Spotify, Apple Music responsible for both rebound of music industry and dying physical media sales

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Recorded music revenue jumped by double digits last year, thanks to revenue growth from Apple, Spotify and other streaming services, according to a new report from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the music industry’s lobbying group
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Apple’s New Patent Discusses the Possibility of Replacing Physical Keyboards with Touch-Based Capacitive Keyboards

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Apple has filed a new patent with the USPTO, detailing a capacitive keyboard that can work just like a physical keyboard. However, there are a few challenges to conquer before bringing this into fruition as Apple mentions in the patent filing. Apple recently talked about developing a crumb-resistant keyboard in a patent filing. Continue reading
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Review: Eve Button Offers Quick Physical Controls for Activating Your Favorite HomeKit Scenes

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Elgato has been making HomeKit-enabled “Eve” Bluetooth accessories for several years now, and the company now boasts an impressive lineup that includes a range of sensors, switches and smart plugs, and motion detectors.

Eve Button, Elgato’s newest product, is a simple little three-gesture switch that’s designed to control all of your other HomeKit products, activating scenes, turning lights on and off, and more.

Design

The Eve Button has a simple, clean design with a silver aluminum shell and a black plastic front plate with a smooth, circular button outline that doesn’t protrude at all.

It’s using the same design introduced in the Eve Degree, so if you already have an Eve Degree, the Eve Button will complement it nicely.


While there is no visible button protrusion, if you press on the button outline in the middle of the accessory, it will depress and activate the Eve Button’s gestures. Pressing at the sides does not cause the front plate to depress, so the pressing motion is limited to the center, which is a clever design.

The back of the Eve Button is where the battery compartment is located, which can be opened with a coin. The Eve Button uses a CR2032 replaceable watch battery that can be purchased from a local store or Amazon.com for just a couple of dollars. You can check battery level in the Home app.


Elgato included four little rubber feet for the Eve Button so you can set it flat on a surface and it won’t slip around, but curiously, there’s no included adhesive strip or mounting option. The Eve Button is the kind of accessory I’d like to be able to attach to the wall near my light switch, but that’s not an option.

With other switches and buttons, like the Hue Tap, there’s an included mounting solution so it can go on the wall or be used anywhere, so this is a bit of a disappointing oversight with the Eve Button. Portability is, of course, the preferred functionality because not everyone is going to use this as a light switch, but it would be nice if mounting was an option. It’s certainly light enough that I could pick up a 3M Command Strip on my own to stick it to the wall.


In addition to the four little feet, Elgato also included a whole slew of HomeKit stickers you can place on the Eve to remind you which gesture does what, which is a nice addition. Hue Tap and other competing button-like devices don’t have that option, and it can be difficult to remember what’s what, especially when there are multiple family members using the device.

Functionality

There are three gestures available on the Eve Button, which can be tied to three of your HomeKit scenes: a single press, a double press, and a long press.

All of these gestures are simple to execute, and the Eve Button does a good job telling them apart. I didn’t have much trouble with it mistaking one gesture for another, and it takes just a few seconds (sometimes even less) from when I press the button to when the scene assigned to the button activates. You might think Bluetooth is slow, but it’s not, even when I’m in a different room.


I have noticed once or twice that the Eve Button refuses to respond to a gesture, causing me to repeat it, but it hasn’t happened often in the two weeks I’ve been testing it. For the record, I sometimes have the same issue with other accessories of this type. It’s irritating, but not a dealbreaker.

It can get a little confused if you’re pressing the button to activate different scenes that control the same accessory in rapid succession, but that’s not a normal use case and something I did just for testing.

Scenes are the only thing that can be associated with the Eve Button, but Scenes can incorporate as many HomeKit devices as you’d like. You can, for example, set something like a “Goodnight” scene that locks the doors, turns off the lights, turns down the thermostat, and turns on a night light, depending on which HomeKit products you own.


A “Wake Up” scene could do things like turn on the lights, start the coffee pot, warm up the house, and open the blinds. You can also use simpler scenes if you want the Eve Button to control a single device, like a light. Each gesture can also be tied to multiple scenes, which is handy if you want to keep your scenes separate for voice commands but combine them for the Eve Button.

I have the Eve Button set to turn the bedroom lights on with a single press, off with a double press, and then I have a long press set to activate a scene with my Nanoleaf Aurora for a kind of relaxing lighting scene that incorporates many of my Hue lights.

You’ll note that I am using two of the three button presses for an on/off state, because devices like these don’t naturally have on/off functionality. There is a way around this, though, as HomeKit scenes can be set to “Turn Off” after a set period of time in the Home app. So you could potentially set the Eve Button to turn the lights on in a room like a bathroom, and then set a timer to have them turn off again after 10 minutes without the need to use up a second button slot.


You can also add Conditions to Scenes that are tied to the Eve Button, such as allowing a Scene to be activated by the button only after 6pm or when the temperature is below a certain threshold, but I don’t think these are going to be commonly used with the accessory.

You can, of course, activate scenes without the Eve Button at all through the Home app, another HomeKit app, or through Siri voice commands, but sometimes it’s just easier to press a button. It’s hard to transition entirely away from light switches, especially when there are multiple people in the house, and these kinds of HomeKit buttons and switches are useful replacements, I’ve found.

Setting up the Eve Button, is, of course, as simple as any other HomeKit product and it takes just a few seconds. Open up the box, fire up the Home app or the Eve app, add an accessory, scan the code, assign scenes, and that’s it.

Bottom Line

Elgato’s HomeKit products are some of my favorite. When HomeKit was new, Bluetooth HomeKit devices didn’t work well, but with the myriad HomeKit improvements introduced over the years, Bluetooth HomeKit accessories like the Eve Button work flawlessly.

I am happy with all of the Elgato HomeKit devices that I use, and Elgato has one of the best product-based HomeKit apps out there. I often use the Elgato app to tweak my scenes and my non-Elgato HomeKit devices. I’m also a fan of the design of the Eve Button (and the Eve Degree), and I’m glad to see Elgato appears to be adopting it across the HomeKit lineup. It’s a big improvement over previous Eve accessories that were a plain white plastic.


If you’re new to HomeKit, you might think that it’s silly to go to the trouble of automating your smart home devices and then adding in a physical switch, but accessories like the Eve Button are useful and eliminate annoyances that come with not having an immediately accessible physical control for your devices. I’ve had a Hue Tap for quite some time and it’s one of my most used accessories just because it’s sometimes easier to tap a button than it is to ask my phone to do something for me.

Button accessories also come in handy in multi-person households and when you have guests who might need to control devices like lights.

I do wish the Eve Button had a few more gestures available because $50 is quite a bit to pay for just three, but you can tie each one to your most used scenes to get a lot of value it. I also wish Elgato had included a mounting solution, but you can fix that with a cheap adhesive strip if you really want it on the wall.

How to Buy

Eve Button can be purchased from the Elgato website or from Amazon.com for $49.95.

Note: Elgato provided MacRumors with an Eve Button for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.

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Ron Gilbert’s ‘Thimbleweed Park’ gets physical collector’s editions

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Fans of adventure game classics have a reason to give Thimbleweed Park one more look — it's about to get a physical release, complete with both standard ($ 35) and limited collector's editions ($ 65) for PS4 and Switch. Made by Ron Gilbert and Gary Wi…
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The Nintendo Switch made me swear off physical games

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I got my Switch exactly a year ago today, and I’ve spent hundreds of hours (and dollars) on games for Nintendo’s newest console. But unlike every other console I’ve owned, I’ve bought exactly one physical game for the Switch — The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild which I preordered alongside my Switch so I’d have something to play when it first came out. I know I’m probably late to this party, but the Switch feels like the first console to truly make the case to, uh, switch away from physical games for good.

A lot of that has to do with how I use the Switch and its portable nature. I take my Switch with me basically everywhere — on the train to work in the morning, plane rides, weekends at my parents’ house — and having all my…

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Apple patent details dual display laptop with no physical keyboard


A recently granted patent shows Apple is exploring the idea of a “dual display” laptop or iPad that eschews physical keys. Titled “dual display equipment with enhanced visibility and suppressed reflections” the patent details a device that could act, essentially, as a giant Touch Bar — switching between a keyboard and content-specific controls. The documentation shows two different configurations: one with a permanent hinge and another that allows the second screen to be removed and used separately, a la Microsoft’s Surface Pro and other two-in-one devices. It also says the device’s main screen would be an OLED display with the…

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The most physical games for Nintendo Switch

Wanna get your body moving with some Switch games? Check these titles out.

Since its very inception, the utilization of motion controls in games has been divisive for gamers. When the implementation of motion controls feel like an afterthought to a game, it’s hard to argue that there is any sort of added value or fun. However, when the use of motion feels like it was woven into the fabric of a game’s development from the beginning, it can actually serve to deepen the experience.

I have found that games which include motion controls effectively can be a blast to play at family gatherings and parties. If you’re looking for some Nintendo Switch games to get your friends and family moving, then take a look at these titles.

Splatoon 2

Splatoon 2 may not have you jumping around the room and waving your arms around in an odd example of semaphore, but it does actually utilize the technology pretty effectively. Aiming with your Joy-Con can be smooth, fast and satisfying once you get the hang of it. Despite the fact that you probably wont be breaking a sweat while you play, I think the fact that it works so effectively earns it a spot on this list. Pick up your copy for $ 50.

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ARMS

ARMS offers a lot more depth of physical mechanics when it comes to motion controls. With bespoke, real-world movements for a multitude of in-game effects, there is a lot more to chew on here than other games with motion control. Pick up a copy and you will be swinging, twisting, and grabbing your way to victory. Get your copy for $ 50.

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1-2 Switch

Sure, 1-2 Switch feels a bit like a showcase for motion control on the Switch, but that may be exactly why you might want to consider picking it up. If you want to show the fam what your Switch can do while playing through a multitude of party games, then you can’t do much better than 1-2 Switch at the moment. There are some truly odd mini-games included which could see you in a shaving contest with your grandmother. I bet you that’s something you never thought you would do. It can be yours for $ 50.

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Nintendo hasn’t really found its Wii Sports equivalent on the Switch yet, but as the console starts to mature I am sure we will see more titles using motion control. Without a doubt, some of those titles will use the technology poorly, but every now and then there will be a release which will actually be a load of fun. Getting your body moving while you play a game can be more than just novel when it’s implemented well.

What sort of game would you like to play with motion controls?

Is there a certain type of game that you think would be perfect for motion control technology? Let us know below

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Are you ready to say goodbye to physical buttons?

Huawei P20 prototype

Smartphone manufacturers want to take advantage of all the space they can get. As technology improves, it means that utilizing the space in our smartphones gets a little easier, but also means some elements need to get cut. Like the headphone jack. It’ll be gone completely soon enough.

For some companies, it’s an excuse to make devices thinner. One can hope we’ve seen the culmination of that effort from Apple at this point, even if there are some companies out there that offer even thinner products. Apple, Samsung, and other companies seem to have given up on the idea of making our devices paper thin, thankfully, instead capitalizing on thinner bezels to maximize screen real estate.

Say what you will about the “notch” on the iPhone X, it at least makes the new flagship smartphone stand out in a crowd of devices that are starting to look the same all over again from the front. Just big slabs with big displays and small bezels. There isn’t anything wrong with that, of course, because the minimized bezels have given us some pretty great devices.

I can’t help but think that threat of ever-shrinking smartphones is still around, though. And Huawei has helped bring that fear back to the fore.

There is a prototype of the Huawei-branded P20 slinking around out there right now. For the most part there isn’t anything huge revealed. No massive surprises. Other than the fact that the rumor mill says the Huawei P20 Plus is going to have three rear cameras, that is.

That prototype does have something interesting going on with the volume keys, though. Specifically, there aren’t any there. Of course, this is a prototype and that could mean that they just aren’t there, but when the public unit arrives later in March, they’ll be right where we expect them to be.

Or, we could be seeing the introduction of “virtual volume keys”. That means we’d have to swipe up and down to change the volume on our phone, which, honestly, at face value doesn’t seem that awful. But at the same time, I can’t help but wonder if this is something that anyone was asking for.

When you’ve got the P20 in your hand and you’re looking at it, using that virtual volume key might not be an issue. But what if it’s in your pocket and you want to turn down the volume of the music you’re listening to? Physical buttons means I don’t have to put my hand in my pocket, or take the phone out.

Okay, so maybe some other people might be asking for more virtual buttons, but I can safely say I’m not one of them.

This is just one company maybe going this route, and that of course doesn’t mean this is some imminent threat by any means. But I wanted to ask: Do you want to adopt virtual buttons across your phone? Are you ready to say goodbye to the physical buttons we’ve been using for so long? Let me know!

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Spotify ‘On Its Way’ To Create First Physical Products

Spotify has stepped up its efforts to create its own hardware products following the release of smart speakers from Google, Amazon, and Apple. Spotify relies on hardware products from other OEMs which might just prove to be detrimental to its growth in the future. Continue reading
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HomePod Physical Controls: Control Your Smart Speaker with Quick Gestures

HomePod Physical Controls

Siri works very well in letting you quickly carry out several tasks like sending messages, lower volume, adding a note and more. But there are times when you might want to manually control your music or do other tasks instead of getting it done via the personal assistant. And that’s when these ten simple HomePod physical controls would come into play.

Wish to find out the easy-to-use physical controls for your all-new Apple smart speaker? Here you go!

HomePod Physical Controls

Super Handy HomePod Physical Controls

Pause or resume playback: Just tap in the middle of the HomePod to pause your music. You need to tap it again to unpause.

Go to the next track: Double tap on top of the HomePod to easily skip a song.

Replay the previous track: Just triple tap on the top of the HomePod to go back to the previous song that was playing.

Volume up: Tap on the “+” button to increase volume by one level. To increase the volume by several levels, you need to touch and hold on the “+” button.

Volume down: Simply tap on the “-“ button to lower the volume by one level. If you wish to decrease the volume by several levels, touch and hold on it.

Siri: To invoke Siri, you just need to place a finger on the top of the HomePod and hold it there until the visual Siri waveform shows up. Now, speak your Siri command.

Dismiss an alarm: When an alarm is going off on the HomePod, just tap in the middle of it to stop it quickly.

End a call: While using the HomePod as a speakerphone, tap on the green light on top of the HomePod to end the call.

Switch calls: When using HomePod as a speakerphone, touch and hold on the green light to put a hold on the current call. Then, switch between calls by double tapping.

Control VoiceOver: Once you have enabled VoiceOver in the Accessibility settings, perform these gestures on top of the speaker.

Double-tap: It lets you use selected control or Play/Pause.

Double-tap and hold if the volume control is selected: It allows you to change volume continuously.

Double-tap and hold when play/pause is selected: To invoke Siri.

Triple-tap: To skip the song which is currently playing.

Quadruple-tap (four taps): To go back to the previous song.

Tap or drag your finger on top of the HomePod: The speaker will tell the name of the control under your finger and select it.

That’s all there is to it!

Your turn

Have any question or feedback? Do shoot it in the comments below.

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