Jay Z-backed music service Tidal — which carried a live stream of Lil Wayne’s Hurricane Katrina benefit show this weekend — cut the transmission during Drake’s performance and accused Apple of “interfering with artistry” by not allowing the set to be streamed, a charge which has been refuted.
In the midst of the show, Tidal’s stream went black with a message that read “Apple is interfering with artistry and will not allow this artist to stream. Sorry for big brother’s inconvenience.” A follow-up report in the NYP said that Apple had threatened a $20 million lawsuit if Tidal streamed Apple Music endorser Drake’s set.
Drake’s manager Future denied that claim, telling BuzzFeed News that the move “has nothing to do with Apple or Drake’s deal.”
“Point blank, 100%. I made a business decision,” Future continued. “Apple doesn’t have the power to stop us from being part of a live stream. The only people that have the power to do that are Cash Money and Universal, and they’re our partners.”
Despite Future’s protestations — and a similar denial from sources at Apple — Tidal insists that Apple was behind the decision to pull the stream.
“We have all the email receipts and written correspondence that took place with said, blocked performance,” a Tidal spokesperson told BuzzFeed. “That being said we choose to keep it classy.”
Apple has not publicly commented.
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Apple this week confirmed a Sept. 9 press event, even as last-minute rumors about it continued to flow. The company simultaneously dealt with economic tumult, as well as losing one of its key Apple Music executives.
Apple’s Sept. 9 press event
Apple on Thursday sent out media invitations to a Sept. 9 event at San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Unusually the invites were Siri-themed, suggesting that Apple has major plans for the voice technology.
The event is expected to focus on an iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, but more importantly a completely revamped Apple TV — featuring Siri support, as well as an A8 processor, a touchpad remote, and a unique App Store.
Tim Cook calms China concerns
In another unusual move, Apple CEO Tim Cook on Monday sent an email to CNBC‘s Jim Cramer, looking to pacify concerns investors might have about economic troubles in China. Cook suggested that Apple has been doing well throughout July and August.
The action immediately raised questions about whether Cook was violating Securities and Exchange Commision regulations. These prevent publicly-traded companies from sharing certain information privately without also disclosing it openly.
Flood of ‘iPhone 6s’ rumors
A multitude of next-generation iPhone rumors emerged this week, apparently backing earlier claims about the devices. iOS code and a parts leak, for example, hinted that the devices will indeed get Force Touch controls.
Another report claimed that the phones will have 4K video and front-facing flash, and two others showed supposed boxes, including one hinting that Apple will stick to 16 gigabytes of storage on base models.
Apple Music director leaves for new job
Ian Rogers, formerly the CEO of Beats Music, made a sudden departure from Apple to work at a Europe-based company. While at Apple, he was instrumental in the development of Beats 1 radio.
Apple confirmed Rogers’ exit, but refused to comment any further. Rogers was one of several top-level executives Apple brought over after its $3 billion takeover of Beats in 2014.
New Apple TV to ‘blow away’ other TV interfaces, lack Apple streaming service
One report claimed that the updated set-top will have a radically improved user inteface, better than any other smart TV option on the market. Part of this may involve the touchpad remote, which could also have a microphone for Siri and motion sensors for functions like gaming.
At the same time, another story reinforced views that Apple’s long-delayed streaming TV service will have to wait. The main obstacle is thought to be Apple’a insistence on keeping the price to about $40 a month, lower than media companies are allegedly willing to accept.
Editors sat down to talk about a variety of topics, including Sept. 9 predictions, “Apple Car” rumors, and Apple’s trouble on Wall Street.
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Johns Hopkins taps Apple Watch, ResearchKit for upcoming epilepsy study with eye on seizure prediction
Johns Hopkins University, in partnership with developer Thread Research, plans to harness Apple Watch and iPhone sensors to power an ambitious ResearchKit study on epilepsy that could one day lead to an accurate method of predicting seizures.
Seeking deeper insight into epileptic seizures and their effect on the human body, Johns Hopkins’ ResearchKit study will collect heart rate sensor and accelerometer data from Watch, gyroscope data from iPhone and dynamic user feedback to track a variety of biometric measurements during a seizure episode, according to a source familiar with the project. The iPhone and Watch apps, now in beta testing, are slated to go live on Sept. 18.
While sensor readings are automated, like many current iPhone-based ResearchKit initiatives, other metrics are not so easily ascertained. Activating the test process and measuring lucidity, for example, require some form of direct user interaction, a steep demand considering the extremely stressful nature of a seizure event. To help participants complete individual sessions they are given physical cues to answer contextual onscreen survey questions via Watch’s Taptic Engine. Alternatively, a caregiver might be able to initiate the testing process if present, the person said.
As with previous ResearchKit initiatives, the seizure study is to be conducted on an opt-in basis, though Johns Hopkins is hoping the proliferation of Apple’s popular devices will help garner a larger test pool. Further, Apple’s ResearchKit framework securely anonymizes sensitive data uploads, allaying concerns over privacy that traditionally inhibit participation.
ResearchKit was introduced in March as an iOS-based tool with which medical researchers can expand candidate pools and achieve more accurate results. One of the first integrations, a cardiovascular study conducted by Stanford University, saw more than 10,000 participants sign up less than 24 hours after its debut, a feat that would have taken a year under normal circumstances. Recent reports claim Big Pharma is also looking to apply Apple’s open source framework in clinical trials and RD underpinning for-profit operations.
As for the upcoming seizure initiative, Johns Hopkins is creating appropriate study requirements, while Thread Research handles app integration and deployment, as well as backend considerations. This is the second ResearchKit project for Thread, which in June partnered with the University of California, San Francisco to conduct a study on LGBTQ health issues.
Finally, the project’s scheduled activation date of Sept. 18 might hint at Apple’s watchOS 2 release plans considering the forthcoming firmware is required to access Watch sensor APIs. Apple is said to be actively involved in bringing the seizure study to market as it helps get ResearchKit off the ground, suggesting the development team has an inkling of watchOS 2 availability.
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A federal judge presiding over the Apple v. Samsung patent trial laid down the law this week, prohibiting either party from filing without permission after being inundated by a series of motions, objections and letters.
U.S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh on Thursday ordered Apple and Samsung to stop filing unless given express permission by the court. The ruling was issued shortly after Samsung filed an objection to an Apple proposal for partial final judgment lodged after the Federal Circuit denied Samsung’s appeal of an order to pay out $399 million in damages.
Since Tuesday the court received five filings: Apple’s letter proposing partial final judgment, a response from Samsung, a response to that response from Apple, a motion for judgment as a matter of law from Samsung and Thursday’s objection, also from Samsung.
That last filing was apparently the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
“The Court has not yet received the mandate from the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals,” Judge Koh wrote in her order. “Despite this, the parties have already filed a letter, two responses, an objection, and a motion. The parties shall not file any further motions, briefs, or letters with the Court until authorized by the Court.”
For its part, Samsung argues Apple’s initial letter was procedurally improper, noting that if the court took action it would violate federal rules, contradict a previous ruling and “work a manifest injustice” by enforcing an invalid patent. To that last point, Samsung is referring to a final decision invalidating Apple’s “pinch-to-zoom” UI patent handed down by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board last December. Apple is currently seeking a rehearing and if the PTAB chooses to pass must file a Federal Circuit appeal.
Apple is also facing a non-final decision from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Central Reexamination Division, which invalidated an iPhone design patent on multiple grounds.
This week’s events come three years ago after the first Apple v. Samsung action ended in 2012 with a resounding win for Apple. Subsequent court actions reduced damages to $548 million, though both parties are contesting the sum. Samsung, for example, is petitioning the Supreme Court to hear its case relating to the recent CAFC denial.
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People participating in Samsung’s “Ultimate Test Drive” program — allowing iPhone owners to try a Galaxy S6, S6 Edge+, or Galaxy Note 5 for 30 days — are being offered up to $200 in perks if they actually switch.
After buying one of the phones, switchers must then head to a special promotion webpage, Android Central noted. There people must enter the email they used for the Test Drive, answer survey questions, and provide purchase details including a photo of a receipt.
Doing so earns $100 in Google Play credit, usable for apps, books, video, and music. People who also took the step of trading in their previous phone with a carrier or retailer will be mailed a check for $100.
To qualify for the rewards, people must buy one of the named phones by Dec. 31, and submit their information by Jan. 1.
Samsung enjoys a large share of the world’s smartphone market, but has lost ground in the past year in part because of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus — Apple’s first phones with large screens comparable to Android rivals. And though the device has been favorably reviewed, Samsung also botched the launch of the Galaxy S6, producing too many regular S6 units while underestimating demand for the curved S6 Edge. The Note 5 and S6 Edge+ were introduced earlier this month.
The Ultimate Test Drive was announced last week, and may be a way for Samsung to counter some of the consumer interest Apple is bound to draw with new iPhones anticipated at a Sept. 9 press event. There the company is expected to reveal an iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, with features like Force Touch, A9 processors, and enhanced front and rear cameras.
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Though new Apple TV hardware is expected to appear at an upcoming Sept. 9 event, Apple’s long-awaited subscription television service is reaffirmed to remain on hold, thanks to ongoing negotiations with content owners.
Echoing earlier reports, Jessica Lessin of The Information said in a letter to subscribers on Friday that she has been told by sources that the “economics” of a subscription TV service remain the main sticking point between Apple and its potential partners. Specifically, the price Apple wants to charge consumers is said to be too low for content makers, preventing the service from debuting next month.
What to expect:
Next-gen Apple TV
- Siri voice input
- New remote with touchpad
- Dedicated App Store
- Debut at Sept. 9 event
Late 2015 Apple TV
“There’s still a big gap between the price media companies want for their TV channels and the roughly $40 a month Apple wants to charge consumers,” Lessin wrote. “Something has to give.”
Lessin’s sources said that in the absence of a subscription service, Apple will focus on integration with HomeKit accessories, allowing the Apple TV to be a hub for controlling connected devices in the home.
She was also told that Apple plans to spotlight security, highlighting the fact that data will be stored on the Apple TV itself and not in the cloud.
Apple’s interest in $40-and-under pricing has been publicized since March. Back then, it was said Apple hoped it could work out a deal to launch the new service, and a new set-top box, by June, in time for its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.
But neither the service nor new hardware were unveiled at WWDC, and the new Apple TV unveiling is now said to be a part of Apple’s Sept. 9 event. The device is said to include support for Siri voice control, a new remote with touchpad, and a dedicated App Store for third-party downloads.
Despite the hardware’s apparent imminent launch, multiple reports have said the subscription service has been internally delayed to sometime in 2016, due to sputtering talks with major networks like CBS, Fox, and NBC.
But in addition to alleged licensing hurdles, Apple has also been said to lack a network infrastructure capable of feeding what is expected to be a large number of Apple TV boxes. Apple supposedly needs to populate servers around the U.S. with content to ensure a smooth streaming experience, but so far only fields data centers in California, Nevada, North Carolina and Oregon. The company has been building out a proprietary network, but currently leans heavily on Akamai to handle its content distribution grunt work.
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