Women – do you find it hard to make your mind up? Do you wonder where men get all their music from? Do you wish someone could help you and that little brain of yours? You might be thinking “Shut up, you patronising swine – I can cope perfectly well without you patting me on the head, thank you very much! Cheeky shit.”
This chat is all thanks to Jimmy Iovine, who works for Apple since they bought Beats Music, who was on television being asked about streaming music. He said: “Streaming’s a technology… what this is is a music streaming service. What is does is… sort of gives you 30 million songs, and it serves them up to you and makes it easy to find music.”
“So I always knew that women find it very difficult at times – some women – to find music. And this helps makes it easier with playlists, curated by real people. They’re not made by algorithms alone – they’re made by algorithms but with a human touch.”
There’s a new advert, aimed at women, and Iovine was asked about his concept for it: “I just thought of a problem: girls are sitting around talking about boys, right? Or complaining about boys! When they’re heartbroken or whatever… they need music for that, right? It’s hard to find the right music. Not everyone has, you know, the right list… or knows a DJ.”
Of course, in the scheme of things, Iovine’s comments are fantastically unimportant, but really, you’d think that somewhere in his brain, he’d perhaps consider that women are every bit as nerdy about music as men are. Likewise, there’s men and women who couldn’t give two hoots about music at all.
Either way, this is the latest bad press that Apple have got in the past 12 months – something they can’t seem to avoid lately. They’ve been sued over the WiFi Assistant, had issues with everything crashing after an update, confessed that some of their phones are worse than others, annoyed loads of people with Apple Music’s auto-renewal, and of course, made a man go on a hilarious rant. The response from Apple customers on social media has been, shall we say, on the venomous side.
He’s since apologised about his remarks, but Apple need to get shipshape and, while they’re at it, stop executive patronising their customers.
Sky are looking at taking on Netflix, Apple and Amazon, as they release a new set-top box and “best of the web” streaming service called SkyQ. The broadcaster reckon this is biggest product innovation since the Sky+ box. Big talk.
The service will kick off next year, and will let you watch shows on up to five different screens and, it’ll also have five times the amount of storage capacity than their current box. And what’s this ‘best of the web’ nonsense about? Well, you can get YouTube, Vevo, Facebook and stuff from Condé Nast (who are the publishers behind Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, and Wired).
In addition to all that, this new thing will also have new remote control with a touchpad, which sounds pretty fancy. It’ll allow you to swipe and scroll, just like the Apple TV thing and you’ll be able save recordings from your set-top box onto a tablet, so you’ll be able to watch them anywhere you like.
“Think of Sky Q as something that is beyond a box,” said Stephen van Rooyen, from Sky. “It is an eco-system of products. The important thing is it allows you to consume programmes in and out of the home across more screens than ever before. It is about more than just TV content, we are bringing the best of the web to the big screen.”
There’s no news on price as yet, you’ll be finding that out in early 2016.
Another story about a mobile battery that charges up really quickly, posing the question – is anyone going to actually release any of these batteries to the public, instead of just dangling them in front of everyone?
Anyway, this mobile phone battery can charge to 50% in a mere five minutes, and has been produced by Huawei. The lithium-ion cell is similar in size and capacity to the batteries normally fitted in smartphones. However, this one charges up ten times faster.
How does it do it? Well, Huawei say that atoms of graphite bonded to the battery’s anode allow it to charge more quickly, without affecting the amount of energy it can store. Marvellous. Release it already.
They showed it off at an event in Japan, and they say that they’ve got another battery that can charge up to 68% in two minutes.
A blog on a Huawei fan site (yes, that’s a thing) said: “Soon, we will all be able to charge our batteries to full power in the time it takes to grab a coffee.”
You can see a demonstration of the battery here.
David Cameron wants every home and business in the UK to have access to a fast broadband connection within the next five years. Of course, his government are planning on hoarding all your correspondence too, but they don’t want that to put you off.
The Government wants to give the public a legal right to an “affordable” connection, making an internet connection a basic living service, like electricity, water, or getting drunk. They want to create a universal service obligation, which will provide a regulatory “safety net” for everyone to ensure they have access.
Cameron said: “Access to the internet shouldn’t be a luxury; it should be a right – absolutely fundamental to life in 21st century Britain. That is why I’m announcing a giant leap in my digital mission for Britain. Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we’re going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it.”
“We’re getting Britain – all of Britain – online, and on the way to becoming the most prosperous economy in the whole of Europe.”
So what does ‘fast’ mean? Well, they would like to see everyone being able to have a connection with a speed of at least 10 Megabits per second, no matter where they live in the country, and no matter how remote their house is.
Tired of actually replying to people’s emails? Are they always bothering you and making you answer them about all manner of inane pish? Well, Google want to help, as they’ve created a bit of software that will do the work for you.
Thanks to an updated version of the Inbox app, it’ll read your emails for you (Google are already doing that though, right, satire fans?) and then give you some suggested replies to choose from.
In a blog, Gmail software engineer Balint Miklos said that the feature “uses machine learning to recognize emails that need responses and to generate the natural language responses on the fly.” Ultimately, the hope to have enough good and appropriate replies, that you can reply to most emails by clicking a couple of buttons. The more you use it, the more it’ll learn your patterns.
Obviously, there’s similar things in the world like this already, but Google’s offering seems a bit more complex than the rest. Complex how? Well, get this – Google engineers worked on a ‘neural network’, which is a huge network of machines that are meant to mimic the human brain. Imagine that. Google reading all your emails and then processing them through machines that copy your brain. Sci-fi writers will be doing somersaults at the news.
Google pre-empted some privacy concerns, but don’t exactly allay them: “In developing Smart Reply we adhered to the same rigorous user privacy standards we’ve always held – in other words, no humans reading your email.”
We can’t wait for someone to reply to a bosses’ email by pressing the wrong button and saying “I love you” after they’ve been told they have to sack a load of staff.
Have you been having a nice time using Office 365, and hammering the unlimited OneDrive storage? Well, that’s all about to change as Microsoft have decided enough’s enough, and are limiting the amount of storage you can have.
Why? Apparently, some people have been abusing the service.
So, in a blog, Microsoft said that some Office 365 users had been taking the piss with the unlimited space, and had backed up “numerous PCs” and/or “entire movie collections and DVR recordings”. Some people alone, have exceeded 75TB.
Unlimited usage, fair usage… these are all boring arguments that can be had elsewhere – the bottom line is that Microsoft aren’t happy about it, and they want to save their groaning servers from the few who have been working them harder than most.
Microsoft added: “Instead of focusing on extreme backup scenarios, we want to remain focused on delivering high-value productivity and collaboration experiences that benefit the majority of OneDrive users.”
So now, you won’t get unlimited storage for Office 365 Home, Personal or University users – now, you’ll get 1TB of storage on OneDrive. If you’ve got more than that stored on your OneDrive account, you’ll be able to keep the increased storage limit for at least a year, giving you time to find an alternative.
Microsoft are also changing the amount you can store with them for free – the free storage limit on OneDrive is being taken from 15GB to 5GB. That’s for new customers, and existing ones.
Samsung are bringing out a new Galaxy tablet and it has a whopping 18.4in screen. That’s bloody massive. Ace for watching films on, we guess. Not so great for, y’know, being discrete when you’re looking at dirty pictures in a coffee shop. It is called the Galaxy View.
Anyway, there’s a host of new things that may interest you (they might not, but then, that’s your own stupid fault for continuing to read this particular piece).
For a start, there’s no home button on this thing, which is not like Samsung. There’s a useful kickstand on it, which folds into the back in a rather nifty way. It also has its own carry handle, so you can waddle around with it like a fancy Dan.
The View has a full HD front-facing lens, for the selfie-takers among you and… well… you get the idea. The whole point of this particular tablet is that it is bloody massive.
If you’re interesting in the spec and all that, click here.
The owners of mucky website RedTube must be popping bottles today, as YouTube has announced a subscription service called YouTube Red. Just think of all those people tapping RedTube into their browsers because they’ve forgotten what the new YouTube service is called.
Anyway, YouTube has racked up billions of people as an audience, thanks to the free, ad-supported service. Now, it would like you to pay for it. Of course, for a lot of people, the ad-service is just fine and you’ll be sticking with that thankyouverymuch. However, there’s a lot of kids out there who do nothing but watch YouTube vids – be it from subscribing to wildly popular vloggers or people who do make-up tutorials and such.
Obviously, old people don’t understand this at all and will be muttering under their breath about how this is all nonsense. That’d be the same old people who made Noel Edmonds famous, taking a higher ground there.
Some famous YouTubers will be taking their shows behind the paywall, only available on the new YouTube Red subscription service. It’ll launch late this month in America and will cost $9.99 per month. You can imagine that there’ll be the usual dollar=pound conversion rate, where Brits will have to cough-up £9.99 every month.
If you subscribe to this tier, you’ll be able to watch all YouTube videos with no adverts, and you’ll be able to download them to your mobile and watch them offline. As well as that, you’ll also get Google Play Music thrown in too.
“We believe in the advertising business. 99.9% of the content on YouTube will be free, as it always has been” says chief business officer Robert Kyncl. “The world that all of our advertising partners are used to remains alive and well and [watch time] continues to grow at an astonishing 60% year over year. There is nothing we are taking away from there, merely adding onto it.”
The iMakers have recently patented an ‘iRing’, which could take photographs, send messages and show you the time. It all sounds a bit like Russian spies, taking photos with a ring, doesn’t it? Again, we’re not talking about your hole. Stop it now.
Apple’s device would allow you to dictate notes into it, and would have a tiny little touchscreen. Like most modern devices, it’ll track your heart-rate and all that, with biometric sensors.
The patent says: “The use of touch-sensitive surfaces as input devices for computers and other devices has increased significantly in recent years. A user controls an external electronic device with a finger ring-mounted touchscreen that includes a computer processor, wireless transceiver, and rechargeable power source.”
“The ring is worn on a first finger and receives an input from a second finger.”
So there you have it. Of course, Apple aren’t the first on all of this - Mota have already shown off their ring at a conference last year. And yes, you can watch a video all about it.
Now, there’s been a problem with the off-board chargers (which you should know about), but there’s also a problem of them being illegal on the road. Of course, most people will want to mess around on these, on car parks or in the back yard or whatever, but the police aren’t keen on them.
They say: “Personal transporters, such as the Segway Personal Transporter are powered by electricity and transport a passenger standing on a platform propelled on two or more wheels. They are capable of speeds up to 12 mph. Under current legislation, the Department for Transport considers Segway Personal Transporters as motor vehicles, subject to road traffic laws.”
“The Department for Transports view is that the Segway Personal Transporter is a motor vehicle. The Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 (VERA) states that every mechanically propelled vehicle used or kept on a public road should be registered and licensed. As self-balancing scooters are mechanically propelled they require registration and a vehicle registration licence (tax disc). Additionally, the user would need a driving licence and motor insurance. Other legal requirements relate to construction and use, and to lighting.”
How about that?
If you have a swegboard and want to use it on the pavement outside your house, that’s also not on. The CPS say: “It is an offence under section 72 of the Highway Act 1835 to ride or drive a vehicle on the pavement. It is only an offence under this Act in England and Wales. In Scotland it is an offence under section 129(5) of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984.”
“You can only ride an unregistered self-balancing scooter on land which is private property and with the landowner’s permission. The Department for Transport would advise that appropriate safety clothing should be worn at all times.”
So there you have it. If you care about the law (you might not), this could change your decision to buy one of these things for someone at Christmas or what have you. It might not. You might be a massive rebel. Either way, now you know.
Amazon are being weird babies again, this time, they’re going to stop selling media-streaming gadgets from Apple and Google. Why? Well, they don’t want to sell things that aren’t easily compatible with their own video service. Honest.
Amazon sent an e-mail to its marketplace sellers, which said that it will be stopping selling Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast, because those gadgets don’t “interact well” with Prime Video. Keep in mind that Christmas is just around the corner, and a lot of people will be wanting to buy Google and Apple products, you almost have to admire the brass balls on Amazon.
Also keep in mind that, if you’re not the sort of person who can root things, Amazon’s tablets don’t run on the proper Android OS, which means if you get a Fire HDX or whatever, you won’t be able to download Google apps like YouTube, the Google Play store and the like. You can’t get the BT Sport app either. So it looks like Amazon are fencing themselves in, and trying to only flog their own stuff, which is a risky move.
This isn’t the first time Amazon have tried this. They got in a row with the Hachette Book Group, over the sales of print and digital books. Basically, Amazon blocked pre-orders for some of Hachette’s books, and a load of authors got angry and said the whole thing was anti-competitive.
Now, with that, you could argue that not selling Google and Apple stuff could fall under anti-trust rules, which means this could get very messy for Amazon. Even if it doesn’t raise these concerns, it is unusual for a company to send a load of potential customers elsewhere, if they want premium or popular products.
Either way, if you want Apple TV or Chromecast, you won’t be finding it at Amazon – mercifully, loads of other retailers are available.
Google have been busy bees, which has resulted in the release of a bunch of new stuff – notably, two new Nexus smartphones and two new Chromecast devices.
First off – the phones. Google showed off the new Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, which will both run on Android’s latest OS, Marshmallow. Google reckon the phones both have improved batteries, and the 5X will have a 5.7″ ultra HD screen, and it’ll have an all-metal body, which is fancy.
The 6P meanwhile, has a 12.3-megapixel Sony sensor, which Google reckon is the best ever camera on a smartphone. It’ll also have a fingerprint scanner too.
Google have also put out the new Pixel C tablet, which is basically a larger version of the two new phones, melded together. It’ll come with a full size keyboard as well. The 5X will start at £339 while the 6P will start at £449, with pre-orders beginning on Tuesday.
In addition to these, there’s also some new Chromecasts to check out – an updated version of the existing Chromecast, and Chromecast Audio.
The new version of Chromecast will still cost £30, and will have better connectivity, thanks to an upgraded antenna system and a WiFi chip that chooses the best connection. Google have updated the app (for everyone, regardless of which dongle you’re using) so it’ll feel more like a remote, rather than doing everything through your screen.
The completely new Chromecast Audio is pretty interesting too – basically, it is a dongle where you can stream audio. It isn’t the same as Google Cast for Audio, which links up Chromecast with your speakers, but rather, it works with any phone, tablet, or laptop that is connected to your network.
It has a ‘guest mode’ too, which will let friends play music to your speakers, even if they don’t have your WiFi password. Good for those of you who like having people over to your house and all that.
Obviously, Chromecast Audio links up with Spotify and all that too. It will cost £30 as well.
When Apple released iOS 9, little did they know how much bother it was going to cause them. Users angrily tweeted about how it had completely borked their phones and some had to do factory resets to get everything working again.
Basically, once iOS 9 has downloaded, a glitch meant that some people’s devices froze after users were prompted to “Slide to Upgrade.”
However, Apple seem to have fixed everything now, which is good news for those of you with an iPhone or whatever. And the update looks like this.
So what have they sorted out? Well, the new update fixes the issue where some couldn’t complete setup after updating. It also sorts out the issue where alarms and timers failed to sound off.
It also fixed the issue in Safari and Photos where pausing a video could cause the paused frame to look like a mess. It also sorted out the problem where some people with a custom APN setup via a profile would lose data.
You can download and install iOS 9.0.1 by opening Settings > General > Software Update on your iOS device.
EE have gone and announced plans to sort out their broadband service, after they admitted it is a bit rubbish. They said that customers haven’t been getting the service they ought to be, and as part of their Broadband Service First programme, there’s going to be 500 new customer service jobs and they will be opening an operations hub to better deal with customer queries.
Francoise Clemes, chief customer service officer at EE, said: “Broadband customer service has simply not been good enough. I promise all of our customers that service is our top priority and, through Broadband Service First, we will fix this.”
So what prompted all this? Well, EE said that they have been given a kick in the pants by ‘continued, and unacceptable, high volume of complaints’.
Ofcom figures show that they’d received 0.51 complaints about EE Broadband (per 1,000 customers), which is considerably higher than the average across the industry (which stands at 0.17 complaints per 1,000). It is also the highest complaint level for any ISP since the first quarter of 2013.
In July 2015, Ofcom fined EE £1m for breaking rules on customer complaint handling, so they’re right to tackle this problem. Now it is easier to switch broadband providers than ever before, EE will be hoping that they get this right.
Apple, who have been the bastions of cleanliness and righteousness (in their own minds) for such a long time, are having a ‘mare. An update has been making people’s iPhones crash (here’s how to fix it), Apple accounts have been stolen, and the camera borked (how to fix that, here).
Now, they have confirmed that malicious code has found its way into a number of official apps that are being sold in the App Store.
In a statement, Apple said that they’d found and removed apps that included a malicious program called Xcode Ghost, which is a fake version of Apple’s software development program Xcode. This thing hides malware in legit apps, and Apple said: “We are working with the developers to make sure they’re using the proper version of Xcode to rebuild their apps.”
One of the popular apps that were affected was WeChat, where bad versions of it appeared and were available globally. WeChat themselves, said that the issue affected an older version of their program, so if you’ve been keeping it up-to-date, you should be fine. The company say that, thus far, they’ve not found anyone who has had their personal information swiped.
So, another public black eye for Apple, as they’ve been letting so many apps with nasty code through their normally watertight development stage. They need to sort it out, quickly.