There aren’t too many people who can get Apple to change its tune on a particular issue, but apparently Taylor Swift is one of them. This weekend, she managed to get the Cupertino company to alter its stance on a thorny issue associated with Apple Music. In other news, the iconic iOS "Home" button might be going virtual, and Apple CEO Tim Cook confirms that, yes, all those gold devices are specifically meant for Chinese customers.
Apple Changes Tune on Artist Payments After Letter from Taylor Swift
Apple initially hadn’t planned on paying royalties to artists when users streamed their music through Apple Music during their free three-month trial, but the company backed off last night after singer Taylor Swift penned them a strongly worded letter on Tumblr. "We don’t ask you for free iPhones," said Swift. "Please don’t ask us to provide you with our music with no compensation." In addition, Swift announced she was pulling her popular 1989 album from Apple Music in protest.
Apple’s issues with artist payments during the free trial apparently isn’t a new thing; it was one of the major hurdles the company had to overcome during all those months when it was pitching the service to labels and artists. Following Swift’s letter, however, all that fell by the wayside when Apple executive Eddy Cue took to Twitter to announce that Apple would be altering its policy.
"Apple will always make sure that artist [sic] are paid," said Cue. He added in a followup tweet that "#AppleMusic will pay artist [sic] for streaming, even during customer’s free trial period."
For her part, Swift was, erm, swift to note in her letter that she was protesting Apple’s actions more for the sake of artists with lesser means than her own.
"This is not about me," Swift said. "This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success. This is about the young songwriter who just got his or her first cut and thought that the royalties from that would get them out of debt. This is about the producer who works tirelessly to innovate and create, just like the innovators and creators at Apple are pioneering in their field but will not get paid for a quarter of a year’s worth of plays on his or her songs."
According to Re/code, Apple said that artists will get paid on a per-stream basis during the three-month trial period rather than from a percentage point based off of Apple’s revenue (since there won’t be any revenue during the free trial).
Rumor: Apple May Shift to Virtual ‘Home’ Button
If a new report from Taiwan is correct, the iPhone’s iconic "Home" button could soon be on the way out, or at least from where we can physically see it. According to the moderately reliable DigiTimes, Apple is already internally working on a new chip that will handle both the touchscreen and display functions for the iPhone. Furthermore, rumors from "sources in Taiwan’s IC design industry" claim the chip might be able to fit into "models with ultra-thin and ultra-narrow displays, and with a whole plane design eliminating a home button."
If the report’s true (and again, DigiTimes has its ups and downs), that means that Apple would be able to use more of the iPhone’s face for the display than it currently does while retaining the current sizes. It’s also worth nothing that Apple is reportedly designing the chip "internally," which marks but yet another way in which the Cupertino company is bringing its creation process under one roof to ensure greater secrecy. Apparently, though, it wasn’t enough to stop this particular "leak."
Tim Cook Confirms Gold Devices Meant to Cater to Chinese Tastes
Today Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek what many commentators have long suggested — yes, all those gold devices we’ve been seeing from Apple lately are specifically meant to cater to customers in China. Cook noted that the country’s large size enables Apple to take its customers’ tastes into account when designing its products, and thus the introduction of a gold iPhone 5s back in 2013 reflected "in part the popularity of that color among Chinese users."
The report acknowledged that "Greater China" (which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan) is now Apple’s second-most-important market, and that Chinese sales accounted for an impressive 29 percent of Apple’s entire revenue in the quarter ending March of this year. Cook also noted that Apple is currently planning to start over 180 mobile technology learning programs at schools around China that will "transform traditional educational models and help students contribute to society" with Apple applications such as GarageBand.
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