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By Jay Bonggolto
Apple extends free TV+ trials anew to July 2021
by Jay Bonggolto
When Apple first launched its subscription video on demand streaming service in November 2019, customers were given a year of free TV+ trials if they purchased an iPhone, an iPad, a Mac, or an Apple TV from that day. The free access was supposed to expire on November 1, 2020, but Apple extended it to February 2021.
Today, the tech giant is giving some of its TV+ customers a few extra months of free trials again. Users with subscriptions that were scheduled to expire between February and June can continue to access TV+ shows and movies for free until July 2021, assuming they haven't canceled their subscriptions.
Those eligible for the extension will receive notification via email over the next couple of weeks. Existing TV+ subscribers with a monthly plan as of January 15 are also set to receive a $4.99 store credit from February to June. This is also available to those who have an Apple One bundle subscription.
It remains to be seen, though, whether the second extension will persuade more people to subscribe to the service.
By Abhay V
Apple reportedly testing Music and Podcasts apps for the Microsoft Store
by Abhay Venkatesh
Apple retired iTunes for macOS back in 2019 with the release of macOS Catalina, splitting its functionality into three apps: Music, TV, and Podcasts. However, the company continued offering iTunes on Windows and had nothing to share about replacing the aging music client. A job posting spotted late in 2019 hinted towards possible efforts in that regard, with the firm calling on UWP developers to build the “next generation of media apps for Windows”. The company then made available Apple TV for Xbox late last year.
Now, a new report suggests that the Cupertino giant is working to bring its Music and Podcasts apps to the Microsoft Store. The apps are reportedly being tested as part of a private beta program and a release is expected sometime later this year. It is not clear if the apps are aimed at Xbox users alone, just like the Apple TV app, or if Apple plans to make the offerings available for the PC as well via the Microsoft Store.
Apple has been gradually expanding the availability of its services on multiple platforms. Apple TV, for instance, is making its way to Chromecast with Google TV and multiple smart TVs from LG and Sony. It will not be surprising to see the Music app make it to the Xbox, following the TV app. Though the service has a great web app. there is merit in releasing the apps for Windows 10 – and by extension for Windows 10X that is expected to launch on low-end PCs and tablets first – since it will greatly expand the reach of the company’s services via native apps.
It will be interesting to see what the iPhone company has in store for Microsoft’s platform. The introduction of native TV, Music, and Podcasts apps to Windows will be a welcome addition for users of the services.
Apple reportedly removing the Touch Bar from the Macbook Pro and adding more ports
by João Carrasqueira
Apple could be getting rid of the Touch Bar in its MacBook Pro devices if the latest information from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is to be believed. In a set of predictions seen by MacRumors, Kuo suggests that a number of significant changes are coming to new MacBook Pro models later this year, including the return of the traditional function keys on the top row, replacing the Touch Bar we've been seeing since 2016.
That's not all the backtracking Apple is doing, either. Kuo states that Apple is restoring the MagSafe connector, after having replaced pretty much every port with USB Type-C. Apple introduced MagSafe for the iPhone 12 lineup a few months ago, so it may make some sense to bring back the branding, though it's unclear if the implementation will be exactly the same. On top of that, Apple is said to be adding in more types of I/O ports, making dongles less of a necessity for the MacBook Pro.
There are yet more changes with this purported refresh, such as a new 14-inch display size in addition to the current 16-inch panel. Apple increased the 15-inch panel to 16 inches in 2019, but the 13-inch model kept the same size, making this good news for fans of the smaller variant. Also, there won't be an Intel option anymore with the new models, which isn't all that surprising as Apple is investing a lot in its own silicon. Finally, Kuo says the new MacBook Pro models will follow a design language closer to the iPhone 12's, with all-flat edges and fewer curves.
As a result of these changes, Kuo believes that demand for the MacBook Pro will ramp up and shipments will increase 25% to 30% year-on-year to 20 million units. The purported MacBook redesign is expected to launch in the third quarter.
On another note, Kuo also mentioned that the next iPhone models may use a new vapor chamber cooling system, as we've seen on some Android phones in recent years. Apple is said to be "aggressively testing" this change, but it's not guaranteed that it will be adopted just yet.
Apple removes Parler from the App Store and Amazon cuts off its hosting access
by Anmol Mehrotra
A day after Apple sent an ultimatum to Parler, the company has decided to remove the service from the App Store.
Yesterday, Google removed Parler from the Play Store for violating the company's rules. At the same time, Apple gave Parler 24 hours to create a moderation plan or risk the same fate. Earlier today, the company sent another notice confirming the removal of Parler from the App Store. Apparently, Parler did propose changes to improve moderation but Apple deemed that they were not enough and hence moved to remove the app from the App Store. Apple noted that “the processes Parler has put in place to moderate or prevent the spread of dangerous and illegal content have proved insufficient” and that Parler will not return to the App Store until it has “demonstrated your ability to effectively moderate and filter the dangerous and harmful content on your service.”
After Apple's ultimatum, Parler rose to #1 spot on the App Store as it showed a surge in downloads. According to TechCrunch, Parler saw approximately 210,000 downloads on Friday, 182,000 of which were first-time downloads from the US.
Along with Apple, Amazon has also announced that the company will be removing Parler from its hosting service. In an email obtained by BuzzFeed News, Amazon Web Services (AWS) Trust and Safety officer told Parler that calls for violence broke the company's terms of service. Amazon further added that it had seen "a steady increase in this violent content on your website, all of which violates our terms. It’s clear that Parler does not have an effective process to comply with the AWS terms of service."
Parler's founder and CEO John Matze did not comment on the news. However, he shared a post on Parler noting that the service "will be unavailable on the internet for up to a week as we rebuild from scratch."
Source: Parler, via: BuzzFeed News Reactions on Matze's post were swift with some suggesting violence against Amazon. "It would be a pity if someone with explosives training were to pay a visit to some AWS data centers (sic)," one wrote.
Source: Parler; via: BuzzFeed News Amazon, on the other hand, has attached several screenshots in the email to support its decision of removing Parler from the platform. The company further noted that Parler's account will be suspended on Sunday, January 10th, at 11:59 PM PST.
Source: BuzzFeed News, TechCrunch
Continue reading here: https://www.theverge.com/2021/1/9/22221730/apple-removes-suspends-bans-parler-app-store