Amazon still leads in smart speakers; but Google is really snapping at its heels

It’s not going to surprise anyone that in the latest totting up of smart speaker shipments Amazon’s Echo is leading the pack. The latest numbers come from Strategy Analytics, looking at the smart speaker market globally in Q2 2018. The headline figures are that Amazon shipped 4.8m speakers in Q2, giving it a 41% market […]

Smart speaker sales, forecasts and market share: Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple HomePod and more

The music industry is intensely interested in the growth of the market for smart speaker devices: Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple HomePod and other speakers controlled via voice assistants like Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri respectively. Research firms are also interested in this market, putting out regular estimates of how well these devices are selling […]

Global smartphone shipments down as Huawei overtakes Apple

Apple’s quarterly financial results are always the trigger for a new round of figures on the global smartphone market, and such was the case yesterday. Research firms IDC and Strategy Analytics agree on the key trend: smartphone shipments are down slightly year-on-year. IDC claimed a fall of 1.8% to 342m smartphone units shipped in the second quarter […]

Sandbox Issue 207: God Save The Streams

Lead: Just 18 months ago, pre-saves were a breath of fresh air for marketers struggling to stand above the cattle run of global releases on a Friday. But as they become ubiquitous, it is almost back to square one with everyone finding themselves lost again in the tumult. We look at what needs to be done […]

Apple adds music videos to its Apple Music streaming service

Apple Music is expanding its catalogue… with music videos. From today, Apple will have a catalogue of music videos – including curated playlists – sitting within its subscription service. Apple is describing this as “one of the most extensive music-video catalogues available” – although without a specific number on that – and will make it […]

Apple’s Jimmy Iovine to ‘transition’ out in August says WSJ

That speculation that Apple Music’s Jimmy Iovine is on his way out of the streaming service – and its parent company – won’t go away. This time it’s the Wall Street Journal reporting that Iovine “will transition into a consulting role in August and step back from daily involvement with the company’s streaming-music business”. The […]

Apple Music now has 38m subscribers and 8m trial users

In early February, Apple revealed that its Apple Music streaming service had 36 million subscribers. A month on, and that figure has increased to 38 million. The new figure was provided by the company’s SVP of internet software and services Eddy Cue during his appearance at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas. It’s a significant […]

Report claims Apple is mulling high-end headphones move

After the AirPods earphones and HomePod smart-speaker, what next for Apple’s audio-hardware ambitions? According to Bloomberg’s resident Cupertino-whisperer Mark Gurman, a pair of noise-cancelling, over-ear headphones could launch as early as the end of 2018. Or not. “It’s possible Apple will redesign the headphones again before launch, or scrap the project altogether,” warned the sources […]

Consumer Reports publishes initial HomePod comparison tests

The initial wave of reviews in the press about Apple’s HomePod smart speaker have been very positive about its hardware – specifically its audio quality. Now Consumer Reports has published some ‘early results’ of its comparative tests pitting the device against rivals. “Apple’s speaker does deliver very good audio performance, though it’s not the best-sounding […]

Expansion on the agenda for YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify

Three separate stories this morning come together into a strand illustrating 2018’s status as a continued landgrab for new music-streaming subscribers. YouTube is finally readying a global push for its YouTube Red tier; Apple Music is launching its student membership plan much more widely across the world; and Spotify is offering lovebirds a Valentine’s-themed two-month […]

European Commission to assess Apple’s Shazam acquisition

Apple announced plans to acquire music-recognition firm Shazam in December 2017, but European regulators may yet throw a spoke in the works of the deal. “The European Commission has accepted a request from Austria, France, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Spain and Sweden to assess under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Shazam by Apple,” […]

Apple HomePod reviews: sounds great, could be smarter

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker goes on sale this Friday (9 February) in the US, UK and Australia, with the first wave of reviews published yesterday. How does it compare to the Amazon Echo and Google Home ranges? Reviewers have been broadly positive, with the HomePod’s audio quality coming in for particular praise. “From dance pop […]

Apple Music’s latest milestone is 36m paying customers

Apple says its Apple Music service now has 36 million subscribers, up from “well over” 30 million in late September 2017. The milestone was shared with the Wall Street Journal as part of a wider piece on Apple Music’s progress – including the claim that it’s growing faster than Spotify in the US. “Apple’s subscriber-account […]

Apple HomePod smart speaker will go on sale on 9 February

Apple HomePod, the company’s first smart speaker, will go on sale on 9 February in the US, UK and Australia, with pre-orders kicking off online this Friday (26 January). The company announced the dates today, having delayed the device’s planned launch in December 2017. It will compete with Amazon Echo and Google Home among other […]

Report: Apple’s ARKit has been used by 825 apps so far

App analytics firm Apptopia claims that 825 iOS apps released in 2017 used Apple’s ARKit augmented-reality framework. That included around 300 when the technology went live in Apple’s iOS 11 software in September, plus another 525 over the final three months of 2017. The post Report: Apple’s ARKit has been used by 825 apps so […]

Apple tipped to merge Mac and iOS apps starting in 2018

Bloomberg has an interesting piece about Apple’s potential plans to bring its iOS and MacOS app ecosystems together. “Starting as early as next year, software developers will be able to design a single application that works with a touchscreen or mouse and trackpad depending on whether it’s running on the iPhone and iPad operating system […]

Apple changes its guidelines on template-based iOS apps

We reported earlier this month on new Apple guidelines that seemed to squash iOS apps created using template-based tools – for example, the various platforms that help musicians create and release their own mobile apps. After protests, Apple has changed the guidelines, which should mean these platforms can continue operating. The rules did say that […]

Spotify and Deezer lobby EC (again) over big-tech gatekeepers

Spotify and Deezer’s CEOs have both signed a letter to European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker calling for the EC to ensure they get a “level playing field” on platforms owned by large US technology companies including Apple and Amazon. The pair – along with a group of European games companies – are calling for “clear […]

7digital’s Pete Downton talks streaming, telcos, voice control and Apple

In the mid-2000s, Pete Downton had a PowerPoint presentation. It included a slide with a map of the world plotting Warner Music Group’s licensing partnerships with 40 mobile operators: a network with a theoretical reach of 1.8 billion customers. “There was a certain amount of truth in that, because we had deals in place to […]

Apple has bought an augmented-reality headset startup

Sorry, the rumours about Apple making an AR headset and/or smart glasses are going to keep on coming until the company actually makes one. At least there’s some concrete fact to the latest story: Apple has acquired a startup called Vrvana that was making an AR headset called the Totem. TechCrunch claims that the acquisition […]

Report claims Apple HomePod is ‘a huge missed opportunity’

Apple has just announced that its HomePod smart speaker won’t be on sale until early in 2018. Now Bloomberg has been shedding more details on the backstory of the product, which if the article is true, paints a picture very different from the finely-honed R&D machine that Apple is often seen as. Among its claims: […]

iOS to support introductory subscription pricing offers

This is a small change to the way in-app subscriptions work on Apple’s iOS platform, but a potentially good one for third-party music-streaming services like Spotify, Deezer, Pandora and the rest. Apple’s next software update, iOS 11.2, will include a feature called ‘Introductory Pricing for Auto-Renewable Subscriptions’. The company explains the feature thus: “Soon, you’ll […]

Beats 1 launches its first Spanish-language radio show

Beats 1 tiene un nuevo programa de radio que es en español y se enfoca en la música latinoamericana. Or to switch back into English: Beats 1 has a new Spanish-language radio show, focusing on Latin American music. The post Beats 1 launches its first Spanish-language radio show appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music […]

Apple Watch software update brings more music features

Apple has pushed out its latest software update for its Watch smartwatch, and watchOS 4.1 has some notable features for music fans. Apple Music subscribers will now be able to browse and stream the entire catalogue from their watch, rather than having to download specific playlists to it for offline listening. The post Apple Watch […]

Apple HomePod keeps Siri voice commands for Apple Music

Business Insider has chosen its words carefully in an article about Apple’s new smart speaker: ‘Spotify won’t work with Siri on Apple’s HomePod’. It’s sparked by a message published by Apple for app developers about the SiriKit tools for HomePod: “With the intelligence of Siri, users control HomePod through natural voice interaction. And with SiriKit, […]

Sam Smith swaps Spotify for Apple Music in new video project

With every music-streaming service now keen on making original video projects with artists, should the latter pick one partner or find different creative treatments with several? Sam Smith is taking the latter path. Having worked with Spotify on a vertical video for his comeback single ‘Too Good at Goodbyes’ which was embedded in a swathe […]

Apple and Google app stores reached new heights in Q3 2017

The latest report from research firm App Annie claims that combined app downloads on iOS’ App Store and Android’s Google Play were nearly 26bn in the third quarter of this year. That’s up 8% year-on-year, and as App Annie points out, the figure relates to new app installs, not reinstalls or app updates. The post […]

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