Graham Spencer

913 posts on MacStories since January 2011

Graham is a regular contributor to MacStories, a law and economics student at university, and a fan of great TV shows. With a particular passion for telling stories with the aid of data and visualizations, there is a high likelihood that he wrote a story if you see a graph on MacStories.


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Apple Debuts New Advert Showcasing Redesigned Apple Music

Apple yesterday debuted a new advert on its YouTube channel which showcases the redesigned Apple Music that comes with iOS 10. The extended, 80 second, advert explores the key features of Apple Music and actually shows, step-by-step, how you can use the app.

The walk-through begins by showing how you can access your own music library, and then moves on to demonstrate the For You feature of Apple Music which, based on your tastes and listening history, will recommend "music you'll love next". The advert then pivots to demonstrating how you can share music and your playlists, before showing you how to download music to your device and explore new music in the Browse tab of Apple Music. Finally, the advert highlights the live and on demand radio stations that Apple Music offers, with a particular focus on Beats 1, which also offers interviews with musicians.

This Apple Music advert follows last month's tongue-in-cheek Apple Music advert featuring James Corden. You can watch this advert on Apple's YouTube page, or below the break.

(via MacRumors)

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Unofficial Remixes From Dubset Arrive on Apple Music and Spotify

Josh Constine, writing for TechCrunch:

The first unofficial single-track remixes just went live on Spotify and Apple Music thanks to their partnerships with music rights management service Dubset.

Apple struck a deal with Dubset in March, and Spotify did in May, BPMSupreme reported. But the remixes are finally beginning to stream today, starting with this DJ Jazzy Jeff remix of Anderson .Paak.

This sounds like good news for users, DJs, content owners as well as Apple and Spotify. Dubset will scan a mix uploaded to its service and use the Gracenote audio fingerprinting database to detect which songs were used in the mix. Royalties paid by Apple and Spotify will be distributed to the original rights holders.

Stephen White [Dubset CEO] says 700 million people listen to mixed content a month, making it a big opportunity. But record labels have historically fought against unofficial mixes because they considered them piracy since they weren’t getting paid. Dubset gives them a fair share, so they’ll permit remixes and mix sets to stream on the major platforms. Royalty revenue from the platform is shared with rights holders while Dubset gets a cut.


Tim Cook Says VR Is Nice, but Augmented Reality Is the Future

Adario Strange, writing for Mashable, picks up on Tim Cook's answer to a question that was posed to him last Friday when he was interviewed by Senator Orrin Hatch at the Utah Tech Tour.

"AR [augmented reality] I think is going to become really big," said Cook. "VR [virtual reality], I think, is not gonna be that big, compared to AR … How long will it take? AR gonna take a little while, because there’s some really hard technology challenges there. But it will happen. It will happen in a big way. And we will wonder, when it does [happen], how we lived without it. Kind of how we wonder how we lived without our [smartphones] today."

This is not the first time that Tim Cook has commented on the potential for AR. Soon after the release (and phenomenal success) of Pokemon Go, Tim Cook said that Apple was "high on AR in the long run" when answering a question during an Apple earnings call:

It also does show that AR can be really great. We have been and continue to invest a lot in this. We are high on AR for the long run, we think there’s great things for customers and a great commercial opportunity. The number one thing is to make sure our products work well with other developers’ kind of products like Pokemon, that’s why you see so many iPhones in the wild chasing Pokemons.

You can watch the full Tim Cook interview from the Utah Tech Tour on YouTube.


‘Spoken Editions’ Section Makes Official Debut on iTunes

Roger Fingas, writing for AppleInsider:

Following a false start in September, Apple on Monday launched an expected "Spoken Editions" section on the iTunes Store, letting people hear audio versions of written content from online publishers.

The section currently includes articles from over 40 sources, such as Reuters, Wired, IGN, Jezebel, Playboy, and the Huffington Post. People can also access the material from Apple's dedicated Podcasts app.

I like this idea, and could see myself subscribing to some Spoken Editions when it expands to other publications, particularly those in Australia. I listened to a few Spoken Edition articles, and whilst the recording quality was generally quite good, I was a little surprised to hear some obvious pronunciation errors and general reading mistakes which hadn't been edited out.

The Spoken Editions are featured on the front page of the Podcasts section of the US iTunes Store, but they are also accessible via this link (which will also work even if you are outside the US).


Enhanced Edition of ‘A Game of Thrones’ Available on the iBooks Store

The iBooks Store is today featuring the launch of 'A Game of Thrones: Enhanced Edition':

Navigate the astounding world of Westeros with the enhanced editions of George R.R. Martin's magnificent series. Available only on iBooks, they're the best way to read this thrilling epic. Interactive maps, author notes, glossaries, family trees and illustrations add to the adventure, whether you're new to the books or speak fluent Dothraki.

A Game of Thrones is the first book in the series, and the Enhanced Edition is available now. The other books in the series are also set to received Enhanced Editions over the coming months. A Clash of Kings is coming on 27 October, A Storm of Swords is arriving on 15 December, A Feast of Crows is arriving 2 February 2017, and A Dance with Dragons is expected on 30 March 2017. The Guardian has a few more details on the Enhanced Editions, including this quote from George R.R. Martin:

“We’re now entering a new period in the history of publishing,” said Martin, announcing the new edition. “The digital book gives readers the ability to experience all this rich secondary material that had not been possible before. These enhanced editions, available only on iBooks, include sigils and family trees and glossaries. Anything that confuses you, anything you want to know more about, it’s right there at your fingertips. It’s an amazing next step in the world of books.”

This is not the first time the iBooks Store has released Enhanced Editions of a popular series. Last October saw the release of Enhanced Editions of the Harry Potter series on the iBooks Store, which included new illustrations and animations.

(via 9to5Mac)


Plex Cloud: Unlimited Media Storage in Amazon Drive

Plex yesterday announced a new Plex Cloud service:

Run your always-on Plex Media Server in the cloud without the need for an always-on PC or network-attached storage device (NAS). With Plex Cloud, you’ll be ready to go in 60 seconds or less, easily streaming and accessing your media remotely on all your Plex enabled devices. Too easy!

Plex Cloud is invite-only for now, and priority is being given to Plex Pass subscribers. The cost of Plex Cloud is $60/year in the US, and that gives you unlimited storage in Amazon Drive for your media. This is a great new initiative from Plex, and it seems like a fantastic deal – even if you just use it as a backup of your local copy of your media.

If you're interested in learning more, the Plex Blog has even more details on Plex Cloud.


System Haptics on the iPhone 7

Apple introduced the Taptic Engine with the iPhone 6s, where it replaced the old vibration motor and was also used to provide haptic feedback for when you activated 3D Touch. This year with the iPhone 7, Apple has improved the Taptic Engine and it plays a critical role in simulating the press of the Home button, which is no longer a physical button. But the Taptic Engine in the iPhone 7 goes even further with the introduction of System Haptics, where a number of UI elements in iOS will now also provide tactile haptic feedback when you activate them.

I have had my iPhone 7 for nearly a week now, and these new System Haptics have been a great delight to discover, and use. These System Haptics are mostly subtle and feel very natural, so you may not have even noticed them. Below I've compiled a list of all the places in iOS that I've noticed them appear.

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James Corden Stars in New Apple Music Ad

Airing for the first time last night during the 2016 Emmy Awards, Apple debuted a new extended 2 minute advert for Apple Music featuring James Corden.

The tongue-in-cheek advert sees a serious Corden attempt to pitch ideas for an Apple Music advert to Apple executives Jimmy Iovine, Bozoma Saint John, and Eddy Cue. Corden's ideas range from the bizarre, with Corden impersonating famous musicians, to the melodramatic, swimming through 40 million Apples. The trio of Apple executives rebuff Corden's extravagant ideas, simply pointing out that Apple Music is available offline, that there are over 40 million songs, and playlists are handpicked for users.

This is not Apple's first collaboration with Corden. Earlier this year Apple bought the Carpool Karaoke scripted TV series which was based on the segment that began in the The Late Late Show with James Corden. Corden also appeared with Tim Cook in a Carpool Karaoke skit for the opening video of Apple's September 6 keynote earlier this month.

YouTube via MacRumors

Club MacStories: Year One iBook

A year ago we launched Club MacStories, and since then we have published 60 newsletters across MacStories Weekly and the Monthly Log.

We realised a few weeks ago that as we’ve built up this archive of newsletters, there is a lot of content, and we wanted to create a distilled version of the archive. With that in mind, we have created this interactive iBook which contains a small selection of the best content we have published over the last 12 months in MacStories Weekly and the Monthly Log.

Our goal in this was to give new members a more easily digestible highlight of what they can expect over the coming weeks and months as they begin their membership. But equally it is for existing members who want to revisit some of the content we’ve published, or to catch up if they missed a few newsletters. So whether you’re a new member, or an existing member, we hope you enjoy reading this iBook.

We’re excited to begin the second year of Club MacStories, and we hope you are too.

Thank you for being a Club MacStories member.

– Federico, Graham, and John

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