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by Razvan Serea
iTunes is a free application for Windows PCs. It plays all your digital music and video. It syncs content to your iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV. And it's an entertainment superstore that stays open 24/7.
Organize your music into playlists Edit file information Record compact discs Copy files to an iPod or other digital audio player Purchase music and videos on the Internet through the built-in iTunes store Run a visualizer to display graphical effects in time to the music Encode music into a number of different audio formats. Changes in iTunes 12.11.3:
This update includes security improvements and adds support for new devices. Download: iTunes 12.11.3 (32-bit) | 168.0 MB (Freeware)
Download: iTunes 12.11.3 (64-bit) | 191.0 MB
Links: Apple iTunes Website
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By Namerah S
Microsoft kills support for Cortana app on Android and iOS
by Namerah Saud Fatmi
In July last year, Microsoft confirmed that it would be scrapping its Cortana mobile application. Support for the Android and iOS AI-powered assistant ended on January 31, 2021, everywhere except the U.S. The reason for the decision to end Cortana was to remodel the app as a “productivity-focused” product.
Today Microsoft pulled the final trigger in Cortana's end-of-life process. Spotted by MacRumors, the support page for the virtual assistant's mobile app was updated today. According to the page, from today onwards, the Cortana app will not be supported on iOS and Android in the U.S. anymore. All content created with the AI assistant will no longer be accessible through the mobile app. Users will need to access notes, lists, reminders and other content through their Windows PCs or through the content synced to the Microsoft To Do app for phones.
Prior to today's developments, Cortana was already pretty much dead on Android and iOS devices in other parts of the world. The AI-powered voice assistant was also removed from devices such as Harman Kardon's Invoke smart speaker and the Surface Headphones.
Amazon adds artist merchandise shopping to Amazon Music
by João Carrasqueira
Amazon Music is getting a new shopping experience built into the app, the online retail giant announced today. Starting today, users will be able to buy official merchandise from their favorite artists directly on Amazon Music, in an attempt to bridge together the music listening experience and other aspects of the fandom.
The shopping experience is launching with merchandise from major artists such as Lady Gaga and Billie Eilish, and Amazon has also secured some exclusives for its platform. Pop artist Selena Gomez will be launching a new line of apparel to coincide with her upcoming EP REVELACIÓN, and an exclusive collection in celebration of rock band Weezer is also available. Other artists with exclusive merchandise on Amazon Music include Gwen Stefani, Pentatonix, Metallica, and Queen.
Sean McMullan, Director of Artist Product and Services at Amazon Music, commented on the launch saying it will help fans develop a stronger connection with their favorite artists:
In addition to the Amazon Music app, artist merchandise can also be bought on the new Merch Shop on Amazon's website. Most of the items available there also include free shipping for Prime members. The big caveat in all of this is that the experience is only available for users in the United States, so you're out of luck if you live anywhere else.
As an Amazon Associate, Neowin may earn commission from qualifying purchases.
By Rich Woods
Harman Kardon's Invoke speaker gets an update to kill Cortana
by Rich Woods
Last July, Microsoft announced that it was killing off Cortana integration with the Harman Kardon Invoke smart speaker. Now, it's finally happening, as Harman Kardon has published an FAQ (via Windows Central) for an update that should be rolling out this week to remove Cortana and essentially turn the Invoke into a Bluetooth speaker.
The update is going to be released on March 10, and apparently, you need to have your Invoke connected to the internet between 2am and 5am local time. Also, the update won't be available after June 30. The company says that to know that you received the update, the device won't respond to its wake word or when you tap on the top of the speaker.
What's also interesting is that this doesn't mark the end of support for the Harman Kardon Invoke. Apparently, there's a known issue where there might be a popping noise when playing music from your phone, and there's going to be a future update to fix that.
The Harman Kardon Invoke was the first in what was originally planned to be a long line of Cortana-powered smart speakers. Indeed, Microsoft even showed off a few from other OEMs in showcase events at conferences like CES. Unfortunately, the Invoke ended up being the only one to ever hit store shelves. It launched in October 2017, and a month later, it was already receiving 50% off discounts.
Apple shares Hearing Study insights for World Hearing Day
by Paul Hill
In time for World Hearing Day, which takes place globally on March 3, Apple has shared some of its findings from a study it is carrying out on the long-term auditory health of its users in the United States. Apple said the participation levels in this study are on a scale never seen before thanks to the ease of participation; users can partake in the study using an Apple Watch and iPhone and sharing their health data.
One of the interesting findings revealed that 25% of participants experience environmental sounds higher than the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended limit. This noise can come from anywhere including traffic, machinery, and public transport. The WHO has estimated that 700 million people around the world will be affected by profound hearing loss by 2050 - with its Noise app on Apple Watch, the tech firm hopes to save some of its users from hearing loss.
Another source of hearing loss is the way we use headphones to listen to music. One in ten of Apple’s participants listen to sounds through headphones at a level above WHO recommendations. Apple says that to protect hearing, users ought to listen to media at the lowest enjoyable volume rather than at full blast.
The study seems to suggest that a lot of people are neglecting their ears; around 10% of participants have been diagnosed with hearing loss by a professional and over these, three-quarters do not use tools such as hearing aids or cochlear implants even though they can reduce the impact of hearing loss. Furthermore, Apple found that a huge 50% of participants hadn’t had their hearing tested by a professional in the last 10 years and a quarter of all participants reported a ringing in their ears which is a sign of hearing loss.
To take part in the study yourself, head over to the App Store and download the Apple Research app. If you’re not sure how good your hearing is or lack access to testing facilities, the World Health Organization provides an app for Android and iOS called HearWHO where you have to listen out for numbers being read out in static, this can give you an estimate about how good your hearing is.