Apple reportedly to buy Shazam for $400m

Apple is said to buy the music recognition app Shazam for about $400m (£300m), rumour reports say.

Shazam, a UK company founded in 1999, allows people to use their smartphone or computer to identify and buy music through a snippet of sound.

Shazam, which says it has more than 100 million monthly users, makes most of its revenue from commissions paid on referrals to Apple’s iTunes Store.

Neither Apple nor Shazam have commented on the reports on the TechCrunch site. If the deal is confirmed, Shazam will become the latest in a string of UK technology firms to be bought up by larger businesses.

The influential Music Business Worldwide site points out that the reported price is significantly lower than the $1bn valuation placed on Shazam during its last funding round in 2015.

By acquiring Shazam, Apple would basically cut out the middleman and save money on commissions.

It would also hurt the competition, since Shazam would no longer be referring people to rivals Spotify and Google Play Music.

The deal would also help the Apple Music service gain ground on Spotify, by making it easier for users to find songs and add them to playlists.

At present, Spotify has 60 million users worldwide, while Apple Music has just 27 million.

Credit: BBC.com

 

Comparing Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana and Siri smart speakers

The smart home assistant race has been building to a fever pitch over the course of the last couple of years. Things really came to head this past two weeks, when Amazon, Google and Sonos all held big events highlighting their latest smart speaker plays, making the already busy field a heck of a lot more crowded.

The burgeoning category can be a tough one to navigate. A lot of picking the right speaker for your own needs comes down to your assistant of choice — that, in turn, has a lot to do with both feature sets and your own mobile operating system loyalties. Each has benefits and drawbacks — Amazon has cornered the home, Apple has done a good job in mobile and Google has straddled the two better than anyone else. And Microsoft, well, a lot of people own Windows computers, at least.

Things can be equally complex from a hardware standpoint, between first-party products and the increasing presence of third-parties like Sony, Sonos and JBL. Devices also run a pretty wide price gamut, from ~$50 to $300. Some focus on premium sound, some feature screens, and some even let you choose between multiple assistants.

Here’s a quick break down to help make navigating these waters seem a bit less treacherous.


[Infogram version] 

Source: TechCrunch

Apple desist iOS 10.3.3 and iOS 11 code signing following iOS 11.0.2 update

Apple on Wednesday stopped signing code for iOS 10.3.3 and the first version of iOS 11, preventing users from installing potentially vulnerable legacy operating systems in favor of the latest iOS 11.0.2 update.

The move comes just two weeks after Apple released iOS 11 to the public with major revisions and new features including a revamped user interface, ARKit, an enhanced Siri backend, support for the H.265 codec and much more. Apple’s new operating system is specially tuned for iPad, with a number of new functions like drag-and-drop multitasking designed to deliver a user experience more akin to a desktop than a tablet.

Unlike past release schedules, today’s code signing stoppage allowed iOS 11 to live for only two weeks, a result of bugs and other issues discovered in the firmware shortly after launch. Apple patched those holes in a quick update just one week following iOS 11’s debut.

Most recently, the company on Tuesday issued iOS 11.0.2, which contained a fix for an issue that caused some iPhone 8 and 8 Plus owners to hear a crackling sound during phone calls. The update also rectified issues relating to photo viewing and opening encrypted email messages.

Apple regularly ceases code signing to prevent users from installing old iOS versions. The strategy is employed as a security measure to ensure users have the most up-to-date, bug-free software running on their iPhone, iPad and iPod. Forcing users to download and install the latest iOS versions also helps ease compatibility issues with cross-platform fucntionality and other software driven features.

With Apple no longer signing code for iOS 10.3.3 and iOS 11, users can only install iOS 11.0.1 from the company’s servers.

Looking ahead, Apple is already working on the first major update to iOS 11. The company last week seeded the operating system’s first point update, iOS 11.1, to developers and members of its public beta program.

Initially thought to be a minor update, iOS 11.1 could surprise and deliver Apple Pay Cash peer-to-peer payments to iPhone and iPad users. Reports this week note Apple is currently testing the payments system internally on devices running the point update, suggesting public release is not far off.

Apple and Amazon’s long streaming fued appears to nearly be over. After Amazon removed the Apple TV and Chromecast from its online store two years ago, it returned to selling at least the former.

Well, it did for a while – 9to5Mac spotted a listing for the Apple TV 4k on Amazon earlier today, but it seems to have disappeared once more. I imagine that’s just a technicality, and that Amazon plans to sell the Apple TV soon – perhaps closer to the launch of Prime Video on tvOS.

Earlier this year, Apple announced Amazon Prime Video is coming to the Apple TV in the fall, so the move isn’t surprising, but it’s still nice to see. Back when the streaming device was removed, Amazon cited “customer confusion” as the reason, a lazy way of saying it didn’t want Apple TV competing with its own prime streamers.

Now that Apple and Amazon have worked out a deal, here’s hoping Google is next. I’d like to watch me some “Mozart in the Jungle” on myAndroid TV, thank you very much.

 

Apple ditches Bing for Google as the default web search provider for iOS

Apple has confirmed that it has now changed the default web search provider from Bing to Google for its web searches on Siri, Spotlight etc. The company confirmed that users will now be able to get the web results from Google instead of the earlier Bing for its Safari Browser.

The company is making sure to bring users the best possible experience and simultaneously maintain its strong working relationship with Both Google and Microsoft. The change would help enhance search results compared to its previous search results with Siri which did not give satisfactory results.

“We value our relationship with Apple and look forward to continuing to partner with them in many ways, including on Bing Image Search in Siri, to provide the best experience possible for our customers. Bing has grown every year since its launch, now powering over a third of all the PC search volume in the U.S., and continues to grow worldwide. It also powers the search experiences of many other partners, including Yahoo (Verizon), AOL and Amazon, as well as the multi-lingual abilities of Twitter. As we move forward, given our work to advance the field of AI, we’re confident that Bing will be at the forefront of providing a more intelligent search experience for our customers and partners,” Microsoft’s statement reads.

The change is expected to be released with the company’s macOS High Sierra release today. The search results are expected to bring the change which include web links and video results. The Video results will be coming directly from YouTube and web image results will currently be coming from Bing for the time being.

iPhone users complain iOS 11 slows down their apps

Apple is catching some heat over the release of the new iOS 11. A litany of iPhone users are reporting experiencing a significant drop in performance after updating to the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system.

The issues range from reduced battery life to noticeably slower app performance, according to numerous posters on Reddit. Among other things, users are complaining that apps either take unusually long to open or crash altogether when loading. One common trait is that issues began occurring after updating to iOS 11.

Also read

iOS 11 update blocks Microsoft accounts from sending emails

“Ever since I upgraded, launching apps is an absolute chore,” one dissatisfied user wrote. “Safari, Reddit, ESPN, Yahoo, texts [and more] all have a terrible time opening. They either crash back to home, freeze and require closing the app, or take well over a minute to load. I never had a single issue with my [iPhone] 7+ before last night.”

The sentiment seemed to be shared among Apple consumers.

“My iPhone 7 did so well throughout the public beats until the last one or two,” another user writes. “Now apps are slow, Snapchat is not functional when I open it via notifications, the Music app just crashed and my iPhone needs to be rebooted a few times a week. Battery life is suffering as well.”

Another complaint says the following:

I have this [performance] problem all the time. It seems to come and go a little bit, but sometimes my phone will just get stuck on apps, and it happens with Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Messenger, Safari, basically any app that I can think of. Often a hard reset is the only way out. [It all started] happening after iOS 11

A slew of users have also mentioned having difficulties using the control center from lock screen, including noticing faulty behavior when changing songs or adjusting the volume.

In all fairness, the issue doesn’t seem to be affecting all users, with some reporting their iPhones are functioning nice and smooth after updating to iOS 11.

One thing to keep in mind is that minor technical issues following major release updates aren’t all that uncommon –  even for the Big A. The good thing is that you can take some measures to alleviate the damage.

Those who are yet to move to the latest iteration of the mobile OS can check which apps are still not optimized for iOS 11 prior to updating. Unfortunately, if you have already installed the update, your best bet is to simply wait for Apple to distribute fixes in upcoming updates.

You could also opt to revert your iPhone back to iOS 10, but the process is rather cumbersome and not all users are reporting the move has been successful so far. You might be better off holding off for the next iOS 11 update.

 

iOS 11 update blocks Microsoft accounts from sending emails

Apple’s iOS 11 update is blocking Microsoft email accounts from sending messages using the default Mail app for iPhone and iPad.

While the emails from Outlook.com, Office 365 and Exchange 2016 addresses were compatible with previous versions of iOS, the software update released yesterday caused emails to fail to send.

Users trying to use a Microsoft email account on Mail have been with the message: “Cannot Send Mail. The message was rejected by the server.”

Microsoft said the iOS 11 version of Mail is not currently compatible with Windows servers. Both Apple and Microsoft said they were aware of the problem.

Microsoft advised its email users to download Microsoft Outlook from the app store, which is compatible with iOS 11, to send mail.

“Apple is working closely with Microsoft to resolve the issue and will release a fix soon in an upcoming software update,” Apple’s support page said.

Apple and Microsoft confirmed the problems on Tuesday, although several testers using the public beta version of iOS 11 had discovered similar issues, according to posts on social media.

While updating the iPhone and iPad operating systems can cause compatibility issues for some apps, this year’s problems have been limited compared to iOS 10, which caused “bricking” issues on some iPhones, where some phones are rendered virtually unusable following the update.

Users can check if old apps will work with iOS 11 in settings, as the update has left iPhones such as the iPhone 5C and 32 bit apps incompatible.

Apple’s iOS 11 was released on September 19 following the announcement of its new iPhone 8 and iPhone X smartphones last week. The software offers several major new features coming to the iPhone for the first time, such as phone-to-phone Apple Pay, a smarter Siri and a redesigned, customisable control centre.

 

The main controls for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on Apple’s newly launched iOS 11 software cannot actually be used to turn those features off.

Users of Apple’s redesigned control centre, the quick screen for changing settings and controls found by swiping up from the bottom of the screen, have found the toggles for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi don’t actually deactivate them.

Instead, these features disconnect users from current Bluetooth or Wi-Fi pairings and networks, but leave the features active.

To actually disable Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, iPhone users must go into settings and turn both off completely.

iOS 11

Apple said the reason it keeps Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled is to keep users connected to “important features”, such as connecting to AirPlay, Apple Watch and to use features such as AirDrop and location services. Deselecting Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in the Control Centre will only disconnect from third party accessories like headphones, or from Wi-Fi networks.

iOS 11 will automatically try and reconnect to known devices using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi at 5am every morning if they have only been toggled off in the control centre.PSA: iOS 11 new control center WiFi and Bluetooth toggles don’t actually turn off their respective radios.

Leaving on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi is not considered a major drain on battery life, but does raise some security concerns. Last week, security researchers discovered a series of vulnerabilities that could be used by hackers to take over mobile phones using Bluetooth.

But the feature has concerned users largely due to its lack of clarity, even after Apple had redesigned the iPhone and iPad control centre as part of its software update in an attempt to make it more intuitive.

iOS 11, released on Tuesday, has also created issues for Microsoft email users, blocking people with Outlook addresses from sending email using its Mail app, while Snapchat has issued a patch to inform users if people have been recording their video messages.

 

 

iOS 11 has introduced a Snapchat loophole that is allowing people to secretly record other users’ snaps

Apple’s new iOS 11 update has introduced an iPhone feature that has unsettling ramifications for Snapchat users.

The operating system’s new screen record function is allowing some Snapchat users to record other people’s snaps without alerting them.

The app allows users to share photos and videos, called snaps, which disappear after a set amount of seconds, and screen-grabbing other people’s snaps is generally considered poor etiquette.

Until now, the only way to capture some else’s snap was via a screenshot, after which users received a notification alerting them that their photos or videos had been screen-grabbed.

This week iOS 11 introduced a screen record button in the iPhone command centre that lets people make video recordings of what they are doing and seeing on their screen.

Some Snapchat users have reported that the app is sending a screenshot notification when screen record is used while viewing someone else’s snaps.

Social experiment screenshot recordings for iOS11 notifies anyone on snapchat you took a screenshot of their snap. I have done that to 5 people

The Telegraph understands that Snapchat is attempting to fix the issue in its latest app update (version 10.17.5), which was released today. However the fully-updated app may not be able to detect when screen record is on if the person using it hasn’t also installed the latest version of Snapchat.

Tests conducted by the Telegraph showed that users were not getting alerts when snaps were captured using screen record until they installed the 10.17.5 update.

Even with the latest update, our tests found that screen recording didn’t always trigger a screenshot notification, and when it did these sometimes came through after a delay.

Snapchat screen record iOS 11

The issue will prove unsettling for regular Snapchat users, who are used posting transient photos and video knowing they’ll be alerted if anyone records them.

Snapchat’s ephemeral nature has been key in driving its rapid growth since it was founded in 2011 by a trio of Sanford University undergraduates.

Last month Snapchat announced it had reached 173 million daily users in the second quarter of this year and over 10 million people use the app on a daily basis in the UK.

The app is particularly popular with younger people with 45 per cent of Snapchat users aged between 18 and 24.

 

iPhone 8 crushing Samsung Galaxy Note 8 in benchmark tests for speed, performance

According to various benchmark tests, the iPhone 8’s A11 processor performs well above many competitors, including Android flagship devices and some laptops.

When it comes to speed and performance, Apple’s iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are blowing the competition out of the water.

According to various benchmarking tests conducted using Geekbench software, Apple’s iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus outperformed the Samsung Galaxy S8, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, and various other Android devices in speed and performance. As noted by Tom’s Guide in its review, the phones also performed better than the 7th-generation Core i5 MacBook and the Dell XPS 13 laptop in some tests as well.

Much of this is due to Apple’s A11 Bionic chip, a six-core CPU, and a new Apple-designed GPU. The A11 is about 25% faster than its predecessor, the A10, in single-core processing. But, when looking at complex, multicore processing, the A11 outperforms the A10 by about 80%.

To understand the benchmark scores, it is important to know how some of the biggest tools establish their metrics. The popular Geekbench, for example, uses a baseline score of 4000, which equates to an Intel Core i7-6600U. So, a score of 8000 is double the performance of that particular processor.

For multicore performance, according to Geekbench 4 results from Tom’s Guide, the iPhone 8 Plus scored 10,472, while the iPhone 8 scored 10,170. The top-scoring Android device, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, only scored 6,564 on the same test. The Samsung Galaxy S8 scored 6,295.

benchmark.jpg

Image: YouTube/Tom’s Guide

In terms of laptops, it was a closer race, but the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus still came out ahead. The 7th-generation Core i5 MacBook scored 9,213, according to Tom’s Guide. The Dell XPS 13, on the other hand, took 7,159. While these comparisons are impressive, Geekbench founder John Poole told Tom’s Guide that laptops tend to offer better sustained performance over time.

Tom’s Guide also used 3DMark’s tool for measuring graphics performance as well. In that test, the iPhone 8 Plus scored 64,412 and the iPhone 8 scored 62,212. The Samsung Galaxy Note 8, however, only managed to score 39,834.

The Tom’s Guide team also compared the iPhone 8, Galaxy Note 8, and Galaxy S8+ in their ability to edit, export, and save a two-minute 4K drone videos. The Galaxy Note 8 completed the task in three minutes and three seconds, while the Galaxy S8+ did it in four minutes and seven seconds total. The iPhone 8 did it in 42 seconds. This led Tom’s Guide to conclude in its review that the iPhone 8 is “easily the fastest phone ever.”

The tests are a definite win for Apple, as premium Android phones continue to advance their hardware specs. And Apple’s additional involvement in the chip making process could have been one of the key drivers of the A11’s success.