According to The New York Times, Apple is going full-force in negotiations with record labels in an effort to get its new streaming music service (which many refer to as iRadio) in position to be announced, and possibly launched, at WWDC next week. The report states that Apple has already signed deals with both the Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group for rights to recorded music and publishing. The holdout is Sony Music Entertainment, which seems to want a bigger cut of the profits. Of course, if Apple can convince Sony to sign, then its music service will be stocked with all the popular music users will expect, without any glaring holes.
There are no solid details on Apple's streaming service, and there won't be until it is formally announced by the company itself. That said, rumors point to it being similar in vein to Pandora, rather than a Spotify/Rdio competitor. In other words, it will be a radio service rather than one where you get to pick and choose exactly which track(s) you want to listen to at a given moment. The service would be supported by iAd, with advertisements interspersed into the listening experience, like Pandora.
Fingers crossed for WWDC!
Read More | The New York Times
The folks over at Tinhte.ven, who have a fairly good track record with Apple leaks, have managed to get their hands on some cases that are said to be designed for the expected iPad 5. This is becoming the norm, as we speculate that case makers pay leakers for design schematics in order to get a leg up when the Apple product goes on sale.
Rumors are pointing to a redesigned iPad 5 that has slimmer and lighter characteristics and reduced bezels, similar to those found on the iPad mini. If you're looking into buying a new iPad, we suggest waiting a bit longer if you want the latest and greatest--our guess is we will see the new models in about 3 months. Check out the video after the break.
Apple is set to reveal iOS 7 at WWDC in two weeks, and sources have provided details on radical interface changes made to Apple's mobile device software. 9to5Mac reports that Jony Ive, Apple Senior Vice President of Industrial Design (in charge of both Apple hardware and software design,) has led the charge in giving iOS an entirely fresh coat of paint.
People familiar with the matter are describing iOS 7 as "black, white, and flat all over." In other words, the skeuomorphic textures are going away in favor of a new black and white interface that does away with a lot of the over-the-top shininess and glossiness.
For the upcoming operating system, which Apple says will be unveiled at its June Worldwide Developers Conference, Ive has not simply picked areas of the software design to tweak. He has essentially made his mark on every corner of the operating system, according to descriptions from sources, all while mostly keeping the essence of what has made iOS so ubiquitous.
The rumor mill has been buzzing with regards to significant changes that will be coming to AppleCare, Apple's popular standard and extended warranty program. Interestingly, it appears that AppleCare support for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad is about to become much more of a pain for customers. This marks a significant change where Apple will seemingly make a decision to make the customer service experience worse rather than better, all in the name of saving a ton of money.
Windows super-fan Paul Thurrott, who has a good track record for internal Microsoft rumors, is sharing information that he has heard as it pertains to the launch window and pricing of the new Xbox (which we are assuming will be called Xbox Reveal or Infinity, but is codenamed Durango.) First, the next Xbox will launch in early November 2013, and will cost $499 out of the gate. Alternatively, you'll be able to pay $299 for the console if you also pay a $10 monthly subscription fee.
If this is true, then we imagine that this is where all of the hoopla over an "always-on" console is coming from. If you choose to go the subscription route, then your Xbox will likely need to be connected to the Internet in order to make sure the subscription is active. Piggybacking on that thought, maybe if you stop paying (or if you can't get the Xbox online,) then the Xbox will simply not let you play games until you are paid up or reconnect it to Xbox Live.
Other information shared include that the new console will ship with a Blu-ray drive, and will run on a modified version of Windows 8. We will have all the news as it happens when Microsoft unveils the next Xbox on May 21.
Read More | Windows IT Pro
It looks like Verizon Wireless is set to finally offer the Nokia Lumia 928, giving Verizon a flagship Windows Phone 8 device, starting next month. While no formal announcements have been made, two people familiar with the details have confirmed it. Since flagship Lumia smartphones in the US have typically been AT&T exclusives, it'll be interesting to see what the Verizon effect will have on sales. The Lumia 928 will have an aluminum enclosure rather than the polycarbonate Lumias that we're used to, with a 4.5-inch display, 8-megapixel camera, and wireless charging capabilities.
Analysts are reporting that the Apple iPhone 5S is set to be delayed because of problems Apple is having with integrating a fingerprint sensor. The issue seemingly stems from the color coating of the paint and getting it to work with the rumored fingerprint sensor that will be a part of the iPhone 5S. The end result is that the next iPhone, the lower-cost budget iPhone, and the next iPad mini will all launch closer to September rather than the June/July timeframe.
One important note here: Apple has never specified a release date for the iPhone 5S (or even the existence of the device itself,) so to call this a delay seems disingenuous. These delays are really based on the best guesses of the analysts in the first place. In other words, this "delay" really is the analysts saying their guesses were wrong, but not taking the blame.
Read More | Reuters
It looks like Microsoft is set to bring back the Start button in Windows 8.1, a mainstay of the Windows OS that was removed in Windows 8. According to a report from The Verge, the new Windows 8.1 Start button will not include the traditional Start button functionality, but will rather be a method of taking you back to the Start screen. In addition to the Start button making a reappearance (in name, at least,) Microsoft is also said to be including a feature that will allow users to boot directly to the desktop, bypassing the Start screen altogether.
Read More | The Verge
The big iPhone rumor this year is that Apple will release a lower-cost model with a polycarbonate plastic backing, similar to the one found on the iPhone 3G and 3GS. Today, an image has cropped up that purports to show the rear shell of the budget model iPhone. As you can see, it's similar in size to the iPhone 4, and is mostly flat, rather than the rounded 3G/3GS design. Tactus, the company that is making the claims, also has other details:
I’ve also heard on the grapevine that the alleged budget iPhone will have an A5 processor like the iPad Mini with a 32nm diecast. It’s also rumoured it will have a 3.5 inch retina screen, much like the 4S, but not as big as the iPhone 5 … I’ve also discovered the factory producing this secretive project have confirmed the device will be available in Black, White, Blue, Red and Yellow.
A multi-colored low-cost iPhone? What do you think?
Read More | Tactus
Word on the street is that Apple is behind schedule on iOS 7 due to the management shakeup that occurred when Scott Forstall was ousted from the company. Jony Ive has taken over as head of hardware and software design, and with that will come sweeping design changes within iOS. Daring Fireball's John Gruber has gone so far as to say that he's heard that Apple has had to pull engineers off os OS X 10.9 in order to help get iOS 7 ready for release.
It may sound odd, but Apple actually took a similar strategy back in 200, pulling developers off of OS X 10.5 Leopard in order to ensure that the iPhone would be ready on time, resulting in a four-month delay for the desktop OS. Of course, Apple had a lot less software engineers working on iPhone software back then, so it's pretty telling that with the expansive growth, there are still challenges getting iOS 7 out of door.
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