iTunes update brings better support for Photos

In our preview of Photos for OS X, the line “Photos has two advantages there out of the gate, and it's both faster and easier to use than the software it replaces” was (and is) telling. Photos is just plain better than iPhoto in so many ways, and Apple is keen to take advantage of it quickly. Now that the new software is out for both OS X and iOS, Apple is also updating iTunes to aide with syncing photos in Photos across all your devices.

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Star Wars Digital HD Collection coming April 10

It's not yet May the 4th and it's definitely not yet Christmas, but it seems that the Force will be in full, well, force this Friday. Come 10th of April, the Interwebs will most likely be clogged when hundreds of Star Wars fans try to download and stream all at once the Star Wars Digital HD collection which, for the first time, brings all, yes all, Star Wars film in digital format, HD quality. That means you can enjoy all of the good and the bad that Star Wars has to offer, wherever you are and on whatever device.

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Apple tipped to be poaching Tidal talent for new streaming service

Streaming is getting serious, and finally beneficial for artists. With Tidal, Jay-Z created a service that gave much of the power back to artists. The catch was exclusivity on the platform, at least for a while, but the real goal is to change the tide of streaming. If a report on what Beats paid artists is accurate, or Taylor Swift’s battle with Spotify is an indicator, Jay-Z is hitting the right notes with Tidal. Apple, believed to be readying a new streaming service, is now said to be toying with Tidal, and trying to poach artists away from the service.

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Apple Watch apps now available at the iTunes store

Even though the Apple Watch isn't available until later this April, new apps which are geared towards the Apple Watch are already hitting the iTunes store for download. You won't be able to use the actual range of capabilities designed for the smartwatch, unless you somehow got your hands on an Apple Watch early. If you managed to somehow pull that feat, get me one too! Several big names have already launched their Apple Watch apps. Let's take a look at what Evernote, Target, and Expedia along with SkyGuide, DarkSky, and WeChat have to offer.

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Apple, Beats to take on Spotify but maybe on equal grounds

It is no secret that Apple is out to get the music streaming industry. After all, it bought Beats not just for its accessories but also for its streaming service. It is even said that Beats' own Chief Creative Office, Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, is also at the front of reshaping the iTunes app to integrate streaming functionality. It is also probably common knowledge that Apple is eying a piece of the pie that Spotify currently holds so dearly. What might come as a surprise and a disappointment is that Apple's streaming service might be as expensive or even more than Spotify.

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SlideMail app can help you get through email quickly & effectively

How many emails do you have in your inbox? More to the point, how many of them are sitting there waiting for you to add an event to your calendar before being tucked into a folder or trashed? If the answer is “way too many”, a new email app might actually help. Called SlideMail, the app is meant to help bad email actors efficiently sort through their digital mail. With a bit of time, SlideMail actually learns how you react to email, and encourages better habits.

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Streaming now trumps CD sales, but that’s not the whole story

According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), who likely keep track of info like this pretty closely, revenue from streaming music has outpaced CD sales for the first time ever. Streaming services like Spotify, Play Music All Access, and Pandora helped contribute to $1.87 billion in revenue for 2014, while CD sales were $1.85 billion. It’s a 6% revenue hike for streaming, which now accounts for 27% of total recording industry revenue. Industry growth was flat from 2013 to 2014, says the RIAA.

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After 11 hours, the App Store and iTunes are back online

Apple's App Store and iTunes have sprung back into life, after technical issues brought the download stores offline in the early hours of this morning. Downloads of apps, music, and video resumed at approximately 1:30pm Pactific today, after what Apple described as a DNS issue left users not only unable to get to the App Store and iTunes on their iPhones and iPads, but temporarily killed the Mac App Store and iBooks Store too. In total, the services were offline for more than ten hours.

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App Store down? It’s not just you (and iTunes is hit too)

Apple may have had a good Monday with the launch of the Apple Watch and the new MacBook, but Wednesday is proving to be a downer with App Store and iTunes problems meaning new downloads and updates are unavailable for many. The downtime began more than five and a half hours ago, according to Apple's own service status page, with users unable to access not only the App Store and iTunes for software, music, and video downloads, but the iBooks Store and Mac App Store also affected.

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Report: Apple seeing pushback on iTunes streaming price point

The promise of a streaming iTunes library is still on the horizon, reportedly coming to us during WWDC later this year. The idea is simple: take iTunes, and open it up for streaming. The actual execution isn’t so easy. Apple has to re-negotiate existing distribution contracts with record labels to get them to allow for streaming. We’d once heard Apple was aiming for a $7.99 price point for streaming, but a new report says record labels aren’t going for it; they want Apple to charge $10 or more, monthly.

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Apple reportedly aiming for paid iTunes streaming — no free option

Remember the Taylor Swift/Spotify slap-fight? She yanked her music because the streaming service wasn’t paying enough, and they retorted she was making a ton of cash. It drug on for a bit, but she was ultimately right — streaming doesn’t pay artists enough, especially when it’s free for consumers. In discussing their new iTunes music streaming option, Apple execs are reportedly telling record labels to “get behind a paywall”. As such, their new service is not believed to offer any type of free tier.

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