Apple TV App Now Available on Amazon Fire TV Sticks

Following in the footsteps of Roku, Amazon today announced that the Apple TV app is now available on select Fire TV devices, including the second-generation Fire TV Stick, the Fire TV Stick 4K, and the Fire TV Stick Basic Edition.


Available through the Amazon Appstore, the Apple TV app allows users to access their iTunes libraries of movies and TV shows and the Apple TV Channels feature through the Fire TV platform. The app will also users to stream original content from Apple TV+ when the streaming video service launches November 1.

As of today, the Apple TV app on Fire TV is available in the United States, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, India, and the United Kingdom. The app is also available for Fire TV Basic Edition users in over 50 countries.

Amazon says the Apple TV app will be coming soon to the first- and second-generation Fire TV Cube, the third-generation diamond-shaped Fire TV dongle, Fire TV smart TVs from Toshiba and Insignia, and the Nebula sound bar. The app is not compatible with the first- or second-generation Fire TV or Fire TV Stick.

In addition to Fire TV, the Apple TV app is available on the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Apple TV, Roku, and select 2018 and newer Samsung smart TVs. The app is also coming to select LG, Sony, and VIZIO smart TVs in the future.

Apple TV+ is a Netflix-like subscription-based service that will allow users to stream original TV shows and movies curated by Apple. Pricing will start at $4.99 per month with a one-week free trial. Up to six family members can share a single ‌Apple TV‌+ subscription through Family Sharing.


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Amazon Music Launches on Apple TV

Amazon Music today expanded to the Apple TV, and a new Amazon Music app is now available for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models.

Amazon says that  Apple TV  owners can now download the Amazon Music app from the tvOS App Store to get access to millions of songs and thousands of playlists and stations.


Amazon Music listeners on the  Apple TV  are also able to browse and search for music from their favorite artists and access purchased and imported music from the "My Music" library. Scrolling lyrics are also available.

The Amazon Music app for  Apple TV  is available in the United States, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Mexico, Japan, and India.

Earlier this week, the Amazon-owned Twitch service also introduced an  Apple TV  app, and Spotify also brought its app to the tvOS  App Store .

Tag: Amazon

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Amazon Prime Video Currently Unavailable in App Store Across iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV [Updated]

Amazon Prime Video is currently unavailable in the App Store across iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. Amazon had updated the iOS version of the app shortly before it was removed from the App Store, but it is unclear why the app was pulled or whether this is a temporary move.

Apple deferred comment to Amazon, which has yet to respond to our email. We'll update as we learn more.

Update: MacRumors has been informed this was a technical issue and the app should be back up shortly.


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Amazon Unveils Multiple New Echo Devices, Including HomePod and AirPods Competitors

At an event in Seattle, Amazon today unveiled a series of new Alexa-enabled Echo products, ranging from a new high-end speaker to a lamp.

Amazon's Echo Studio, a new higher-end version of its Echo smart speaker, is designed to compete with Apple's HomePod. The Alexa-equipped Echo Studio, which is priced at $199, supports 3D Dolby sound and, like the HomePod, is designed to optimize sound based on the layout of a room.

Image via The Verge

The Echo Studio features three mid-range speakers (left, right, and top) along with a directional tweeter and a 5.25-inch subwoofer for bass and improved sound. Amazon is working with record labels that include Sony, Universal, and Warner Music Group on music tracks that support Sony 360 audio.

The Echo Studio is able to connect to 4K Fire TV devices and when Atmos-encoded content is played, the speaker will be engaged to "fill the room with sound."

In addition to a HomePod competitor, Amazon also debuted a new product designed to compete with the AirPods. The Echo Buds, priced at $130, are Amazon's first Echo wearable that offers hands-free access to Alexa.


Amazon says the earbuds deliver excellent sound with crisp, clear vocals and dynamic bass, plus they're equipped with Bose Active Noise Reduction technology. The Echo Buds last for five hours and have a case that adds additional battery life for up to 20 hours.

Amazon also unveiled a new version of its main Echo smart speaker today, which features improved sound quality with new Neodymium drivers and a 3-inch woofer. Priced at $100, the speaker is said to have stronger bass, and clearer mids and highs. The speaker looks similar to prior Echo speakers, but comes in a new dark blue color.


There's a new version of the Echo Dot, the Echo Dot With Clock, which is priced at $60. The Echo Dot With Clock features an LED display at the front with options for displaying the time, alarms, timers, temperature, and more.


The Echo Show 8, an upgraded version of the Echo Show 5, also debuted at Amazon's event. It features an 8-inch display, crisp audio, and a sleek form factor. It's priced at $129.99, and customers can now choose from three screen sizes: 5.5 inches, 10 inches, and the new 8-inch model.


For kids, Amazon introduced the Echo Glow, a multi-color smart lamp that pairs with Alexa. Priced at $30, Echo Glow can light up with different colors, mimic a flickering campfire, offer a Sleep Timer, or work in "dance party" mode with music and lights.


A new Echo Flex device ($24.99) can be placed anywhere in the home, plugging right into a wall outlet. There's a small speaker that's optimized for Alexa's voice, and there's a USB charging port. Amazon is also allowing developers to customize the port, and accessories that include a motion sensor and nightlight are coming.


Amazon even debuted a new Alexa-equipped Smart Oven that can cook common foods through Alexa voice commands. Priced at $250, it is a combination microwave, convection oven, air fryer, and food warmer.


A new product, Echo Frames, is part of a program Amazon is calling "Day One Edition." Amazon is making a limited number of Day One Edition products, and if they prove popular, Amazon will make more.


Echo Frames are Alexa-enabled glasses that look like regular prescription glasses. There's no camera, but they offer Alexa voice access.

Another Day One Edition product is the Echo Loop, an Alexa-enabled smart ring that has two microphones that can be activated with a tap.


There's a built-in haptic engine that vibrates discreetly when there's a notification or an incoming call and a tiny speaker for responses. It's meant to be paired with a phone and can do things like turning out lights, calculating a tip, and more. Echo Frames and Echo Loop will be available in limited volumes by invite only. The Echo Frames will be available for $180 and Echo Loop will be available for $100.

Amazon is adding a Multilingual Mode to its devices that will let customers interact with Alexa in multiple languages at one time. Three pairs will be available at launch: in the United States - English and Spanish, in India - Indian English and Hindi, and in Canada - Canadian English and French.

Alexa is also becoming more emotive and expressive thanks to neural text to speech technology, and Alexa can recognize when a customer gets frustrated when something is wrong, resulting in adjustments to Alexa responses. This feature will be rolling out in early 2020.

There's also a new option to add celebrity voices to Amazon devices to change Alexa's voice. Celebrity voice options will be available for $0.99, and the first one, coming later this year, is going to be Samuel L. Jackson's voice.

Amazon customers can opt in to a new auto delete option that will see voice recordings older than three months or 18 months automatically deleted on an ongoing basis. The feature is accessible in the Privacy Hub for Amazon devices.

As for non-Echo Amazon-owned brands, Amazon unveiled a new version of the Eero mesh Wi-Fi system, a Ring alarm retrofit kit, an updated Ring Stick Up Cam ($99), and a new Ring Indoor Cam ($60).

Amazon is adding Wi-Fi specific skills that will let device users do things like pause the WiFi for dinner or turn on the guest WiFi, which will work with the new Eero and compatible ASUS and TP-Link routers (this fall). Starting next year, it will also support devices from Arris and Linksys.

Amazon is offering pre-orders for its newly announced devices starting today, with devices set to ship out in the near future.

Tag: Amazon

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Amazon Music Adds Lossless Streaming Tier for $14.99/Month ($12.99 for Prime)

Amazon today introduced a new tier of Amazon Music, called Amazon Music HD, which offers lossless versions of audio files for streaming or downloading. This tier will cost $14.99/month, or $12.99/month for Amazon Prime members (via The Verge).


Amazon is offering a catalog of over 50 million songs in "High Definition," which are songs with CD-quality bit depth of 16 bits and a 44.1kHz sample rate. Then, there are "millions" of songs in Ultra HD, meaning they have 24-bit and sample rates that range from 44.1kHz up to 192kHz.

All of these songs will be delivered in a lossless FLAC file format. Amazon is hoping that being the first of the so-called big three streaming music services (Amazon Music, Apple Music, and Spotify) to offer lossless streaming will win some converts. Tidal has always offered lossless streaming as one of its main selling points, but its price is $19.99/month, which Amazon is now undercutting.
Amazon’s VP of Music, Steve Boom says that “It’s a pretty big deal that one of the big three global streaming services is doing this — we’re the first one.” Amazon Music isn’t often in the conversation about music streaming competition, which usually ends up following a Spotify vs. Apple Music narrative. But Amazon considers itself in their company, and with the new HD offering it’s looking to differentiate itself and perhaps raise its profile.
According to reports from earlier this year, Amazon Music had 32 million subscribers as of April 2019. That compares to the 60 million subscribers gained by Apple Music as of June 2019, and the 100 million Spotify Premium subscribers as of April 2019.


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Google and Amazon Put Brakes on Human Review of Voice Assistant Recordings

Following Apple's decision last week to suspend a Siri program that allows employees to listen to audio recordings for quality control purposes, Amazon and Google have both chosen to make their policies on human reviews of voice assistant audio more clear.


Late last month, Apple confirmed that a small number of anonymized Siri requests are analyzed for the purpose of improving Siri, after a Guardian report revealed that contractors regularly hear private conversations recorded by Apple's voice assistant.

To allay privacy concerns, Apple said it was temporarily stopping the program while it reviewed the process that's currently used. It also said it plans to release a software update that will let Siri users opt out.

On Friday, Google said it had also suspended its policy of reviewing Google Assistant audio. The company actually suspended the practice across the EU on July 10 when a German privacy regulator started investigating it following a Belgian media report, but this is the first time Google has confirmed the fact publicly.

According to Bloomberg, Amazon will let Alexa users opt out of human review of their voice recordings. The new policy took effect Friday, and adds an option in the settings menu of the Alexa mobile app for removing recordings from analysis by Amazon employees.

All of the tech companies employ staff to review a small subset of voice recordings while claiming to anonymize the source. For example, Google distorts the recording before it is listened to, so as to disguise the user's voice, while Apple strips them of identifiable information and assigns each one a random device identifier.

However, Bloomberg revealed that some of Amazon's audio reviewers had access to the home addresses of Amazon customers, before the company moved to restrict the level of access. Many members of the public were unaware the practice even existed until Bloomberg reported on it earlier this year.


Tags: Google, Amazon

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FTC Looking Into Impact of Apple’s Sales Agreement With Amazon on Independent Resellers

Last year, Apple began selling many of its products on Amazon, including the latest iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch models. As part of Apple's agreement with Amazon, unauthorized resellers who offered new or refurbished Apple products on Amazon had their listings removed after January 4, 2019.


Since then, independent sellers have been required to apply for Apple Authorized Reseller status and the Amazon Renewed program to continue to offer used or refurbished Apple products on Amazon, but this is not always feasible due to hefty requirements outlined by The Verge earlier this year:
The first is to purchase at least $2.5 million worth of refurbished inventory every 90 days from Apple itself or through a retailer with more than $5 billion in annual sales, like a wireless carrier or big-box retailers like Target or Walmart. The second is to reach out directly to Apple to become an authorized reseller. Apple has yet to make its reseller requirements known to the public, but to become an Apple-authorized provider of repairs requires a physical retail space for customers to enter.
Now, The Verge reports that the FTC has looked into the Apple-Amazon deal, although it has yet to formally raise any antitrust concerns.

Specifically, the report claims that FTC lawyers recently reached out to John Bumstead, a Minnesota man who sold refurbished MacBooks on Amazon until his listings were removed from the platform due to the new policy:
"They wanted to know how Amazon works, how eBay works. I went into describing how a listing works on Amazon. Amazon is interesting in that you don't necessarily create a listing. You just sort of tag on to an existing listing," Bumstead tells The Verge. "If that listing gets deleted, chances are you're not allowed to sell that product. That's how Amazon did this. They created a bunch of renewed listings from the people who were certified, and they let those people sell on those listings, and they abandoned everyone else."
Bumstead has been vocal since being squeezed out of Amazon, arguing that a significant number of lower-cost refurbished or used Apple products are no longer available through Amazon, reducing choice for consumers. Apple would likely argue that it is cutting down on the availability of counterfeit products to protect consumers, although it has not officially commented on the deal since it went into effect.

The Verge claims that "experts say the Apple-Amazon deal could easily be grounds for an antitrust complaint," citing Sally Hubbard, the director of enforcement strategy at the OpenMarkets Institute:
"You put a gate around the brand and say all the third-party sellers of whatever that brand is get a notice saying you can no longer sell this product on our platform unless you get authorization from the brand," Hubbard tells The Verge. "But of course the brand is not going to let you sell if you're under the [minimum advertised price]. Problem is that it's illegal under antitrust law."
Whether the FTC shares that view and/or takes action remains to be seen.

Tags: Amazon, FTC

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Amazon Prime Day Live Blog: Follow Along for the Best Deals

It's the middle of July, which means it's time for Amazon's annual Prime Day shopping event, offering Amazon Prime customers the chance to save money on a vast array of items across the retailer's online storefront.

Like we did last year, today we've launched a live blog that will track notable Prime Day discounts across Amazon, most of which will relate to Apple products and accessories. You can expect great discounts from companies like Anker, iOttie, and more.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running.

Prime Day 2019 kicked off earlier this morning at 12:00 a.m. PT, and it will continue through tomorrow, Tuesday July 16 at 11:59 p.m. PT. This makes Prime Day 2019 the longest event so far at a total of 48 hours.

In contrast to deals that last for a majority of the event, there will also be limited-time lightning deals that appear at different times throughout Monday and Tuesday, and only last for an hour or so. According to Amazon, new deals will launch as often as every five minutes throughout the event.

In this live blog, we'll be tracking lightning deals and longer-lasting discounts as products get marked down throughout Prime Day, as well as competitor sales since retailers like Best Buy, eBay and Target have all been known to launch anti-Prime Day deals. Be sure to bookmark this page and check back for new bargains as Amazon's mid-year shopping event continues into Tuesday night.
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Amazon Reportedly Developing Echo With Better Sound Quality to Rival Apple HomePod and Other Speakers

Amazon is developing a higher-quality version of its popular Echo smart speaker, according to a new report today by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.

Prototypes of the cylindrical speaker are wider than the current Echo to squeeze in additional components including at least four tweeters, said the people, who requested anonymity to discuss an internal matter.
The speaker is reportedly being developed to include improved audio to rival Apple's HomePod and other competing speakers on the market. According to Gurman, the Echo has lost some ground to more premium smart speakers that are marketed as offering superior sound.
The Echo, which went on sale in 2015, will grab 63% of the U.S. market this year, according to EMarketer. But it has lost some ground to the Sonos One, Apple Inc. HomePod and Google Home Max -- all of which claim to deliver superior audio. Google now has 31% of the market, while the rest have a combined 12%. The HomePod isn't selling as well as Apple expected, and the company recently dropped the price.
The development of a higher-quality Echo marks a new phase in Amazon's attempt to gain ground in the smart speaker segment. The company has previously introduced halfway-house solutions to improve the audio of the existing cylindrical Echo by offering a standalone subwoofer and connections to link the speakers to a hi-fi stereo system. The Echo range will also receive minor updates this fall, people familiar with the plans told Bloomberg.

Amazon also reportedly plans to launch a hi-fidelity version of its music streaming service by the end of the year.

In addition, Gurman's report includes details on Amazon's effort to ramp up work on its home robot, which has wheels and can be controlled by Alexa voice commands.

People familiar with the project have reportedly described prototypes that are about waist-high and navigate with the help of an array of computer-vision cameras, but it still isn't clear what purpose the robot would serve.

Amazon originally intended to reveal the robot, known internally as "Vesta," as early as this year, but the machine isn't quite ready for mass production, according to the report.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

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Amazon’s 48-Hour ‘Prime Day’ Event Takes Place July 15 and 16

For the last few years, Amazon has been hosting an epic Prime Day sale that offers up deals and discounts on a huge range of products.

This year, Prime Day is actually going to take place over two days, kicking off at midnight on July 15 and lasting through July 16. Last year's Prime Day ultimately lasted 36 hours, but 48 hours will be the longest Prime Day event to date.


Amazon has some Prime Day event previews on its website, and Prime Day itself will include discounts on everything from tech products to home products, clothing, toys, and more. Amazon is also highlighting products launching on Amazon on Prime Day, such as the Mophie Juice Pack Air.

When Prime Day kicks off, Amazon's website will be filled with lightning deals that kick off at different times over the course of the day, with the available products rotating over time. Lightning deals last for as long as stock lasts, and some of the better deals can go quick.

Last year, we did a live blog covering all of the best Apple-related deals available during Amazon's Prime Day, and we plan to do similar coverage this year so make sure to tune in to MacRumors on July 15 and 16 for help sorting through all of the sales.

Prime Day sales are designed for Amazon Prime members, and a Prime membership is required to get the deals. Prime Day discounts will be available to Amazon customers in the United States, UK, Italy, India, Germany, France, China, Canada, Australia, Belgium, UAE, Austria, Spain, Singapore, and the Netherlands.

Tag: Amazon

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