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Apple Music Festival Brings Incredible Live Performances to Fans Worldwide in September

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Press Release Aug 18

Ten Nights of Spectacular Live Shows Including Pharrell Williams, One Direction,
Florence + The Machine, Disclosure & More

LONDON ― August 18, 2015 ― Apple® today announced that Pharrell Williams, One Direction, Florence + The Machine and Disclosure are among the headliners at the 2015 Apple Music™ Festival at London’s Roundhouse this September. Apple will broadcast performances to music fans around the world for free, which can be viewed live and on-demand on Apple Music. The Apple Music Festival lets fans get even closer to their favorite performers with coverage on Beats 1℠ alongside backstage news and footage straight from the artists on Apple Music Connect.

“We wanted to do something really special for music fans this year,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “The Apple Music Festival is a greatest hits set of ten unbelievable nights featuring some of the best performers on the planet appearing live and interacting directly with their fans on Connect and Beats 1.”

Apple Music is a single, intuitive app that combines the best ways to enjoy music — all in one place. Beats 1 is Apple’s first ever live radio station dedicated entirely to music and music culture. With Apple Music Connect, artists can share lyrics, backstage photos, videos or even release their latest song to fans directly from their iPhone®.

“Wow, I’m so grateful to be performing at the Apple Music Festival. The Roundhouse is such a historic venue … there’s always a special energy in the crowd. Thank you for having me!” – Pharrell Williams

“It’ll be great to be back in London and we can’t wait to perform for our fans in the Roundhouse and around the world on Apple Music! See you there!” – Niall, One Direction

“We’re excited to be playing at this year’s Apple Music Festival at the wonderful Roundhouse!” – Florence + The Machine

“We’re super excited to play our first ever show for Apple Music Festival at the Roundhouse, one of our favorite venues in London. It’s also the day our album’s released so that makes it extra special!” – Disclosure

The Apple Music Festival takes place over ten nights from September 19 to September 28. UK residents can apply to win tickets on Apple Music as well as through media partners including the London Evening Standard. Apple hosted the iTunes® Festival in London for eight years, and now in honor of the launch of Apple Music, has renamed the event the Apple Music Festival. Customers can enjoy the Apple Music Festival via Apple Music or iTunes on their iPhone, iPad®, iPod touch®, Mac®, PC or in stunning HD with Apple TV®.

The iTunes Festival started at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts in 2007, and has seen over 550 artists perform in front of more than half a million fans and tens of millions more online and on-demand. Past performers include Adele, Beck, Coldplay, Elton John, Foo Fighters, Justin Timberlake, Kings of Leon, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Maroon 5, Muse, Sir Paul McCartney and many more.

For updates, tickets and additional information visit: www.applemusicfestival.com or join the conversation on Apple Music Connect.

To learn more about Apple Music Connect and Beats 1 visit: www.apple.com/music/connect and www.apple.com/music/radio.

Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, the Mac and Apple Watch. Apple’s three software platforms — iOS, OS X and watchOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple’s 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.

http://www.applemusicfestival.com/

-Brad

Top 5 Best Selling Cell Phones

It’s the month of Holidays, and shopping for gifts is inevitable. Buying your loved ones cell phones is always the nicest of ideas. So Brad and I have decided to go over a list of phones that you might want to consider as Christmas presents.

5. HTC One
HTC One
When it comes to a gorgeous looking cell phone, HTC One comes in my mind first. Its eye-catching sleek aluminum body with a dominant quad-core processor is like a living beast on your palm. The HTC UltraPixel Camera feature takes up to 20 photos in single command, and the BoomSound feature with a dual frontal stereo speakers powered by built-in amplifiers delivers bigger sound with less distortion. Its BlinkFeed feature makes you go heavier on social networking, and the interactive TV guide will help you to be notified for all your favorite programs in a friendly step-by-step manner. It’s not very expensive and it’s a beautiful cell phone to carry. So if your loved one is into social networking and TV shows, HTC One is the phone you should order

4. Google Nexus 5
Google Nexus 5
Nexus 5 delivers a simple design and showcases a spectacular full HD display. Best par to its display is that it comes in black and white too. Inevitably it comes with rich Google features and specially networking with Google+. Nexus 5 has a solid build and has a long battery life. LTE for multiple carriers, it makes crystal clear calls. And not to mention it comes with an excellent affordable pricing. It’s a very solid phone to carry as it performers smooth and has a high-end specs. If not among other brands, Nexus 5 is clearly the best Nexus phone till today. Fast, stunning, and filled with useful features, Nexus 5 is the phone I’d personally buy to my loved ones, so why not you?

3. Apple iPhone 5S
Apple iPhone 5S
iPhone 5S is easily the fastest and most advanced Apple smartphone to date. Powered by a next-gen CPU and motion tracking chip, iPhone 5S is also equipped with an improved camera and a clever fingerprint sensor. iOS 7 includes few nice features including AirDrop that comes very handy for file transfers, and iWork app suite absolutely free. Its 64-bit processor is considered as the most powerful processor to date and has a huge potential to become the very smartphone gamers crave to carry. Apple is never cheap and so isn’t iPhone 5S. But if you want to buy something elegant this Holiday, my recommendation will be this beautifully furnished smartphone.

2. Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
With its elegant and massive screen, blaring quad-core processor, and refined S Pen skills the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is definitely among the top cell phones of this time. It also comes with a long battery life and great picture taking features. Features such as Air command, Action memo, Scrapbook and S Finder take its usability to a greater stage. In addition to these Galaxy Note features Samsung has added new features such as the S Note that helps you compose and your thoughts easily. And the new Easy Clip feature is a handy addition for instant photo editing. With more improved security features and control, Galaxy Note 3 is worthy of a gift.

1. Motorola Droid Maxx
Motorola Droid Maxx
Even with its high price it’s definitely a good cell phone comes with an outstanding battery life. With a big and colorful screen, Motorola Droid Maxx also comes with a striking design. Feature such as power without the plug, quick camera functionalities, improved voice command, free 50GB of Google Drive storage, and many more are massive addition to this cell phone. If you are willing to go a little extra over your budget, there’s no second choice then Motorola Droid Maxx.

So that’s all for today. Buy yourself something nice and to your loved ones. We wish you Merry Christmas and happy Holidays.

Amaya Ai,
Gifu, Japan

Apple TV review

Well hello everyone, Hanna Silver here. I’ve been asked to do a review of the Apple TV (which isn’t actually a TV, it’s just a little black box you connect to your TV). I feel I’m a good candidate to write this review, as I have a love/hate relationship with Apple. I grew up on PCs (we had a 386 when I was little), but now I’m on my 2nd iPhone, and I have a MacBook Pro (it’s perfect for recording music on). Clearly, I like Apple products, but I hate the company because they put out new versions of old products saying, “look, now you can do this!” like it’s this totally amazing new thing, when other companies were offering those capabilities 5 years ago. Gimme a break!

But, enough about me.

Firstly, if you want to know what the Apple TV actually does, take a look at the official page: http://www.apple.com/au/appletv/ . Then I can tell you what I like and dislike.

When you get an Apple TV, it’s like, “Yay! Woo! …Ok so now what do I do with it?” It’s perfect if you don’t already have a smart TV and you like watching TV a lot. I have a Samsung smart TV, so to begin with, I was comparing the two’s capabilities. I’ll start by listing the good things.

So, one of the coolest things that Apple TV (hereafter called ATV) does is Airplay and Airplay mirroring (i.e. screen sharing). What that means is, if you have an iPhone, iPad or a Mac computer from mid 2011 or newer, you can send any picture or sound onto your tv. (It was only after I got the ATV that I disappointingly discovered that my mid-2010 MacBook Pro is incapable of mirroring; http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5404. The older Macs can only Airplay sound. i.e. I can play music on iTunes on my computer, and have the sound come out of the TV). I’m not certain, but airplay on iphones and ipad may require iOS7 – connect to the same WiFi the ATV is on, and then the option to Airplay automatically appears in the menu when you swipe up from the bottom of the screen. The airplay works quite well, the picture streaming is smooth. This way you can, for example, on your TV watch ABC iView, or SBS, by doing mirroring with your iPhone or iPad. Also, it’s a great party trick, if you like your parties to be about the television.

If your computer is on, the ATV can access all your music and movie files from your computer (whatever you have in your iTunes library) wirelessly. Also, you can buy or rent movies, TV shows or buy music right from your TV. When you set up the ATV, you put in your apple ID, so purchases just go through that account, which is pretty easy. There’s also YouTube, Vimeo and Vevo for free content.

Of course, one of Apple’s strong points is always how things look. The ATV has a screen saver, which looks great.

The ATV comes with its own remote control (which, annoyingly, doesn’t control the volume), but you can also download an app on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, called ‘Remote’ and you can use your iPhone screen like a mouse touch pad. It’s pretty cool.

Next, I’ll talk about things I don’t like. Firstly, I don’t like that you can’t download apps onto the ATV, as I am accustomed to doing on my iPhone, Mac and Samsung smart TV. Basically, you’re stuck with what apps they give you…unless you use a VPN. (A VPN blocks your location so that you can access content that is normally restricted. Eg. In Australia, we are not offered Netflix or Hulu (which cost $8USD per month for unlimited streaming). In Settings – iTunes Store, you can change what country you are in. So if you change it to USA, you’ll see the apps available to US citizens, or UK, or any other country.

I feel like the apps available to Australian citizens are pretty limited. Like I said at the start of this review, “Great, I have an ATV…now what?” Just being able to watch YouTube videos or listen or watch anything from my iTunes library on the TV isn’t so exciting to me. I don’t torrent movies and I don’t want to spend $6.99 just to rent one movie off iTunes, or $3.49 to buy one TV episode. I am a self-confessed schnorrer (if I can get something for free, I am very happy). I’ll pay for stuff, but not that much.

If only the ATV had a browser, then we could easily access ABC iView, SBS and the new TenPlay. (Samsung smart TV has a browser on it.) But, computer says no. Apple love controlling what we can and can’t do. No. Extra. Apps.

So using a VPN (which is fairly easy to set up) and getting stuck into Netflix or Hulu for their small fees may be something you’d like to do to get the most out of your ATV. Using a VPN such as unotelly.com or unblock-us.com costs around $5 a month, or there are free browser extensions like Hola Unblocker for Firefox and Chrome. For the legalities on using a VPN, read this article http://nic.suzor.net/2013/07/22/using-a-vpn-to-access-netflix-is-it-legal/ .

Even if you use a VPN though, there are still some US apps you may not be able to use. Like iTunes Radio, which requires a US Apple ID, or the Disney and HBO apps, which want to know who your US tv provider is, and you have to put in a special code. Other apps available to Australia as well as US, like NBA, require a paid subscription to access.

Ok, now onto the problems that I encountered. Firstly, the most annoying thing that happened was my MacBook was responding to every touch of the ATV’s remote control. I tried pairing the remote with the ATV, but that didn’t help. I ended up turning off my MacBook’s infrared sensor. Problem solved. Info on that: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4513

The other big disappointment was one I mentioned before; that I discovered only after I got the ATV that my mid-2010 MacBook doesn’t do Airplay mirroring. (I was hoping to be able to use the tv as a 2nd monitor, wirelessly.) For info on which computers are capable of airplay mirroring, check this article: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5404 . There is software you can download for screen mirroring, eg. Air Parrot, but I found the stream to be jumpy, not smooth at all. And when I tried to use the tv as a 2nd monitor, rather than just screen share, it said it had to install a driver that had a known problem with my model computer, so I decided against it.

So, final verdict: The Apple TV works well, it’s easy to use and it looks good. It’s up to you whether you think you need one. If you don’t have any other Apple devices, I’m not sure how convenient it would be to use. I hope my little writeup might help you make a decision on whether to get one or not. Leave a comment if you’d like to add to the discussion or ask a question.

– Hanna

iPad Air Review

Now that Apple unveiled their new products, we got our hands on them right away. This time, let’s talk about the new iPad, called iPad Air.

iPad AirIt does look ingeniously simple

First thing everyone should notice is the name change.  It’s not called the iPad 5, it’s not even called just the iPad, it’s the iPad Air. The new name comes with a redesigned exterior, it’s a whole lot lighter and thinner, and while the bezels got smaller too. We can expect better performance, but still the same battery life of its previous models. With more competition than ever, even from its own iPad Mini with Retina screen, the iPad Air will have to be better than it has ever been. Let’s break it down, and see if it really is.

This year’s iPad has an all new exterior design. As previously stated it’s thinner, lighter and the bezels are smaller on the left and right (portrait mode) . The iPad Air is only 7.5mm ‘thick’, which is  a staggering 1.9mm less than the previous iPads (yes, that’s a huge difference, considering how small we are going these days). It just weighs 1 pound, 0.4 pound less than before! You really do feel the difference, it’s great. What’ s surprising is that there is no Touch-ID to be found on the Home Button. It was to be expected they would incorporate their fingerprint scanner in their latest iPad devices, but no such luck (maybe – probably – next year?).  The speakers are on the bottom this time around, next to the lightning connector. A better position than last models, you’ll less likely cover them up while holding the device.

iPad Air
You won’t even feel it’s with you. That’s horrible!

The new iPad has the 64-bit, dual-core A7 chip, which is also found in the iPhone 5S. It has 1GB of RAM inside. We’re pleased to say the iPad Air is extremely fast, it handles everything you throw at it without any problems. The new M7 motion co-processor is here too, but since consumers probably won’t go jogging with their iPads, it’s being used for power saving. It  gets data from the gyroscope, accelerometer and the built-in GPS (for the cellular model). With this power efficient co-processor, the main A7 chips won’t have to wake up, which is a tremendous difference in power consumption overall. Now that the iPad is even thinner, you can indeed feel it getting a bit warm while doing heavy tasks, but it’s never too extreme. As we said in a previous article, apps aren’t yet optimized for the 64-bit CPU, but they are already loading and running faster than before. It’s expected that this will get even more noticeable when apps will be optimized for this new architecture inside the latest iOS devices. The camera is still 5 megapixels, without a flash. The new camera features of the iPhone 5S are also absent, like the burst or slow-motion mode.

iPad Air LineThe patience I had to put up with for a peek

The iPad Air is definitely an excellent device, and it finally got its updated look. Too bad it doesn’t have Touch-ID yet, but they have to have something new next year, right? The iPad Air starts at $499 (16GB). If you don’t mind paying a little more for the best of the best, this is probably the tablet for you!

As always, special thanks to Kevin for his all his support and everything he does to help me going, and Alex for the proofread. Stay tuned for more tech reviews from Brad and me. Until next time –

Amaya Ai, Tech Webcast
Gifu, Japan

The iPod Touch Grows Up

The iPod Touch has traditionally been touted as a handheld gaming console for children. That perception is likely to change with the new iPod Touch 5 being a considerable upgrade on previous models. Along with the increase in screen size to match the new iPhone, the camera has also been upgraded and there is a much faster processor with the addition of a dual-core A5 chip.

As a test, for the past month I have given up all other devices and relied solely on the new fifth generation iPod Touch for all mobile activities, both work and play.

Thumb-tall display

As with the latest iPhone, the screen of the iPod Touch has been extended – it is now taller with a ratio of 16:9, at a resolution of 640 x 1136 pixels and 4 inches (diagonal) in size but is not quite wide as previous iPod Touch versions.

5th and 3rd iPod Touch models' width compared
5th gen model is not quite as wide as the earlier 3rd gen iPod Touch

Comparing with the iPod Touch 3, which was my last iPod Touch, the improvement in the quality of the display is not obvious even though the iPod Touch 5 has the new retina display.

In fact, when looking at them side by side with both set on full brightness the screen of the new iPod Touch looks yellow and not as white as the iPod Touch 3 screen. After doing some research I’ve found this is a commonly reported problem, with many saying that it is due to the glue used on the screen having not fully cured. Some have reported that this yellowing goes away after a few days. After a month of use I haven’t seen any improvement yet.

3rd and 5th gen models compared to show 6th gen's yellow screen
The yellow iPod Touch 5 screen

The retina display is another major new addition to the 5th gen model and has received great reviews. I personally wasn’t overwhelmed by it, to be honest, I don’t find it very easy to tell the difference between the retina and non-retina displays on such a small screen.

One use in which the retina is said to particularly useful is when reading small text. When comparing the two side by side, set on full brightness with the same book in iBooks at a few centimetres away from the screen it is easier to see how much better the new retina screen actually is. Unfortunately, this difference is a lot less noticeable in normal use, at normal brightness and at the more typical distance of 30-40 centimetres away.

Powering through: the thick and the thin

The length of battery life, however, is very noticeable. Contrary to the specs listed on the Apple website that claim a music playback time of up to 40 hours and a video playback time of up to 8 hours when fully charged, I found that after just a few hours of use the battery level had sunk to less than 50%. To combat this and ensure a longer battery life I now tend to leave the brightness set at about 20%, further reducing the effectiveness of the retina display.

Unfortunately, due to thinness of the device at just 6.1 mm, the light sensor has been removed so there is no automatic ambient lighting adjustment. It’s not ideal as I have to manually alter this level whenever the surrounding environment changes. Because of this much reduced battery life the light sensor is required more than ever to preserve battery life.

I would have prefered Apple’s concentration on thinness to be eased in favour of a thicker, longer lasting battery and room for an ambient light sensor.

One consolation was that I found that it only took about 20 minutes to charge to 100% from about 20% capacity. The Apple website claims a much slower charge rate with a fast charge in about 2 hours (80% capacity) and a full charge in about 4 hours.

Facetime / iSight

Not having any camera on my previous 3rd gen model I feel spoiled with both a front and back camera. Video conferencing with Facetime or other apps like Skype is now a breeze as long as you have a wi-fi connection to the Internet.

Both cameras give surprisingly good images and I’ve found myself using it a lot to take photos and video with.

Back camera: 5 megapixels, 1080p, up to 30 frames per second
Front camera: 1.2 megapixels, 720p, up to 30 frames per second

The LED flash is very powerful and can double as a torch by using the free Flashlight app.

Another new addition that came with iOS 6 is the new Panorama node for easily taking panoramic photos.

Strap it on

Another new feature that has not appeared on iPods until now is the strap. Apple have ingeniously designed a pop-out button about the same size as the camera. It is located on the back of the device and on the same side as the camera but at bottom. It’s size and position looks as though it was created to match the camera, which also protrudes slightly from the otherwise flush back.

Camera and loop button compared
Camera on one end, loop button on the other. Both protrude from the back

Popping it out by firmly pushing it like a button enables the strap to be hooked on. The strap is probably a good idea to ensure the device is not accidentally dropped, especially when using it as a camera. I was surprised at how secure the strap fastens to the pop out button and no matter how violently I jiggled it around I was unable to get the device to detach itself from the strap. It can be easily removed intentionally.

Controversial connector

There was a lot of fuss made over the switch from the older 30 pin connector to the new 8 pin connector. A lot of iPhone and iPod users have bought accessories that will no longer fit with the newer models. Apple does sell a convertor….for $29, which many grumble about not being included for free. The newer, smaller connector is a huge improvement over the older connector. It is stronger and much less likely to break. It is also reversible – meaning that it cannot be plugged in either way. The socket into which it plugs in the bottom of the ipod is much more compact and looks a lot more resistant to water, should you accidentally drop your device in water.

EarPods dumbed down

Unlike the EarPods that come with the iPhone 5 and new iPads, the EarPods that are included with the iPod Touch 5 do not come with a built in microphone or inline remote control which is both surprising and disappointing.

The manual, which can be downloaded from the iTunes store says that the EarPods can be used for listening to Siri, another new comer to the iPod Touch. There is not much point in just listening to Siri though, which is mainly used for issuing commands or requesting information.

I was concerned that the iPod’s internal microphone may be turned off when the EarPods are plugged in, as is normally the case. After plugging them in and running a test I found that the internal microphone does remain in use even when the EarPods are plugged in.

Speaker out loud

The speaker is very much improved and is easily audible even when not on the highest volume setting. I often prefer to listen to podcasts and music and watch video without the EarPods and this easily achieved, indoors at least, with the 5th generation iPod Touch.

The small speaker holes at the bottom
The small speaker holes at the bottom of the device

Shaping up to other Apple products

There is often a lot of thought and consideration that goes into Apple product design with a history of focusing on the human element of the consumer. The switch to the 16:9 ratio, for example, is advertised as being based on the average reach of the human thumb.

The white top, rounded corners and brushed aluminium gives it the classic Apple look. I’ve noticed something else about the adjustments to the size and shape of the iPod Touch 5, and of course the iPhone 5, and how this newer size relates to existing Apple products.

The taller iPod Touch 5 is now the same height as the Apple TV Remote, which was also recently made taller when it switched from the plastic white controller to the brushed aluminium remote control.

Apple TV remote and iPod Touch 5 compared
The taller design now equals the height of the Apple TV remote

The iPod Touch 5 certainly makes a better remote control for the Apple TV with it’s touch screen interface. All the functionality of the traditional Apple TV remote control is available through the free Remote iOS app. But the iPod Touch’s potential as an alternative remote control is really with the ability to watch video apps such as ABC’s iView and BBC’s iPlayer using AirPlay. The number of TV stations that are developing iOS apps is always expanding, which makes iOS devices like the iPod Touch the perfect way of getting content onto the home TV.

Thinking about Apple and an expandable remote control for TV in this way reminds me of the universal TV remote control that Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak invented and ultimately left Apple to design and release in 1987, the CL9 CORE.

Wozniak's programmable Core TV Remote and the iPod Touch compared
Wozniak’s programmable Core TV Remote and the ever expandable collection of viewing apps on the iPod Touch that can be AirPlayed to the Apple TV

Shortly before his death Steve Jobs made it clear that the TV was his next goal. He told his biographer, Walter Isaacson:

“‘I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,’ ‘It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.’ ‘It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.’

Is Apple about to come full circle with a ‘programmable’ TV remote control in the form of iOS devices such as the Pod Touch 5?  With Siri now onboard ‘changing channels’ could be as simple as asking Siri to switch to a different app.

Author: Vincent Brown
Web: www.vintuitive.com
Twitter: @Vintuitive
GooglePlus: +Vintuitive
Flickr: Vintuitive

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