Apple Plans to Start Funding Original Podcasts

Apple has a plan to start funding original podcasts in order to better compete with Spotify, according to a new report from the Bloomberg. Apple executives have been reaching out to media companies to discuss exclusive buying rights for podcasts, which would be exclusive to Apple.

While Apple has yet to outline a clear strategy for its plans, the company will be pursuing "the kind of deals it didn't make before," according to Bloomberg. Apple has also been funding original content for its upcoming Apple TV+ series, which could account for its decision to also bankroll other kinds of exclusive content.

Apple does not make money from its Podcasts app, but has previously expressed interest in exclusive content as a way to draw and retain customers. Apple has used such exclusives for Apple Music, its music streaming service.

The news has caused Spotify's stock to fall 2 percent so far as any effort on Apple's part to delve deeper into podcasts could impact Spotify's efforts to become a major source for podcast content.


Apple's Podcasts app is installed on iOS devices by default, and starting with macOS Catalina, the Podcasts app is a standalone app. Apple's decision to split Podcasts out into its own app makes more sense if the company is indeed planning to invest money into original and exclusive podcasts.

Two years ago, Spotify said it was "coming after" Apple with a strong push into podcasting content, and this year, Spotify made a serious effort to become a premium podcast destination.

Spotify launched several podcast-related initiatives and acquired several podcast companies, including Gimlet Media, Anchor, and Parcast, boosting its catalog of exclusive podcast content and its available podcasting tools.

Spotify has also made an effort to fund new and original podcast content, with the aim of becoming the Netflix of podcasts.


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Two Apple Ads Nominated for Outstanding Commercial Emmy Award

Two of Apple's ads are in the running to receive the 2019 Outstanding Commercial Emmy. Both of the ads were created by TBWA/Media Arts Lab, Apple's longtime advertising partner.

The first ad nominated for the award is Apple's "Make Something Wonderful" MacBook ad, released late last year. In the spot, which is in black and white, various creative personalities and people are shown with their Mac devices.


The second ad nominated for the award is one of Apple's "Shot on iPhone" spots, specifically "Don't Mess With Mother," an April 2019 video featuring imagery of nature from around the world set to the song "Last Rites" by Megadeth.


Apple will be competing with ad spots from Netflix (A Great Day in Hollywood), Nike (Dream Crazy), and and the "Point of View" video from Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit organization.

In 2018, Apple was nominated for an Outstanding Commercial Emmy for its "Earth: Shot on iPhone" ad, but ultimately lost to an ad from P&G.


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Apple Pushes Another Automatic Mac Software Update to Address Further Zoom-Related Vulnerabilities

Apple today pushed a second silent security update to Macs to address further vulnerabilities related to the Zoom video conferencing app for macOS, reports The Verge.

Apple removed software that was installed by RingCentral and Zhumu, two video conferencing apps that relied on technology from Zoom and were also found to have the same vulnerabilities as Zoom earlier this week.


These two apps installed software able to respond to commands that could potentially allow websites to open up your webcam during a video conference without permission. Removing the apps did not remove the secondary software that was vulnerable to exploitation, which is also how Zoom worked.

Discovered last week, the Zoom vulnerability let a website forcibly initiate a video call on a Mac with the Zoom app installed, due to a web server that Zoom installed in the background.

When the vulnerability was first discovered, Zoom said that it used a local web server as a workaround to Safari changes that Apple introduced in Safari 12, calling it a "legitimate solution" to an otherwise "poor user experience" that allowed users to access "seamless, one-click-to-join meetings."

At issue was a new popup Apple implemented to require user approval when launching a third-party app, which Zoom wanted to avoid. Zoom did so through the aforementioned web server, which was designed to wait for calls to open up Zoom conferences automatically.

Zoom eventually released a patch to address the issue, and Apple also took the step of removing web server software that was not initially removed from the Mac when uninstalling the Zoom app. Zoom has since made it so uninstalling the Zoom app will remove the web server, and has made other changes.

Installing Zoom no longer installs a local web server on Mac devices, and there is a new setting to save the "Always turn off my video" preference that disables video in Zoom by default until it is manually enabled.

As with the original Zoom patch, the new patch for RingCentral and Zhumu is deployed automatically so that users are not required to apply it manually for it to take effect. Apple told The Verge that it plans to fix the vulnerability for all of Zoom's partner apps.

Tag: Zoom

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DuckDuckGo Enhances Apple Maps Integration, Including Dark Mode

DuckDuckGo has been using Apple Maps to power map-related searches on both desktop and mobile since January, and today the privacy-focused search engine announced further improvements to that integration.

First, when switching to DuckDuckGo's dark theme, Apple Maps now also automatically switches to a dark appearance.


DuckDuckGo has also added a dedicated Maps tab at the top of every search results page. Previously, this shortcut was only displayed for map-related searches, but it now appears for any search queries. For example, if you searched for "cupcakes," the Maps tab might display local bakeries that sell them.


Whereas previously each new map-related search required returning to the default DuckDuckGo search page upon completion, a search field has now been added that allows users to refine local searches instantly.

Last is intelligent autocomplete within the expanded map view. Updating or typing new search queries will now dynamically show you search suggestions that are tailored to the local region displayed. For example, as you type "coffee," search suggestions related to coffee will appear within the map area in view.


These enhancements are available now on both desktop and mobile versions of DuckDuckGo.com.

DuckDuckGo does not collect or share any personal information from DuckDuckGo users, a policy that extends to the Apple Maps integration. Identifiable info like IP addresses are not provided to Apple, and for searches where approximate location is gathered by the browser, it is discarded immediately after it's used.


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Apple Seeds Fourth Beta of macOS Catalina to Developers

Apple today seeded the fourth beta of macOS 10.15 Catalina for testing purposes, two weeks after seeding the third macOS Catalina beta and over a month after the new Mac operating system update was first unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

The new macOS Catalina beta can be downloaded using the Software Update mechanism in System Preferences. As with all new betas, macOS Catalina should not be installed on a primary machine because it is early release software and has bugs.


macOS Catalina eliminates the iTunes app, splitting it into Music, Podcasts, and TV apps. The Apple Music and Apple Podcasts apps are available now, while the Apple TV app is coming later this year.

The three new apps offer similar functionality to iTunes, but are split up by feature. iOS device management is still available on the Mac, but it's now done through the Finder rather than iTunes.

With a new Sidecar feature, you can turn your iPad into a second display for your Mac with just the click of a button. The Apple Pencil works with Sidecar, so you can turn your iPad into a drawing tablet in apps like Photoshop and Illustrator.

Your Apple Watch can be used to approve security prompts for passwords and other info in macOS Catalina, and Macs with a T2 chip now support Activation Lock, making them more secure. There's a new Find My that brings the Find My Mac app to the Mac for the first time and even lets you track your devices when they're offline, or, in the case of notebooks, closed.

Screen Time is available on the Mac as well as iOS devices, and Project Catalyst, a new Apple initiative, will let developers easily port their iPad apps over to the Mac to increase the number of Mac apps available.

There's a new Photos interface that surfaces your best photos organized by day, month, or year, there's a new start page in Safari, Mail has new tools for muting email threads and blocking senders, and the Reminders app has been overhauled.

32-bit apps no longer work in macOS Catalina, which is something to be aware of before installing the beta.

For more details on macOS Catalina, make sure to check out our macOS Catalina roundup.

Related Roundup: macOS Catalina

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Apple Seeds Sixth Beta of watchOS 5.3 to Developers

Apple today seeded the sixth beta of an upcoming watchOS 5.3 update to developers, one week after releasing the fifth watchOS 5.3 beta and two months after the launch of watchOS 5.2.1, an update that expanded ECG availability and introduced new pride watch faces.

Once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Apple Developer Center, the new watchOS beta can be downloaded through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General > Software update.


To install the update, the Apple Watch needs to have at least 50 percent battery, it must be placed on the charger, and it has to be in range of the iPhone.

There were no new features discovered in the first five watchOS 5.3 betas, suggesting that it focuses on bug fixes and under-the-hood performance improvements.

There could also be hidden changes that will be available after the update is released, such as support for the upcoming Apple Card, set to debut this summer. If new features are discovered in the sixth watchOS 5.3 beta, we'll update this post with details.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 5, watchOS 6
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Caution)

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Apple Seeds Seventh Beta of iOS 12.4 to Developers and Public Beta Testers

Apple today seeded the seventh beta of an upcoming iOS 12.4 update to developers, one week after seeding the sixth iOS 12.4 beta, and two months after releasing iOS 12.3, a major update that introduced a revamped TV app.

Registered developers can download the new iOS 12.4 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over the air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center. Public Beta testers can download the beta over the air.


There were no new features discovered in the first six iOS 12.4 betas, so it's not entirely clear what's coming in the update. As a more significant 12.x update, it's possible that the update is focusing on a feature that's not yet available -- the Apple Card.

Apple is planning to release the Apple Card in the summer, so iOS 12.4 could be the update that prepares the iOS operating system for that launch, adding hidden features that will be unlocked when the update becomes available to the public. If we find new features in the seventh beta of iOS 12.4, we'll update this post.

iOS 12.4 may be one of the last updates to the iOS 12 operating system as Apple transitions to iOS 13, set to launch this September, and as we are now at beta seven, the update could see a release in the very near future.

Related Roundup: iOS 12

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Apple’s Rainbow Logo May Return to Some New Products as Early as This Year

Apple may be planning to reintroduce its classic rainbow logo on some of its new products as early as this year, according to a well-connected MacRumors tipster, who in turn cites a corporate Apple employee in Cupertino.

MacRumors concept

We don't know which products might be involved, but the Mac would be a good candidate, as the multicolored Apple logo was used on the original Macintosh in 1984 and on many other Apple computers before and after it. iPhones and iPads could also be suitable — perhaps special editions along the lines of (PRODUCT)RED.

To be clear, this rumor could very well be untrue. We have elected to share it since it comes from a tipster who has longstanding connections to both Apple and related industries, but no other sources have shared similar information that we know of. And, even if true, the plans could certainly change.

MacRumors concept

Apple's rainbow or "six-color" logo made its debut on the Apple II computer in 1977 and was widely used until 1998, when it began to be phased out in favor of a monochrome Apple logo similar to the one used today.

Despite not officially using its rainbow logo in over 20 years, Apple has continued to embrace its colors over the years.

Apple Park was recently decorated with the colors of the rainbow logo in celebration of the formal opening of Apple's new headquarters, and as a tribute to Steve Jobs. The colors were splashed on stairs, walkways, coffee cups, and even a stage with a rainbow arch used for an employee-only Lady Gaga performance.



Apple's departing design chief Jony Ive recently reflected on the rainbow's significance:
There is the resonance with the rainbow logo that's been part of our identity for many years. The rainbow is also a positive and joyful expression of some of our inclusion values and I think that one of the primary reasons the idea resonated so immediately and so profoundly with us was the form -- the connection from an aesthetic design point of view. A semi-circle relates so beautifully and naturally to the form of the ring.
Again, we do not know if this rumor is true, but our tipster is reputable enough in our opinion for us to at least share what we have heard.


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Mophie Launching New Line of iPhone and iPad Charging Basics at Select Apple Stores

Mophie today announced it is launching a new line of basic charging accessories for Apple devices like the iPhone and iPad, including a wireless charging pad, two car chargers, and a variety of USB and Lightning cables.


  • Wireless charging pad: Delivers up to 7.5W of power on contact to recharge Qi-enabled devices like the iPhone 8 or newer. Available in white or black. Can charge through cases up to 3mm thick. $39.95.
  • USB-A car charger: Single USB-A port with 12W charging output. Made of anodized aluminum with charge-indicator light. $24.95.
  • Dual USB-A car charger: Two USB-A ports with 12W charging output. Made of anodized aluminum with charge-indicator light. $29.95.
  • USB-A to Lightning cable: 1-meter cable for $19.95. 2-meter cable for $29.95.
  • USB-C to Lightning cable: 1-meter cable for $19.95. 2-meter cable for $34.95.
  • USB-A to USB-C cable: 1-meter cable for $19.95. 2-meter cable for $24.95.
  • USB-C to USB-C cable: 1-meter cable for $19.95. 2-meter cable for $24.95.
The accessories will be available on Apple.com and in select Apple Stores starting today, followed by Mophie.com later in July.

Product listings are not immediately available, but they should be soon.

Tag: Mophie

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Apple Stops Selling Lower-Cost iPhones in India

Apple has reportedly stopped selling iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPhone 6s Plus in India, meaning anyone in the market for a new Apple smartphone will have to shell out more for a later model.


According to The Economic Times, the strategy indicates Apple is no longer prioritizing shifting iPhones in the country by volume and is instead refocusing efforts on increasing its revenue there.

To that end, Apple's distributors in India are said to be informing retailers that supplies of the above iPhone models have stopped and the new "entry-level" iPhone will be the iPhone 6s. This will increase the starting price of an iPhone in India by almost Rs 8,000 (around $116).

Apple has been assembling the iPhone SE in India as well as the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 over the last couple of years. Given the shift in strategy, idle capacity in these factories may now be used to expand production of other models, according to the report.

The decision is said to have been taken after Apple improved its revenue and profit in India by 12 percent over the last year, despite selling less iPhones than the previous year. Apple India’s sales in the April-June quarter went up after it brought in a promotion to drop iPhone XR prices.
"Cupertino does not want Apple India to chase volumes by discounting at the cost of profit," said one leading trade partner of Apple. "These models which are being phased out will increase the average selling price of iPhones in India and boost both profit and revenue." Apple India declined to comment on the matter.
In the Indian market, Apple ranks 11th and accounts for just one percent of India's phone sales, and sold fewer than one million iPhones during the first half of 2018. Comparatively, rival smartphone maker Xiaomi sold more than 19 million during that period, according to data gathered by Counterpoint Research.

According to a recent report, Apple CEO Tim Cook is believed to be working behind the scenes to "remold Apple's failing India strategy," in bid to revamp the company's presence there.

Apple has also been re-focusing efforts in India in hopes of expanding production outside of China in the wake of the ongoing trade war between the United States and China. Last summer, Apple detailed a new India strategy with official retail stores, overhauled relationships with independent retailers, more frequent sales, and improved apps and services.

Some of these plans have started to come to fruition, as Apple has now finalized a list of locations for its first retail store in India.

Tag: India

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