Apple Watch still lacks support of some big players

20 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple Music: a mess, with some bright spots.

SAN FRANCISCO — In the months surrounding the much-ballyhooed release of the Apple Watch, Apple managers courted Facebook in the hopes that the social networking giant would make a software application for the new gadget.Core library » Just like top competitors Spotify, Google Play Music and Tidal, the core of Apple Music consists of building a library that you can stream or download to particular devices for offline listening.New Delhi: An approaching wedding season and gadgets as gifts; Apple is aiming to catch the Indian nerve by using these two elements to position its iPhone 6 smartphone in its latest TV commercial.

The company’s latest Apple Watch ads have followed this template, eschewing a direct voiceover in favour of clips showing the device in use as a fitness aid — tracking your heartbeat, waking you up for morning calisthenics, helping you hire a bike to ride home. This is not the first time Apple has made a commercial for its iPhone, but it is indeed the first time the Cupertino, California –based tech giant has made an ad which is India-centric. This time it is Future Supplier which has found the hole in Apple’s mammoth supply chain and it tells a similar story to it’s little brother… Just like the iPhone 6S, the smallest change is arguably the most interesting.

But where Apple’s Watch ads are focused and efficient, its latest iPhone ads are strangely general, reminding a generation to whom the iPhone is ubiquitous that — hey! — the iPhone exists. Created for Ingram Micro, the video tries to capture the eagerness of the bridegroom to see his bride decked up, all while highlighting the features of the flagship device which include video chat and instant messaging. Other rumored changes to the new 6S Plus include a sapphire glass display and a significant camera boost, along with the Taptic Engine and Force Touch. The company’s newest ad, titled “Amazing Apps” and put on YouTube today, attempts to sell the iPhone by simply touting the number of apps available on the App Store. “This is an iPhone, and it comes with something amazing,” the ad’s voiceover says. “More than one-and-a-half-million of the best apps available.” It’s an impressive number of programs, but how is it different from the huge number of apps available on the Google Play store? With the exception of Taylor Swift’s “1989,” I haven’t found any really notable advantages to the Apple Music catalog over those of competitors — all claim a roughly 30 million-strong library of tracks.

It is only when the bride finally meets him at the altar at the end of a day full of half-selfies and discreet video chats, that the voice over plays, “We know how hard it is to wait for something special. Future Supplier speculates this is to provide a new speaker, though Apple is also expected to cram in a Force Touch sensor, upgraded 13MP camera module and more powerful A8X chipset. The lack of support from Facebook — and from other popular app makers like Snapchat and Google, which also do not have apps for Apple Watch — underscores the skepticism that remains in the technology community about the wearable device.

And if you’re really trying to sell an iPhone by explaining what an iPhone is, don’t you also need to tell me what the hell an app is? “Amazing Apps” also mentions curation, stating that Apple hand-picks software for its App Store, but doesn’t actually have time to call out any apps specifically in its short 30-second slot. That puts the watch, Apple’s first new product since the iPad in 2010, in something of a Catch-22: The companies whose apps would most likely prompt more people to buy the device are waiting to see who is buying it and how they use it. For that, you still need iTunes, rumors of whose death have been greatly exaggerated. iTunes integration » The existing iTunes Store app lets you purchase music not available via subscription (such as from the Beatles, for instance); the desktop application is how you access Apple Music from your computer. Respected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously stated Apple will move both new iPhones to a harder 7000 Series aluminium which is alloyed with zinc to produce one of the strongest aluminium alloys possible (tensile strength up to 700 MPa).

Instead, it simply flashes hundreds of apps past the viewer in a Fantasia-like dance, iPhones twirling and spinning as they display snippets of racing game, tabata timer, and stock portfolios. Future Supplier doesn’t have a sample of the apparent rose gold colour option that will join the iPhone ranks with the 6S and 6S Plus and until we get actual component modules turning up (I suspect that won’t be long) it is impossible to confirm the widely rumoured 13MP camera, Force Touch display and A8X chipset. Apple closes the ad by describing the iPhone’s apps as “surprising, awe-inspiring,” and “who-knew-a-phone-could-do-that?” The answer to that last one — everyone. There are plenty of defendable reasons for not wanting to get rid of iTunes altogether — continuity, name recognition — but the result feels strained, like a 40-year-old wearing Abercrombie & Fitch. Just how well the watch is selling — and whether the absence of prominent apps is affecting sales — may be signaled on Tuesday when Apple reports earnings for its fiscal third quarter.

Even that one song you downloaded at a party mostly as a joke is there, and you either get to look at it every day or go through a confusing process to delete it from your iCloud Library. (Wait, another service? Ultimately, the iPhone S range is predominantly seen as the ‘polisher’ of the previous model so often doesn’t get the love some of its internal improvements deserve. The company has said it did not intend to give specific sales data on the watch and instead would wrap it into a category that it called “other.” Investors and tech followers are expected to scrutinize that category to try to calculate whether the watch has been a hit or miss. Whatever the numbers are, “it’s significant because some people may be viewing it as a litmus test for Apple to launch products” under Timothy D.

Cost » The cost structure is right in line with what rivals are all offering: $9.99 per month for an individual user and $14.99 for up to six people on a family plan. Of the prominent app makers that are missing from Apple Watch, several echo Facebook in saying they are still trying to determine how to make the most of their apps on the device’s small screens, the largest of which is about 1.3 inches by 1.65 inches.

For example, at a technology conference in May, Evan Spiegel, Snapchat’s chief executive, said he did not find the watch compelling. “Why would you look at a small picture when you can look at a large one on your phone?” Mr. Manned by DJs in Los Angeles, New York and London (including England’s celebrity DJ, Zane Lowe, who has decamped to L.A.), it aims to put a 24-hour-a-day communal global music experience live around the world. Despite the limitations, some app makers have been enthusiastic about the watch, including the Weather Channel, which introduced an app for the smartwatch in April. “We’ve been there for every Apple product launch, so we felt we had to be there,” said Chris Huff, who heads application development for the company. “People want to get the weather wherever they’re at.” So far, the Weather Channel has focused on delivering notifications — like lightning alerts — and tracking weather in real time by asking people to confirm with a tap on the wrist that it is raining or snowing where they are.

In case you forgot, that means advertisements (surprise!) and talking between songs. (Or, rather often, it’s shouting “WORLDWIDE!” and “24 HOURS!” over them.) This can be charming and fun when you’re up for it, but it’s definitely not right for all situations. Just like terrestrial radio stations, it plays only clean versions of tracks, meaning you hear goofy boops and scratches to cover up four-letter words. Instead of programs that compile playlists from metadata, à la Pandora or Apple’s own Genius playlists, breathing professionals would build them with knowledge and taste, as competitor Songza has been offering for some time. Ben Bajarin, an analyst at Creative Strategies, said that based on responses from a panel of 1,000 Apple watch owners who were contacted in the last week, consumers reported high satisfaction with the product and few who had bought the watch had stopped using it. After an introductory exercise in defining your preferences via bubbles (a design motif lifted directly from Beats Music), Apple Music’s “For You” and “New” tabs populate with playlists, album recommendations and song ideas as they try to put the music you want to listen to as close to you as possible.

I put on No Pain, No Gain at the gym and Synthesizers and Silverware when some friends came over for dinner and not once had to reach for the skip button. People have long complained that Spotify and Tidal have tiresome, black menus that don’t offer much flexibility and are like nesting dolls to get through; Google gets dinged for favoring bold graphics over helpful information.

There are seemingly endless ways to get into playlists, your library and songs saved for offline viewing, and the default white-and-pink interface changes colors with little warning to match album covers. This is basically a Tumblr-like platform on which artists can share special content such as song previews, behind-the-scenes info or even selfies with fans. More than once, Apple Music crashed on me while doing something basic such as scrolling through a menu. (With all other apps closed to make sure this wasn’t due to something else.) While I tried to film the video component to this review, the entire Radio tab refused to load without two hard reboots of my iPhone 6.

It’s easy enough to assume that the kinks will be worked out in time — this is version 1.0, after all — but remember when we said that about Apple Maps? There’s a fun radio station and unbelievable curation, but getting to the good stuff is tedious and often involves trudging through bells and whistles I don’t care about.

To me, the best-use case is hitting the play button on a great playlist or station, flipping my screen dark and just enjoying what’s coming through my headphones. Tweeny megafans and iTunes devotees (yeah, I’m told they exist) might love all the features Apple Music provides, but the casual listener probably won’t. Apple Music is certainly interesting enough to keep me playing with it during the three-month free trial, but for now, I’ve got my auto-renew set to “off.”

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