in the mood for it right now.
Lego’s 57-year-old toy empire was built on plastic. But now the giant Danish toy company is investing millions into getting rid of it. By 2030, Lego bricks will no longer be made from ABS, the oil-based plastic in the 60 billion blocks the company makes each year.
Analysis like this piece — which reads more like an Onion-style parody of the petulant “Apple should be held to a standard in the realm of sheer fantasy” form than an ostensibly straight-faced actual instance thereof — is why the industry continues to hold Gizmodo in such high esteem.
Right on target, Apple has updated its leadership bios page with Jony Ive’s new title, and new entries for Richard Howarth and Alan Dye. Not sure if there’s anything to make of it, but both Howarth and Dye are described as reporting to Tim Cook, not Jony Ive.
You the indie developer could become the next Flexibits. Could.
But almost certainly not. Okay — not.
What’s more likely is that you’ll find yourself working on a
Mobile Experience for a Big National Brand(tm) and doing the apps
you want to write in your spare time.
If there’s a way out of despair, it’s in changing our
There is so much that could and should and will be said about this. But the bottom line is that indie development for iOS and the App Store just hasn’t worked out the way we thought it would. We thought — and hoped — it would be like the indie Mac app market, only bigger. But it’s not like that at all.
Interesting piece by Matt Sayward on where Apple might be heading as the world’s leading camera company:
In November 2013, Apple acquired an Israeli 3D-sensor company
named PrimeSense for somewhere in between a reported 350,000,000
and 360,000,000 dollars. As Apple acquisitions go, that’s a
biggie. Only Beats (the foundation of Apple Music at $3bn), NeXT
(the deal that brought Steve Jobs back for $400m), and AuthenTec
($390m that manifested itself in Touch ID) were certifiably
And yet, two years on, we still can’t really say what happened
with PrimeSense’s technology with any sense of fortitude.
On this point:
Last November, on another episode of The Talk Show, John
Gruber dropped a unusually heavy hint about what he’d heard about
the upcoming set of iPhones that will debut in Q3 of this year:
The specific thing I heard is that next year’s camera might be
the biggest camera jump ever. I don’t even know what sense this
makes, but I’ve heard that it’s some kind of weird two-lens
system where the back camera uses two lenses and it somehow takes
it up into DSLR quality imagery.
Well, I had a think about this. And I might have something
For what it’s worth, I think I might have been wrong about the timing on this. If Apple sticks with the tick-tock schedule and unveils iPhone 6S and 6S Plus updates in September, the new dual-lens camera is probably a 2016 iPhone thing, not a 2015 iPhone thing. I should have realized this all along.
Anyway, rumors aside, Sayward has some interesting speculation on why Apple might go this route.
OS X 10.10.4 shipped today, and as expected based on the developer betas, Discoveryd is gone, replaced by an updated version of good old mDNSresponder. At WWDC, word on the street was that Apple closed over 300 radars with this move. Not dupes — 300 discrete radars.
The real heart of Apple Music is the For You tab. This is
basically your music homescreen. When you open the section for the
first time, you’re asked to go through a discovery exercise. This
was lifted directly from Beats Music and it’s one of the best
discovery tools I’ve used over the years. […]
It’s hard for me to over-stress how much I like For You. From the
very beginning, the recommendations in playlists and albums that
the app showed me were dead-on accurate, reflecting my various
Straight out, I was given a recommendation of a Taylor Swift love
ballad playlist and albums from The Kinks, Sufjan Stevens, Elliot
Smith, The Shins, Miguel and Drake. So basically my musical brain.
“As part of this ecosystem, what if there was a station that
didn’t have any of those rules and didn’t serve any of those
masters,” said Iovine. “What if it just took anything that was
exciting, whether it be on Connect or a new record out of Brooklyn
“Or whether it was rock or hip hop,” added Cue.
So one of those genres could literally follow the other on Beats
“It works,” said Iovine. “And it works because the DJ is in the
middle explaining how it works. DJs give you context.”
So what does Beats 1 Radio compete with? Nothing, according
“It doesn’t compete with anything that’s out there because there’s
never been anything like this,” said Iovine.
Really enjoyed this feature by Casey Johnston for Ars Technica on Kickstarter projects that fall far behind schedule:
By this point, fairy-tales about successful funding and horror
stories of projects that end in abject failure or corruption have
led most of us to recognize the volatility of any Kickstarter
project. But lost between these two extremes is a long, sometimes
confusing road that is invisible, and sometimes even inaccessible,
to the mildly interested passersby. In today’s Kickstarter Web
storefronts, projects appear so singular to their backers that
any unplanned activity can seem more erratic and suspicious than
it actually is. In most cases, though, delays are normal.
This underreported grey area between funded and shipped (or
sailed) isn’t necessarily something to loathe. Rather, it
highlights many of the reasons crowdfunding is worth protecting
— even if some of the practice’s worst contradictory forces are
Uber will acquire assets from Microsoft Bing, including roughly
100 employees focused on the product’s image collection
activities. In short, Uber is absorbing data-collection engineers
from Microsoft to bolster its own mapping work.
The companies confirmed the transaction with TechCrunch, but each
declined to name the terms of the agreement. Microsoft handing
Uber part of its operating expenses is minor, given the financial
scale of the firms. The technology transfer is far more
Interesting in light of my discussion with Horace Dediu about the state of the maps industry on this week’s episode of The Talk Show — Horace specifically mentioned Uber as the next major player in the game.
Apple has determined that, in rare cases, the battery in the Beats
Pill XL Speaker may overheat and pose a fire safety risk. This
product has been sold worldwide since January 2014 by Beats,
Apple, and other retailers.
Customer safety is always a top priority at both Apple and Beats,
and we have voluntarily decided to recall this product. If you
have a Beats Pill XL Speaker, please stop using it and follow the
process below to send it to Apple. In exchange, we will provide
you with an Apple Store credit or electronic payment in the amount
of $325 USD or approximate equivalent in local currency.
My thanks to Intercom for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. Intercom allows developers to see their users, the actions they take, and communicate with them in a single integrated platform.
Intercom allows developers to collect product feedback and engage with their users with personalized, targeted in-app messages. Visit Intercom to learn more — they have a great intro video right on their home page — and get started for free.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) on Friday suggested doing away
with the Supreme Court during a speech in Iowa that followed the
court’s historic ruling on same-sex marriage.
“The Supreme Court is completely out of control, making laws on
their own, and has become a public opinion poll instead of a
judicial body,” he told the crowd, as quoted by The Advocate
newspaper. “If we want to save some money let’s just get rid of
I was going to crack a joke about Jindal being more of a clown candidate for president than Donald Trump, but the more I think about it, the less funny this seems. It’s just outright pandering to bigotry and, especially, ignorance — from the sitting governor of one of our states.
It’s one thing to disagree with a Supreme Court decision. That’s part of politics and civic discourse. It’s another to argue that an entire branch of government lacks legitimacy. Keep in mind, too, that Republican nominees have held a majority on the Supreme Court for four decades. For fun, imagine the reaction from these Republicans if Justice Kennedy had been appointed to the Court by a Democratic president, instead of by Ronald Reagan.
There are a few slots on The Deck available in July and August. Need to get your product in front of millions of curious folks? Drop Jim Coudal a line for a nice price for a new advertiser. Tell him I sent you.
Speaking of momentous Supreme Court decisions, here’s Paul Krugman on the Affordable Care Act:
Put all these things together, and what you have is a portrait of
policy triumph — a law that, despite everything its opponents
have done to undermine it, is achieving its goals, costing less
than expected, and making the lives of millions of Americans
better and more secure.
To me, that line from Justice Anthony Kennedy’s landmark 5-4 decision today says it all. More:
The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our
own times. The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of
Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the
extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted
to future generations a charter protecting the right of all
persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.
App Camp For Girls is on a mission: we encourage girls to pursue
app development as a career by teaching them how to make iPhone
apps in a fun, creative summer camp program under the mentorship
of women developers. We are shifting the gender balance in our
industry. App Camp 3.0 is the next stage in bringing the program
to more girls in more locations!
They’re hoping to expand to four new locations this year, but they need your help during the last week of their fundraising campaign for the year. Daring Fireball is already committed as a $1,000 Community Sponsor. Like with any of these crowdfunding campaigns, though, any amount, no matter how small, can help. I think App Camp for Girls is a wonderful idea, well-executed, and I’d love to see the DF readership help put them over the top for funding this year.
For each song that is streamed free, Apple will pay 0.2 cent for
the use of recordings, a rate that music executives said was
roughly comparable to the free tiers from services like Spotify.
This rate does not include a smaller payment for songwriting
rights that goes to music publishers; Apple is still negotiating
with many publishers over those terms, several publishing
companies confirmed on Wednesday.
According to the music executives, these rates would apply to
For independents, the negotiations with Apple are seen as a
victory, allowing thousands of small labels to be part of Apple
Music and earn money when people listen to their songs.
Maybe I’m vastly underestimating just how many songs are going to be streamed from Apple Music, but my gut feeling is that there aren’t many artists who are going to make serious money at just two-tenths of a cent per song streamed.
Let’s say Apple Music generates 100 million plays per day from customers on the free trial. At $0.002 per play, that’s $200,000 in payments to the artists and record labels, or about $6 million per month. That’s couch change for Apple.
Maybe I’m way off, and the number of plays will be more like 1 billion per day?
David Hill, vice president of identity and design for Lenovo:
For a while now I’ve been exploring the idea of introducing a very
unique ThinkPad model. Imagine a ThinkPad that embodies all the
latest technology advances, however, embraces the original design
details in the strongest way possible. I’ve been referring to the
concept as retro ThinkPad. Imagine a blue enter key, 7 row classic
keyboard, 16:10 aspect ratio screen, multi-color ThinkPad logo,
dedicated volume controls, rubberized paint, exposed screws, lots
of status LED’s, and more. Think of it like stepping into a time
machine and landing in 1992, but armed with today’s technology.
Although not for everyone, I’m certain there’s a group of people
who would stand in line to purchase such a special ThinkPad model.
In a technical session at WWDC, Apple detailed how Safari View
Controller has been closely modeled after Safari with consistency
and quick interactions in mind. Safari View Controller looks a lot
like Safari: when users tap a web link in an app that uses Safari
View Controller, they’ll be presented with a Safari page that
displays the address bar at the top and other controls at the
bottom or next to it — just like the regular Safari on the iPhone
and iPad. There are two minor visual differences with Safari: when
opened in Safari View Controller, the URL in the address bar will
be grayed out to indicate it’s in read-only mode; and, a Safari
button is available in the toolbar, so that users will be able to
quickly jump to Safari if they want to continue navigation in the
Shirley Halperin and Lars Brandle, reporting for Billboard:
Apple Music, the hardware giant’s soon-to-launch streaming
service, has landed an eleventh-hour coup, striking deals with the
independents’ digital rights organization Merlin and with Martin
Mills’ indie powerhouse Beggars Group, sources tell Billboard.
Label group PIAS has also announced it has signed on.
In a letter sent to Merlin members, CEO Charles Caldas writes, “I
am pleased to say that Apple has made a decision to pay for all
usage of Apple Music under the free trials on a per-play basis, as
well as to modify a number of other terms that members had been
communicating directly with Apple about. With these changes, we
are happy to support the deal.”
We’ve got a whole week before the “eleventh hour”, but, still, if this issue of paying artists during the free trial was the sole roadblock, it makes me wonder why it took until Taylor Swift’s open letter for Apple to rethink this. Shouldn’t this have been obvious months ago?
On any given block in Buenos Aires, you are likely to see someone
speaking into their phone, but not on it; talking to someone, but
not necessarily with anyone. I recently visited the city, and was
struck by the fact that it seemed like all the citizens were
walking around expressively talking to themselves. In reality,
most people are perpetually sending voice memos to one another.
The phone call has long been a thing of the past when it comes to
daily communication, but in Argentina, mobile phone users are
increasingly turning to voice memos instead of texting to
Interesting how something like texting can evolve in very different ways in different countries. I think I’ve only received like three or four voice memo texts ever.
That software does something slightly sinister in the background,
however: it disables Windows Update. A post by Microsoft MVP,
Patrick Barker, details a small application that’s quietly
installed in the background to block updates.
The app, conspicuously named Disable_Windowsupdate.exe, is
installed automatically without the owner’s knowledge. According
to a support representative, it’s there to stop the computer from
automatically downloading drivers from Windows Update that could
be incompatible with the system or cause features to break.
Glad to hear that the Windows PC experience remains as fun as ever.
One of the great things about the solo headphones is how
substantial they feel. A little bit of weight makes the product
feel solid, durable, and valuable. One way to do this cheaply is
to make some components out of metal in order to add weight. In
these headphones, 30% of the weight comes from four tiny metal
parts that are there for the sole purpose of adding weight.
Here are the real numbers, according to Robert Kondrk, the Apple
executive who negotiates music deals along with media boss Eddy
Cue: In the U.S., Apple will pay music owners 71.5 percent of
Apple Music’s subscription revenue. Outside the U.S., the number
will fluctuate, but will average around 73 percent, he told
Re/code in an interview. Executives at labels Apple is working
with confirmed the figures. […]
Apple won’t pay music owners anything for the songs that are
streamed during Apple Music’s three-month trial period, a bone of
contention with music labels during negotiations for the new
service. But Kondrk says Apple’s payouts are a few percentage
points higher than the industry standard, in part to account for
the lengthy trial period; most paid subscription services offer a
free one-month trial.
Not sure a 1.5 percent difference justifies two extra months of free service (compared to the de facto industry standard one-month free trial), but it’s not nothing.
Taylor Swift, explaining why she’s withholding her latest album from Apple Music:
I’m sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free 3
month trial to anyone who signs up for the service. I’m not sure
you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers,
or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking,
disappointing, and completely unlike this historically progressive
and generous company. […]
Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask
anyone to work for nothing. I say this with love, reverence, and
admiration for everything else Apple has done. I hope that soon I
can join them in the progression towards a streaming model that
seems fair to those who create this music. I think this could be
the platform that gets it right.
Not sure what the solution is here, but her position seems perfectly reasonable. The problem is, Apple is leading the industry in pushing for streaming music to be entirely behind a paywall. The entire point of the free trial is to get more people to pay for streaming in the long term.
Also raises the question of just how many other top-shelf music acts will not be available on Apple Music when it launches. After the WWDC keynote, I simply could not get a straight answer from anyone at Apple about just how much of the iTunes Music library will be available on Apple Music when it launches. Part of that might be that they’re still negotiating with some labels and top-shelf acts, but I can’t help but suspect part of it is that they know they’re not going to have everything, and they don’t want to talk about that.
My thanks to Crashlytics for again sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed to promote Answers, their mobile analytics platform. Answers has gone from zero to being the second-most-used mobile analytics tool in under a year, and it’s not hard to see why: it’s gorgeous, reliable, and powerful.
Check them out for the inside story of how and why they built Answers.
Still catching up from last week. Here’s Dr. Drang on the Apple Music segment of the WWDC keynote:
The new Apple Music service/app/thing occupied the celebrated “one
more thing” position, and it was painful to watch. Apple used five
presenters — Jimmy Iovine, Trent Reznor, Drake, Zane Lowe, and
Eddy Cue — to try to explain what Apple Music is and why we
should care, and they all failed. Of the five, Reznor and Lowe
acquitted themselves best, but that’s probably because they were
recorded, not live. I can imagine Iovine being very persuasive
one-on-one or in a small group, but he certainly wasn’t impressive
on the big stage. He never gave the impression that the words he
was speaking were his. Drake seemed to think he could just wing it
during his section; he’s obviously used to adoring fans applauding
every off-the-cuff remark he makes on stage. Which leaves us with
poor Eddy Cue, who’s going to bear the brunt of the criticism.
New episode of America’s favorite three-star podcast, with special guest Guy English. We make a valiant but failed effort to cover all of the technical/developer news from last week’s WWDC. Among the topics we did hit: app thinning, Bitcode, WatchKit 2.0, CloudKit (and opening it up to web developers), Swift 2.0, Metal coming to the Mac, accessibility and low-level support for right-to-left languages, iOS 9’s new low-power mode, and more.
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Apple’s discontinuation of the iPad mini leaves the remaining
iPads as a completely 64-bit family, all using either A7 and A8X
processors rather than the iPad mini’s aging A5. It also means
that all remaining iPads have Retina displays and unified Wi-Fi +
Elizabeth Kolbert, writing for The New Yorker on Pope Francis’s new encyclical on climate change and the environment:
Whether the Pope’s message will have any influence — on the
world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, on the delegations currently trying
to devise an international climate agreement, or on anyone else —
remains to be seen. Up to now, the sowers of discord have done a
good job blocking action on climate change, and, if the leak of
the encyclical is any guide, they are still hard at work.
Meanwhile, as @Pontifex tweeted to his 6.3 million followers
Thursday, “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more
like an immense pile of filth.”
I run a business almost entirely based on advertising. I am, thus, naturally disinclined to support ad-blocking. But from the outset, I’ve followed the advertising version of the golden rule: Present ads to readers (and podcast listeners) that you yourself would not be annoyed by. Advertisers and publishers who present user-hostile ads should not be surprised when the users fight back.
The premise of DuckDuckGo is simple: It doesn’t track your
searches or any other online activity. Whereas Google has built a
$66 billion dollar-a-year business around knowing more and more
about its users’ every click, tap, and scroll, DuckDuckGo prefers
ignorance. It doesn’t have user logins, it doesn’t log your search
history or IP address. Even if they wanted to hand over data about
your search history, they couldn’t. That data just doesn’t exist.
Instead of profiting from heaps of user data, DuckDuckGo has opted
for a simpler business model: Old-school search ads that pair the
keywords in people’s queries with relevant ads placed by the
highest bidder. Weinberg says the company also makes money from
affiliate links to sites like Amazon and eBay.
I’ve been using DuckDuckGo as my primary search engine in Safari for months now, and the results just keep getting better. I do have to switch to Google for some queries, but that’s happening less and less.
But it isn’t only Apple who’s doing good. Third-party developers
have a responsibility to incorporate accessibility into their apps
as well, and that’s where WWDC comes in. Apple provides numerous
resources to developers during the conference that help he or she
ensure that their app(s) are as accessible as possible.
The accessibility presence at WWDC is deep and far-reaching; Apple
does much to raise awareness of and advocate for the accessibility
community. Apple this week granted me behind-the-scenes access to
sessions, labs, and developer interviews at Moscone so as to tell
WWDC’s accessibility story.
Steven’s is a great roundup of the numerous ways accessibility was emphasized at WWDC last week. I’ll draw your attention to a few items though:
During the Apple Design Awards, Workflow was lauded specifically for its deep, highly descriptive accessibility support. The whole ADA presentation is worth watching, but if you only have a few minutes, skip to the 35:00 mark and watch the Workflow demo, which was performed by two visually impaired members of Apple’s accessibility team.
This week, security researchers from Indiana University released
details of four security vulnerabilities they discovered in Mac OS
X and iOS. The researchers detailed their discoveries of what they
call “cross-app resource attacks” (referred to as XARA) in a
whitepaper released Wednesday. Unfortunately, there has been a lot
of confusion surrounding their research.
If you’re not at all familiar with the XARA exploits or are
looking for a high-level overview, start with Rene Ritchie’s
article on what you need to know. If you’re interested in slightly
more technical detail on each of the exploits, keep reading.
Speaking in an interview with CNBC, DuckDuckGo CEO Gabe Weinberg
said that the company’s traffic has grown 600 percent over the
past two years. A variety of factors likely played a role in this
explosion of growth, but it is mainly attributable to the NSA’s
surveillance program, which was revealed two years ago, and Apple
adding it as a default search option with iOS 8 and Safari 7.1 on
Would be fascinating to see how usage would spike if Apple set it as the default search engine.
About the Linked List
The Daring Fireball Linked List is a daily list of interesting links
and brief commentary, updated frequently but not frenetically. Call it
a “link log”, or “linkblog”, or just “a good way to dick around on the
Internet for a few minutes a day”.