Once again, Apple is back to giving away free music through an iTunes promotion within its Apple Store app for U.S. customers. The new giveaway highlights three artists with “new tracks helping to define this year’s musical landscape.” Specifically, the app features tracks from Master Blaster Sound System, Bad Suns, and Kris Bowers. It’s worth checking out if you’re into discovering new music, but Amazon has some more traditional artists like George Strait, The Beach Boys, and Dean Martin in its Icon Series music giveaway over at 9to5Toys. Check below for how to grab the free tracks from iTunes.
While Apple did release a dedicated Apple Store app for iPad last November, it has yet to include any promotion or giveaway within that app. You will want to be sure you’re using the standard Apple Store app for iPhone (and yes, you can run it on iPad to redeem the promotional content).
The first view of the app features a list view of categories and featured sections, and U.S. customers should find Apple’s free music promotion toward the bottom of the list. Redeeming the tracks provides you with an offer code and sends you over to iTunes on your iOS device, and the tracks will then download for your consumption.
Previously, Apple has featured free content including Tetris, a fitness app, and more in its retail shopping app. We originally reported Apple’s plans to begin giving away content to Apple Store app users to promote the shopping experience last July.
A new patent, published Thursday, describes a method for carrying out wireless pairing and communication between Apple devices using biometric data.
The patent was filed August 31, 2012, and features several possible implementations of the technology, designed to increase security on Apple products.
In the patent’s primary implementation, a user would be able to access files stored on specific devices, such as an iMac or iPad, only after first authenticating their identity using multiple biometric inputs.
These include areas Apple is already known to be working in, but also hint at other security measures the company might implement in future devices.
While fingerprint scanners like Touch ID have been in place since the launch of the iPhone 5s in September 2013, the patent describes asking users to submit palm prints, face-recognition, retina scans, and voice signatures before being allowed access to their data. Although some of these areas have been previously explored by third-party apps, they have not previously been implemented by Apple.
The patent additionally describes how users could have the option of assigning different security levels to parts of their data — so that certain files or areas would need more authorization (say, face recognition, retina scan, and voice signature) before allowing access. Although this would be time consuming for the user, it would also present the most secure method possible of ensuring security is maintained.
The Wireless Pairing and Communication Between Devices Using Biometric Data patent names Chang Zhang and Qing Liu as its inventors.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday published an Apple patent filing describing a unique mobile device feature that can automatically request assistance if it is determined that a user is in distress.
Apple's patent application for "Mobile emergency attack and failsafe detection" covers a software and hardware implementation for an emergency services request system using the one thing almost everyone carries on a day-to-day basis: a smartphone.
The filing describes a system that uses a mobile device's onboard sensors to detect a probable emergency situation, such as a physical attack against the user. The system can then automatically request help via cellphone call or other mode of communication.
As Apple notes, users may encounter problems or emergency situations while traveling from one place to another. The invention is meant to help assist the user in the case of automobile accidents, muggings and debilitating medical issues, among other scenarios.
First, the system generates an emergency call list from a user's address book or crowd-sourced database (like local 911 numbers). Alternatively, users may set contact numbers manually. The device can also use its GPS functionality to constantly update the database, and in the case of an emergency, will message the nearest contact on the list.
In one embodiment, the system revolves around a user-enabled "attack detection mode" that, when activated, monitors for certain events. A number of optional sub-modes can be selected to meet a multitude of operating environments.
Most modes monitor user interaction. Examples would be a finger breaking contact with the device screen or not moving for a given period of time. In other cases, the system utilizes onboard sensors like an accelerometer or microphone. For example, the device monitors for sudden movements or loud noises surpassing a certain threshold.
In yet another example, a user can depress a physical button like volume up/down, which then acts as a "dead man switch." If the button is released, the system will determine something has gone wrong.
When the system senses a possible attack, it enters a warning mode that counts down to an audible alarm, emergency call or similar response. To exit the warning mode, the user must interact with the device, perhaps placing their finger back on the screen or dead man switch. Alternatively, a disarm code can be entered to turn return back to attack monitoring.
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A pair of newly released patent applications detail potential future capabilities for Apple devices, with the first detailing a system by which two devices could be paired using biometric information, like a fingerprint, while the second details a method to display camera information using electronic diffusers.
U.S. Patent Application number 20140068725, entitled "Wireless Pairing and Communication Between Devices Using Biometric Data," defines a manner in which users could take advantage of unique biometric information to authorize a connection between two devices. This could be used, for instance, in lieu of current authentication methods to pair two devices over Bluetooth.
Currently, authorizing a connection between two Bluetooth devices requires a user to enter a passcode, generally a randomly-generated series of numbers. Apple's patent would allow biometric information, like fingerprints from the company's popular Touch ID system, to substitute for those passcodes.
Apple's patent application, published on Thursday and discovered by AppleInsider, would also allow for the same biometric data to determine a specific level of access for paired devices. Pairing authorized by a fingerprint, for instance, may grant greater access than pairing authorized with a passcode.
Apple credits inventors Chang Zhang of San Jose, Calif. and Qing Liu of Mountain View, Calif. with the invention.
Meanwhile, U.S. Patent Application number 20140063049, entitled "Information Display Using Electronic Diffusers," defines a way in which optical diffusers located on top of a device's display or camera openings could be manipulated to display messages. The claim could enable several new features, mostly revolving around low-power message display.
In one instance, the diffusers could be manipulated to hide a device's camera from the user. Such a method could be useful as a low-power way to notify the user of the camera's activation state — if the camera is on, for example, it would be visible.
This would be useful, Apple says, to provide built-in privacy protection for users. Another embodiment would use the configurable diffusers to change the light level of built-in flash units based on the ambient lighting in the area.
Apple credits inventor Joel S. Armstrong-Muntner of San Mateo, Calif. with the invention.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is traveling through the United States this week for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual conference, and he is scheduled to meet with Apple CEO Tim Cook today. The meeting plans were revealed on the Prime Minister’s Twitter account earlier this week:
The calendar also sharesthat Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with the founders of WhatsApp, who recently sold their messaging service to Facebook for $19 billion. Local press reports indicate that the meeting with Cook is occurring as scheduled, and that the men will be having lunch at Apple’s corporate offices in Cupertino, California:
Apple executives occasionally meet with the leaders of nations from the around the world. In recent months, several reports have detailed meetings between Cook and Turkish government leaders.
Even without official online or physical retail sales channels, Apple and Israel have had a strong relationship for the past few years. In early 2012, Apple acquired Israel-based chip maker Anobit, and this kickstarted Apple’s research and development efforts in the nation. Apple has multiple engineering offices in Israel, and Apple research and development executives have visited the country.
Late last year, Apple acquired Israel-based PrimeSense, a company which specializes in developing 3D gesture motion sensing hardware and software. The engineers who joined Apple from PrimeSense are working on camera hardware for future iOS devices and TV products, according to sources briefed on Apple’s plans.
Even with the already-existing relationship between Apple and Israel, the technology company and the technologically-advanced nation can work even further together. Israel is known for being the home to the creation of many technological innovations, and perhaps Cook and Netanyahu see ways for further collaboration. It is also likely that Cook and Netanyahu are discussing the prospect of official Apple Stores for Israel.
According to a new report from Ad Age, Apple is planning to offer a new option for how iAds are presented on its iOS platform. The new iAd option will allow included video content to play automatically at full screen rather than being prompted by tapping a more subtle banner. While interstitial iAds are already possible for iAds presented on the iPad meant for use in Newsstand apps, the report claims the new options will target both iPhone and iPad users suggesting the option could debut for iPhone and iPod touch users. The report believes the automatically playing, full screen interstitial iAds will likely be presented in between activity rather than interrupting content entirely.
While the report is light on details and seemingly omits existing iPad compatibility from consideration, it cites one source with knowledge that Apple may use its ad exchange that was reported last December to sell the new ads; pricing for the video ads is not yet known.
Since it’s debut in 2010, we have continuously seen Apple adjust and evolve its approach to pricing and marketing iAds. Just months after its launch, Apple cut its price of entry in half to $500,000 from $1M all the way down to $50 options last June.
In their report, Ad Age points out Apple’s place in the ad market relative to its competitors:
Apple reaped $125 million from mobile ad sales in 2012,according to research firm IDC. By comparison Google’s mobile ad network — powered by AdMob, which Google acquired within months of iAds’ launch — grossed $243 million that year, and mobile ad network Millennial Media generated $151 million.
Apple has added audio ads to its iTunes Radio streaming service and supports video ads on that platform for Apple TV, Mac, and PC listeners, but a recent report offered a scathing profile of the behind-the-scenes approach by Apple.
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