Trent Reznor on Apple Music

Rolling Stone has published an interview with Trent Reznor on Apple Music, Beats 1, and streaming services for artists and fans. It's a good one:

I think it’s going to be an interesting experiment. But it’s one that we’re going into uncompromised, and that’s what I’m really proud of. I like that a company that is as successful and big and powerful and wide-reaching as Apple would have the faith in our artistic vision that we collectively have to try something that’s not going out with, “Well, we wish we would have done this,” but, “This is really what we think is the coolest thing we could do is.” And I mean it’s certainly been worth my time taking time off from Nine Inch Nails to focus on trying to make this experience great.

​And on curation:

When you hear the word “curation,” which is being thrown about by pretty much everyone, there is a difference between saying, “Here’s a ton of playlists that we’ve done,” and a sense of quality that comes from, say, Amoeba [Records] where I walk in there and look at the staff recommendations. [With Amoeba] I can tell that somebody – a collection of people whose lives revolve around music – spent a lot of time curating that list. And when I walk into the reggae section, which I don’t know that much about but I’m interested in the dub section, I can see that people have curated and presented that stuff in ways that make it a more exciting starting point for me to get into and it weeds out stuff that’s more difficult.

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Apple Releases OS X 10.10.4

Also earlier today, Apple released the latest version of OS X. Andrew Cunningham details a welcome change:

The first change in OS X 10.10.4 is to “networking reliability,” which is likely a reference to the replacement of discoveryd, a new-but-flaky DNS service introduced in Yosemite. It has been replaced with what appears to be mDNSresponder, the service that handled discoveryd's tasks in previous versions of OS X.

According to Apple, iCloud Photo Library in the Photos app should be more responsive now, too.

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Apple Releases iOS 8.4

Apple's new Music app.

Apple's new Music app.

Apple has released iOS 8.4 today, bringing a redesigned Music app with Apple Music support, audiobook listening features for iBooks and CarPlay, and iBooks Author textbook support on iPhone.

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Early Impressions of Apple Music from Re/code and Mashable

Apple Music and the Beats 1 radio station launch today in just a few short hours. But Apple yesterday gave Re/code and Mashable an early look at the new service and they've just published their first impressions.

Walt Mossberg at Re/code writes:

Apple has built a handsome, robust app and service that goes well beyond just offering a huge catalog of music by providing many ways to discover and group music for a very wide range of tastes and moods.

But it’s also uncharacteristically complicated by Apple standards, with everything from a global terrestrial radio station to numerous suggested playlists for different purposes in different places. And the company offers very little guidance on how to navigate its many features. It will take time to learn it. And that’s not something you’re going to want to do if all you’re looking for is to lean back and listen.

Christina Warren of Mashable also got an advance preview:

It's hard for me to over-stress how much I like For You. From the very beginning, the recommendations in playlists and albums that the app showed me were dead-on accurate, reflecting my various musical interests.

Straight out, I was given a recommendation of a Taylor Swift love ballad playlist and albums from The Kinks, Sufjan Stevens, Elliot Smith, The Shins, Miguel and Drake. So basically my musical brain.

Jim Dalrymple also got a chance to interview Apple's Eddy Cue and Jimy Iovine:

Jimmy shocked me a bit when he said, “Radio is massive.” I considered radio to be like magazines—steadily going downhill for the last decade or so. However, Iovine said that 270 million people in America still listen to radio, adding jokingly, “I didn’t think there were that many people that had a radio.”

Cue and Iovine explained that the problem with radio was not the fact that people didn’t like it, but rather that too much advertising and radio station research into what songs were popular was flawed. Songs that weren’t popular right away were pulled, based on research, so you listen to the radio and hear the same songs all the time.

As Cue pointed out, Technology limited the ads, but it also eliminated the DJ, something many people enjoyed.

Update: USA Today also got an early look:

Not all the artists whose music is available for purchase in iTunes are also available for streaming, most notably The Beatles: "There always some folks to come later that we would all like," Cue says. "Over time I certainly would expect the Beatles to be there." Of course if you own the Beatles music it can reside next to the on-demand tracks in the library.


Apple Watch and the Killer App Crisis

Smart take by Ken Segall on Apple Watch:

Well, here’s the stark reality: The Apple Watch has no killer app. And it will never have a killer app.

But anyone who hinges the success of the device on the idea of a killer app is living far, far in the past.

If you need any proof, just look at the iPhone. We can all agree it started one of the biggest technology revolutions of our time. So … what’s the killer app?

This is exactly how I look at the iPad, too. I have a feeling Apple Watch will follow the same path – especially after watchOS 2.

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Our thanks to Igloo for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Twitterrific Adds Facial Detection

With an update released last night, Twitterrific has gained a new facial recognition feature that properly frames people's faces in timeline photos. The Iconfactory's Gedeon Maheux writes:

By far the coolest of these improvements is the use of Apple’s facial recognition APIs to improve image previews. What does that mean exactly? It means that as Twitterrific displays media thumbnails in the timeline (pictures, videos, etc), the app tries to detect faces and frame the thumbnail so faces are always showing. In short, if Twitterrific sees a face in a tweet, it tries to make sure you see it too!

The effect when scanning through your list of tweets in the timeline can be dramatic. Previously Twitterrific always framed thumbnails on the center of images, but many times people’s faces aren’t in the middle, especially on portrait shots. Check out these before and after comparison screen shots to see the difference facial framing makes in the timeline.

This is a great example of how an iOS API seemingly unrelated to Twitter clients can dramatically improve the experience of an app. Very clever.

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