Review: the Aukey outdoor Bluetooth speaker is a nice shower companion

By Jeff Benjamin on Nov 22, 2015

This might sound weird, but the idea of listening to music and podcasts while in the shower has always appealed to me. It’s one of the reasons that I initially looked forward to the Apple Watch, thinking that I was going to be able to use it to listen to podcasts directly from the Apple Watch itself.

While that outlook has yet to materialize, I do appreciate the ability to easily control my iPhone’s music player via my Apple Watch while in the shower. But the iPhone’s speaker leaves a lot to be desired. I need a proper Bluetooth speaker that can take being exposed to the shower.

I recently acquired said Bluetooth speaker from Aukey, and it has proved to be the answer that I needed. It looks a bit weird, but its IPX4 waterproof rating and rugged design makes it a great option for a precarious environment like the shower. Read More


Review: Vevo’s revamped iOS app is a lot cleaner and more fun to use than Apple’s Music

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 13, 2015

In case you missed it, Vevo has completely redesigned its lagging iPhone and iPad application in the App Store. I watch music videos from Vevo artists on YouTube on my desktop. On mobile, not so much and I blame Vevo’s hopelessly outdated design, inconsistencies and complicated features for that.

Bumped to version 5.0, the new Vevo experience starts with a black-and-white logo and a matching app icon.

The headline change here is an all-new interface—it gets out of your way, unlike Apple’s own Music app, and sports a tremendously useful mini-player. It’s almost too weird to say that Vevo’s new iOS app is a lot easier and way more fun to use than Apple’s stock Music app has ever been, but it’s true. Read More


YouTube launches standalone YouTube Music app

By Cody Lee on Nov 12, 2015

YouTube on Thursday released a new mobile app called YouTube Music. The app lets you watch and listen to a nearly endless catalog of music, and you can use it for free, with ads of course. The ads go away and you get more features if you sign up for YouTube’s recently-launched Red service for $10/month.

So what does it look like? Well searching any video, album or artist in YouTube Music starts a personalized radio station. From there you can check out recommended tracks, trending music, top 40 hits, and up-and-coming artists. There’s also a lot of video content here, such as music videos, concert footage, etc. Read More


Facebook launches Music Stories with Spotify and Apple Music integration

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 5, 2015

Facebook is announcing today a brand new feature called Music Stories, basically a new post format for Facebook that should make it easier to discover and share music from Spotify and Apple Music.

Now every time you share songs or albums shared from Spotify or Apple Music using Facebook’s iPhone application, these links will automatically get turned into the new post format which lets others listen to 30-second previews while on Facebook. Read More


Plaaying for Mac review: a better way to share what you’re listening to

By Lory Gil on Nov 2, 2015

Some people like to share what they are listening to with others. You might see a half-dozen tweets in an hour from a friend, but then nothing for the rest of the day. What gives? Did he stop listening to music, or just forget to share it?

Plaaying for Mac is a third-party music player that has a customizable auto-sharing feature so you can let your friends know what you are listening to without having to actually share it manually. We’ve got a full app review of Plaaying for Mac for you today. Read More


Google launches YouTube Red, charges iOS users Apple tax

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 29, 2015

Following its official announcement less than two weeks ago, Google today formally launched a new music and video subscription service—YouTube Red.

In exchange for a monthly fee of $9.99, Red provides ad-free access to videos across all of YouTube, the ability to save clips and playlists for offline use and support for background playback. All these perks are available to Red members users across desktop, mobile and the web.

Due to Apple’s 30 percent cut on In-App Purchases, Google has decided to raise Red’s subscriptions on iOS devices to $12.99 per month in order to compensate for the Apple tax. A free 30-day trial of YouTube Red (US only) is available to those who want to try out the service and see if it’s worth the asking price to them. Read More


New Apple TV lacking Siri search for Apple Music and App Store apps

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 29, 2015

As the new Apple TV is scheduled to hit Apple’s retail stores tomorrow, first reviews are now in. Journalists who were given a chance to spend some quality time with review units are praising evolutionary improvements to the living room experience while highlighting untapped potential for the refreshed $149 device.

One of the common complaints focuses on Siri and its inability to search apps for the Apple TV in a dedicated App Store. In addition, reports are noting that users won’t be able to search Apple Music with their voice at launch, the omission Apple claims will be addressed with a software update due at the beginning of next year. Read More


Activision launches Guitar Hero Live for iOS with optional wireless guitar controller bundles

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 20, 2015

Publisher Activision today announced immediate availability of a new iPhone iPod touch and iPad game, called Guitar Hero Live. It includes two free of charge trial songs, with hundreds more available when you purchase a controller bundle.

The game is available in the United States starting today and will be launching in Europe this coming Friday, October 23, with an Apple TV version releasing later this year.

An optional $99 bundle is available from major retailers around the country with an AA batteries-powered Bluetooth Low Energy guitar controller along with guitar strap and included redeem code. A two-guitar bundle is $149.99. Read More


Apple Music has convinced 6.5 million users to pay for the service past the free trial

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 20, 2015

Following the expiration of the inaugural three-month free trial at the end of September, Apple Music has convinced approximately 6.5 million users to stay with the service as paying subscribers and currently has 8.5 million more customers on three-month trials, said Apple CEO Tim Cook at the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ.D Live conference last night in Laguna Beach, California.

“The runway here is really good,” Cook said. By comparison, the leading subscription music service Spotify currently has more than 20 million paying customers.

On the other hand, Spotify’s service has been on the market for a few years now, since 2008, so it is my personal opinion that Apple should be commended for getting a quarter of Spotify’s subscriber base in just a few short months. Read More


Deal alert: tons of great albums currently on sale on iTunes

By Sébastien Page on Oct 16, 2015

iTunes is currently having a massive sale on some great albums, all of them available for only $6.99. Of course, if you are an Apple Music subscriber, it might not be worth it to you, but if you like to buy and own your music albums, then there are a few deals in there you can’t pass. Read More


Apple Music and iTunes Match scan-and-match quadrupling to 100,000 songs by year end

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 14, 2015

Following last month’s iOS 9 release, Apple’s failed to raise the song-matching limit to 100,000 tracks.

Eddy Cue, Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services, said back in the summer that Apple was “working to” quadruple the scan-and-match song limit by iOS 9’s release.

In an effort to clarify the situation, MacRumors reached out to Cue and got the definitive confirmation that the limit for matched Apple Music and iTunes Match libraries will raise from the current 25,000 tracks to 100,000 songs “before the end of the year.” Read More


How to enjoy Apple Music at high bitrates on mobile data connections

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 2, 2015

Apple Music on iOS 9 includes a new option to stream your music at high bitrates over a mobile data network at all times. As you know, Apple Music defaults to high-quality streams on Wi-Fi.

With this new toggle, you can control your cellular data usage by enabling or disabling high bitrates when streaming or downloading music over your carrier’s cellular data network. Read More


Apple Music, iTunes Movies and iBooks make their long-expected debut in China

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 30, 2015

Apple on Wednesday announced that users in China can now enjoy Apple Music, as well as browse and download their entertainment from the iTunes Store and iBooks Store, marking the first time customers in the 1.33 billion people market will have access to Apple’s entertainment ecosystem with music, movies and books right at their fingertips.

“Customers in China love the App Store and have made it our largest market in the world for app downloads,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “One of the top requests has been more great content and we’re thrilled to bring music, movies and books to China, curated by a local team of experts.” Read More


Google Play Music to offer new $14.99 family plan later this year

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 29, 2015

Ahead of Apple Music launch tomorrow following its three-month trial period, Google at today’s event announced that its own subscription-music service, called Google Play Music, will offer a new family plan later this year.

Like Apple Music, Google’s service costs $9.99 per month. As you know, Apple Music also offers a $14.99 per month subscription for families up to six. While Google has yet to reveal a precise timeframe for upcoming family tiers, it did confirm the pricing. Read More


Apple Music free trials expiring tomorrow, here’s how to disable auto-renewals

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 29, 2015

Apple faces a big day tomorrow as free three-month Apple Music trials are set to expire on Wednesday, September 30. Just yesterday, the firm posted a series of guided tour videos to help new and existing users understand the various features of the service.

Ahead of the initial wave of free trial expirations, Apple is pushing notifications to those who signed up for a free-trial to encourage them to renew their membership.

If you signed up for your first three months of free services and have forgotten to disable the Auto-Renew option, you can still do so before Apple charges your credit card on file, here’s how. Read More


Mass Fidelity Relay review: stream music from your iPhone to your analog speakers

By Lory Gil on Sep 29, 2015

The one thing I detest about streaming music from my iPhone is the subpar audio playback. I come from the record player generation, when people listened to music on vinyl, of which I still have many hundreds. Digital music just sounds flat when played through most portable speakers.

The best way to fix the problem with tinny, flat audio is to invest thousands of dollars in speakers that will play your music the way it is meant to be heard. However, many of us already have a kickass stereo system and aren’t looking to buy a new one.

That’s where Mass Fidelity’s Relay comes in. It is a Bluetooth connected digital-analog converter (DAC) that connects to your existing speaker system for transmitting digital music to an analog stereo. That means, even if your stereo is 40 years old, as long as you can connect traditional RCA cables to it, you can stream music from your iPhone. We’ve got a hands-on review of the Relay for you today. Read More


Shazam update brings support for iOS 9’s enhanced Spotlight Search and more

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 21, 2015

Shazam, the popular music and media identification software, has rolled out a brand new 9.0 update to its iPhone and iPad application in the App Store, bringing out support for Spotlight Search on iOS 9, improved Bluetooth listening and other tidbits.

Shazam songs and artists can now be searched from the Home screen on iOS 9 and tapping a Shazam result takes you directly into that content within Shazam’s mobile app. Read More


WaveFlow adds a visualizer to the iOS 8.4 Music app

By Jeff Benjamin on Sep 12, 2015

Looking to add some additional pizazz to the Music app in iOS 8.4? If so, then you should consider giving WaveFlow a try.

WaveFlow, a new jailbreak tweak, adds a music visualizer to both your iPhone’s Now Playing interface in the stock Music app, and on your iPhone’s Lock screen. It only works with the stock Music app, but if that’s your primary method for playing tunes, it’s definitely work checking out. Read More


Samsung and Sony take swipes at Apple’s ‘Hey Siri’ event announcements

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 10, 2015

Following Apple’s action-packed media event yesterday which saw introductions of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus smartphones with 3D Display technology, the new iPad Pro with Apple Pencil, the much improved Apple TV and more, both Sony and Samsung took to social media to poke fun of Apple’s latest innovation.

As you may have guessed, Samsung especially took swipes at Apple’s stylus, which isn’t surprising given Steve Jobs’ famous “If you see a stylus, they blew it” quote and the fact the Galaxy maker pioneered stylus-enhanced phablets with its Note lineup. Read More


Review: WALTR for Mac converts & transfers any video to iPhone and iPad, no iTunes required

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 7, 2015

Getting DivX and MKV movies, FLAC audio files or audiobooks onto your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad is an incredibly cumbersome multi-step procedure, one that involves third-party apps like Handbrake to transcode “foreign” media files into iOS-friendly formats before importing them into iTunes for syncing with your iOS gadgets.

I’ve tried many, many apps which promise to get the job done before deciding to settle on WALTR by young European startup Softorino.

Now, I’m not exaggerating when I say that WALTR is an absolutely incredible piece of software. This nifty program literally takes the pain away from transferring media to iOS devices without worrying about file types.

Its lightning fast algorithm is hands down the best I’ve ever seen, on any platform, ever. I’ve been happily using WALTR for months now and couldn’t be happier with it. And trust me when I say that you should be using WALTR, too, especially if you aren’t jailbroken and want the simplest solution possible for transferring media to your device without going through iTunes. Read More

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