Bloomberg is reporting that Apple is all set to debut a completely revamped look and feel for Apple Music at the company’s annual developer conference in June:
Apple is altering the user interface of Apple Music to make it more intuitive to use, according to people familiar with the product who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. Apple also plans to better integrate its streaming and download businesses and expand its online radio service, the people said. The reboot is expected to be unveiled at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June. The changes will be accompanied by a marketing blitz to lure more customers to the $10-per-month streaming service. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.
According to the report, the redesign is being overseen by content head Robert Kondrk and Trent Reznor, with inputs from Jony Ive’s team, as well as Jimmy Iovine and Eddy Cue.
Following the Beats acquisition in 2014, Apple scrapped the international rollout of iTunes Radio just a few hours before an event where it would have been announced. Employees who had been working on the project for more than a year were told it would be rolled into a new streaming service based on Beats.
Apple has unveiled a fresh new design and layout for its support site yesterday. The new look and feel of the site is very streamlined and looks great. There are different ways you can seek help right on the homepage.
Here’s some good news for the Spider-Man fans out there. For the upcoming Spider-Man re-reboot, which is titled Spider-Man: Homecoming, Sony is apparently letting Marvel Studios call the shots:
In an interview with HeyUGuys, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige talked about his company’s relationship with Sony and how the upcoming movie is coming along, revealing that Marvel is calling the creative shots on Homecoming.
“Well, I’ve known all those people [at Sony] for a very long time. Amy Pascal, Tom Rothman, who runs Sony now, I’ve known for years. So, it’s been great,” he explained. “They really are supportive in allowing us to make the creative decisions to make that movie, but they’ve been great partners. So far so good on that movie.”
The Amazing Spider-Man was a complete disaster. If this is indeed true, I’m glad the folks at Sony no longer have their heads up their asses.
It looks like Apple has just flipped the switch that enables Safari Search Suggestions for iOS users in India. Up until now, this feature which was introduced by Apple with iOS 8 and shows you smart suggestions based on what you’ve typed in the search bar, was only available in a select few countries. Now, when you type in some search terms, Safari automatically looks them up and presents you with relevant content. This way, you completely bypass Google search results and can jump directly to where you wanted to go. Of course, you can still completely ignore this and still do a Google search using Safari.
Here’s what the smart suggestions work and look like in Safari on iOS.
Click to enlarge
Some suggestions can be expanded into a detailed view and have the “>” symbol on the right. These, when tapped, display additional information like so:
In case you aren’t seeing this, make sure you have enabled them under Settings > Safari > Safari Suggestions
[h/t @jayeshb for pointing this out]
CNN Money’s Brian Stelter is reporting that NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast, is acquiring DreamWorks Animation studio for $3.8 Billion
Comcast said DreamWorks “will become part of the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, which includes Universal Pictures, Fandango, and NBCUniversal Brand Development.”
NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke said “DreamWorks will help us grow our film, television, theme parks and consumer products businesses for years to come.”
In comparison, Disney bought Pixar back in 2006 for $7.4 Billion.
If you’ve been waiting to see official Apple Stores in India, your wait might’ve gotten even shorter. The Indian government might consider relaxing the 30% local sourcing norms for Apple, after the company gave a presentation before a committee headed by industrial policy and promotion secretary Ramesh Abhishek.
According to the Economic Times, the presentation did prove fruitful:
“The committee has found that the company’s products are cutting edge technology and state-of-the-art. It has recommended to exempt them from the local sourcing norms,” sources said.
Nokia has today announced that it has plans to acquire Withings — the health and fitness wearables company based in France. With this acquisition, Nokia plans to “accelerate [its] entry into Digital Health”, according to the press release.
“We have said consistently that digital health was an area of strategic interest to Nokia, and we are now taking concrete action to tap the opportunity in this large and important market,” said Rajeev Suri, president & CEO of Nokia. “With this acquisition, Nokia is strengthening its position in the Internet of Things in a way that leverages the power of our trusted brand, fits with our company purpose of expanding the human possibilities of the connected world, and puts us at the heart of a very large addressable market where we can make a meaningful difference in peoples’ lives.”
Withings is known for its products such as Activité the analog watch with a fitness tracker inside, Pulse activity trackers, Smart Body Analyzer and weighing scales, Home baby monitoring system, etc.
The acquisition values Withings at €170 Million and Nokia expects to close the deal in early Q3 2016.
Trying to avoid any controversy on net neutrality, Bharti Airtel on Monday has written to the telecom regulator seeking its permission for a deal the company is mulling with a “big global content provider” for video content.
Airtel might just be at it again, but are playing it cautious this time.
Hotstar — Star India’s video streaming service that debuted in early 2015 has now introduced paid subscriptions on the service for watching “Premium” content. Called Hotstar Premium and available for ₹199 per month, it gets you access to a host of new “premium” movies and TV shows, including a bunch of HBO Originals such as Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley, Veep & True Detective as well as movies such as X-Men: Days of the Future Past and Kingsman: The Secret Service.
The subscription gives you access to not just the premium content available today, but also the new content that Hotstar will add in the future. You can access this either via the website or via the Android and iOS app. Non-Premium content on Hotstar will continue to be available for Free. The Premium service is only available in India right now and you can only sign up using your Credit Card. There’s a 30-Day trial to get your started, and the company puts a ₹5 authorization charge to verify your card details, which it says will be refunded to you. Hotstar does not currently offer support for Chromecast or AirPlay, so you can’t actually watch any content on your big screen TV. Video quality is decent and you can manually select up to 720p.
Let’s face it, the only real reason you’d consider signing up for Hotstar Premium is because you get access to Game of Thrones and other HBO shows. Not only can you start watching the episode as soon as it airs in the US, but you also get to watch is completely uncensored. That’s right, you get to watch Game of Thrones exactly how David Benioff & D. B. Weiss want you to watch it. Most other content is either already available on other streaming services or is old enough that you’ve seen it already.
I just finished watching the latest episodes of the Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley on the service and am fairly content with the experience. Am I going to continue my subscription beyond the trial? I’m not sure yet.
If you’ve been waiting for Apple to open their own stores in India, your wait might have just gotten shorter, according to The Times of India:
On Tuesday, the iPhone and iPad maker made a presentation before a committee headed by industrial policy and promotion secretary Ramesh Abhishek where it made a case for use of the special provision. Sources told TOI that Apple was a fit case for relaxing the norms. “Their products certainly meet the requirement for waiving the local sourcing clause,” said a source, adding that a final decision will be announced in a few days.
There have been reports that the Indian government was considering relaxing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) since November last year, which were quickly followed by the government’s official announcement later that week. Following that, Apple had submitted their request for approval in January this year, but had to re-submit because “certain gaps [were] found in the initial proposal”.
After Tuesday’s presentation, I don’t think an announcement is all that far away.