Apple has brought its iTunes Festival to the US for the first time, announcing that it will be streaming concerts across five nights at SXSW 2014 in March. Having run for several years as the iTunes Festival in London, the new US push for the free entertainment offer will be streamed to iTunes on PC and Mac, as well as to iOS devices like iPhone and iPad, and to the Apple TV.
As rumors have suggested, Apple is outing their own music discovery platform, and they're calling it iTunes Radio. The new feature will be built right into the company's existing Music app on iOS, so users who take advantage of the app won't have to switch to another app to use the new iTunes Radio.
Apple is all about the music today, with the new 16GB iPod touch, word of 100m iPod touch selling since 2007, and now details of the upcoming iTunes Festival 2013. First held in 2007, the 2013 show marks the festival's seventh outing, with acts including Justin Timberlake and Jack Johnson set to appear, while the tickets are handed out as iTunes prizes.
Apple TV, the company's wireless set-top box, has been updated so as to function without the need for a Mac, opening up the device to the thousands of potential users yet to invest (or unable to afford) one of Apple's computers. While iTunes content can be streamed direct to the Apple TV and enjoyed through a connected widescreen TV, owners now have the option to browse, research and buy TV shows, music and titles from the new movie rentals service direct from the set-top box itself.
At Apple, Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine has no actual role. The music mogul reportedly works alongside Eddy Cue, who heads up Apple’s iTunes department. In the acquisition, Apple got a lot more than Beats hardware and streaming service; they got talent. In being named one of GQ’s men of the year, Iovine spilled some details on what led Apple to snap up Beats, and what he might be working on. Once again, we’re getting excited for the promise of iTunes streaming to us.
The Lumia 830 is up to bat this week in a video spot created by Microsoft to hate on the iPhone 6 Plus. This Lumia smartphone takes on the slightly larger iPhone 6 Plus by speaking with Cortana. The screens have been simulated, of course, and the sequences have been shortened - and the voices have been modified so they'll say what fits the commercial. But still, there's comedy to be found here in a war of the personal assistants, one for Windows Phone 8, the other for iOS.
In purchasing Beats, many wondered just what Apple would do with the service. Would they shutter it, or somehow make it worthwhile for everyone? The latter seems to be the case, or at least more people will be force-fed access to it. A report from the Financial Times, citing unnamed sources, says Apple will make Beats Music a standard Apple app in the middle of 2015. The app will be pushed to your device (and made unable for deletion) around March 2015.
With Apple’s purchase of Beats, there’s a silent partner that has remained as much so far. Though he wasn’t a major player for Beats, Trent Reznor did hold the title of Chief Creative Officer, and that’s going to translate to Apple. Somehow. We’re not privy to what Apple and Reznor are doing, but a recent interview with Billboard points at some sort of music delivery service. In the talk, he’s very complimentary of streaming music, leading to speculation he’s working on that thing we all want from Apple.
Apple’s iTunes used to be one of the biggest deals in digital. Prior to streaming music apps and services, we were left to purchase music the traditional route, buying singles or albums via iTunes, which did little more than un-clutter our offices from towers of CDs. Over time, the Spotify, Pandora, and Play Music All Access’ of the world have eaten into iTunes’ business model, as we more toward a monthly fee and unlimited streaming. A new report suggests Appel is feeling the pinch, and iTunes sales have dropped dramatically.