Surprise! Spotify now says its Weeknd debut beat out Apple Music

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Spotify on Wednesday issued an update regarding streaming figures related to The Weeknd’s new album "My Dear Melancholy," saying it beat Apple Music’s debut of the same record by 3 million streams.
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Apple Pay makes long-awaited debut in Brazil

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Apple Pay officially launched in Brazil on Wednesday, making good on both promises by Apple and long-standing rumors.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

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Apple’s MicroLED displays could debut later this year

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Apple is going all-in on MicroLED displays, a new report claims. The company is reportedly gearing up to use the next-gen displays in future Apple Watches, Macs and even an as-yet-unreleased wearable device, which could be Apple’s augmented reality glasses. The first MicroLED displays may arrive sooner than expected, too. According to today’s report, Apple […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

Cult of Mac

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ESPN says its new streaming service will debut April 12

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Get even more sports content with the upcoming ESPN+.

Today, ESPN announced that the launch of its new subscription streaming service will officially launch on April 12 as part of a completely reimagined ESPN app designed to be the best all-in-one sports platform. The service, called ESPN+, will be priced at $ 4.99 per month, and will offer a “dynamic lineup” of live sports, original content, and on-demand content.

According to the announcement, the lineup will focus on four key pillars of content: a multitude of live sporting events, original shows and films focusing on sport-related topics, exclusive studio programs, and an “unmatched” on-demand library featuring award-winning programming. This includes MLB, NHL, and MLS games as well as a year-round schedule of boxing matches. ESPN+ will even include college sports, offering multiple sports and thousands of games and events across over two-dozen conferences.

ESPN President and Co-Chair at Disney Media Networks, James Pitaro, shared the company’s hopes for ESPN+ in a statement:

ESPN was built on a belief in innovation and the powerful connection between sports and a remarkable array of fans. That same belief is at the heart of ESPN+ and the new ESPN App. With ESPN+, fans have access to thousands more live games, world class original programs and on-demand sports content, all at a great price. They will get all of that as a part of a completely re-imagined, increasingly personalized ESPN App that provides easy, one-stop access to everything ESPN offers.

Note that if you aren’t interested in sports at all, this news is still meaningful for you, too. Though ESPN+ will be the first streaming service offered by Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International, a more actually Disney-focused subscription service is on the horizon as well, and will feature Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm movies along with steamboat load of other exclusive content. This service is expected to launch in late 2019.

Thoughts?

Are you going to grab an ESPN+ subscription? Share in the comments!

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Nubia Z18 mini to debut on April 11

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First, it was the nubia Z5, followed by Z7, Z9, and Z11, but then numbering leaped to Z17. So can you guess what the name of the next series of the ZTE subbrand is? Why, the Z18, of course. Yes, nubia is apparently now matching the calendar year with its model numbers. The first phone from the Z18 series is going to be called nubia Z18 mini, according to a press invite the company sent out. The phone is said to have 24 MP dual cameras and will be announced on April 11. The mini version of the expected Z18 flagship lacks any specs in the rumor mill, but it will probably be much…

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Apple, Logitech Debut Affordable ‘Crayon’ and Rugged Case for iPad

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Along with a newer low-cost iPad and other education-focused platforms, Apple teamed up with Logitech to introduce two new accessories for its tablet lineup at its March 27 education event in Chicago. Crayon Stylus Chief among them is a new iPad stylus made by Logitech. The Crayon accessory is a stylus that Apple promises will […]
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Quick Takes: Spotify for Apple Watch and StreamKit for watchOS 5 to Debut at WWDC 2018?

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In addition to our standalone articles covering the latest Apple news and rumors at MacRumors, this Quick Takes column provides a bite-sized recap of other headlines about Apple and its competitors on weekdays.

Monday, March 26

Highlights

1. Spotify for Apple Watch to debut at WWDC? An anonymous and unverified tipster has informed MacRumors that Spotify will unveil an official Apple Watch app at WWDC 2018 in June, based on personal involvement with the project.

Third-party Spotify app Snowy, which was never released, as its developer Andrew Chang was hired by Spotify to help build their official Apple Watch app

The app will supposedly be a lead example of Apple’s tentatively named StreamKit framework that will enable cellular Apple Watch models to receive push notifications from third-party apps like Facebook and Twitter, completely independent from a paired iPhone, on watchOS 5.

2. Are corporations that use Wikipedia giving back? Wikimedia’s revenue chief Lisa Gruwell expresses some concerns about seemingly one-sided relationships with companies that utilize its information.

“I don’t mean to sound like the Lorax here,” said Gruwell. “If you overuse something and you don’t give back to it, you can harm it. In the case of Alexa and Siri, our content gets intermediated. Wikipedia works because people can contribute to it, people can edit it. Also, once a year, when we ask people can donate. When they get their information not from us — but Wikipedia content through something like Siri or something like Alexa — that opportunity to either contribute back as an editor is broken, and that opportunity to contribute, to donate is also broken.”

Gruwell said Wikimedia’s relationship with Google is by far the best, both in terms of how much they contribute to the organization—more than $1 million in the 2017 fiscal year—and how the companies work together.

By comparison, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft all contributed around $50,000 through their employee donation matching programs, while Amazon wasn’t named on Wikimedia’s list of donors in 2017 whatsoever.

An illustration of the size difference between traditional LEDs and Micro-LEDs via CNET

3. MicroLED is the first new screen tech in a decade. Can it beat OLED? CNET‘s Geoffrey Morrison provides a detailed explanation of the advantages and technology behind microLED displays. Apple is reportedly developing its own microLED displays, but we’re likely at least a few years away from seeing them in an Apple Watch or iPhone.

Other Links

For more Apple news and rumors coverage, visit our Front Page, Mac Blog, and iOS Blog. Also visit our forums to join in the discussion.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch, watchOS 4
Buyer’s Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)

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Apple may surpass $1B content budget, new shows could debut in March 2019

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(credit: Steve Rhodes)

Despite underwhelming performance thus far, Apple isn’t giving up on its original programming ambitions. According to a report from The New York Times, the tech giant’s entertainment plans are slowly but surely taking shape. Apple could reportedly push out a number of original series and films any time between March 2019 and summer of that same year.

The process may seem slow, but Apple isn’t wasting time building out its projects. Since last fall, the company signed 12 content deals. Nine of those are “straight-to-series” shows, meaning they skip the traditional pilot-episode stage and will immediately become full series. New hires and former Sony execs Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg lead Apple Worldwide Video and are expanding the staff to about 40 people. They’ve also ordered separations within the entertainment division devoted to adult dramas, children’s shows, and Latin American and European programming.

Only broad details about Apple’s overall entertainment strategy have been revealed. According to the New York Times report, producers and executives that have met with Apple claim the company is partial to programming that’s in line with “its bright, optimistic brand identity,” signaling that we probably won’t see any dark, Game of Thrones-esque shows coming from the iPhone maker.

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apple – Ars Technica

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New iTunes Gift Card Sales Debut at Best Buy, Target, and Costco

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A few retailers have kicked off the week with new discounts on App Store and iTunes gift cards, offering either straight percentage discounts on the cards or BOGO sales. Below we’ve rounded up each retailer that has offers going on this week, so if you’re interested be sure to visit the sites and place your order before they end.

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

Costco – Ends March 31

If you’re a Costco member the company has some of the best iTunes gift card sales this week, with discounts of up to 18 percent off. These will be delivered via e-mail and Costco places a limit of two card codes per member.

Target – Ends March 31

Target has again launched its usual buy one, get one iTunes card promo, allowing users to purchase one card for full price and get another for 20 percent off. The offer is valid on $15, $25, $50, and $100 iTunes cards and will be delivered via email.

The 20 percent discount will be applied to the lower priced item, so multiple price tiers can be added at once, and after two cards are placed in your cart you’ll notice the discount. A few examples of BOGO discounts available from Target are listed below (note that REDcard holders can get an additional 5 percent off their total order price):

  • 2x $15 iTunes cards – $27, down from $30
  • 2x $25 iTunes cards – $45, down from $50
  • 2x $50 iTunes cards – $90, down from $100
  • 2x $100 iTunes cards – $180, down from $200

Best Buy

Best Buy is offering simple 10 percent discounts on a variety of iTunes gift card tiers, the best being $10 off $100. Note that Best Buy’s sale is covering both physical cards as well as those delivered via e-mail.

For more sales information, head over to our full Deals Roundup.

Related Roundup: Apple Deals

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Mark Gurman: Cheaper iPad to Debut Next Week, Sub-$1,000 MacBook Likely Not Ready Yet

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Apple plans to introduce a cheaper iPad next week that should appeal to the education market, and new software for the classroom, according to Bloomberg News‘ Mark Gurman. The new products should be announced at Apple’s education-themed event on Tuesday at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago.


Apple is also said to be working on a new, lower-priced notebook, likely to replace the MacBook Air with a sub-$1,000 price in the United States:

A new, cheaper MacBook laptop is in the works and likely destined to replace the MacBook Air at a price less than $1,000, but it probably won’t be ready in time for next week, the people said. The MacBook Air, introduced about a decade ago, hasn’t seen a major change since 2010, the same year the iPad came out. Although the laptop is popular with college students, it has languished as Apple focuses on more expensive Macs.

At first glance, it would appear that Gurman is referring to a lower-priced 12-inch MacBook, as many people believe that Apple will eventually phase out the MacBook Air. However, the “MacBook laptop” wording is perhaps intentionally vague, in case it does end up being a cheaper MacBook Air.

12-inch MacBook models currently start at $1,299, and were last updated with Kaby Lake processors and faster graphics in June 2017. MacBook Air starts at $999 and hasn’t received a meaningful update since March 2015.


Earlier this month, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple plans to launch a more affordable MacBook Air in the second quarter of 2018, which essentially runs between next week and the end of June. WitsView researcher Yubin Qiu estimated the notebook could start at $799 to $899 in the United States.

Gurman said the new MacBook “probably won’t be ready in time for next week,” suggesting it won’t be unveiled at the Chicago event. Of course, Apple could still mention the notebook at the event, even if orders begin later.

Gurman nor Kuo have elaborated on what we can expect from the new MacBook or MacBook Air, whichever it ends up being, but it’s reasonable to assume that we’ll see a bump to the processors and graphics. If it’s a new MacBook Air, a Retina display is also a possibility, but that may go against the sub-$1,000 price.

Apple hasn’t specified if the Chicago event will be live streamed. MacRumors will provide coverage on Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. Central Time.

Related Roundups: MacBook Air, MacBook

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