China doesn’t trust the NSA.
On Friday, Apple released a minor software update for the iTunes application for both Mac and Windows. The iTunes update is centered around correcting a bug that prevented iTunes podcast subscribers from being able to view new episodes on the podcast playlist. The update also addresses a problem that caused iTunes to become unresponsive while the user navigated the list of downloaded podcasts.
Apple has announced that its 8th Annual iTunes Festival will be held in London throughout the month of September. Scheduled to perform during the month-long music celebration are famous artists such as Maroon 5, Pharrell Williams, David Guetta, Blondie, and many more.
Most cloud services providers have been boosting their security with the intent of warding off the NSA and other malicious groups. The same thing is happening with Apple and iCloud, as encryption for iCloud expands to protect file transfers from the sender all the way to the receiver. Though the receiver must be using an email client that supports TLS encryption, this update does improve security for most users.
Have you visited the App Store recently? You will see a new section named “Browse by Category” under the Feature section, which can be viewed in the iOS and Mac App Stores. The new section makes it easier for users to discover apps.
Apple may be trying to come out with its own mobile payments system for iOS devices, and is in talks with high-end retailers about the potential uses of such a service. Apple has already explored the potential for non-physical payments to some extent by allowing people to pay for items in its retail stores with an iTunes account, though the rumored mobile payments system may not work in the same way.
A number of iPhones, iPads, and Macs were hacked in Australia the other day. Following these reports, Apple sent out a statement that iCloud was not compromised. The company claims the iCloud service is safe and secure, contrary to reports that users in Australia have been locked out of their own iDevices. This hack has since spread to Canada, the US, and New Zealand.
iWork for iCloud—which includes Pages, Keynote, and Numbers—has been updated to include more collaboration and editing abilities. You can now create 2D and interactive charts with more color options and images up to 10 MB (up from 5 MB), and you can work with up to 100 people (up from 50) on the same document, which can be up to 1GB (up from 200 MB) in size.
Italian antitrust officials have launched an investigation of Apple, Google, Amazon, and developer Gameloft over the marketing of so-called freemium games. Freemium generally means that an app is free to download, but in-app purchases are all but required to actually play the game for any length of time.
Apple has already released a fix for the /users folder bug that many people encountered after updating to OS X 10.9.3. The bug seemed to make the folder completely disappear, but with a recently released iTunes update, Apple appears to have fixed it, even though the update didn’t include any mention of the folder issue.
Having been rivals in the audio equipment industry, it’s interesting to know what Apple will do with Beats. The latter’s music streaming services were part of the business deal, so the Cupertino company could be using that. We mentioned last month that Apple is working on a music streaming service, so this must be it.
This April, the indie rock label Good Charamel Records released albums by three outstanding Japanese rock bands: Shonen Knife, Molice, and Pinky Doodle Poodle. That’s a big month, and it prompted me to get into contact with Good Charamel owner and founder Robby Takac to discuss how he ended up working with so many J-Rock acts, what it takes to promote them in the U.S., and how Apple and iTunes has helped (or possibly hurt) the process.